#Januaryjoy: Try a new trend

With one eye already on spring I almost rescheduled this post but with the rotten weather we have been having it’s totally appropriate right now. This post also perfectly epitomises the sentiment behind todays prompt. Despite the use of the word trend, this one was more about trying something new for you, plus I always love Michelle’s fashion posts so lets get adventurous! – Rebecca

The fur collar or shawl is an item that has been on my wardrobe wishlist for a few years but I hadn’t got round to actually buying one before now. And it’s not strictly a ‘new trend’ in that in that it’s not nodding to the forthcoming Spring season but it is hot right now and perfect for adding a little winter season luxe to any outfit. Given recent years we’re likely to see the chilly weather lasting right through to March so still plenty of time to get your wear out of them.


atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com // Sydney Sadick
Faux fur is a really versatile accessory that can take an ordinary outfit up a notch or two in the luxe style stakes, not to mention adding a little warmth. I’m definitely a layers person when it comes to winter dressing and need the option of de-robing a few if I end up somewhere hot after walking outside in the cool air. With a fun fur collar added to my outfit I can change it up by having it just over my outerwear or looking equally as good over a t-shirt or sweater.


nowfashion.com // sarahklassen.com
I’m also really loving the colourful options available right now for adding that extra dimension to an outfit, burgundy and deepest blues being my favourites.


theyallhateus.com // cheetahisthenewblack.com

My top 6 faux fur collar picks…..

Fur roundup, faux fur collar, bloggers, fashion bloggers, florence finds, pocketful of dreams, michelle kelly

1. Adrienne Landau £122 2. ASOS Pink £24 3. Topshop Nude £25
4. Topshop Black £25 5. Monsoon Marjorie £29 6. UrbanCode Grey £43.99


SHOP THE STYLE – Find even more fur collar finds here.

I went for the black collar from Topshop and literally have not taken it off all Christmas. So findettes, what current or next season trends are you coveting or trying out right now?

Michelle xx

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#January Joy: Plan some clean eats

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

I’ve said it before I’m a planner at heart and the one element this has had the greatest impact on our home life is with meal planning.

We make all our meals from scratch at home as we’re both keen cooks and like to stay relatively healthy but time is always against us. We’ve often had those occasions of arriving home from work starving hungry, looking in the fridge and realising we had no food in or worse still, having food but not being able to come up with a single recipe that would work with the ingredients we had. Resulting in much tetchiness and stomping around the kitchen until our growling stomachs were relieved.

To bring a little more harmony to the home I decided to take matters in hand and took this meal planning task by the balls. I spent a few evenings trawling the net for recipe ideas that met a few criteria:

  1. Quick to prepare and cook, no-one wants to spend 3 hours marinading meat or stirring a pot when they get home from work
  2. Uses seasonal ingredients
  3. Is relatively healthy, clean food with plenty of veg
  4. Not too much stodge
  5. A combination of accompaniments- so rice, potatoes, pasta and noodles being our main go-to’s – I often forgo these but cook some up for the other half or he feels he’s being starved to death
  6. A combination of meats and fish dishes to give us some variation in our diet
We narrowed down a hitlist of meal ideas testing out a few new recipes to see if we liked them and if not adapted them to our own tastes. We now keep our hitlist written down in the kitchen and it includes around 30-40 different meal ideas to supplement our standard go-to’s of stir fry’s and pasta with something!. We settle on a two-week meal plan and buy groceries according to what’s on the plan. Refreshing it again at the end of the two weeks and doing another shop – we’ve recently been doing this online and now we have a favourites file on there it’s making the shop much quicker and simpler too.
Doing things this way does mean we know in advance what we’re going to be eating each day which can sometimes take the joy out of cooking and sometimes we’ll get home and really not fancy what’s on tonights plan so we’ll swop things around. But in the main we try and stick to it.
It also means we throw far less food away as every item we buy has been designated to a meal. Of course this is the goal, in reality it doesn’t always go to plan but I can hand on heart say I throw away probably 1/10th of the food I used to.
As the seasons change I review my meal ideas hitlist and look for new ones that fit better seasonally and then I simply bookmark the recipes on my phone or iPad so I can really quickly find them when I get home, or I email them to the other half to let him know he’s ‘cooking tonight’. It may seem a little like military planning but seriously it has made such a difference to our daily routine that I hardly even think about it now, meaning I have more time for the good stuff in life, like long lazy bubble baths, cuddling under a blanket with the latest edition of Red mag, or scoffing chocolates as we work our way through the Netflix library.
In the interests of sharing here’s my current list and associated recipes in case you’re in need of a little inspiration yourself:
CHICKEN
BEEF
LAMB
PORK
FISH
Some of these are not so speedy but as they tend to be more oven/casserole based I will either make a few up at weekends and freeze so it’s just a case of reheating or sticking them in the oven in the morning (with a timer set to switch it off of course!) so they are ready when I get home.
If you have any seasonal meal ideas to share please do pop us some links in the comments box, always room for adding new ideas.

Michelle xx

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Christmas Gift Guide #5: The Mini Me’s

Today I’m moving onto the mini-me’s. It can be hard to buy for the little ones and that old cliche about the cardboard box being more interesting than the present really does ring true. I also find that toys veer far too much down the plastic-fantastic route and try my best to steer well clear of those, preferring instead to buy choices I know the parents of any little one will love just as much as the little one themselves, if not more.

Christmas Gift Guide, Kids Gifts, Childrens Gifts, Kiddies, Little Ones, Christmas, Festive, Gifts, Pocketful of Dreams

What do you think readers, do you have little ones to buy for? What are your top tips and finds this year?
Michelle xx

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Christmas Gift Guide #4: The Stylish Homemaker

For those of you who are last minute shopping, we have a slew of gift guides this week for you and a couple of festive treats from my contributors. Hold onto your Santa hats!

Although I love the festive feeling of towns all dressed up in their twinkly lights, I must admit I have a real aversion to shopping when it’s incredibly busy. Brings me out in a cold sweat. So I tend to do the bulk of my shopping online from the comfort of my own home.

And with a really varied range of people to buy for this year my finds are quite an eclectic mix, so I’ve split them into a few gift guides which Rebecca is kindly sharing with you readers throughout the week.

First up is the stylish homemaker… we all have a friend who loves her home and gets excited about paint and wallpaper samples, well these are the perfect gifts for her (or him!). This one was pretty easy for me to put together as it’s basically everything I already want.

Gift Guide, homemaker, gifts for home, christmas, pocketful of dreams, christmas gifts, gift ideas

  • 1. Magazine buying always feels like such an indulgent luxury so what could be better than having this drop through your letterbox every month? A subscription actually works out much more cost-effective too. Living etc Magazine Subscription Gift Pack (12 issues)
  • 2. I love the intricate design of this Morse-Code Love Blanket by HollyBerry (how can you not buy one for Christmas with that name?)
  • 3. If you’re going to give scented candles then why not make sure they’re the best… Tom Dixon Scented Candle Gift Set I can see these making great desk pots once the candle has burned away
  • 4. The neon trend shows no signs of slowing down and these are a quirky little gift that won’t break the bank but will definitely impress Seletti – Neon Art Neon Letters Numbers and Shapes
  • 5. It may be practical but oh how pretty is it? Seletti Cutting Board
  • 6. This has long been on my list and I’m hoping will be under my own tree this Christmas Decorating with Style Abigail Ahern
  • 7. This may seem like an off choice of present but seriously I would love it if someone bought me these, they’re hard to track down and it’s one of those items I covet and never get round to buying Heals Plumen Bulbs. A stocking filler perhaps?
  • 8. Sipsmith Damson Vodka 50cl and 9. Kosta Boda Tumblers Of course these have to be given together, perhaps with a little handwritten recipe for a delicious Damson Vodka cocktail
  • 10. Ceramic Letter Hook another unexpected stocking filler that’s cute and original
  • 11. We Love Karou Mug sipping a morning coffee in these is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face
  • 12. And of course they could only sit atop these Artek Siena Coasters. Gorgeous!

 

Michelle xx

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Recommended: Lion + Pheasant, Shrewsbury

Last weekend we took a trip away to Mid-Wales for the other half’s birthday, staying at the Drawing Room in the Elan Valley (on Rebecca’s recommendation) over the Friday and Saturday evening’s. As it’s somewhat of a tradition for us to head out for Sunday lunch somewhere new at least twice a month we wanted to add this into our weekend somehow. We have tried almost every decent gastro-pub across Lancashire and Cheshire in our quest for the best Sunday Lunch, so after reading with interest in Red magazine about the Lion and Pheasant in Shrewsbury we added in a short stop on our way home to the Ribble Valley.

And boy are we glad we did!

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The Lion + Pheasant, a pub with 22 rooms and a Mr & Mrs Smith property, is a stunning conversion from coaching inn to stylish townhouse with a scandi-chic meets colonial New England interior. The Farrow and Ball-esque grey painted walls sit perfectly alongside pale oak and flagstone flooring with mismatched wooden furniture and industrial tolix chairs and stools creating a stylish yet laidback space. From the entrance on Wyle Cop we were greeted by a light and bright open-plan bar and reception area, where there is a wide variety of seating on offer from long dining tables to sofa’s and comfortable little nooks for two. Every aspect of the interior feels well thought-out with many clever designer touches that I loved, like the mason jar lighting over the bar area and the simple Christmas decor of holly branches in clear glass vases.  The hotel was actually remodelled by Rachael Chidlow of Paul Keogh Architects who is related to the owner and it is quite evident there has been a professional design-hand at work here.

We chose to dine in the buzzy bar area instead of the more formal split-level restaurant space upstairs, inviting as it was dressed with crisp white linens and gleaming glassware. We had a lovely long table to ourselves tucked away in a corner by the bar offering some privacy but still feeling part of the action. There’s also an inglenook, open-log fireplace in the bar area, perfect for enjoying a mulled wine (or three!) on long, lazy winter-days.

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Images by: Steve de Jetley Marks via Mr & Mrs Smith

The cocktail list was incredibly enticing, with seasonal variations of the classics on offer, I plumped for a Pear and Port fizz whilst the other half stuck with his standard Peroni. Despite arriving over an hour early for our reservation the staff could not have been more helpful and accommodating, seating us straight away.

Head chef Matthew Strefford has been awarded two AA rosettes for his outstanding and innovative dishes. We plumped for the traditional Sunday lunch menu and I wished we’d not spent the last two days stuffing our faces so I could try the full 3-courses on offer. The Mr opted for a root vegetable soup with creme fraiche, served with a basket of different breads which I helped him to mop up, the soup was perfectly spiced with the delicate creme fraiche and chives adding an unexpected yet delightful twist. We also both chose the Rib of Beef next with all the trimmings which included perfectly fluffy roast potatoes, caramelised whole carrots and parsnips with a delicious meaty gravy and of course crisp yorkshire puddings. The meat was served pink, which our waitress checked was okay for us, and it literally melted in the mouth. One of the best Sunday roasts I’ve tasted in a while – also on offer was belly of pork and turkey (given the proximity to Christmas). The wine list was extensive with both standard, purse-friendly options through to the more extravagant. A glass or two of cassis-rich Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect partner to our lunch.

The dessert choices were mouthwatering to say the least with treacle tart, orange cake and many other delights on offer. Our waitress insisted we could still order after resting for a while, despite the fact the kitchen stopped service at 3.00pm and it was now some way past that – another little tick in the goodbooks and so refreshing against other establishments and their ridiculous ‘rules that cannot be bent’. Alas it was not to be I’m afraid, I just could not fit it in….a reason to go back if ever there was one! The other half however had room for more and chose a cheeseboard which came with 6 delicious cheeses, a variety of artisan crackers, celery, walnuts and a slab of quince, all served up on a wooden cheeseboard and cleverly delivered to our table with two plates so we could share. And I can confirm every bit as delicious as the other two courses, I managed to squeeze in a few mouthfuls, much to the Mr’s disgust (hates sharing food!).

As a pub with rooms these guys have hit the nail on the head, combining superbly warm hospitality with delicious, flavoursome food and stylish yet unpretentious surroundings.

Also try….
Whilst there we had a little walk around Shrewsbury itself, meandering the olde worlde streets filled with independent boutiques and historic buildings. Unfortunately for us most of the shops were shut but I quite quickly determined this was a place I could easily spend hours having a good old browse. Some of the shops that caught my eye included:

  • Urban Folk – Hidden down an alleyway off Wyle Cop is this really quirky and creative shop with design-led gifts and accessories
  • Rustic and White – a beautiful French Vintage shop, selling home accessories @RusticandWhite
  • Vintage Shrewsbury – A shop that celebrates good ‘old-fashioned’ design
  • Appleyards Fine Foods – Located on Wyle Cop – luckily for us this one WAS open and it’s fair to say I was like a kid in a candy shop. A totally traditional deli packed to the rafters with gourmet fine foods. We stocked up on stinky cheeses for Christmas.

It’s fair to say we fell a little in love with our short visit to Shrewsbury and the Lion and Pheasant and will definitely be adding it to our hitlist of places to visit again to stay for a weekend in the future.

So readers have you been here? or do you have other recommendations of similar places to try across the UK?

Michelle xx

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Style Saver: Statement Sweaters

One of the core items I’ve been searching for to update my winter wardrobe is a statement sweater.

Statement Sweater, Florence Finds, Pocketful of Dreams, michelle Kelly, fashion, Fashion Blogger

O’Chic’s Fashion Journey // prepaganda.tumblr.com

My office is freezing so I need items that beat the chill whilst still looking relatively ‘put-together’, I have loads of cardigans but fear I step into granny-chic territory every time I put one on, no matter how gorgeous it is.

Statement to me can be anything from a bright and zingy colour, to a unique and striking pattern or as simple as a luxe fabric. These sweaters work so well with jewels and/or over a shirt or blouse, double protection from the elements whilst still looking gorgeous, it’s all about the layers ladies.

Statement Sweater, Florence Finds, Pocketful of Dreams, michelle Kelly, fashion, Fashion Blogger

richesforrags.tumblr.com // wearingittoday.blogspot.co.uk

Here’s my top 6 picks, have you seen any you’d like to share with us?

Statement Sweater, Florence Finds, Pocketful of Dreams, michelle Kelly, fashion, Fashion Blogger

Michelle xx

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SHOP THE STYLE

You’ll find even more statement sweaters I’m loving right now here:

statement sweaters

Style Saver: Re-working the LBD

Good morning readers! Today I’m excited to introduce a new regular contributor to Florence Finds, Michelle. Lots of you will know Michelle already, either as the founder and creative force behind Pocketful of Dreams, the event design house she co-runs,  or as my one-time partner in Dream Find Do. Michelle has already guest posted from time to time here, so it was natural for me to take things one step further and ask her to contribute regularly. This lady has style by the bucketload and we have similar taste, so I know you’re all going to love what she has lined up. Michelle will be our new lifestyle contributor, so you’ll be hearing from her every couple of weeks or so on a variety of topics, all of which will – in true Florence Finds fashion – add a little style to your life. I hope you’ll all give her a warm welcome and enjoy her posts! – Rebecca x

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Hello Find-ettes, I am beyond excited to be writing for Florence Finds and hope you enjoy my musings on all things lifestyle. I’ll be sharing all sorts of finds, from fashion items I’m currently coveting through to seasonal updates for your home. There may be a moodboard or two thrown in for good measure as well!!

Today I’m sharing a little style conundrum I’ve been facing recently and that’s how to take the little black dress from drab to dazzling. With a number of events coming up including two awards dinners and two Christmas parties, all with a ‘cocktail-wear’ dress code, I have that “nothing to wear” feeling.

Given that these are work events I’m loathe to spend money on new dresses but have plenty of LBD’s hanging in my wardrobe that rarely get worn as I’m a colour lover nowadays. So I’ve been thinking about how I can make the LBD work harder by adding some carefully chosen accessories for a hint of colour and punch.

Here’s my picks to style up the little black dress…..

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

Attitude
I could see this outfit working just as well with a leather biker jacket for a night on the town, but as cocktail wear there’s a few subtle edgy pieces to give it that hint of sass.

1. J Crew Citron Stone Necklace £150 2.  Coast Leather Box Bag £65 3. Senso Perspex Heels £40 from Coggles

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

Classic with a twist
Cobalt blue is such a striking colour and I love how it works with black, this lace sleeved top would be a great way to change up a black cocktail dress worn over or underneath with just the sleeves and neckline peeking through. The addition of a leopard print clutch would stop it feeling too matchy-matchy and provide a funky twist on a classic style.

1. Ted baker lace sleeve top £99.00  2. Nelly Earings £22.95 3. Dune Leopard Clutch £69.00  4.  Coast Celita Ankle Strap £80

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

Unexpected
This is possibly my favourite look of all three, it’s simple and sophisticated with plenty of punchy colour. I’ve chosen two shades that work great together an ochre yellow and a deep red, with hints of gold, I feel these moodier and warmer colours work really well with black. It’s unexpected yet striking.

1. ASOS collar necklace £30.00 2.Ochre Asymmetric clutch £109.50 3. Ted Baker Neevo pumps £112

Let me know which one is your favourite and do share your own style ideas for funking up the little black dress.

Michelle xx

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SHOP THE STYLES….
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