The Fash Flash: Spring Sunshine…

Yellow texture blouse // Multi floral elbow sleeve top // Bright Jacquard dress
Cocoon Coat // Boxy Jumper // Cropped Boucle Biker Jacket
Mirror print tunic // Drape front playsuit // Colour block tee

A couple of weeks ago I went shopping to pick something up and immediately noticed that 3 or 4 shops had transitional collections featuring yellows. Everything from pastel to acid to chartreuse to bright to mustard, it felt like such a breath of fresh spring time air in the gloomy depths of winter. It really does feel right now like it’s darkest before the (spring) dawn.

Some of the items I have picked here are full on, out-and-out yellow, but quite a few are mixed in with much more subdued colours that make them a little more appropriate for the still gloomy season and also better for yellow-shy skin tones to try out.

Happy Friday readers, go on and brighten your day 🙂


Spring Series: Accessory Alert

Part of spring for me is getting ready for warmer weather. The seasons and good weather are so unpredictable here in the UK that I hate to miss out on unexpected warmer days because I didn’t have my summer items on standby. Most people have summer clothes hanging around ready to be worn, but a few well chosen accessories can have you covered in all situations, season ready and raring to go.

  • First up choose a hat, not only will your skin thank you for it, but in one form or another, they’re going to be big this year. Fashionista’s are wearing a baseball cap with city tailoring, but for more casual everyday wear choose a big straw floppy hat for seventies chic.
  • Pick up some inexpensive sunglasses early in the season and keep them in your bag. Nothing says spring time sunshine like that feeling you get wearing your favourite pair. I’ll be investing in some Ray Ban Aviators, plus some fun coloured Wayfarers (all ASOS)
  • Go big or go home. Chunky jewels never go out of style and appeal to the colour crusher in me. J.Crew makes the ultimate examples but ASOS has some great styles (Floral Bug Necklace) for a lot less. Use them to brighten your outfit when the weather fails you.
  • Bags get less structured and a whole lot more fun come the summer months. Again, choose neon brights to punch things up or look for relaxed fabric styles for a boho vibe.
  • Time to polish up that pedicure as its time to bare your toes. Choose some trend led budget flats and save the cash to splash in a pair of longer lasting classic wedges.

What are your must have’s for summer?


Spring Series: Wardrobe Transitions

One of the hardest things about this time of year is trying to dress appropriately. I always find myself desperate to try new trends and don spring-like shades, but when the weather is unpredictable there’s nothing worse than being caught in a hailstorm wearing pastels with drenched feet in impractical ballet flats.

Nonetheless, I have figured out a few ways to keep me happy by buying a few key items that merge seamlessly with my winter staples but blend into spring. Here are my must-haves and tips to wear them now and later.

It’s no coincidence the majority of these picks are from GAP, they play a blinder every spring with brights and stripes – perfect for your spring wardrobe and the price is always right with sales and spring discounts. I also used navy as my key basic neutral as I have tons of it, but you can switch for your preferred neutral, just make sure to adjust the colours you choose too.

Jumper, jeans, tee and scarf, all GAP // Bertie Aztec ballet flat. // Gold Brogues, ALDO

  • My key spring wardrobe update is a pair of coloured skinny jeans. I chose coral (this pair is rather fabulously named ‘neon flamingo’,) because it’s pretty and bright and works really well with winter neutrals. Team it with a grey or navy winter woolly now and a breton striped tee later.
  • Everybody needs stripes in their spring wardrobe, but they’re often of the t-shirt variety and when there’s a nip in the air they might not be sufficient to keep you warm. If the budget stretches buy a tee and look out for a knit too. Wear a tee under your parka while it’s cold and switch for your jumper as it warms up a little. You can layer this one up now with your regular jeans (I bought the coral stripe to wear with my usual dark wash jeans, but the navy works brilliantly with these coral skinnies,) and later on the beach with a pair of denim cut off shorts.

Scarves, Zara

  • Pick up a bright scarf or belt. The best investment you can make, you can wear a scarf in new season colours or prints with everything from a big coat now that you’re tired of your winter scarf, right through to layered with a light jacket or vest in warmer weather. Choose brights or tribal and ikat inspired patterns to stay on trend.
  • Lastly, pick out some fun shoes. I snapped up these gold brogues (in the Aldo sale now) for when it’s colder and I want to keep my toes covered up, and also a pair of pointed suede effect ballet flats in the Dorothy Perkins mid-season sale with 30% off for a smarter look on warmer days and work.

Have you picked up any transitional pieces yet this spring?


The Big Spring List…

Last autumn, I created a list of thing I wanted to do in the coming months and I think it helped me embrace the season and make the most of all the joy it brings, so I decided to make it a bi-annual event and write a spring list too.

I think everybody loves spring. It’s a close call which season is my favourite if I’m honest but as winter is definitely my least favourite there’s something joyous about emerging into longer days, spring sunshine, bright colours and lighter food. Join in by making your list in the comments section below and just for fun go back and see if you managed any of your planned Autumn escapades.

Here’s a list of the things I’ll be trying to squeeze in this spring…

  1. Take a trip to the seaside and walk in the wind on the beach.
  2. Go daffodil spotting on a long walk.
  3. Eat spring lamb in a gastro pub somewhere pretty.
  4. Celebrate Easter with chocolate recipes and mini-eggs.
  5. Get back to regular exercise as the nights get lighter and start running again.
  6. Tidy up and re-arrange the back garden to make it ready for al fresco dining.
  7. Start growing seeds for the allotment.
  8. Take a trip to London to catch up with blog buddies and friends.
  9. Remember what the sun feels like on my skin.
  10. Plan a weekend away for one of the May bank holiday weekends.

Now it’s your turn…


Triple Temptation: Yellow Coats

Head turned: Coated Cotton Parka, ASOS £55 // Second Glance: Tutorat coat, Petit Bateau at Atterley Road £126 // Love at first sight: Boat Jacket, Superdry £99

I’m debuting a little mini-feature today, Triple Temptation. I often spot similar items that I love, at different price points and often with small distinguishing features that make one so much more covetable than another. So I have decided to group them and share the love as they crop up.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a yellow coat, specifically for spring showers. It just seems so suited to the cheerful mood that a bit of spring sunshine brings and of course retains its cheer when the sun goes in and rain inevitably takes over. Rainproofing would be an added bonus. 😉

Do you wear a rain coat?


PS Thanks to Jessie at Sweet Thing for the post inspiration.

The Spring Series: Create the Perfect Sanctuary

After having so much fun with January Joy it feels like another series is in order, this time for Spring. Right now I’m at that in-between phase when spring is most definitely in the air and I’m looking forward to spring fashions, beauty, trends and that positive feeling that lighter nights bring. However, while sub-zero temperatures persist and it’s that little bit too early to opt for shorts or sandals, I’m working on that spring feeling from the comfort of inside my own home.

I always long for a brighter colour palette inside during the spring and summer months and with a neutral interior it’s easy to pick and change the accessories for an instant update. Here are some of my favourite picks to brighten up your home for spring along with my top tips for creating the perfect sanctuary at home.

1. While there’s still a chill in the air, exchange your winter throws for a brightly coloured lighter layer to cosy up in.

2. Chose a couple of bright accessories for a pop of colour to mix in amongst your usual accent pieces. (Yellow elephant cushion, Mint green pendant, Pink plant pots)

3. Nothing says spring like fresh bed linen. Go for an on-trend geometric in a zingy spring shade for an instant mood lift.

4. Pick out new plates to brighten up your every day table.

5. It’s not quite time to abandon flickering candle light, but choose a fresh spring scent in a jar you can reuse for it’s colour and pattern later.

Do you make any changes in your home for spring each year, or are you planning any this year?


What to Wear: Spring time stripes

This morning’s what-to-wear is a basic item, but it’s fresh and spring like with its nautical stripes and more importantly given the abysmal weather we’ve been experiencing of late, it’s on the warmer side of spring appropriate clothing.

It’s also (whisper it) a bargain.

Jumper // Jeans – Citizens of Humanity (old) // Flats – Dune (old) // Bangle // Bayswater //

I spotted this striped jumper in H&M a couple of weeks ago and pounced on it. I do like loose clothes, they’re flattering, comfortable and easy to wear (aside from the regular jeans I’ve paired it with here, I’ve teamed it with my cobalt blue jeans and of course the pink trousers too already.) I’d been keeping my eyes peeled for a couple of summer sweaters as we’re heading off on holiday soon and the San Francisco weather could be quite cool when we arrive stateside, so I don’t want to be caught out.

I love the bell shaped sleeves, the over-sized shape (I’m wearing a medium,) and the cute gold buttons on the shoulders of this jumper. For a bargain £19.99 I snapped it up in a hurry. Perfect for shopping! I also added to my enamel bangle collection with the cream and grey pyramid bangle I’m wearing here, also a bargain £6.99.

Totally not the point of this post but the star of the pictures, is my rather lovely birthday (and forthcoming anniversary!) present from Pete too, my gorgeous hot fuschia Bayswater. I’m loving the colour pop against the navy and cream outfit.

Form an orderly queue then ladies with a crisp £20 in hand…


PS, Want to see more ways to wear this jumper? I featured it in my Paris packing tips for Michelle over on Pocketful of Dreams.
PPS, big thanks to my sister for stepping in as my photographer for these shots. I think she did rather well 🙂

Spring has Sprung!

Last week’s weather (I hope it was equally lovely where you are!) had me getting that feeling that I get every year as spring arrives, desperation to get into the garden. It’s been a while since I’ve covered any garden tips on the blog but that is definitely going to be changing over the coming weeks. There is loads to do right now and lots to think about in preparation for the (more consistent) warmer weather coming, so have a read and start thinking about what you want from your garden this year.

Today I’m focusing on the back (or front) garden and some spring plant suggestions as it’s a little cold to be getting stuck in at the allotment still, but keep your eyes peeled for more on that soon.

  • Now is a good time to have a really good clear out in the garden. Clear away any leaves from your flower beds and pack into bags or even better start thinking about making a compost heap for all your garden waste. Leaves make fabulous compost so it’s worth doing.
  • Lots of people prune in the autumn but I love seeing the frost on the dried seed heads and leaves so leave them. I also think it protects the plants well over the harsher winter months. Now however you should be starting to see signs of life out there and can tidy the plants too. Pull away the dead leaves from the bases of perennial plants, taking care not to damage any new shoots and leave them looking bare apart from the plants ‘crown’ – the base of the plant with its shoots etc. It will soon come to life with new growth.
  • Pruning is a bit of a mystery for some people, but it’s really not difficult and it’s hard to damage the plant unless you’re too aggressive. Remember, the plant always needs new leaves to start collecting energy to grow more so if you cut it right to the ground and all the new shoots are gone, it will struggle to re-grow. Always cut away any diseased or dead branches first.
  • Top Tip: If you’re not sure what is dead, (and let’s face it everything looks like that right now,) try bending the stem or branch. If it cracks easily and is dry inside it’s dead. If the branch is bendy and feels soft or starts to split but with green inside then it’s just dormant waiting for spring.
  • When you are pruning look at the stem or branch first. At intervals along its length you will see pairs of buds. Look for a really fat healthy pair and using secateurs, cut a couple of centimetres above the buds diagonally. You can trim most plants this way now with a few notable exceptions. Hydrangeas, some early flowering Clematis and Buddleias flower on ‘last year’s wood’ which means if you trim them now you’ll miss out on this year’s flowers. Wait until after they have flowered and tidy them up then. I also do my roses, including climbing ones, and anything that is getting out of hand really. Don’t be scared of pruning – as long as there is always a bud below where you have cut, the plant will come back. At worst you’ll miss a season’s flowers.
  • Lastly, get planning. Spend the few remaining dark nights with a book or the internet as a reference and start thinking about what you want from your garden. Will you be building a patio? Where is the best place for it? Or maybe you’re thinking about vegetables, patio varieties (more to come on that soon) or a whole allotment. Maybe you’re planning a cutting patch or new flower bed? Sit down, make lists and draw it out. It’s tempting to just get going but you’ll benefit from a bit of planning now.

Plants for spring.
Now is a great time to think about plants to give colour in the early spring months. Buying them now may seem boring as they often don’t have much to show for themselves, with just a few bare branches, but it gives them time to settle in while the ground is wet before the summer. You might get a few flowers this year but the real benefit will be next year and you can see where the colour is missing from your garden as you plant them.

As I get older I feel I’m turning into my Dad… my only interests in years gone by were big showy flowers and shrubs were considered boring, but now I see they form the backbone of a well stocked garden, provide shape and colour when the summer flowers have died back and are also usually low maintenance. I’ve compromised here with some favourites that also provide flowers and colour if you’re looking for some spring additions to your garden.

For early colour and spring time cheer you can’t beat a Forsythia. A hardy shrub, the flowers come before the leaves in February to April, providing much needed garden colour. Another really beautiful flower, although far more showy is the Camellia.

Forsythia bush and Camellia flowers.

One of my favourite flowers, the Magnolia is actually a tree and a large one at that. One of my pet hates is people chosing plants they like that are too large for the space and Magnolias can really take over, albeit over many years. If you have a small garden try the Magnolia Stellata instead – more of a bush and not quite as pretty, but still spectacular in its own way.

Magnolia and Magnolia Tree

I saw my first bit of blossom bursting forth on the trees last week and immediately wanted some in my garden. If you would like some blossom in your garden, it’s possible to time it right so that you have a succession from now right through to early May by using different trees.

Images via

Try looking at fruit trees, hawthorn, ornamental cherry, (in a smaller garden look for a weeping cherry,) and crab apples.

Acers are known for their fiery red leaves and vibrant autumn display but one variety wows me year after year in spring when its new leaves emerge a vibrant shrimp pink colour before turning their usual pale yellow for the rest of the year. Look for Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’. Pieris is another one that rather than being known for its pretty bell flowers that appear in summer, its main display is the pink leaves that precede it in April. It’s quite compact and perfect for a smaller garden

Images via

More to look at…

  • Flowering currant – a good shrub with pretty pink hanging clusters of tiny flowers in April/May.
  • Ceanothus – a larger shrub that can be trained to climb up walls, along the floor or just as a normal bush, this becomes covered in cornflower blue blossom in late April/early May
  • Philadelphus – a white flowered shrub with fragrant flowers, Philadelphus is another garden standard, also known as ‘mock orange’. This and the Ceanothus grow fast, so are great for filling an empty space in a few short years.

I hope I’ve got you thinking about all the things you’ll be doing in the garden this year. I’ve got loads of posts coming to share with you on everything from pots for your front step or patio vegetables, to my allotment diary and back garden tidy up.

What’s your garden project this year?


Florence’s Florals: The Seasonal Series [Spring]

It’s the first Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to welcome Becky Hay from Blossom, with her visual feast of flowers. I’ve always wanted to do a piece on the best seasonal flowers, for a wedding, or just your dining table. Becky is the perfect person for the job and I hope you next visit your florist armed with new knowledge and inspiration….

March is here at last. It’s the month when spring firmly kicks winter’s backside. In the shop it brings with it Mothering Sunday (18th March) the excitement of the Easter window (more of that next month) and the start, in earnest, of wedding season. To me, the start of any new season is the most exciting time, and a big part of that comes down to the new arrivals of flowers that I see in the shop as well as in my own garden.

It dawned on me recently that like most people, I take the knowledge gained from my job for granted. When you do something for long enough, it becomes common sense doesn’t it? So this month I thought I’d start a little ‘Seasonal Series’ in order to share some of that knowledge with you.

There are many flowers that are available all year round thanks to the Dutch growers (Roses, Lilies, Gerbera, Carnations….the list is endless). And if you’re prepared to pay for it, you can get hold of almost any flower at any time of year. But what I’m talking about here are truly seasonal flowers, the ones that would grow in your garden if you had green fingers and time to nurture them. Even the flowers that are grown all year round have a proper season when they’re at their strongest, most beautiful, and have the best scent.

So, whether you’re planning a wedding, hosting a party, or just want to know what to spend your hard earned cash on for ultimate seasonal joy, here’s my guide to spring and early summer cut flowers. The flowers marked with an * are the ones that you should find readily available from your local florist. The others are certainly available but you’re likely to have to order them a week or so in advance. I’ve referred to each flower with the name most commonly used in the shop. This varies from the Latin to the common names so apologies to the purist horticulturalists out there.

Spring (March & April)
Anemones*, Black Iris, Blossom, Daffodils*, Forsythia*, Fritillaria, Forget me Not, Foxglove, Freesia*, Genista* (Broom), Grape hyacinths, Hellebore, Hyacinth*, Iris*, Lilac*, Lily of the Valley, Magnolia, Mimosa*, Narcissi*, Pussy Willow*, Ranunculus*, Snowflakes, Scillas, Tulips*, Viburnum opulus* (Guelder rose), Violets.

Early Summer (May & June)
Astilbe*, Allium*, Alchemilla mollis*, Aquilegia, Achillea, Brodea, Delphinium*, Hydrangea*, Larkspur*, Lily of the Valley, Lisianthus*, Nigella (Love in the Mist), Peonies*, Ranunculus*, Snapdragon*, Solomons Seal* (Polygonatum), Scabious, Stock*, Viburnum opulus* (Guelder rose).

The most important thing to me about all of these flowers is the fact that they’re not around all year long. If they were, would our love affair be so strong? I don’t believe for a second it would.

Please do leave a comment to let me know your favourites, tell me I’ve missed something, or ask a question about a party or event you’d like to arrange flowers for.


Spotted: GAP SS12

This week, the cold, the snow, the general freezing-ness of it all has completely blindsided me. Yes, I know it’s usually like this in February but for the best part of a month now, I have been immersed in spring/summer fashion, drooling over styles for warmer weather, longing for longer days and generally needing some sunshine.

Along with the weather, I’ve just hit that point in the year when I suddenly think, ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough of winter, I NEED SOME SUN!’ And there’s one place that you can always rely upon for some metaphorical sunshine when it comes to fashion, Gap. Thankfully, alongside the cheery shades there are reliable basics for layering when things get inclement too. 😉

I think you all know I’m a massive fan of colour and a huge follower of fashion, but what I love about Gap is that it’s so darn wearable. I may love fashion, but I equally have a life to live. Things to do, you know? So most of the time I’m found dressed down in jeans or trousers with a great sweater or shirt. Right now, I’m also desperately trying to stay warm. So when I need something to cheer my wardrobe up, that’s season appropriate but nods to the coming trends, Gap is my first stop off.

Remember the GAP Parka I wore? Well, I’m loving the lighter, shorter funnel neck version Gap have for spring and it looks great paired with punchy brights like the orange tee pictured.

One of the easiest ways to feel like you’re brightening up your wardrobe is to buy a key stand out piece and then work it in to your normal outfits. The easiest for cost-per-wear is a pair of bright trousers to make a monochrome outfit wearing a top of the same hue, colour block with clashing shades, or tone down with neutrals like the khaki parka jacket above, or navy and grey for a darker nod to the miserable weather.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Gap have produced some great flats this year – I’m particularly fancying the pointy numbers in nude and hot pink for when warmer weather returns, or for comfy run arounds, how about the oxfords?

Finally, If you’re feeling a little bit unsure, not quite ready to commit to a statement like these got-my-name-all-over-them bags, just salute the trends with this super stylish and understated sporty neon edged scarf.

So, tell me, are you a Gap fan? Will you be giving them a look after seeing the spring shades here?


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