Sunday, 28 November 2010

And the winner is...!

Thank you to everyone who entered my recent CSN Stores giveaway.

I am very happy to announce that the winner is:



ALI!

Well done Ali! Please all give her a big clap and while your at it, why not visit her blog Another Shoot, it's fab!

Ali, please email me your email address so you can claim your £25 voucher! You can get me at hannah_renowdenATyahoo.co.uk.

:)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Folk Radio UK


 Today I am not at work.  Work recently has been an unending onslaught of change, to-do lists that don't get done and customers already starting to crack under christmas' knuckly grip.  Like anyone whose job gets a bit on top of them, the days when you don't have to go in are glorious.  I am currently reclining on my sofa, tea is sitting with me as are biscuits.  If I didn't have to take the bins out I wouldn't even be contemplating getting dressed.  I intend to read, write a bit and watch some films.  All the things I promise myself I will do on days off but always end up feeling guilty about.  I always think I should be out at the shops providing items for my man, or scrubbing under the sofa, or painting the ceiling.  But, apart from the bins, I'm going to do none of those things.

It is rather wonderful then that I have discovered the perfect website to provide the soundtrack to all my whimsical doing nothing-ness.  Folk Radio UK is a Bristol based station pouring gloriousness all over my ears.  I love the radio, but apart from BBC 6 Music I find it very difficult to find stations that play music I want to hear.  The last time I listened to Radio 1 was probably the weekend Blur beat Oasis to number one.  I wrote the other day about feeling lost in Topshop amongst the young and the backcombed, I feel a hundred times more disillusioned when I have to endure any popular music at the moment.  To me Rhianna is a girl who could sing the sweetest love song and still make it sound like pornography, Katy Perry, I'm sure is a cartoon character and RnB is just about owning lots of things and having sex with stuff now isn't it?  It's all a bit "dirrrrrrrty" and a bit cringy.

Folk Radio UK is therefore my haven.  I have been listening for an hour now and only heard one song I have heard before, everything else is new to my ears and everything is EXCELLENT. I already have a rather long list of CDs  my life is now incomplete without. I'm very excited about ploughing through the mixes provided on the site. The Lost in The Meadow mix sounds lovely  and just what I need on a day where I haven't heard from the sun in a while.  Folk, tea, biscuits and the ability to relax make for a perfect day.  What more do you need on a grey Thursday afternoon when you have promised not to do much?  To have already put the bins out, that's what.  I'll go and sort the rubbish and let you tune in.  

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hello flattering pleating, goodbye jumpers with cats on

ZARA
Photo by Dmitry Valberg

There comes a time in every girl's life when they exit TopShop and cross the road into Zara.  At 27 I feel it is my time to take that leap of faith.  This week I wandered into TopShop, ever allured by their bright pink SALE promises and I had to rub my eyes and blink a few times to convince myself I hadn’t wandered into the local under 18s disco.  All around me were girls who looked about 17 but were probably only 12. Their mother's credit cards were smoldering in their pockets.  Atop their heads were nests of perfectly messed up hair – that ever so boho look of backcombing the life out of it and scraping it from one side of the head to the other in a big ragamuffin halo.  Satchels entangled with satchels and fake thick rimmed glasses were pushed and pushed and pushed up blackhead-less noses in an orgy of phony myopia.  There was more 80s knitwear adorning 16 year old shoulders than there was in 1988. My sister, a TRUE 80s child, could only have envisioned such glorious sights after a trunk load of spangles and opal fruits.

It was too much, and before I even had time to fondle a pair of floaty culottes I was back out on the street sweating and worried.  I staggered drunk on other people’s mums perfume and crawled along the pavement. I had been shunned by the goddess of high street style. My ancient, late 20s bones shivered in my sack of a body.  I dragged myself along the wet pavement of Glasgow, a lost sheep without a flock until suddenly I was saved.  There looming over me like a mother ship was Zara.  She took me in, bathed me in space and light and wrapped my broken body in as much tweed-lite material as I could take.  

I had always avoided Zara, everything in the window looked a bit pricey, a bit *nice*, a bit……grown up.  But on a grey day in October I was enlightened.  Everything was gorgeous, I wanted, NO NEEDED every item in every colour.  The knitwear made me weep, I clutched the 100% wool labels like they were the tiny hands of my first born.  I sniffed the real leather shoes and skipped about high on its perfume.  The scarves were silken, the blazers were elbow patched, and the staff floated about unseen, there were no catty looks up and down - I was just left alone to indulge.

Zara has the layout and feel of a shop that could almost be designer, but the prices are the same, if not lower than Topshop….who knew? But unlike Topshop everyone in there seemed to be over 21; careful shoppers, taking their time to try things on, run their fingers over seams and select other items to make a complete outfit.  There was no rushing about, no shrieking, no loud indie rock, no bird nests and everyone in glasses (including me) seemed to have a medical necessity for wearing them.  I was shopping amongst adults and I liked it. 

But, it isn’t perfect – the tables were untidy – t-shirts looked like they had just come out the spin cycle and been discarded.  And the sizing is WEIRD.  I'm usually about a 10 in most places, but Zara clothes are teeeeny tiiiiiny wiiiiny ittttty so be warned.  Take a deep breath and put your inevitable weight gain down to international body differences.  I need a size 12 (if not 14!!)  skirt in Zara. I forgive them though, because its all very lovely and I'd rather have to big up for something gorgeous than be flattered by a size 10 or 8 item that is just OK.

We all need to grow up sometimes, and it can hurt.  But somethings about leaving your 20s are OK – you can eat olives without thinking about grapes, you don’t feel weird about spending Saturday night selecting a “nice loaf” for Sunday morning and you can wear tweed and elbow patches without looking like a geography teacher. Unless of course that’s the look you are going for, or you actually are a geography teacher. 

So my sisters and brothers who are crossing the road into the adult world and pulling on sensible, yet stylish knitwear, I salute you.

Monday, 15 November 2010

GIVEAWAY TIME!

N-Night
 It's getting a bit cold isn't it? If you are anything like me you are turning your mind to nesting.  I shall be stocking up on scented candles, flavoured hot beverages and thinking about getting some new bedroom furniture.  The kingdom of duvet is where I shall be living for the next few months so it only seems right.

If you ARE like me then you are clearly very lucky, which is the perfect attribute for winning my new competition.  The lovely folks at CSN Stores are giving away a whopping £25 to one of my readers to spend on any of thier UK websites.  Why not get yourself a little something, or even better, sort out that tricky Christmas present.

As before, all you need to do is leave me a comment on this here post and your name will enter the bowler hat of destiny to hopefully be drawn at random.  Competition will close at midnight on Saturday 27th November (Saturday night/Sunday morning (one of you was bound to ask)).

Good luck!
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