Stormy Sunday. During a brief afternoon lull of windy sunshine we managed a barbecue, during which ash blew over the burgers (they were still yummy); Dolly Parton had a huff over a piece of bacon and managed to get trapped in the garden behind ours again – during the “rescue” (reaching through the bushes and lifting her over some bird netting) she scratched my hand a lot; and the wind blew the kitchen door shut on my little finger (ow). Aah, the joys of a British “summer”!
Espadrilles are once again “having a moment” – or should that be, they’ve been “having a moment” every summer for so many years that they’ve now made the leap into must-have summer staple. I’ve just ordered this pair from ASOS (yippee!) which I hope will cover me for a wedding, work and my summer holiday:
Here’s a short history lesson on these humble rope and canvas shoes, followed by some summer shoe shopping inspo (another yippee!). The Archaeological museum of Granada holds the earliest known pair of espadrilles – estimated to be a staggering 4,000 years old, which were found with human remains inside the “cueva de los murielagos” (the bat-cave).
Espadrilles were also commonly used in the Pyrenees as peasant footwear dating back as far as the 14th century. They first “had a moment” fashion-wise during the 19th Century in the French Pyrenean city of Mauléon, where they were apparently on-trend for soldiers and priests.
Espadrilles next had a fashion resurgence in the USA in the 1940s, partly due to their appearance on the feet of Lauren Bacall’s stylish character Nora Temple in Key Largo.
In 1970, Yves Saint Laurent invented the wedge espadrille and women worldwide embraced the concept of a shoe that was comfortable and stylish, glamorous and casual.
Espadrille popularity skyrocketed again in the 1980s, thanks to Sonny Crockett (played by Don Johnson) in Miami Vice.
In SS2013, espadrilles even got the Chanel seal of approval with this seriously covetable pair:
Today, the humble espadrille can take you from work to the supermarket and from the beach to dinner. Here are my top summer picks:
Time, time, time, see what’s become of me, while I looked around for my possibilities…
And it’s time, time, time that you learned…
I need a little time to think things over…
I haven’t looked at my blog for a week and a half. I love looking at my blog, so there is only one reason for this – time. In the past two weeks I’ve working away in the flat fens of East Anglia and in the shadow of the mountainous Lake District. Rushing from east coast to west coast, visiting my parents, taming wild rescue ponies and working on social media for the awesome PACT Animal Sanctuary, sorting out my parent’s camper van (packed to the brim with charity stuff), managing projects, going to a Foo Fighters gig, running the Newcastle branch of the Women’s Equality Party, going to my niece’s hen do dressed as Samantha from SATC, doing great crested newt surveys in the evenings and environmental education for schoolchildren in the daytime. Oh, and as our house purchase fell through a couple of weeks ago at the last minute, whenever I’m home I’ve been viewing houses every evening… and on Saturday, literally on the way to a friend’s wedding we bought a house! Continue reading Out of time→
Long car journeys, housework, chilling on the sofa, insomnia… in my opinion, there is almost no mundane situation which cannot be improved by listening to a good podcast. According to Wikipedia, “A Podcast is a digital medium that consists of a episodic series of audio, video, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed on-line to a computer or mobile device”.
Woah! That sure sounds like fun! Not. According to Eclectic Feel, “Podcasts are nature’s way of taking care of stress and/or boredom. They are nuggets of audio awesomeness, generally lasting 10 minutes to an hour, which you can download and listen to at your leisure”.
As someone who is a) eclectic by nature b) easily bored c) always on the hunt for the interesting and unusual, here are my top 5 recommendations, in no particular order, whether you’re new to podcasts or a podcast fiend like me. Continue reading 5 podcasts for the easily bored→
A couple of years ago, my partner and I were preparing for a two-week roadtrip across the north-eastern US states. Ten states in two weeks required quite a lot of research, and TripAdvisor quickly became one of our most trusted allies in the search for decent motels. Now, if you’re no stranger to TripAdvisor, you’ll know that the wise TripAdvisee tends to filter out the best and worst reviews as the dumping ground for the over-enthusiastic (such as Alec Baldwin’s guest appearance in Friends):
Or the overly-negative:
Anyway, we spent considerable time researching motels in Atlantic City (top tip: Don’t stay in a motel in Atlantic City. Trawl and trawl until you find a special offer at the Golden Nugget, for example. On arrival, put on your most English accent and say you’re only in the city for one night, it would be bloody brilliant to have a room with a view. Result: hopefully end up with this): Continue reading Tripadvisor: When reviews go bad!→
1. I’ve been nominated for the “Encouraging Thunder” blog award! Thank you so much to Encouraging Life for this lovely award. You know how sometimes you’re feeling slightly down about your blog, doubting yourself, not feeling inspired? Well I sometimes feel like that anyway – I sure was feeling it this week and then I got this award, which has made me feel inspired again
2. Our house purchase fell through this week. I know, that doesn’t sound inspiring! But instead of crumbling, we’ve managed to approach it with a zen-like calm (mostly), taking comfort from the knowledge that it wasn’t meant to be – to quote my favourite saying, “What’s for you will not go by you”. Our dream house is out there somewhere… Continue reading 7 inspiring things that happened this week→
Washington DC, dawn 2003. “Record digger” Dori Hadar was hunting for rare vinyl at a local fleamarket, when he discovered boxes containing 38 albums by an unknown soul singer named Mingering Mike. “Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing?” screamed a hand-painted cover in bold capitals. “The Outsiders are Back” proclaimed another. The collection was comprehensive, including several greatest hits albums, free single giveaways, a Bruce Lee tribute album and collaborations.
But why was Mingering Mike such an unknown, when he had a huge body of work behind him, recorded under numerous labels such as Mother Goose and Fake Records? As Hadar began to delve deeper into the boxes, he realised that the discs, far from being in poor condition and scratched, were actually pristine – and made of cardboard. Whoever had made them had taken enormous care to paint the cardboard black, draw on grooves, and create an entire recording career, all in their imagination. Continue reading LifeStories – Mingering Mike→
There are nearly 3,000 species of snake in the world. Only around 375 of these are venomous, and only a small proportion of these are potentially harmful to humans. In the UK, we have adder, grass snake and the rare smooth snake, all of which are legally protected (as are their lizard friends). My favourite is the lovely slow worm – actually not a worm or a snake but a legless lizard (insert obvious joke here). These little cuties are only 50cm long and are have lovely smooth skin (for legal and safety reasons reptiles should only be handled by experts, obv!). Continue reading go faux and share some snake love→
I love blog awards! I hadn’t had one for a little while so I’m extremely grateful to the lovely Amanda Says. I’ve been following Amanda for a while now and she’s a very supportive blogger so please do check out her blog. Her posts are always unusual and quirky – she’s a woman after my own heart!
Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
Share 5 facts about yourself
Nominate 10 bloggers and add their links
Notify the bloggers you included
Keep the rules in your post to make it easy to everyone to know what to do!
Five facts about me:
I’m an ecologist in my day job, and I specialise in bats. I’m off to do a great crested newt survey this evening!
I have a mushroom phobia – bleeeugh, hate them!
I once stood (with a beekeeper) in the middle of a swarm of 20,000 bees. I’m allergic to bees.
A couple of weekends ago I took an afternoon trip to the lovely Wallington, Northumberland, a grand National Trust Palladian mansion with an interesting – and political – history. As the rest of the UK was gearing up for the General Election, Wallington turned the clocks back to the 1929 election, when the house’s owner at the time, Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, stood as the Newcastle Central Labour candidate for the second time. Through a series of installations and displays throughout the house and gardens, “VOTE” told the story of Charles’ political career and socialist aspirations. As I wondered around the house, I stumbled across a room entitled “Utopia HQ”, where Sir Charles’ former estate office had been transformed by the awesome November Club into his 1929 campaign HQ. Continue reading Utopia HQ→
If you haven’t discovered The Girl In a Cocktail Dress yet, it could be time to check out this gorgeously presented blog, which features the latest fashion and beauty trends. I love this post on AW 15/16 beauty trends – it looks so lovely and is really well written, it makes me want to go upstairs and start trying these ideas right now! x
Hello! Today I finally finished upcycling my vintage 1960’s medicine cabinet! Did I need an extremely heavy 1960’s medicine cabinet in grubby condition? Err.. probably not. Did I want it? Yes. Can I imagine how cool, awesome and useful it might be once I upcycle it (if I don’t mess it up)? Hell yeah. Challenge accepted. Continue reading Vintage Medicine Cabinet Upcycle→
Remember those cute paper dolls that used to appear in Bunty and Twinkle when you were a kid (or if you’re a guy, rolling your eyes at your sister while she played with them)? Well, they’ve had something of a makeover. Gone are the innocent dolly dresses and matching accessories, to be replaced by on-trend Elsa, Solange Knowles and Walter White (including missing trousers and pink bear) – I love it! Here are 10 paper dolls to get you started – and don’t worry, I’ve included some classics too, because where would we be without Bunty?
Regular readers will know how much I love Benefit cosmetics (if not, check out my post Friends with Benefit) – so imagine how happy I was when I heard about the campaign they’re running for the whole of May. If you live in the UK, USA, France or Australia, head to a Benefit Brow Bar for a Brow Wax in May 2015 and 100% of Benefit’s profits from the treatment will go to charities supporting women and girls, an issue close to my heart. As a thank you you’ll also receive a free, full sized Gimme Brow volumising fibre gel!
This post is about politics and women. It’s a more serious post than my usual art/fashion/travel/inspirational posts, but hopefully just as uplifting and positive. This post is aimed at UK readers, but also to women all over the world when it comes to making your views heard (see links at foot of page) – and to all men, too, because I firmly believe that men will benefit equally from having a balanced government. Say goodbye to any of the tired old feminist stereotypes and have a think about what you want, and what you believe (I am a project manager and senior team member in my company. I frequently work on all-male contractor sites. With gel nails and mascara. I sometimes wear 4 inch heels, and sometimes Converse. I am an ordinary woman not defined by any one stereotype. I’m so tired of facing sexism and I want my voice to be heard). Continue reading #VIEWSNOTSHOES!→
Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, is almost unrivalled amongst the great cities of the world for history, culture, architecture and beauty. It really is the city that has it all (apart from the weather!). I was lucky enough to do my Masters degree at Edinburgh University, and then lived and worked in Edinburgh for 5 years. I know the city like the back of my hand and even though I moved away 7 years ago, I still miss it sometimes – there’s nothing like feeling inspired every time you walk around your home city. I still visit family and friends there frequently, and never tire of the blast of bagpipes from the piper on the corner of Princes Street and Waverley every time I exit the train station.
Edinburgh’s tourist attractions are world-renowned – the Royal Mile, an ancient cobbled street leading from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace (the Queen’s residence in Edinburgh – you can tell she’s home when the Royal Standard flag is flying); Prince’s Street; and the Edinburgh Festival to name a few. So I thought I’d take you off the beaten track for a behind-the-scenes look at Edinburgh’s better kept secrets.
If you live in the Northern hemisphere like me, you’ll be more than ready to throw off your winter blues, and with them your cosy, snuggly blankets and pillows, and let some Spring lightness and brightness in.
I’ve bought a couple of things from Made over the past couple of years – their designs are just so different to anything on the high street (that I could afford). Two years later and I’m still in love with the Pierre Paul Pariseau limited edition printed canvas which hangs in my living room:
I was browsing through the SS 2015 catwalk shows again recently and I couldn’t help but notice the return of blue velvet, as seen at the Louis Vuitton 2015 summer collection:
It reminded me of David Lynch’s 1986 dark, intense thriller and the equally classic song (I love both the 1963 Bobby Vinton original and Lana Del Rey’s awesome, atmospheric 2012 cover for H&M). We can’t all afford Louis Vuitton, nor are most of us daring enough to pull off the outfit above (you couldn’t exactly wear it to pop to the shops), but maybe a little Topshop or ASOS blue velvet might sneak it’s way into our wardrobes this spring? Continue reading Colour me Friday – Blue Velvet→
Australian singer/songwriter Sia has been around for a long time, but I had never really heard of her until her intriguing performance on this year’s The Voice UK, during which her face was obscured by a bizarre long wig that looked like a modern reworking of a 1970’s lampshade. Who the heck is this? I thought, whilst being slightly mesmerised by her haunting vocals and electro-pop sound.
A quick search on Wikipedia revealed some interesting snippets – her music incorporates hip hop, funk and soul; in 2014, she was ranked the 97th richest Australian person under the age of 40 by BRW magazine; she is the niece of Colin Hay from Australian group Men at Work; and she performed as a background vocalist for Jamiroquai. Recently Sia has written hits for Rihanna (Diamonds) and Beyonce (Pretty Hurts), as well as for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, and Rita Ora. Continue reading LifeStories: Who is Sia?→
Hello! You know when you want to do something useful and creative but you have that lazy Sunday feeling? Here’a an easy 20 minute project to make something pretty with minimal effort.
I bought this little folding mid-century modern side table at a charity furniture store in Byker, Newcastle (note to British readers – yes, that Byker). At £4, it was a bargain, and I thought it would come in handy for occasional use.
This morning I thought it could use a little makeover, but nothing which would detract from it’s simplicity and clean lines. Then I remembered I still had a small amount of paint left over from my copper spray paint superhero post, so I decided to paint the bottom third of the legs as if they had been dipped in copper (Rustoleum Painters Touch in copper, £4.99).
Thank you so much to Orbb’s Fashion for the nomination, awesome, so grateful! (and sorry it took me a while to do this post). Please check out her lovely fashion blog, which features themed picks across a range of clothing stores, often focussing on affordable ranges for those of us who might be a bit skint! My current favourite is Youthful Exuberance – loving the blue suede boots and heart shaped pastel sunglasses!
I’ve been hearing about the benefits of coconut oil for a while now, but in true Eclectic Feel fashion, hearing about how good things are frequently stirs up a natural resistance to trying them. Aah, teenage rebellion, alive and kicking and still happy to cut my nose off to spite my face.
I’ve suffered from mild psoriaisis on and off for most of my life, but until recently it’s been pretty much under control. A hideous bout of work-related stress, an eyeball-dessicating office environment as hot and dry as a well-burnt pop tart, and the vitamin D drought that is the British winter have recently combined in a bad flare up. There is no cure for psoriaisis, and the only really effective treatment involves applying a topical cream which feels akin to sulphuric acid and renders me to tears and the kind of contorted postures last seen in Pompeii. Continue reading Coconut Oil Skin Saviour→
Hello! If you’re feeling a bit bleugh because it’s Monday morning tomorrow and work awaits, then let me me introduce you to my blog friend Jessie over at A World named Jessie. As a collector of all things eclectic and unusual, when I stumbled across Jessie’s blog I felt like I had discovered a kindred spirit of the blog world. Always different, her take on life is both cynical and uplifting at the same time; quirky, strange and always interesting; artistic and frequently hilarious. “The House of Tomatoes” made me laugh so much – it’s my all-time favourite blog post. Thanks Jessie, keep it up, we need more strange!
Finally, after 20 years, I stopped. At the side of the road with the red flapping Coca-Cola umbrella, motherly nurturing within her shaded midriff, a couple dozen sacks of tomatoes. Alongside a bucket, cradling a few lengthy cucumbers, adorned with relevant tomato clip-art, a sticker, ‘The House of Tomatoes’.
A wall light, well worn, seemed to be taking place of an assistance bell. Before I saw this button, admiring the stand and its contents provided relief. After all these years, passing this stall, I’d finally stopped and given into a lifetime of curiosity. But once I had laid eyes on the button, the stall turned from initial enchantment to horror story.
Chris Schoonover is a photographer and art director from New Jersey. He became interested in photography via Instagram, got his first camera in 2013 and started taking it everywhere with him, with incredible results. For me, many of his pictures have that Las Vegas faded-beauty-hit-on-hard-times feel about them which I so love, and puts me in mind of Lana Del Rey and The Killers. Chris has described his work as “a photo journalistic style where the subject is interacting with their environment. My style is always changing, and growing with me. The common thread would be that each image seems to tell a story, and that story is really up to the viewers’ imagination”. You can check out (and buy) Chris’s work at http://society6.com/cschoonover.
Hold on to your (cowboy) hats, because I’m about to (not quite scientifically) prove to you that, 24 years after it ended, Dallas is still influencing fashion in a major way. When I was growing up in the 80s, Dallas was compulsory viewing in our house. Yes, I do mean compulsory. Whatever was going on, my mum had a rule that it all stopped for Dallas – homework, chores, sibling squabbles, even if it was actually past our bedtimes – every Wednesday night, my mum, stepdad (begrudgingly), me, my five brothers and sisters and Sloopy the dog would race in to the living room, leap onto our alloted (and fiercely fought for) beanbags and faux-black-leather-and-chrome sofa spaces, and await with baited breath for the answers to last week’s cliffhanger. Continue reading Everything I learnt about fashion, I learnt from 80’s Dallas→
Fortune favours the brave – and after years of dreaming and working, we are in the final stages of buying a beautiful house. Bizarrely, the two things which I seem to be excited about at the moment are 1) the round, glass-topped, 1970s coffee table I have stored in the attic (which I salvaged from our former MD’s office when my company moved buildings); now it can finally have a suitable home of it’s own (open plan kitchen/diner/living room + small separate lounge = two coffee tables needed, yay!). 2) I can finally have the downstairs loo of my dreams – by which I mean dark, dramatic wallpaper (funny thing to aspire to, I know – but hey, read the title of my blog). Hmm, which to choose? All advice welcome
Today I am very proud and excited to be featured on “behind the blog” over on Confetti and Curves. For those of you who haven’t come across Karen and her blog before, she is literally one of the most amazing, supportive and inspirational bloggers out there. Thanks Karen! Jo x
I hope you’re all settled snugly with your usual hot toddy in hand ready for another fun filled Behind The Blog? If not get that kettle flicked and curl up in your comfiest chair for a quick meet & greet of yet another awesome blogger!
As always, if you’re new to Confetti & Curves (friendly wave) and not entirely sure what this virtual shenanigans is all about *click here* to bring yourself up to speed – you may even find yourself getting involved. Why the heck not?!
So today we have the deliciously diverse Jo from her mighty blog Eclectic Feel joining us. If you haven’t already stopped by her sizeable slice of the interweb then get yourself over pronto peeps, she really is a blogging gem.
Jo is the proud parent of one of the most varied blogs I’ve stumbled across since launching Confetti & Curves… when I say there’s…
It’s a Friday night and Miss Dolly Parton and I (that’s my cat, not the real DP, in case you were wondering) are relaxing on the sofa. Me with a little glass of homemade Christmas spiced vodka and diet coke; she with her favourite cream faux-fur blanket, which is getting a good wash. Together we are writing draft posts and listening to some First Aid Kit. Continue reading First Aid Kit for the Soul→
John Holcroft is an English illustrator who grew up in the Northern counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, where he spent most of his childhood “drawing, painting and making stuff from what ever I could find”. John’s illustrations offer a peek into the world of an extraordinarily creative mind with the ability to sum up modern society’s woes within a single colourful illustration. Here are my current favourites – check out more at www.johnholcroft.com.Continue reading Colour me Friday: The Extraordinary World of John Holcroft→
I spent this week up on Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland. Surrounded by sea on three sides, it’s a beautiful, wild, windswept (and this week snowy) peninsula. I headed home just as the hailstorm which had kept me awake most of the night turned to snow, I turned to one of my favourite travelling hobbies, “roadtrip window gazing” at the foamy sea. Since I got home, I’ve been thinking about what a lush and under-appreciated colour seafoam green is. Hope you like this week’s picks and pics! Continue reading Colour me Friday – Seafoam Green Style→
Whether you prefer Streisand, Buble or Timberlake, we’re all familiar with the song. As someone who has always been affectionately labelled a “cry baby” by my family, I’ve been thinking recently about the subject of crying, and showing emotion in general, at work. I’m not talking about daily emotional outbursts and drama, I’m talking occasional and natural human responses to difficult and stressful events at work. Continue reading Cry Me A River→