Monday, 14 April 2014

The Festival Of Spring

Oatmeal Jumper: Zara
Paisley Print Skinny Jeans: Zara
Navy Satchel: Zara
Heart Necklace: Swarovski
Tasseled Boots: Faith

If there's a time to wear paisley and tassels it's got to be the weekend of Coachella, anyone else wishing they were basking in the desert sun celeb spotting? California, one day I shall make your acquaintance. This weekend has been dreamy although I do wish the sun would have graced us with it's presence on Saturday and Sunday - Craig was off all weekend but instead of the sun drenched Saturday we were hoping for (we even planned to finally use the BBQ) our hopes of lightly chargrilled eats were dashed by the rain and miserable skies. Thankfully Sunday was absolutely glorious and while the boyf headed down to Wembley (good effort Sheff U) I caught up with one of my faves and her beautiful son. The day weekend got a little foody, read I ate far too many chocolate hot cross buns so this week I'm on my best behaviour.

This week brings me serious joy, not only is it the week before my birthday week but it's Easter which means a four day weekend! I'm heading to Leeds on Good Friday in the hope of getting my birthday shop on and finding a new party outfit, keep everything crossed for me please? I'm thrilled to bring a bit of fashion back to Cagney and Lace after last weeks home/lifestyle shenanigans not that I mind a jot. Lifestyle posts are incredibly fun to write although I do find myself doing lots of research aka on-line window shopping, I know, doesn't sound like me at all right? On my homeware quest I worryingly discovered Out There Interiors* who stock a chair that looks as though it's come straight from the set of Austin Powers, groovy baby (sorry I could resist!) If sixties meets modern isn't your bag then check out these vintage inspired photo frames. Just how perfect would they look in my blog room? Is it wrong to start a mental wish list? Answers in the comments.

With Sunday spent climbing Sheffield's many hills, with a pram in tow I really should have thought through the concept of low waisted jeans and a slightly too short in the body jumper, no those midriff shots were not intentional. That said I'm thrilled to finally be sporting a few Spring garms, oldies they may be but goodies they certainly are. You may remember my paisley skinnys from posts such as this while my tasseled Marmite like boots were discovered at the bottom of my old wardrobe, they're a tad Isabel Marant and have become my new favourites. Craig on the other hand isn't so keen. My satchel sadly isn't mine but one of my mums treasures, hasn't she got the best taste? Well they do say like mother, like daughter.

Have you been channeling Coachella this weekend? Are you dreaming of hot cross buns too?

*Collaborative link, all thoughts and opinions my own.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Homeware Love With Sophie Conran

Sometimes a brand gets in touch that's not only a perfect fit for Cagney and Lace but for me Hannah, the person behind this little corner of the Internet, I quickly find myself getting giddy, telling Craig as soon as possible and dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess (well with this brand anyway). Funnily enough that's not happened yet... The brand that had me squeeing? Sophie Conran.

Sophie, the daughter of Sir Terrence Conran and sister of fashion designer Jasper was only ever going to be great, with business acumen and a creative flair clearly running in the family Sophie is one inspiring woman creating a dreamy homeware range whilst collaborating with specialists brands like Burgon & Ball (who are Sheffield based yay) all while juggling motherhood and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Anyone who writes a book on pie making is alright with me.

The newest members to the Sophie Conran gang are 15 beautifully thought out wooden chopping boards made in collaboration with Bristol based company T&G Woodware. Made from natural beech wood harvested and manufactured in Europe (the material of choice for many professional chefs don't you know) the boards would look divine and be a practical addition to any kitchen, even in mine which is long overdue a makeover, just where is that money tree? PS I'd love to say I made this bread but it was purchased from Marks and Spencer. FYI It's muesli pave and absolutely sensational.

As a genuine lover of all things aesthetically pleasing for the home I must say my new made with love board* is the bees knees, the circular shape is not only a change from every other board out there but it's ideal for serving, aka showing off your culinary treats to friends and family. Something which Sophie has clearly considered when creating this collection. I adore how the boards are crafted using traditional techniques but finished to modern standards using laser engraving to add Sophie's handwriting to each piece. Simply divine. At £25 the price may be a little more premium than your run of the mill kitchen aid but just think how long this will last you or a loved one, this would make the perfect housewarming gift don't you think?

Team Sophie Conran have been a dream to converse with and not only gave me my very own board but let me ask Sophie herself a few questions and they're not all home related.

As a busy mum of two and successful business woman, which beauty products are your staples that you couldn't be without?
Clarins facewash
Palmers Cocoa body lotion
Neal's Yard lavender balth salts
Estee Lauder 8 hour balm
Chanel lipstick

If you were stranded on a desert island which three items would you take?
Japanese knives
A cooking pot
A pillow and a duvet

You've got just twenty minutes to whip up a quick meal, what would you make?
A salad filled with all sorts of yummy things

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Work really hard, ask for help from everybody, people like to give advice and you don't have to do what they suggest. Don't be in a hurry and work with other people that you like. Try not to get lonely or overtired. Stay positive. Set yourself goals but be flexible, sometimes thing don't work out but other opportunities will arise.

Finally if you had to choose your favourite piece from your beautiful homeware collection, which would it be and why?
That is so difficult! I use all the pieces and work with fantastic people to create them but I think it has to be the dinner plate as it was the start of the collection and I have had so many lovely meals on it.

I'm off to work out how I can replace my entire kitchen with pieces from the Sophie Conran collection, wish me luck.

Have you ever bought anything from Sophie Conran? What do you make of the new boards?

*This board was kindly sent to me by Sophie Conran.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Refresh Rather Than Relocate With Look Again

Since buying our first house last August we've literally been full steam ahead, donning overalls (read unloved clothes), grabbing paint brushes and even a steamer to decorate our little cottage. With nearly all the upstairs complete and our funds almost depleted we're now focusing our energies on outdoors. That was until Look Again* got in touch with a challenge, to create a mood board showing how I'd revamp a room with a £750 budget. I thought this would be a walk in the park but boy was I wrong. Look Again have a huge selection of home goodies and I was blown away with the level of choice. Unsurprising to none, keeping in budget was a challenge #storyofmylife but I knew straight away which room I'd be tackling...

Credit to Pinterest for the inspirational images here and here

The blog room also known as our smallest bedroom/wash room/general dumping ground. When we first moved in this was painted similar to a chocolate box although Hotel Chocolat it was not with a dark brown ceiling, thick mink carpet and matching walls. So far we've steamed it, re lined the walls and painted them, had a jazzy wallpaper put on a feature wall (thanks Papa Wild) and Craigs bestie has put us a new carpet down but that's where the fun ends. The room is now furniture less (except for a chest of drawers) and is being used for anything but blogging.

Tip - Get creative and try your hand at DIY, what's the worse that can happen? It saved Craig and I lots of money plus I promise you'll have a giggle with a steamer and paint brush in hand. If you get stuck, draft in friends and family members. Fancy Farrow and Ball shades but not the prices? Ask your local paint specialist to mix up the colour for you, leaving you change for cushions. That's home maths right there!

The inspiration behind my blog room choices? A country cottage with a delicate, perfumed garden which is far too beautiful to leave outdoors. Our cottage is old (dating back to 1820 to be precise) and although incredibly charming it's lacking in light, I blame the tiny windows. As such decor has to be carefully planned to give the light and spacious feel we crave. One thing I have to be conscious of is over loading our space, the minimalist look isn't my bag but there's a fine line between curated picks and clutter.

My first choice for Cagney and Lace HQ would be the Torino day bed, perfect for blog writing sessions or for when guests come to stay. A double feather down duvet is an essential buy and I'm a firm believer in buying quality, you spend far too long in bed to scrimp on these things. I also like to buy duvets bigger than the actual bed too for that increased snug factor, don't knock it until you've tried it! To cover my feathered friend I adore this Freya duvet set which brings a flurry of candy strips and coloured lace into an otherwise monochrome room. Bringing a necessary dose of print and texture are my mismatched selection of cushions, Hello Kitty was a teenager fave, I'm digging the vintage feel of this one and how hilar, and scarily accurate is this offering?

Tip - Furniture can be a hugely expensive outgoing when you first buy a house. My tip? Beg, borrow and seek (never steal!) My parents gave us two old sofas to start us off and we found some amazing crockery at a local vintage fair. Don't become that panic buyer, we've all been there and it costs!

Speaking of furniture I'd be thrilled to see the Aimee Dressing Table in my blog room, with a certain je ne sais quoi this striking piece would be a beautiful background for blog shots, somewhere to apply make-up or it could even be used as an official blogging desk. The possibilities are endless. Making the table my own I'd add this cute ice cream print and personalised trinket box to store all my jewellery/secret chocolate stash. I'll let you guess what's more likely...

Tip - Putting your personal stamp on a space doesn't have to be expensive - frame postcards of your travels, pictures of your buds or create mood board if your room is going to be used in a creative light (like mine). You can bring the outdoors in by taking cuttings from the garden and popping them into milk bottles like my Pinterest shot, inexpensive and quirky.

Are you planning to refresh your home for Spring? What do you make of my blog room picks?

*In collaboration with Look Again.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Ideal Home Show With Hillarys Blinds

Two short weeks ago an email hopped into my inbox that got my creative energy flowing - the lovely guys at Hillarys Blinds were inviting me to the Ideal Home Show with a preview of their new collection to follow. A trip to London to ogle homewares? Yes please. For as long as I can remember I've been dying to visit the Ideal Home Show, Ideal Home is one of my favourite reads and interiors are a huge passion of mine - I even wanted to be an interior designer when I was younger. I now work in the home improvement industry as a buyer so spending a day getting inspo for both work and play suited me down to the ground.

A room set created by Ideal Home, I love the mixture of prints and textures.

 Metro brick and wood effect tiles are big news right now and how dreamy is that copper bath?

 The mix of stripes and toile creates the perfect masculine feminine balance.

As an Ideal Home Show newb I must confess I was a little disappointed, I'd imagined the show to be a interiors dream with my brain working over time to absorb every inch of the grand hall but overall I found the show to be lacking and full to brim with random tat (anyone for hair extensions or skincare from the deep sea?) I'd of loved to have seen smaller, niche brands that were more quality over quantity, that said I did enjoy wandering around the show homes and seeing the big interiors trends translated right before my very eyes. See a few behind the scenes snap over on my Instagram.

Team Hillarys on the other hand know how to put on a good show. Held in the Pembroke, close to Earls Court we were introduced to the story behind the new collection with cocktails and canap├ęs in hand. Based on a New World theme Hillarys latest offering for roller blinds is trend and season led with the New World theme hosting three key collections: Modern Coastal, Organic Earth and Eclectic Luxe. Each mini collection is dreamier than the last...

 Modern Coastal brings that nostalgic, old memory feel with a contemporary twist.

 I adore the old school notion of this simple yacht fabric, perfect for bathrooms or a bedroom.

 Organic Earth sees the outdoors come inside with a warming, cosy colour palette.

 Finally Eclectic Luxe, delicately marrying the old and new together with a whimsical vintage nod.

This Finch fabric was a real favourite of mine, capturing the beauty of vintage lace in a modern way.

As always the gang at Hillarys really looked after me so I'd like to say a huge thank you to them and for introducing me to the new collection, I don't think I've ever felt a stronger urge to pull down all my window coverings and start again. I mean have you seen their wooden shutters?

If you're on the hunt for some home inspiration and you're based north west then I suggest a visit to Home Is In The North, an interiors shopping event in Manchester on Saturday the 26th of April - I'd be attending myself if it wasn't my birthday that very day. The event brings together a mixture of independent designers and crafting opportunities. A date to add to the diary and not just because it's my birthday.

Have you ever visited the Ideal Home Show? Which collection from Hillarys is your favourite?

*I was kindly compensated by Hillarys for my travel.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring Sunday

Quilted Horse Sweater: Topshop
Beige Mac: Massimo Dutti
Camo Brooch: From my Italian travels
Ripped Boyfriend Jeans: Topshop
Rose Gold Slipper Shoes: Sam Edelman
Orange Satchel Bag: Topshop
Lip Shade: Nars Velvet Matte Pencil in Red Square

You may be surprised to hear that horses aren't my jam, yes I know I'm sporting a huge one on my sweater but don't be fooled, they're just one animal (I promise I like all other animals) I'm really not fond of. Which begs the question, why choose such a horse loving jumper? Well I used to have one very similar from Urban Outfitters and I was obsessed with it, wearing it to nearly every uni lecture and seminar going but sadly it had an unfortunate run in with a pair of blue jeans. Bad times all round. Thankfully a couple of seasons ago Topshop released this beast and off I was, first in line to get my neigh on. I'd completely forgotten all about this quilted number which I think has a real second hand, charity shop feel about it (but in a good way) until I made a trip back to the parentals, I love still having a few pieces there it's like going shopping without spending.

Sundays are usually a seriously lazy day consisting of eggs, dog walking and a huge Sunday roast. Today was no exception with Craig and I taking an extended Kez walk through the park and onto the Botanical Gardens where we sat with lattes and buns (him a giant Jaffa cake and me an Easter nest) while we got blown by the wind, rained on and then dried out by the sun all in a matter of minutes. Spring you are awfully temperamental right now.

Boyfriend jeans were the order of the day, setting off my casual sweat to a tee don't you think? My beige mac makes my attire just a little smarter, pulled together if you will - this baby is seriously well loved and has stood the test of time, I think this has been in my wardrobe a whopping seven years and although it felt pricey at the time I've worn it to death. My Sam Edelmans need no mention what so ever, yes I know, I need new shoes. They're on my birthday list I promise (just twenty days FYI).

Have you had a chilled out Sunday? What animals do you have in your wardrobe?

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring Checks & Ombre Pastels

Grey & Pink Ombre Jumper: Topshop
Hannah Necklace: Topshop
Tartan Cigarette Trousers: River Island
Rose Gold Slipper Shoes: Sam Edelman
Orange Satchel: Topshop
If I was a celebrity or incredibly wealthy I wouldn't think twice about having a hairdresser on my staff, is there any better feeling in the world than a good hair day? I think not. After holding off getting a trim for a whopping eleven weeks I decided enough was enough, goodbye lacklustre do with straggly ends and hello voluminous locks. Oh how I've missed that bounce! There's something so therapeutic about getting in the hairdressers chair, as the scissors get acquainted with follicles life stresses find their way onto the cutting room floor. Am I right? I was so pleased with my extra oomph that I headed straight off to the parentals for a few cheeky outfit snaps, light nights I love thee.

It's rare I document work attire, saving my blog photos for the weekend but in all honesty things tend to overlap - I work in an office that has a fairly informal dress code so as long as I look smart it's all gravy (does anyone even say this anymore?) I like it. Pastels and checks are two of my Spring favourites so discovering both rolled into a pair of trousers was like finding out Easter had come early. Cigarette style trousers are having a real fashion mo and I for one love these, even if they do get a tad baggy around the knee and crotch area (so flattering!) I've even got my eye on a second pair, well I have got a Topshop gift card burning a hole in my pocket. Paired with my grey and pink ombre knit which was a rather naughty buy, as if I could ever need another jumper, this is the ideal outfit for the 'transitional' weather (read crazy smog times) we're experiencing right now. 

The only downside to rocking such a beaut blow dry? Trying to recreate it, just how do hairdressers work a hair brush like that? Send positive thoughts my way...

Do you love a trip to the hairdressers as much as me? What are you wearing in this crazy weather?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

March Tales

Incredibly proud of this one - Mr & Mrs - Lil bit obsessed with this - My boy makes a mean burger - 3 for 2 in' at Boots - Lunch at the rents is the one - The view from my bedroom - This one's keeping me company - Bills with the boy - St Marys, Oxford - This cuties the best brunch partner - Spring fleurs at ma and pas - Hello London - True story - Anyone for pheasant? - It's going down

March should be titled mad March, it was that busy! The first day of the month saw two of my dearest friends joined in holy matrimony - not only was this our first wedding of the year but a seriously special day for us all, especially for Craig as he was best man for the day (even though he's my best man every single day). Next was a belated Christmas gift trip (try and say that fast) to dreamy Oxford with the beau which was just what the doctor ordered after my bout of flu, before making a one day pit stop to London to visit the Ideal Home Show with Hillarys but more on that another day.

Spring is now here (we've changed the clocks and everything), not only are baby lambs frolicking here there and everywhere but it's soon to be Easter and my birthday. April you're the bomb. 

Obsessed With - It took me approximately thirty seconds to think of what I've been loving this month and it's got to my Nike Free Runs. Love 'em or hate 'em they've kept my feet looking seriously bright on a fair few dull days and damn they're comfy. I really need to treat myself to a new pair of shoes as I seem to be wearing these and my faithful Sam Edelmans all the time.

Lusting After - With my birthday on the horizon, have I mentioned it's my birthday month? I'm on the hunt for the one. No not a man but a birthday ensemble. I've given a Topshop number a bash but it's not worked out, it just wasn't meant to be. Something that might be though is one of the many pieces from Mollie Kings new collection for Oasis. That gal has got it goin' on in the style stakes so I can't wait to peek at all the newbs launching next Tuesday.

Sharing The Love - One YouTube video I got into this month was from YT heavyweight Sammi who did something a lil different with her how to find your personal style video. I mentioned in my last post how I've been stuck in a bit of a style rut so this was a great watch, that came at the right time.

A blogger who needs no introduction, The Little Magpie has just started You Tube. Oh my days this girl, not only is she an absolute hoot but she's a stylish bean too. Head over there now and prepare to giggle! Finally I can't not mention Anna's foray into fashion with The Capsule Wardrobe video, a new fashion icon? I think so. 

Was March mad for you? What exciting escapades did you get up to?

Keep up with my snaps on Instagram here or search 'cagneyandlace'.

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