My Catalogue Obsession


Thursday and Friday are huge flyer delivery days.  Toward the end of the week our newspaper is plonked outside our door, sending Jurassic Park style ripples through my bedside glass of water. I almost needs a fork life truck to pick the newspaper up on these days!  I love this time of the week, ever since I was a child I loved the day when a new catalogue hit the doorstep.  Be it the Next catalogue, Freeman's’, or even the new edition of the Argos catalogue, I wasn’t fussy, I just knew I had to be the one to open the pages first. I would whisk these catalogues out of the sight of any family member who may have been prowling and run straight up to my bedroom with it in my clammy little hands.  There’s nothing better than hearing the crackle of the static as the pages are opened for the first time, and when that first waft of the sickly paper scent hits your nostrils, you know it’s an exciting time of year.

I love the start of a new season, and catalogues have always been an indicator of this for me.  Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter, it’s an excuse to completely restyle yourself by dragging out old faithfuls from your wardrobe and pairing them with new trends.  I will mentally tick off everything in the catalogue I want, no turning down of corners for me, I want to keep the catalogue pristine!

Today, however, 20 year on.  One of the flyers was from Sears.  Instead of the front cover being adorned with fitness great and half price treadmills as I've become accustomed to over the past few weeks, I was confronted with images of women in swimsuits and suitcases.

I stopped in shock.  

Now, I know I've been wishing winter away since November, but am I actually ready to don a swimsuit yet?  Erm, no!  I whizzed through all the prep that needed to be done to prepare myself for summer, exfoliating, moisturising, hair cut, pedicure, manicure.  Clearly my chewed down nails won’t cut a week in the sun.  But in all reality I should be already in full summer prep 

Actually I should exfoliate and moisturise all year, but I just want to wrap up in my bath robe in winter, and really I don’t think I’ve even seen my own toes without socks or tights for the last four months so the pedicure has definitely gone out of the window!  

We were hoping to escape ‘down south’ (I still can’t get the hang of that phrase) for a week at the end of March, and from a rushed glance at my calender this morning, that’s only 7 weeks away!

Can I be beach ready in only 7-weeks?

I think I better start trying!

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Not Just Fashion - Favourite Finds


Here are my favourite blog links of the week:

I love, love, love Haute Couture.  This is a lovely selection of the best

A lovely idea to dress up a simple skirt

After the cold weather this week, it's good to know fashionista's rock the winter boot look too!

I love the simple elegance of monograms

Chanel is always my favourite couture show, so much fine detailing

This just made me giggle, so cute!

I love these simple, symmetrical designs

Stunning!  What more can I say?

I REALLY need to learn to knit

I love this blush colour palette

I love this sheer example of the current maxi skirt trend, and so easy to make!

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Not Just Fashion - Favourite Finds


A few of my favourite links this week:

Black Accents at Home - MadeByGirl
I love the circular window and the glossy black staircase
Engagement Ring - A Cup of Jo
I love the handmade look and feel of this ring
Great Idea for Your Inspiration Board - Black*Eiffel
Cute little coat hangers for your noticeboard
f21 Wedge Loafer - Fashion Roadkill
Perfect for Spring
Modern Skeleton Key Invites from Wit + Delight - 100 Layer Cake
Simply stunning
Forest Green - Fashion Roadkill
Casual yet on trend
Vintage Ruffle Cupcake Tutorial - The TomKat Studio
Fulfilling my current baking obsession 
DIY Love Heart Back Top - A Pair and a Spare
With the right bra (...or no bra!) this could be beautiful
Sass & Bide - Eat Drink Chic
I just love how the garments are displayed in these shots

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The Perfect Crisp White Shirt


Another wardrobe staple for Spring is the crisp white shirt.  I hate to admit it, but I've had the same white shirt for more years than I care to remember!

Shirts are something I really struggle with.  The perfect fit is crucial.  I would love to wear shirts more often but I simply can't buy something off the high street without having to adjust it myself.

I want the perfect shirt that doesn't gape at the buttons on the chest but that also fits me at the waist.  Bravissimo is the only place I can find this.  You order the shirt based on your waist and chest measurements and then select the correct size according to these measurements.  The one I ordered (many moons ago) fitted me absolutely perfectly.  The only problem is, it looks old-fashioned now.  So I'm on the hunt for a new white shirt.

Obviously, my search has taken me straight to Bravissimo, but they only have a couple of white shirts and they aren't the most stylish things I've ever seen.  Maybe it's because we're between seasons at the minute, they may get some better options in with the Spring collection.  I personally don't like long sleeved shirts, unless I have the option or rolling the sleeves up.  I'd much rather wear short sleeve or 3/4 length sleeve styles.

Image from Bravissimo

You can see from the image above how the shirt fits really well around the waist though.  They look great tucked into a smart pair of trousers for the office.

I may even try on some men's shirts and see how the baggy look works.   It looks great on the Dries Van Noten catwalk.

Oh to be a flat chested model!

Image from Elle Canada

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ASOS Loves!

Although I've been burnt on Customs charges on previous ASOS orders.  I still love their clothes...  We just need a Canadian supplier!

Here are a couple of my current favourite items:

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I LOVE This Bag


This Brooks England holdall is absolutely gorgeous, and with my surname being Brooks it's absolutely perfect!  Plus I'm from England!  Doubly perfect.  Shame I can't see how much it costs.  I wonder if it's out of stock?  Grab a closer look over at Brooks England.

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Vintage Brooch Bouquets - How To Guide

So, amazingly the most popular post on my blog is about the vintage brooch bouquet I made for my wedding.  

I really must take some better shots of this.  As I mentioned in my previous post I took the bulk of it apart for our wedding reception so it could be used to top our simple wedding cake.

I thought it may be handy for anyone who is planning to do something similar if I put together a how to guide to help you create your very own vintage brooch bouquet.


Needle nose pliers
Cutting pliers
Good quality scissors
Fishing wire
Jewellery wire
A good selection of brooches, buttons and beads.

The most time consuming part of making the bouquets is sourcing the materials.  Scour flea markets, yard sales and Ebay for brooches that fit the colour palette and style you are looking for.  Make sure you get a good selection of sizes and lots of beads and buttons to fill up the gaps.

When you have all your materials, lay out your brooches on a flat surface into a circle, this way you will find which positioning you like and you can move the brooches around.  I find a large brooch in the centre works well as a focal point.

Take each brooch and start fixing them together with the jewellery wire.  Make 'flower stems' with the brooches with wire so you can bunch them together.  You need to think like a florist, the brooches are simply replacements for flowers!  Try and hide the wire as much as possible and if pieces will be seen use the fishing wire to secure the brooches in place.  Fill in any small gaps by making little 'flower' stems out of buttons and beads that you can pop into the gaps.  When you have the bouquet to the size you like (I often start out with intentions of making a large piece but stop when it is smaller as it just looks 'right' - you will get a feel for this as you are making it), wrap some more wire around the stem pieces to secure everything together.  Tuck small pieces of fabric, ribbon or lace in any gaps or to bulk out any flimsy sections.  Then wrap a long piece of ribbon around the stem of the bouquet to hide all the wire and make it nice to hold.  You could also find a small plastic florists bouquet holder and attach the wire to this to give a more sturdy base.  A few of these come with florists foam in them so you could tuck all the pieces of wire into this to secure.

I hope this all helps.  I sort of plan as I am going along as every bouquet is different.  Just do what feels right as you are constructing the bouquet.  Remember if you add too much you can always take pieces out.  I personally like the bouquets to be as full as possible.  But I am a huge fan of anything shiny!

If you need any more advice at all, please feel free to email me!

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My 100th Post... and my first of 2011!


Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that it is 2011 already, and that we're already mid-way though January!

Walking to work this morning I took the most amazing slip on the icy pavements.  Not just a slip and fall, but a slip, fall and slide down into the road.  As I tried to stand back up with Bambi legs slipping on the ice the only thing I could think of was Spring!

Now, I can't really complain because, up to present, we've had a pretty mild winter.  We had a dumping of snow over the weekend though and, even though I watched two hours of Dancing on Ice last night, I still can't manage the shortest of walks on ice without ending up on my behind.  Even a holding a silver certificate in ice skating doesn't make up for my lack of coordination on winter footpaths.

There was only one thing for it...  To spend my lunch hour looking at Spring/Summer clothes and planning my wardrobe for a season where I can totter from the bus stop to work in cute heels.

The only problem is, I'm not really feeling the styles and trends that are around for S/S 2011.

Being back home in the UK over Christmas was great for my wardrobe.  I so miss shopping back home.

I welcome any shopping tips anyone can give me for Halifax, NS.  I want to find cheap, on trend clothes which I really struggle to do.  I begrudge paying a fortune for clothes I will only wear a few times.

Whilst back in the UK I found myself browsing the new collection at Topshop.  It was just before New Year and the sales section had been picked over so much that there was only teeny sizes and the weird sale pieces left.  You know those pieces that you swear you've never once seen in Topshop even though you go in there once a week!

Here's my rundown on Topshop's main S/S 2011 collections:

Swedish Summer
This is the look I have the most issues with.  It's a country style 70's collection.  Think lacy, flowers in your hair.  It's a style I just wouldn't feel comfortable wearing.

I have a huge problem with the mid-length skirt.  I find this length really unflattering on most people, and if you don't pull it off just right you could end up looking like a Grandma... or even me in my Index catalogue shop uniform circa 2000.  Which fortunately I have no photographic evidence of (I hope no-one else does either).  However, this look does have some gorgeous detailing, like the cutout pattern detail on this jacket.

The collection also features the uber comfortable brogues and knee high socks (which I WILL wear one day!)

It also features dungarees.  Which I will NEVER, EVER wear...


Graduation Collection
Now, this collection is way more up my street.  Tailored and sophisticated.  Think preppy US 50's university style.  Sandals with cute ankle socks, shorts, knee length skirts.  I really love this look.

Except for the wide trousers...

Not feeling those as much!

Snake Valley Collection
This collection I like certain elements off.  I love the sheer fabrics and the floor length knits.  Think a Red Rock Canyon Desert Hummer trip whilst on a weekend in Las Vegas.

The patterning used in this collection also has a 70's vibe.

New Age Constellation Collection
The last collection Topshop has released for S/S 2011 is a really simple, minimalist style.  It reminds me of Japanese style basics clothing.

Hard to review as a whole collection, I would wear these pieces with other styles to liven them up a little.  Although I adore this piece with its shots of vibrant colours.

I always visit Topshop's new collections first to give me an idea of what styles I should be looking at for the upcoming season.  I find them one of the closest retailers to achieving that catwalk look that I then tone down for everyday wear.

Just thinking about Spring and Summer has cheered me up!

All images from Instyle UK.

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Not Just Fashion - Favourite Finds

Here are some blog posts I've favourited recently.  A mash up of all things I've found interesting or beautiful this week.

Kraft Paper Fill-In Moving Announcements - Oh So Beautiful Paper
DIY Alexander Wang Tailcoat Skirt - A Pair & A Spare
DIY Embellished Collar - A Pair & A Spare
Amy & Matt's Geometric Pattern Wedding Invitations - Oh So Beautiful Paper
Romantic Lace Ballet Skirt with Raw Edges - Love Maegan
Brooks England New Bags - NotCouture
11 Hand Stamped Business Cards - Oh, Hello Friend
Dana Tanamachi - 100 Layer Cake
Collections: Cotton Candy and Bubble Gum - Design is Mine
New Letterpress & Flat Printed Valentines Cards - Wiley Valentine
DIY Weekly - Crystal Ring - A Pair and A Spare
Alexandra Cassaniti - Canvas Stripe Tote - Tres Chic Now
Elin Kling for H&M - Fashion Roadkill
Getaway Girl: Salt Lake City - Greedy Girl

These are not just fashion posts.  I'll always have a special love for paper and invitations - even if I decide not to walk that path anymore.  I still get butterflies when I walk into a card shop.  You can't take the Hallmarker out of me!


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