The Hitched List: Bridesmaids c/o Coast

Since the planning began properly for our wedding next year, I've been thinking more about bridesmaids' dresses than I have my own elusive dress.

I want my favourite girls to look beautiful and feel amazing, I don't want to buy something they could never wear again. I want them to be affordable but not cheap-looking and a style which will flatter all of them including a six-foot blonde, a petite brunette and a beautifully tattooed bombshell.

Coast have come up trumps with a beautiful collection featuring a huge, varying range of evening dresses.

My favourite of them all is the Posey dress above, which Coast have designed to have an ethereal, poly-tulle layer and embroidered flowers dotted about the skirt. It reminds me of greek goddesses and A Midsummer Nights Dream. Fairytale wedding material indeed.

For something shorter, these three are my top picks. The Palmer dress has intricate embroidery at the neckline and I think the deep purple would suit all of my girls' skin-tones. It's quite short for a bridesmaid dress, but I like the more casual nature of it.

It's a controversial choice, but I love the thought of having bridesmaids in white/cream lace like the
Hartley dress above. In a contrasting shorter style, there's no chance of them being mistaken for the bride and I love thinking of the photos with us all in matching colours.Coast's Carrie dress is the exactly the style I've been browsing for online. A simple shift in beautiful fabric- lace or brocade- or with some sort of decoration. I have a huge crush on anything with scalloped hems and sleeves. Worn with bare legs and simple flats, it's an idea I have my heart set on.

Now, I'm not planning on having a dramatic, theatrical themed wedding but this Vivienne Westwood-inspired Tillia dress had me re-thinking the whole affair. It's stunning and probably not something my girls could wear time and time again but oh, isn't it gorgeous.

For something as vibrant, but a little less in-your-face, the Kelly dress has a beautiful shape.
Something with a simple silhouette like this would be amazing with bright accessories or jewellery, maybe something from the new Tatty Devine bridal range I've been eyeing up online.Coast also have a line of affordable, original wedding dresses. The Persephone dress below, which I would adore for it's name alone, is just perfect and looks much more expensive than it's £450 price-tag. If I loved my upper arms, I would seriously be considering this as an option.

Have you thought about what your bridesmaid dresses will look like? Or have you ever been the victim of a hideous crime against bridal wear? I still cringe when I see photo's of seven-year-old me wearing a little-bo-peep style meringue complete with ringlets and flower crown for the one and only time I was ever a bridesmaid.

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Towpath wandering

When the weather is indecisive, so are we. If the sky is raining one minute and scorching the next, we always find it hard to decide what to do with our weekends. Stay in watching films and feel guilty when the sun shows itself or risk the showers and go out anyway.

This weekend we took the risk and, armed with umbrellas, walked the three miles west to Little Venice, wandered Warwick Avenue and visited Clifton Nurseries, the oldest garden centre in London. The houseboats on Regents Canal are amazing, you can walk right next to the moorings and it's almost as though you're intruding on their gardens. I'm quite envious of their floating homes covered in trinkets and swan planters.

What do you do on days when the weather can't make up it's mind?

This Works: but did it for me?

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a This Works press day. Normally beauty brands aren't my bag but I've always had a soft spot for This Works. Probably not something to admit to when reviewing a brand, I usually pick up This Works' amazing scented candles in TK Maxx. They acted as my gateway product and now I own 4/5 candles and a host of their other products, all beautifully and potently fragranced. We were lucky to receive a few products which I've been using since the press day and which I wanted to share my thoughts on.

The Clean Skin 5-in-1 Water is, first and foremost, a revelation for both me and my skin. Formulated with rosewater, almond and olive oils and wild water mint it does everything for me.

Pros- It cleanses- I wear liquid eyeliner/mascara and have always had problems removing it every night with a normal cream cleanser. It usually involves me repetitively rubbing the most sensitive part of my face to remove it. With this, I wipe gently a few times and everything is dissolved and removed. It tones- my faces feels fully cleaned without any sort of oiliness and doesn't leave me with that horrible taut feeling I get from other toners. I love the way my face feels after using it- totally neutral, not sticky, not dry. Another bonus is the pump- a pretty standard pump, but one that can be unscrewed to get at the last little bit of the product which is a huge bonus.

Cons- The size of the bottle, it's really long and awkward to pack if you're going away. It's 200ml but looks much bigger so a smaller, travel version would be an excellent addition. The lid also doesn't sit too securely so I've already dropped it on the floor and broken it! The price is £21 for 200ml which I don't think is horrendous, but a smaller, cheaper version would be ideal.

The other product I've used and love for it's simplicity is the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. It seemed like a godsend when I saw it in the goody bag- we've been having problems with noisy neighbours recently and each night falling asleep involves some trepidation.
This spray contains the traditional Lavender with Vetivert and Wild Chamomile and smells, as you've probably guessed, gorgeous! I can't prove its effectiveness but I've definitely felt a lot more rested in the mornings after I've used it.

I wasn't asked to review these products, nor paid for this review, but I was gifted the products. Honesty is always my policy and I just wanted to share my love of This Works!
(For you bargain hunters out there, I spotted this little set in the Debenhams clearance section the other day, reduced from £20 to £6 and containing some of the This Works most popular products.)

A month in photos

My month on Instagram from top left:

Easter swan on the River Test/ one of my favourite Penguin classic covers/ the beautiful gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire/ some more new books to add to the collection/ a snapshot of my shelves including card from the beautiful Oh No Rachio/ my fresh newly-coloured hair/ Mums Frida Kahlo print (her whole conservatory is Mexican themed!)/ some vintage signage in Kings Cross/ how I wore the dress from my last post on a night out/ creating flower crowns from clips/ look closely- a stormtrooper in Russell Square/ friends in the garden.

Instagram, oh Instagram. Since Mark Zuckerberg recognised your appeal to the tune of a biiiiiillion dollars, everybody wants a piece of you! You're even sharing yourself with Android users now. I think you may as well just take over the world.

You can find me and my photostream under @prettymuchellie if you fancy more of the above.

Teal and wolves.

This is another piece I was sent by Ark Clothing - a bright teal asymmetrical hemmed dress which at first didn't seem very me at all. I'd seen these hemlines all over my favourite blogs- I've seen Sherin wear them with stylish aplomb but on me I just wasn't sure.

To be honest this isn't exactly how I wore when I went out in east London last week- with tough girl boots and a leather jacket- but I realised my glitter Miista pumps haven't had much airtime on here yet, so what the hell. I really like the dress, it's rather short where it is short, so I was a little scared to wear it but I think balanced with a belt and the length at the back, it works.

Some other photos of our weekend at Eds parents house in Hampshire over Easter: we had a lovely time there, walking and Easter egg hunting. The wolf bag is my new favourite thing, with a little story behind it. My best friend Ellen has had the exact same bag for at least the past 6 years, with it's every outing accompanied by my exclamations of adoration. Cue us all out for a meal last week, where she tells me she has a present for me and pulls out a perfect duplicate. I have the very best wolf-loving friends.

I've been home in Luton this weekend for my dads birthday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Had a huge beef roast with a million yorkshires and some very moreish potatoes. Unfortunately, the days of over-indulgence will soon be over...

This week has seen the delivery of a months-worth of Jenny Craig food that I've been sent to trial. I'm sure you've all seen at least one bloggers experience of the diet, so at first I was a little reluctant to take part but then I thought you know what, I go on holiday in two months and this could be the kick start I need to lose weight plus it means I won't have to pay for food for the next 4 weeks. Bonus. I start on Monday, will be sticking to it strictly for 28 days and reporting back here once it's completed. I'll be combining it with a 50 minute daily walk to see if this improves the results so fingers crossed my bad girl, yorkshire-loving days are numbered!

Coveting: Summer Sandals

I'm off on holiday in just over two months to Cyprus and I've started obsessing over my summer wardrobe already. I'm on the hunt for the perfect pair of sandals as most of mine from last year are threadbare and covered in Californian highway dust.

I'm a total traditionalist when it comes to sandals- nothing too high, a stable heel and either genuine vintage or vintage in style is a must. I want to be able to actually walk on the beach in my sandals, not totter around on the boardwalk looking ridiculous. So here for your viewing pleasure I present my favourite finds so far:

I've raved about about the range of Le Comptoir Scandinave shoes on offer at Spartoo before and they haven't let me down with their choice of new colours and styles for this season. These maroon suede and wooden heels look comfortable and would be spot on with cropped denim or a floaty chiffon skirt

Secondly, my ethical picks. The beautiful daisy sandals from Tuto on Etsy are fully handmade by a family workshop in Miami, as are the rest of their collection. They also stock some very reasonably priced Hasbeen-esque wooden sandals.

The floral and leather flats are UK-made by Cholesburys on Etsy. There are only 4 styles currently available but I love how individual each pair is- the leather straps on the sandals are made from recycled boots and coats and the best bit for me is that all the other material used is old furnishing fabrics!

Topshop have had their range of sandals in for a couple of months already now, my pick of the bunch are these two styles. A simple mint-hued low-heeled espadrille and these glitter flats are elegant enough for those awkward beach-to-restaurant situations.

Ellos also have some great styles available.

And now for the impractical but bewitching vintage finds I've dug up on Etsy. The Carmen Miranda wedges from Dear Golden are impossibly beautiful and I may end up buying them just to sit on my shelf. And finally hello to these dead-stock 1970's Cherrybomb beauties with embroidered raffia. My inner pin-up is yearning to wear these with a pillar-box red, all in one swimsuit whilst drinking a very tall Mojito. Is there a particular pair you're coveting this season? Let me know if you've spotted anywhere stocking a good selection, I'm still on the hunt!

Ellen Von Unwerth and how to run away

All screenshots by me, taken from Lula

I'm finding that I'm becoming a little obsessed with Circus-themed shoots and photos. Remember the vintage photo's I found a few weeks ago? Well, I happened upon an Ellen Von Unwerth video shoot for Lula magazine from a few months ago and fell back under the spell of the traveling fair.

I guess you don't need to be a genius to find some sort of meaning in my newly-found fixation, something to do with escaping real life, running away from responsibility, being free. A dream we all have sometimes, I think. Ed and I are always talking of leaving London, buying a farm in the countryside and becoming a different type of people but the reality of work and money and general adult stuff is always far too pressing and we abandon ship. So far we've settled on a five year plan, three possible locations to live and ideas for our livelihoods, all very measured, thought-out and considered.

Whatever happened to just packing a bag and joining the circus? Or was that always a movie-perpetuated myth? Either way, it ain't like it used to be.

Home, let me come home

I took some photos of the recent acquisitions to No. 18 Penniless Place, namely my gorgeous new baby pink metal tall-boy set of drawers from Oliver Bonas. They were originally £195, but had a couple of scratches so I bagged them for a much more attractive £100. So far they're packed full of my scraps of fabric, reels and reels of cotton and other random ephemera and Ed's happy it's not all over the flat anymore!

The map is a very old map of London we bought in Hastings, beautifully printed which we plan on getting framed and hanging in the living room. Something to remind us of where we love.

The last couple of weeks have been busy, but fun. We booked our flights to Cyprus in June for a week in the Sun, I bought Latitude tickets for July, visited the This Works press day and tried out some of their beautiful new products (a review to come!), tomorrow I'm finally getting my hair coloured and then we're off to Hampshire for the Easter weekend to spend it with Ed's parents. Phew. Factor in some exciting blog plans and it's looking like this year might finally be starting to look up!

Dreaming with Harrods

Harrods, ultimate destination of the tourist and corner shop to the Kensington and Chelsea sloane’s, is somewhere I’ve previously only been interested in because of their food hall. When I was asked to write a sponsored post about their summer styles, I was a little dismissive. I’m neither a snap-happy visitor nor a hooray Henrietta, but in the spirit of open-mindedness I took a look at their website.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: yes, the average price of a dress is £500+ I’ve drooled over the Carven, the Chloé and the Charlotte Olympia but, through green-tinted eyes, I’ve also spotted some more accessible brands.

The rainbow range of coloured jeans available online is brilliant- a kaleidoscope that I haven’t seen on offer anywhere else. My instinct will always be to balk at spending £190 on a pair of jeans, but these are well-respected brands such as J Brand, Hudson and Current/Elliott whose jeans are known to hold their shape and be a year-on-year staple. French Connection is also stocked, along with Ralph Lauren’s casual sideline, Demin and Supply. Their striped dress with a pair of Chloé leather sandals is my perfect holiday look. Simple and classic.

Nonetheless, for all of their more affordable brands, Harrods is still the go-to place if you’re in the market for something special, be it a new pair of sunglasses, a new designer bag, or a special occasion dress. You have just enough money, it’s taken months of scattered saving, but nothing beats the feeling of walking straight up to the counter and asking for whatever it might be that your heart’s been set on. For me, it would be the Dior sunglasses, a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo pumps and a Chloé Madeleine green tea tote, but for now I'll just keep dreaming.