The Nifty Fifty Thrift

If a stranger approached you in the street and offered you a crisp fifty pound note to spend on an outfit of your choosing, you'd immediately assume there was some sort of awful catch involved wouldn't you? Well, imagine my joy when I received an email offering exactly that from lifestyle website So Feminine. They have launched a global style challenge whereby all the invited bloggers have to do to enter is shop for, and showcase, their best budget buy. Beautifully simple. They will be featuring their favourites in the fashion section of So Feminine.

I graciously (see: did a little dance thinking of what I could buy) accepted their challenge.

And so, here is my effort. We were welcome to shop anywhere we pleased, be it high street, sample sale, car boot or charity shop. I'm sure you can guess where I went first: my local Oxfam on Camden High Street.

Rifling through the colour coordinated and size-sorted donations, I spied this pale blue shirt dress with a huge full skirt. I thought it looked rather cute so popped it in my 'to try on' pile. I only noticed after falling in love with it, that it was vintage Cacharel- particularly desirable to me after I lusted after their recent print collab with Uniqlo. For £14.99, it was a done deal.

The accessories were harder- most charity shops are full of 90's studded belts and acrylic gloves. The white straw hat was a lucky charity shop buy for a fiver, decorated with a length of my own blue satin ribbon to match the dress. The pink shoes were a car boot purchase, originally from Primark, for £3 and the socks were new from Topshop for £4. The sequin bag was an old vintage find, so technically free.

I bought one more thing I think is essential to this outfit: a new MAC red lipstick to set it all off. It was a long, hard day of shopping with someone else's money, but somehow, I had survived. And I still had change for a coffee and croissant to revive me on my way home.

One day like this a year'd see me right

Sun! At last! With the temperature in our parts hitting 29 degrees, today was the perfect day to saunter around the South End Green fete in Hampstead. We lazily watched the entertainment. ate ice creams and almond croissants, marvelled at all the dogs taking part in the Pup Idol competition and walked home in the sunshine.

I felt quite poorly yesterday so had to miss the amazing-sounding Aussie Haircare summer party, which I'm still very bitter about. From all the reports I've heard so far, it really was a brilliant day. If you went, I hope you had a great time!

All photos from BBC website

I've mostly been spending my time staying up till 1am watching Glastonbury highlights, wishing I'd have plucked up the courage to buy a damn ticket. Next year, there is always next year. My highlights so far have been Friendly Fires, Pulp, The Kills, Elbow, The Horrors, Mumford and Sons, Warpaint, Primal Scream and I predict, using my powers of premonition, that Beyonce will absolutely kill it tonight. Cannot wait to see her.

I usually go to Latitiude festival and have been for the last 5 years, but this year, with money being spent on holidays, we decided not to go. Cue big regrets and lots of sad faces from me. Next year, I'll just have to do two to make up for it.

Be you a festival go-er or naysayer? I'm not of the natural constitution to like them- I hate mud, being dirty, have allergies and hate the food, but for three days a year to be a part of it all, it's worth it.

My name is Toodles and I love Taffy!

Apologies to all who have noticed that most of my posts at the moment seem to be huge long lists of pretty things that I want to buy. I seem to have an insatiable urge to buy everything I fall in love with these days, even though my purse is looking very threadbare indeed. I have a good mixture of posts up my sleeve for the next week, including a couple more film posts and another little giveaway for you lovely lot.

In the meantime, I introduce you to my new favourite Etsy seller, Skittercats, purveyor of fine vintage children's book prints, with everything from kitsch seventies owls to a huge selection of Alice in Wonderland colour plates. The ones that instantly caught my eye were these amazing original prints cut from storybooks featuring anthropomorphized animals.

The 1950's photographer and live-animal-puppeteer Rie Gaddis used 'unlimited patience and extremely gentle care' to achieve these surreal photos of animals as humans. I can't imagine anything more perfect to decorate the walls of a nursery, but maybe that's just me. I'm sure some people will find them equally as terrifying as they are adorable!

Happy Solstice!

Yellow pleated dress- My Drawing Number One
Disco slingback sandals- Penny Dreadful Vintage
Umbrella- Dingaling
Canary Print- Faux Kiss
Patent Leather Scallop Satchel- French English
Mens mustard cardigan- Bright Wall
Yellow Triumph typewriter- Euro Vintage

Tin and paper and glass

Simple things make me very happy. I know I have a huge junk-addiction but at least these things cost pennies, not pounds. One day, I think I'll end up in a very big but run-down house full of this sort of stuff. A museum of junk.

A battered old sweet tin with a scary clown and some performing dogs.

A small but perfectly formed edition of Persuasion, just the right size to fit in my bag for reading on the tube and the bus.

My new/old 1960's travel journal, complete with bleached white, unblemished pages and an 'Incidents' and 'Autographs' log.

A car-boot-bought glass cloche for putting pretty objects under.

Project Take 10: Max C

Dress- Max C
Petticoat- vintage
Shoes- vintage Church's
Flower band- Primark

Max C were the next kind company to step up to offer us our next Take 10 challenge in the form of their gorgeous Pleated Swan Pearl Dress.

When it was picked, I was nervous. Pleats plus double-d's are generally a no-go area and factor in the smock shape of this dress and you just have girl-in-a-sack syndrome. But with a little bit of adjusting when it was delivered I was pleasantly surprised by it. I took Jen's fabulous advice and bought a minimiser bra from M&S, which was a total godsend. The little pearl swans on the collar were just darling.

Worn with the accompanying waist tie and a big fluffy petticoat to balance out my bottom half I would definitely wear this out, and I felt very 'me' in it. It was pretty short though, hence another reason for the petticoat. I love how the other girls have worn it, especially Vicki and Harriet's styles complete with lovely leg attire!

What do you think? Have I pulled it off? What would you have done differently with this pretty little dress?
Check out the other girl's beautiful ensembles here:

The lure of Lula magazine & why we're obsessed.

Issue 12 came out last week and, like every 6 months or so, I scrabbled around every newsagent and paper stand in central London trying to get my hands on a copy. With no luck, I resorted to buying it online. Nothing like coming home in the evening to a pristinely-bound book of loveliness on your welcome mat and a large glass of wine to keep you company whilst reading it.

So, what is it about this magazine that whips and whisks a growing collection of us bloggers into a sugar-sweet frenzy? It's something I've been thinking about recently as every issue, every article, every editorial gets a huge amount of blog coverage. We are the Lula groupies.

Could it be the rarity, the exclusivity of it all? It's not your everyday, common garden Grazia or Vogue. It's not going to pop up in W H Smiths in your, or any other, town in the UK. Maybe, just like the way we love thrifting and searching for bargains, we anticipate the hunt for Lula. Will we be the first to post photos from the new issue? Seemingly, it's always Londoners that find it first. Good luck for the rest of you, you poor Lula-less souls.

Remember those magazines designed to help people start a collection? Buy the first issue for 99p and you'll get the interior walls of a dolls house, with the next a rocking chair and some dinner plates and so on and so on. Lula is my very own easy collection and I know I'm not the only one to keep them all like some treasured heirloom. I'm only missing issue 1 and unless the angels of eBay bless me with that mythic tome for less than £200, I'll never own it. That grates somewhat on my Virgoan perfectionist tendencies.

But really, I don't think it's any of that. I think it's the articles, the content, the writers and contributors that really get us looking forward to Lula. There aren't any articles on how to get the career you've always wanted, or how to please your man/boss/best friend. There's not a peep about the latest celebrity trends or what beauty products are a must-have this month. With the magazine only being compiled twice a year, the content isn't throwaway, it is considered, fad-free and timeless.

Lula also happens to be completely fabulous at throwing you straight back into your childhood. This month there's an article by Lizzie Brandt on the Disney artist and legend Mary Blair, complete with photos of the It's a Small World After All ride and the effect her work had on the world and it's children. That's me and you, ladies and improbable-gents. The editorials are soft-focus, the muses are varied and the clothing, whilst still pricey, is hyper-girly, classic and wearable. There is always an illustration or two, a fable-inspired shoot, a what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up interview with an artist, a band, an actress.

There are no conclusions here, but I love Lula because it takes me away, it teaches me, it caters to my inner-child yet doesn't patronise, and, secretly, because I think it has the best font of any magazine I've ever seen.

You always hurt the ones you love

All screenshots from here. First five credit sequence caps from here

Do you get that feeling after you've watched a film that has buried itself so deep under your skin, that to love it even more than you do already, you need to know everything about it? The soundtrack, the artwork, the costumes, even the type of film they used. I've just spent the last couple of hours watching clips, learning about the director and the cinematography and reading random trivia. In short, fan-girling like it was 2003 and Death Cab for Cutie had just released Transatlanticism.

My hysteria may have something to do with the fact that I'm hungover and have spent most of the day sat on the sofa trying not to move, but I'm even more sure it has something to do with the fact that Ryan Gosling (my favourite living actor) is in it. If you haven't seen him in The United States of Leland, Half Nelson, The Believer or Lars and the Real Girl you are missing out, big time. Like a proper stalker, I've already starting getting excited about his next two films out this year- Drive and Crazy, Stupid Love (with the other love of my life, Emma Stone)

The thing with Blue Valentine is all the bloody, kicking, fighting truth in it. Those agonising truths that some things that can start so perfectly with the very best of pure intentions can become stale and then inevitably rot and die.

If you haven't seen it yet, I don't know how else I can persuade apart from saying I haven't felt like this about a movie since seeing Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know and if you've seen that and liked it, you'll know exactly what I mean.