Wishlist || Summer Loving

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

It's summer and I'm sure everyone is either sick of hearing about the glorious/terrible weather or too busy enjoying it to care. I fall in to the former category. I'm infatuated with summer and the way the golden light hits everything making it appear exponentially more beautiful than it truly is (much alike a good few inches of snow) but I just can't dress for fine weather. I find myself feeling too exposed and self-conscious about bearing my arms when a cardigan just will not do or I dress inappropriately and can feel the beads of sweat forming before they threaten to take a tumble straight through my just-perfected eyebrows. I am also severely lacking in summer clothes and the only maxi dresses I own are black so I thought I'd put together this little outfit for inspiration. With the weather set to last for another few weeks I'm going to hit the cheaper shops next week and attempt to find some size 9 sandals and even if I don't come home with a good lot of bang for my buck in clothes I will most certainly return home with some statement costume jewellery that can translate season to season.

So, the outfit. It's a little Carrie Bradshaw, a little on trend and a lot of rose gold. I used to think I really couldn't pull off a crop top if I tried but with this skirt pulled up to the waist and the crop top draping softly over the waist band I think even me with my tummy and a half could work it. I love a good statement necklace so I thought this would be perfect with the simple outfit and that's where the sandals, the watch and every other accessory ties in - rose gold with a splash of colour.

I've been wanting to try this NYX blush for a while now as it's a supposed dupe for NARS Orgasm which I can most definitely not afford to replace now I've hit pan big time. The MAC lipstick would bring a subtle hint of colour to the lips while letting the outfit make a statement and who can seriously go anywhere without a high factor sun cream beneath their increasingly sheerer make-up nowadays? Certainly not me. Add a spritz of Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess (you like coconut? You'll go batshit crazy for this) and three coats of Essie's Fiji et voila! My perfect outfit for shopping, drinks, lunch, a bar in the evening, the beach, the...okay, I'm daydreaming now.

Guest Post || DIY Felt Heart Rings

Monday, 22 July 2013
Hello! I’m Laura, not the Laura, I’m another one. I blog over at Made Peachy.com!

I’m feeling pretty stoked that the lovely Laura (the Laura, not me!) has welcomed me over to her beautiful blog to come and say Hi! I am a huge fan of handmade - from fashion and style, to home and eats. For me, a little bit of handmade makes life a just peachy - I like to write about my crafty life - and share a few awesome techniques & skills along the way - on my little creative lifestyle blog, Made Peachy.

As a big time fan of Laura’s Blog, at first I wasn’t really sure what a stylish bunch of ladies like you would want to read, then it dawned on me, every girl wants needs accessories - am I right? So, let’s talk bling! Just lately I’ve been obsessing about over-sized statement rings - to the extent that I wake up in the morning, pick out one of my many colourful, super-sized cocktail rings and then compose my outfit for the day around it.

I’ve learnt two things from doing this. The first is that you can end up wearing a party frock to the supermarket, simply because you had your heart set on an all-time-fave disco glitterball ring (this garnered a heap of weird looks from the other supermarket go-ers). The second is that I need more statement accessories, that was always going to be the outcome of this line of thought, so I cut to the chase and got stuck into a spot of retail therapy over at etsy.com - my go-to for all that is unique and handmade. With so many beautiful pieces of jewellery to choose from, I thought I’d share my favourite statement ring finds - I hope you like them!

1 Anchor Cameo Ring • £13.60 • ZaraTaylor (Photo: Felicia Simion Photography http://ineedchemicalx.deviantart.com/) 2 Stag Head Ring • £14.29 • WildLifeDesignsUK 3 Coral Seed Bead & Wire Ring • £17.87 • LantanaSisters 4 Walnut Wood & Grass Ring • £25.85 • MrLentz 5 Blue Glitter Globe Ring • £15.65 • DearDelilahHandmade 6 Power Red Fused Glass Ring • £25.17 • Mariaela 7 Green Glass Recycled Ring • £14.29 • Wearabol 8 White Thread Ball Ring • £6.12 • BallClub

How about a speedy DIY?

Too impatient to wait for your new purchases to be shipped out to you? For a quick fix - and I mean a super-quick fix - whip up a fun felt ring, ready-to-wear in under five minutes!

Grab the supplies…
A hot glue gun
Flat-faced ring blanks
3D felt heart

Get your guns. No really, get your gun plugged in and heated up. When the glue is at the right temperature, apply a pea-sized blob onto the flat face of the ring blank.

Being careful not to touch the hot glue, carefully position the ring face down onto the centre back of the felt heart. Hold in position, for a few moments until the glue has set.

Tah Dah! So, quick and easy you might as well go nuts and make a whole set of ombre felt heart rings…whether you wear them on their own, in pairs or even all at once, the choice is yours!

Ready-to-use felt hearts, from 35p, in a whole rainbow of amazing colours & these silver plated flat-faced ring blanks, £1.75 per set of five, are available from funky craft store www.bloomingfelt.co.uk

Fancy getting your little hands on one of these pretty felt heart rings? I have four to giveaway to four lucky What Laura Did readers. How do you nab one? It’s pretty easy, swing over to Made Peachy and leave a little comment mentioning What Laura Did blog in your message, the first four readers to leave a comment will get one of these super lush rings- sweet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick jewellery project, I’d love it if you pop over to Made Peachy some time to say hello and see what else I’m up to! And finally, (because my mum brought me up proper) thank you for having me!

What Laura Did Is Moving!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What Laura Did is now Hello Ella!

So. Big news.. I made a decision that would change my life quite a bit - I legally changed my name! I changed my first name as well as my surname to the name my friends have been calling me for half a decade because of a drunk slip. The only people who call me Laura are people who've known me forever and a day or people on official business. In my head I am not Laura. Laura made a lot of mistakes. Laura was one of four in her class in 1993. Laura is a lovely name but I have grown out of it and when looking from the past, who best to look to than the person you have become?

So What Laura Did became redundant and Hello Ella was born. Hello Ella will be doing a lot more than just blogging in the coming months and I'd love you to come and take a peek at what I'm up to, collaborate, share opinions and hold my hand because boy, it's quite scary making all of these changes. You can follow me on BlogLovin' by clicking here but if this is how you're reading this post, don't worry as the kind people behind BlogLovin' will transfer you all to the new blog.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that's supported me this past year, whether you've been with me since the first week or last week. I couldn't have done it without you all and without you and this platform there is no way I'd have plucked up the courage to be so bold. I'm so sorry if this is confusing for anyone but if it is and you want to know more, just email me at: ohhelloella@gmail.com and we can iron things out for sure!

I hope to see you on the other side.

Review || Panache Lingerie

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tango Plunge lingerie set c/o Panache Lingerie and can be found here.

I thought quite a lot before posting these photos with the bra on but I decided it's in everyone's best interests to see how the bra fits rather than taking my word for it. I don't have a fabulous body or a great rack but I am all about honesty - here is my honesty.

So this is a little bit of a departure from my previous posts, the main reason being that I'm showing a part of my body that's never normally shown. I have cleavage on show in most of my every day outfits so this shouldn't be a big issue. And yet it is. I don't have an exceptionally large chest or a very well proportioned bust. After two pregnancies and breastfeeding my chest is not what it used to be and while I am not at the point where I'm seriously considering surgery I rely on good underwear to get the desired effect from my clothes. My usual choice is a simple padded t-shirt bra with no unsightly lines and padding to bulk up what I'm lacking in volume around the sides but this bra is a whole different beast.

It's a fuchsia non-padded, underwired plunge bra with a gorgeous leaf design that translates to the matching briefs. The bra itself has quite a high rise cup but not too high that you couldn't wear it beneath most necklines which I've found to be the case with similar designs for larger busts. It's uplifting and feels supportive but this isn't a bra for impact sports like running (they do have a selection of sports bras which I've heard are excellent). The briefs have the cutest keyhole design on the back and it's extremely comfortable to wear. I've not tried washing them yet but from friends who are fans of Panache they recommend hand washing just to protect the detail although a few have been machine washed and are fine.

Panache cater for larger chested women from a D cup to a H. I'm a D cup so at the lower end of the scale and I must say that even though I can usually find my cup size in high street shops it's pretty difficult to find a 38 band size which Panache cater for. The designs are classic and youthful which is a great bonus when I find that even though larger cup sizes are coming more and more into market, it's still flooded with a lot of matronly bras. The Tango set also comes in a light pink with the choice of a plunge or balconette bra and a full brief or a thong. Also, the briefs do come in larger sizes as I was sent a 20 and they're generously comfortable, even stretching to a 22, I'd say so don't be put off if you're plus sized on the bottom as often I find I can find the perfect bra but the matching knickers don't go past a 16-18.

Is this my perfect bra? No and for only one reason - I'd like a bit of padding in the sides. This is just a personal preference due to my own insecurities and I feel that a more rounded out bust looks better under clothes but for those with an already full chest this won't be a problem. I'll be checking out the swimwear too while the weather is still warm and I'm in that almost-confident beach ideal (although I'll probably just wear it to the leisure centre with my children - glam!)

Introducing Dexter

Friday, 19 July 2013

I'd like to introduce to you the latest (and final) addition to our house, Dexter. He's 3/4 pug with a 1/4 Jack Russell in him (his mother is a Jug - pug and Jack Russell cross), he's 9 weeks old and he finds velcro hair rollers to be the best toys.

A little history for you - I've been obsessed with pugs since I was sixteen and always dreamt of having one when I grew up and moved out. For the last four years boyfriend hasn't even entertained the thought but gave in to a labrador as a family pet because it was a 'real dog'. Fast forward two years and he finally said yes and a week later my best friend Christina and I clambered in to her little silver Corsa and set off on an adventure to West Wales. Two hours and a McDonalds milkshake later the first little puppy to run up to us was Dexter. Full of hyperactivity and kisses it was decided before the breeder even mentioned the girls were gone. We were having a boy.

After passing him around to the mechanics in the gar garage on the way home and surprising the girls with him at the end of the road, he's blended into our family wonderfully. He's starting to house train and sleeps in a crate at night so he can't chew up the house or get everywhere. Sadie and him are best friends although right now they are establishing pack order which basically means Dex is digging his teeth into her and swinging. Nobody's hurt and it's all very much play time but the first time it happened I went a bit nuts and thought with Sadie's rather large mouth around his neck he was going to die. I knew about play fighting and establishing the pack order but nothing prepared me to see my darling lab who's at least five times as big as Dex with her teeth around his neck, I can tell you!

So he's a playful little buggar with a penchant for eating my hair. He plays for around 20 minutes and falls asleep within 5 seconds just lowering his head while he's standing and....gone so a lot of the time I have to be on hand to scoop him up and pop him back in his crate. I'm unsure if he'll be crated forever as Sadie isn't now but we'll see how easily he trains and how his personality is as he gets that much older. The crate is not only a quiet place for him to sleep in peace and safety but also a well deserved break for baby lab.

A lot of people have asked why another dog and the answer is simply because I've always grown up with dogs in pairs so they have company during my parents working hours and play time at home. It also helped with their socialisation with other dogs on walks and since dogs are hugely social creatures it just made sense to me. Yes, it's twice the cost and twice the mess but it's limited to downstairs as there's a big gate on the foot of our stairs after we had the carpet replaced a few weeks ago and while it's hard when they're young when they grow together they give you the best rewards.

Fantasy Wishlist || Elie Saab

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Every now and then there is a collection where I sit up and I take notice. Every season Elie Saab is that collection. To me, Elie Saab is the Lebanese God of evening and bridal wear, surpassing Marchesa and Vera Wang (although I love them also but not equally). Every collection is immaculate in colour, style, detail and embellishment. With luxurious fabrics, intricate beading, layers and layers of soft voluminous fabric and cuts that just show off a woman's body phenomenally and and....

His dresses have been worn by red carpet royalty and real royalty. His dresses dress slender frames and added curves exquisitely. If I had the money and I was a few sizes smaller I would wear these dresses everywhere. Nipping to Asda (yeah, I'm a down to earth millionare)? On the school run? Watching my maid wash the dishes? Dress. Dress. Dress.

So while a girl can only dream of a slim line frame to do these dresses justice and enough money to actually purchase one - even fame would do as I could borrow one in my new sample size - these photos will forever be lusted at purely online. Rest assured, if I ever become a millionaire and if I'm still a bit fat I'll still buy one as 'the' decorative accessory in my dressing room.

Bucket List

Tuesday, 16 July 2013
When Money Supermarket contacted me about writing a post, I was intrigued. I've taken part in these kinds of post competitions before but this resonated with me a lot because offline I've been working on a pen to paper bucket list. There are so many things I want to see, do, experience, taste, participate in and buy but money is usually a factor hindering these aspirations. I thought I'd write about some of the things I aim to do in my life and things I'd like to tick off this list before I die. Of course, I don't know if I'm going to be here another hour let alone another few decades so I've decided along with my plan of saying yes to make a start.

So this is the big dream. New York. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of going to New York but back then it was to sing on broadway. After numerous films set in New York to the teenage years where I became a 30-something fictional Carrie Bradshaw trapped in a fifteen year old's body to dreaming of being Blair Waldorf strutting the streets of Manhattan in Elie Saab, I was hooked. I have a deep love for this city or at least the image that is portrayed of it and I desperately want to spend a week there not doing the tourist things as such but doing day to day things. I want to hail a yellow taxi. I want to eat a hot dog or a pretzel from the street. I want to walk into Barney's and browse. I want to drink coffee in an all night diner at 4am after emerging from a club where I will inevitably be asked for ID. Of course, New York is a dream right now with flights alone coming in at close to £1000 but a girl can dream.

Now for something a little more realistic and you'll probably raise your eyebrows at this but I want to go camping. The camping days of old resulted in no tents, a vat of alcohol and staying up until the sunrise with friends. I want the whole experience with a tent, a fire, some solar fairy lights in the trees (I don't expect them to be there - I'll bring them), an acoustic guitar, simple food and a bottle of wine. I'm outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios so this seems ridiculous even to me and while I know that I may have a romanticised version of a night in a tent with my fiance and the reality will be horrendously different, I want to try it. I want to get out of my comfort zone and not rely on my phone, wi-fi or the TV for entertainment. I'd like a night where I switch off and try something completely new. Boyfriend loves camping and for once, I want to say yes.

I have so many things I want to do with my life from seeing the aurora borealis, going to Harry Potter World, going to Disney Land as I've always desperately wanted to go, stand on a volcano, swim with sharks, hold a koala, buy a house, save over £5000, own a yellow VW Beetle, raise excellent children, get a pug, cuddle a monkey, eat Japanese food in Japan, know what it feels like to be a size 10 just to see if it's any different.....there's just so much but I've realised we have a limited amount of time in this world and it is nowhere near what we expect it to be so we make the most of it and we make our choices.

Some day these will be my choices.

Making A House A Home || The Living Room

Monday, 15 July 2013
Throws c/o Dunelm Mill

So, as promised, here is the updated living room in my house. If you're looking for a show home with everything perfectly placed and organised you can look away now as I wanted to show you real life. This is life with two messy adults, two messier children, a dog and a bird. This is where books are haphazardly placed as I don't have room for all of them. This is where my make-up usually lives strewn around as I just don't have a good storage space and not nearly enough clear containers.

So I'll start with the biggest update - the throws. The throws were sent to me for consideration by Dunelm Mill and they do such a great job at covering up most of my old worn sofas. Now, I like my sofas but they're in desperate need of a clean and when you have a dog and children it is much easier to have throws you can take off and wash rather than paying a company to do a thorough steam clean. I chose the duck egg blue colour to compliment the blues in the curtains and add a little colour to the neutrals in the room and I am so glad I did. The throws are soft but you can tell they're hard wearing (they've survived perfectly when my wet muddy dog turned them a lovely shade of brown and a consequent spin through the washing machine....twice) and the tassles that usually are too hard and bother me don't at all. I'd definitely pick up a few more to cover the chair in the girls' room and maybe for my bed in the winter too.

The rug was given to me by my sister who picked it up in a charity shop. It's worn and smells a bit musty (nothing that a bit of Febreeze and Shake & Vac can't sort) and missing a few tassles on the end but it breaks up the expanse of floor where the coffee table used to be. As you can see the coffee table is currently being used to hold my new TV (that I bought for a ridiculously low price last week and I mean RIDICULOUS) and that TV will soon be mounted to the wall where the mirror is now.

I love throw cushions, candles, flowers, trinkets and bunting so in various corners you'll find one of these or even all three. I didn't show the entire bookcase behind the two seater sofa as right now it's crammed with bills and odds and ends that I need to find a home for but this is essentially the view you have when you walk in from the hall. I think it feels much more like home now and I can't wait to spend my evenings in here working and watching shows in decent enough quality to see what's going on (current favourite is My Fair Wedding on Netflix - DO IT).

The house is now around 90% done save some storage and the girls' room which I'm not decorating until the bunk beds become bunks rather than two separate beds again which should be next year. I've added small updates and a lick of paint and suddenly it all seems to have come together in mine and boyfriend's tastes for under £350 for five rooms including carpet and a TV!

What do you think? What would you add? Give me some inspiration to spend more money to add extras

Sunday Summary || Life Lately

Sunday, 14 July 2013

New phone, throws from Dunelm Mill, wearing two pairs of glasses so I can see in the bright moments, a Costa iced caramel latte, a new maxi dress courtesy of my best friend, a pug tshirt that I have been wearing with maxi skirts a lot, new sheets are the best sheets, Hedonist is my favourite but I do love glitter, Lucy refused to go back in her cage after a clean, chicken salad wrap and a sex on the beach cocktail for lunch, pretty flower lights and garden art

Hello, my lovelies. I hope you are well and (if you're in the UK) enjoying the extremely warm temperatures. I'm a huge fan of warm days filled with sunshine but I am not very good with heat. I am always at boiling point in the summer and at freezing point in the winter so right now I am irritable as I'm not getting very much sleep, covered in factor 50 sun cream to keep my alabaster skin from turning a fetching shade of pink and I'm bathed in sweat without a fan on me constantly (too much information?) I have, however had a very lovely week full of friends, cocktails and exciting surprises (all will be revealed next week or if you're on my Twitter it's possibly already revealed).

I've found that I've really been enjoying taking some time off to re-evaluate my life. There have been lists and lots of them from pros and cons to who I think I am and who others think I am to even writing a five year plan for myself. I'm feeling creatively inspired and ready to really put myself out there and try new things. While it's only on paper at the moment, I intend to have things sorted a little more fully on paper by the end of the year and in 2014 have these changes implemented to some degree. Most of them aren't big philosophical and introvert friendly type issues - like I said in my last post I am trying to become more of a do-er - so the written points will form a plan on how to do things which is really very exciting for me.

I'm sorry if things have been a little quiet around here these past few weeks but no doubt they'll start to pick up soon with lots of new things and old reusable and re-workable things in the pipeline.

Saying Yes

Friday, 12 July 2013

I live in my head. Some people are doers and some are thinkers and I am very much the latter. I will think and think and think some more, over-analysing situations until there is a clear logical path and from there, I try to do. Of course, this doesn't always work out the way I'd hoped. When you live in your head you miss most of the opportunities that the doers take and make the best of. For me, I will have the good, the bad and the neutral side of everything planned out and I've even been labelled as inherently negative. I don't feel like I am a negative person but I do understand that when you dwell on the downsides of a situation the pessimism shines through and rubs off on everyone in the room. I am the girl with the plan B, the plan C and the plan D. I am early for everything to allow myself plenty of time for quick changes which often leaves me alone in train stations giving me only more time to live in my own head. I have back up plans to the back up plans and for something as simple as going for coffee I need a clear plan and get a little annoyed if something goes awry. II suppose you could call me reliable and detail-oriented but there's really nothing more to encompass this than the word burden.

Essentially, I am a control freak and no matter how much I would love to be one of those people who gambles in life, who takes that chance, who says yes to that thing and who can pack their life into a rucksack and set off for a week somewhere unknown, it isn't who I am. My boyfriend is very much like this and will take the chance. In one sense this is a good thing as it means we have a great balance to our relationship but in another it's a terrible thing as I am pretty much the kill-joy. I will suck the positivity from the air by portraying the situation's potential downfalls and while I call that strategy others see it as negativity.

So for the next few weeks I am making a promise to myself to say 'Yes'. I know I am never truly going to change who I am but I can start making small steps in the right direction to at least making people feel a little more positive and making myself feel happier. I want to worry less and do more, take the chances that I've always wanted to take (within reason - they can't hurt people or be unattainable financially or emotionally) and realise that I can still have control over my life while making the most of the positivity because I've come to realise there is a lot of happiness in my life and in the world (the such small part of it that I know) and I want to be with the world rather than against it.

Review || EverEarth Heart Shape Sorter via The Canterbury Toy Shop

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Heart shaped wooden shape sorter - *£19.99 from The Canterbury Toy Shop

Some of you may know Ashleigh from 25 to 30 (and if you don't you should, go say hi!) Ashleigh owns a toy shop called The Canterbury Toy Shop and to me she is essentially my very own Willy Wonka of toys because the first thing that happened when I saw the website was that I sighed. An actual deep, longing and meaningful sigh. You see, I'm a big lover of toys as I feel all are educational in some respect but I am an even bigger fan of non-gender specific (read: pink and blue plastic and bedazzled segregated toys for one gender or the other - I'm looking at you Early Learning Center), old fashioned style toys like the kind I would play with in the late eighties and early nineties. I had a wooden shape sorter and I can tell you that shape sorter survived until I was 20. Amelia had a plastic shape sorter...that lasted three months.

So yes, while I am rambling I do have a point. I became truly enthused when Ashleigh asked for my details and said she was posting out a little surprise for my two year old daughter and it popped up on my doorstep a few days ago. The first thing I did was tear off the brown paper packaging and show Amelia who sighed. A girl after her mama's heart. After snapping a few photos in our garden of the shape sorter before the packaging was off and Amelia looking distinctly messy after helping me to garden a little, she promptly told me to go away and shut herself in the playroom with it. I think she liked it.

Let's get on to the product itself, shall we? It's essentially a solid wood heart shaped box with cut outs in the lid designed for the water based painted shaped blocks to slot into. These blocks come in a host of colours in a host of shapes and are colour coordinated to the detail around the holes to allow for further educational play and development. The box itself is very sturdy which is such a great thing to have when you know it's going to be picked up and put down a little harder than it maybe should be. The lid is made of solid wood and has the EverEarth name branded on to it and the shapes are designed especially for little hands making it the perfect shape sorter for a pre-schooler. I find the generic shop bought shape sorters to be quite clunky and plastic just doesn't feel good to the touch so this is especially nice for me to play with which is really the whole point of children's toys, right?

The thing I love is that it comes with a lace. Not very exciting right? But it really is. The shape blocks have a hole in them so they can be threaded to make 'jewellery' or used as an exercise in patterns, shapes and colours. I may have got a little more excited about this than I should have but boy, we've had a lot of fun taking out all of the blocks, threading them, unthreading them and spinning them on the string.

The best thing about this for me is that my five year old daughter Layla also loves it. Last night they played quietly with it for over an hour and really, unless it's Despicable Me on DVD that is unheard of. I am looking forward to discovering more from the shop as this is just right up my alley. I've got my eye on the High Tea shape sorter which I think would be perfect to accompany the girls' tea parties while also being educational and a whole lot of fun.

So go check out the toy shop if you have children in your family or friends circle as I can pretty much guarantee there'll be something for the infant in your life.

I also want a kite. Not for the children.