Sunshine & Embroidery

When my friend Hannah's birthday rolls around every year, we can always trust it to be sunny. For the last few years we’ve sat up on Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath, had a BBQ in her garden and got a little sozzled. This year we thought if it ain’t broke-don’t fix it, and bundled a jug of Pimms and some blankets up to the Heath.
Since last year, our group has gained two beautiful babies and one cute pooch and it’s fascinating watching our friendship circle change. We're all still quite immature though, messing around in paddling pools and playing word-association drinking games. Miraculously, I didn't get drunkenly pushed into a hedge like I usually do.

A few weeks back I was asked if I’d like to pick something from Zalando’s huge online collection and what a task it was. There are thousands of items (a breathtaking 80,000+ to be precise!) from various brands, including their own Zalando Collection, which features some great basics. I fell for a King Louie vintage-style tea dress- perfect for a summer party- in a bright teal with embroidered flowers at the collarbone. I love everything about this dress- the bright colour, the pretty embroidery, the great cut. In fact, the only thing I don’t like is the way it creases very easily which means it would be a bit of nightmare on holiday as I’m quite adverse to travel irons!

Did you make most of the sunny weekend? What are everyone's plans for this bank holiday and the Jubilee? I'll be back in the next few days with a Jubilee-themed DIY whether you're having a street party or not!

One day I'll be smart.

Can I tell you something? Something that I’m a little ashamed of. Something I probably shouldn’t admit.

My work wardrobe is shocking. I mean really, really bad- cardigans with holes, dresses that are too big, skirts that are too short. Nothing that I'd be seen dead in outside of work. I feel rubbish wearing unflattering clothes, everyone does right? Wearing something you love (or hate!) can make or break your day. Recently, what with trying to get healthy and walking the 3 miles home from work, I've also been committing that awful crime of wearing trainers- albeit black ones- to work everyday. I've totally turned into one of those people.

Investing in work clothes always seemed like such a chore, and, if I'm honest a bit of a waste. Why spend money on boring work-wear when I could buy a lovely new bag or dress instead? It feels like I'm buying a uniform that I don't want to wear. Obviously it's a false economy as I’ve started feeling really dowdy in my boring pencil skirts and ill-fitting shift dresses. I’m longing for some smarter, more unique pieces for work that I can keep in constant rotation during the week.

I’ve promised myself that once I hit a one stone loss (only 5lbs to go!) I’ll be treating myself to a couple of new things to slowly build up my smart portfolio.

I love this look for Spring- some bright red accessories and a fitted floral dress toned down with a great trench.

Antonio dress, Asymmetrical Dress Coat, Bertie snake pumps, Lulu Guinness tote bag

LK Bennett scallop courts, Whistles crepe jacket, Pied a Terre dress, Jaeger Olympia shopper

This is my favourite look of them all, a simple black fitted shift, a bright pop of colour in the Whistles jacket and an amazing bag. The pieces that will be appearing on my shopping list are the classic Jaeger tote- a perfect leather bag for work which will still look classy on the outside even if it's shoved full of rubbish, the LK Bennett black court shoes with the scalloped edging for bringing a little bit of girliness to otherwise bland outfits and the Pied a Terre shift dress. I hate sleeveless shifts because I hate my arms so this is great for me, the ruched in waist gives it a defined shape and the length looks like it might be just right for a 5ft 8inch-er.

Do you have staple work pieces you go to day after day, week after week? Do you think you might be similarly in a work-wear rut? Any suggestions for simple, easy to wear, work clothes?

Sponsored post

Productive, positive.

What a glorious week we are having! London is baking, Summer might finally be here and it's nearly the weekend again. Life is good.

My aim this week was to get properly organised and sort out the first few essential things for the wedding. Guest list? I can't believe I'm saying this but it's actually sorted! I hardly believe we've sorted it, it wasn't as hard as I thought at all. Numbers are just right and we've already ordered our Save the Dates. Phew! We've even put together a first draft for the menu featuring all of our favourite foods feature and we're currently debating between mini fish & chips or mini hot dogs with fried onions and french fries for the evening food. Yum.

I can't believe everything is finally coming together but I do need your help with one thing- if you have any music recommendations I'd hugely appreciate it. If you know of any live bands with a folky edge, please share them. We're struggling to find anyone at the minute.

Instagram, from top left-right:

Tube time with Ed, helping my friend garden her beautiful sun trap, booking tickets for Moonrise Kingdom for Friday, I think Stocks are one of my favourite types of flower, Cherry & Geranium cupcake from the John Lewis food hall (if you've never been, go!), beautiful car near our flat, new Lula to soak up, my favourite pastime- scanning the papers for jumble sales!

Also thought I'd share this lovely photo taken by Amy from Vintage Reflection from the Wish Mag launch party. One of the best things about blogging for me is meeting new people and I loved meeting everyone that day!

From left to right: Katrina, Rachel, Harriet, Ashley, me.

Fancy an alternative way to sell?

We all know eBay. We're well-acquainted with the fees, the lengthy process to upload items, the pitfalls of selling, the disappointment of being outbid at the last minute. For some time I've been longing for an alternative way to sell the clothes languishing at the back of my wardrobe and I think I might finally have a solution.

I am proud to introduce you to my brand new sponsor, Friendly Fashion, an online portal to buy, sell, swap and giveaway clothing, accessories and beauty items.

The aim of Friendly Fashion is to encourage people to buy into fashion in a more meaningful way- a concept that is very close to my heart. With so-called 'fast' fashion becoming the norm for most, we need to reacquaint ourselves with the basics of buying what we need and like on a more sustainable basis.

When you need a new dress, why not buy or swap one from Friendly Fashion? To complete the cycle, you can sell on an old piece you no longer wear. Even if you just need a good clear out but want something to go to a good home, there is the option to give away your clothes with the recipient paying the postage fee.

The site is completely free to use and if you have a Facebook you don't even need to sign up, you can just log-in with your Facebook account- a feature I love as I hate having a million different log-ins. Members agree on the terms of shipping and payment themselves, but the site moderators are always available to help. The site also has a 'feedback' function where members leave comments based on the service they received so that it is in everyone's interest to be nice and friendly, just like the name of the site suggests.

The site is in its infancy, but I can really see this being a fantastic outlet for everyone to sell and exchange the piles of amazing junk we all have at home.Imagine if we all uploaded our unwanted samples, old clothes and unused beauty buys so that we could swap with each other? A lot of fun and much more concise than trawling hundreds of blog sales!

I've been looking around the site and have picked out some of my favourite pieces available at the minute:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
This is a sponsored post BUT I am a huge fan of the site and have already uploaded some of my own bits which you can see here! What do you think? Could something like this take off to rival eBay? Would you use Friendly Fashion to sell or swap your unwanted goods? I'm very interested to hear what you think.

Peach Melba

Let me give you a little bit of friendly advice. When you’ve got a wedding to go to at the weekend, do not leave finding your outfit until the Wednesday before. It will stress you out, it will turn you into a hateful person and you will waste hours of your life trying on dresses you’d usually avoid like the plague.

I spent 4 ½ hours at Westfield Stratford, leaving empty handed (well, not quite- I ended up spending a small fortune on Chanel make-up to compensate) and then another 3 hours the next day in Debenhams on Oxford Street. You do start to look mad when you take three different lots of 10 dresses into the changing room. Very mad.

After leaving Ed sat on a chair outside the lovely, quiet Debenhams changing rooms I ended up with two possibilities from Oasis. I picked this pink lace and pleated dress, as it was the cheaper of the two, in the sale for just £35.

The shoes are from Faith for £28 and the embellished cropped jacket is from H&M from a few seasons ago. Accessories-wise, my favourite vintage beaded clutch and a beaded hairband from Primark.

Thought I’d post a little photo of Ed looking dapper in his matching pale pink tie! It was Ed’s cousins wedding and it was so nice to meet all of his extended family. It got me very excited for next year and we’ve decided it’s time to ramp up our planning. First on our list are some Save the Date cards from Hello Lucky, thanks to a competition I won nearly two years ago (!!) Exciting times ahoy.

P.s I’ll be announcing the winner of my competition on Twitter tomorrow!

Wish Magazine launch party.

Ashley & Katrina looking lovely

A very exciting invite dropped onto my doormat a couple of weeks back for the launch party of Wish Magazine, the beautiful brainchild of Carrie (Wish Wish Wish) and Lucy (Shiny Thoughts).

Best friends, housemates and now publishing partners in crime, Lucy and Carrie have produced Wish - ‘a magazine for girls with a Peter Pan complex’- with support from perfumer and main sponsor Penhaligon’s.

The launch party was, as you can imagine, packed with beautifully dressed girls and the occasional boy sipping bespoke Hendricks rose gin cocktails, eating the most fabulous edible-flower cake and poring over the magazine pages littered with wonderful illustrations, DIY’s and articles discussing pen-pals and childhood fiction.

I spoke to Carrie about what motivated her and Lucy to create Wish and in the ensuing discussion we all agreed on one thing: we don’t want to read what most women’s magazines are publishing. We don’t want to learn a million ways to please our men, be bombarded with unaffordable, unattainable fashion or read a regurgitated press release on some new miracle beauty product.

And so Wish was borne.

From a shared love of nostalgia came the perfect teatime read with a touch of illustrated escapism. My name’s already on the list for the first issue, make sure yours is too.

Wish is available to buy from Wish Wish Wish from Monday 21st May.

Project Take 10: Henry Holland for Debenhams

Head scarf: Vintage travel scarf
Dress: H! by Henry Holland for Debenhams (including belt)
Shoes: New Look

We're back! Project Take 10 took a little break to wave goodbye to MJ and Susie, who sadly had to leave us. The good news is we have two amazing new girls to work with! Say hello to Olivia from What Olivia Did and Fritha from Fish Tank Fashion. Both have stepped up to the challenge with ease and I can't wait to see what they come up with for future projects.

So, onto this months challenge. The H! by Henry Holland range for Debenhams is one I've always had a soft spot for. It was one of the first press days I was ever invited to as a blogger, back in June 2010- nearly exactly two years ago, so working with them again is an anniversary of sorts.

They always have something a little quirkier than alot of high-street offerings and their prints are always quite unique, just like the summery kite print on this yellow day dress that I was sent.

I really love this dress, it's a little shorter than what I ususally wear and it's a bit big around the chest (it's not often I have that problem), but it lifts my mood just looking at it! In these dark days it makes me happy to put on something that isn't black or grey, even if I do have to wear opaques with it. I wasn't sure about the sandals and tights, but I definitely wasn't going to be wearing something sensible with this dress. How do you think I did? Is this dress just a little too twee for you?

We had a split this month, with half of the girls choosing a gorgeous sheer skirt. Make sure you go and check them all out!

Bank Holiday Thrifts

Happy four-day week to everyone! Thought I'd share my finds from our recent long weekend, even if it's only a couple of things. I helped my friend Hannah run her table at a church jumble sale thinking I might be able to sneak off for a rummage but the ladies of Gospel Oak had their bartering elbows out in force. The hoards of people desperate for a bargain scared the crap out of Hannah so I restrained myself.

The jars are my absolute favourite thrift in ages. They're opaque milk glass and I think they're from the seventies, but any help with dating them would be appreciated but I think I can safely say they're Scottish! I've added them to my huge wedding decor pile and plan on putting bunches of garden flowers in them. Very cheap makeshift vases at a £1 for the pair.

The cake tin, however seemingly practical, is actually a huge impracticality. We have the smallest kitchen ever (think of an episode of Rachel Khoo's My Little Paris Kitchen, with less of that amazing hanging space she has) so a huge old cake tin isn't the best thing to add to it. I sold it to myself by reasoning lots of the clutter in our kitchen could be concealed in this vintage Tala enamel number, and of course, the occasional cake. It was £3, whereas on eBay it would be £20+ so I don't feel too guilty!

A light & fluffy giveaway

I have a lovely little giveaway for you today on PMP, courtesy of the team from Aussie and myself! We Aussie Angels are currently in the running to win a prize if we can come up with the most creative Pinterest board based on all things Aussie and as part of my welcome pack, they kindly sent me a copy of the Hummingbird Bakery cupcake cookbook, but luckily for you wonderful lot it's already one of the staples in my kitchen library, so I'm offering up this brand-spanking new copy to one of you.

I'm a sucker for sending care hampers, so I can guarantee the winner will also be getting a whole package of other goodies to accompany the book. Just what you need to brighten up an already rather rainy May!

All you have to do to enter is make sure you're a follower via Google Friend Connect and leave a comment answering this question: What's the first thing you think of when your hear the word 'Aussie'?

You can also gain an extra entry by tweeting: 'Giveaway time! @prettymuchellie is having a lovely giveaway. Have you entered yet?'

I'll be running the giveaway until midday on Monday 14th May and I will announce the winner that evening. The competition is open to EVERYONE, regardless of country and will be drawn at random. Remember to mention if you tweet the link and include your twitter name if you want an extra entry!