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Latest Purchases #89 – A Paperchase Haul

It’s September and even if you are not going back to school/ college/ university, the shops are full of beautiful stationary so it’s only right that you indulge in some notebook-related loveliness.

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I think stationary shopping can be dangerously tempting. All those planners and cute to-do-list notebooks make you feel like you are getting super-organised whilst having an Instagram-worthy desk space. I popped into Paperchase, one of my favourite stationary shops, to get a few back-to-school essentials and some not-so-essential items!

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First up, an academic diary. I long for the day I can get a January to January diary but luckily there are some pretty September to September versions available. I bought this peony-covered one and used my neatest handwriting to keep it looking beautiful!

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If I don’t write it down, then it will be forgotten about so I also picked up a new notebook for my to-do lists. I love this bright, geometric print.

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I can’t get enough of nice pens and pencils to write in the aforementioned books so I bought a set of metallic gel pens and some pretty pastel pencils. I’ve already sharpened the pencils in my new electronic pencil sharpener…yes, I am that cool!

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Finally, I picked up a few birthday cards and some birthday cups too…just because.

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I think I have also discovered where my next stationary purchases may come from – I love everything in Kate’s new shop…ahhhhh those prints!

Latest Purchases #55 – A Summer Haul

As you know, I have spent this week redecorating my bedroom with my Mum. We have stripped wallpaper, glossed, sanded, painted, moved furniture and cleaned up the mess I seem to leave in my wake whenever I use a paintbrush! The bedroom is pretty much finished and now comes the fun part of shopping for bedding, art and accessories to perfect the look. After living in a room with three different colours on the walls for almost two years, it is so refreshing and calming to wake up in an all-white room but I am looking forward to adding pops of colour over the next few weeks before I share some pics with you.

My Mum and I worked really hard throughout the day this week and we rewarded ourselves in the afternoon/ evenings with a little trip either to the shops or to the pub for a well-deserved drink. Ian and I are toying with the idea of booking a super last-minute holiday next week so I had a few pieces I wanted to pick up to wear on holiday or during the rest of the summer.

First up was a kimono. I saw these in various shops this summer and love how cool they look thrown over a little dress or with skinny jeans. However, lots of them seem to come with long tassels or really garish designs and I wanted something a little more practical and subtle. I love this pastel blue one from Matalan. The print reminds me of blue and white china and the shape is so flattering and it’s flowing yet still quite structured.

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Whilst in Matalan, I also picked up this white laser-cut handbag. I know white handbags aren’t the most practical item but if we do go away next week, it would be a perfect holiday bag and I will just have to try my best not to spill anything on it!

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I had some vouchers to spend in Paperchase (one of my favourite shops!) so picked up a new phone case and a weekly planner. I love the nautical design on the phone case and it is made of a really soft rubbery plastic that makes it really easy to grip.

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Continuing with the nautical theme, this weekly desk planner will live on my desk at home and hopefully help me plan some blog posts out as I have been rather slack lately. I never want to put pressure on myself to post daily or have set content on specific days but sometimes I look through my photos and find a great recipe that I completely forgot to share s hopefully this planner will get me slightly more organised.

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When Mum and I were in Bath this week, we popped along to check out the new Primark that has recently opened. It is a really nice store actually and I didn’t see the usual disorganised piles of tops that can drive you crazy when you are trying to find the right size! I did want a lovely Fleetwood Mac t-shirt that a few girls on Instagram have been wearing recently but the girl I asked had never even heard of the band, let alone seen the t-shirt I had in mind!

Nonetheless, I did find a rather awesome replacement in this Jurassic Park top! I’m not really one for slogan or logo t-shirts but I love this film franchise so made an exception.

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I also picked up this lovely white lace t-shirt which will go with so many of the jeans and patterned trousers I own.

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With a holiday in mind, I wanted a new sun hat and saw this black one. It is 100% wool and I think it has a boho vibe to it. I think I quite suit hats but always find I’m a bit self-conscious wearing them for the first time. I wore this for dinner in Bath and didn’t feel too out of place!

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I love browsing the jewellery section in Primark and I bought two necklaces, both completely different. The first is a pretty horse shoe necklace made from little pale purple beads and I also got a statement ‘bib’ necklace in navy and gold – two colours I wear a lot. I love the bigger necklace as I have been after one for a while and this quite a statement piece without being too OTT.

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Despite it still being August, my mind is wandering to September and my ‘Back to School’ wardrobe so I picked up a few Autumnal items. Firstly, this navy striped dress. It’s flattering and has Breton stripes…need I say more?!

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I also found these gorgeous cut out tan ankle boots. I have a similar black pair and wore them to death last season so I know I will get a lot of wear out of these too.

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I recently threw out an old pair of black skinny jeans so decided to give Primark’s ‘Super Skinny’ jeans a try after a recommendation from my friend who lived in them! They fit really nicely and are a true black – such a bargain for £11 too!

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Finally – and I apologise for the overshare – I could not resist these pants after our camping trip last weekend!

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Mum and I also found time to pop over to IKEA for dinner and some shopping last night and I think I was quite constrained considering how much lovely stuff I saw as we walked around.

I came away with some lanterns, a vase, lampshade, candles (of course!), a frame for Ian’s new print, some succulents and Orla Kiely-style vases and a very Pinterest-worthy faux fur throw!

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Phew…a few rewards for a week of decorating which still works out cheaper than hiring somebody to do it professionally!

After watching the return of the Bake Off this week I have been bitten by the baking bug so am going to spend this evening perusing my recipe books to find something tasty to make tomorrow whilst looking for a last minute holiday bargain…have a great Saturday night! x

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Gone are the times where we could only communicate by the handwritten letter, but is letter writing becoming a forgotten art?

Now this isn’t a post moaning about the internet, saying that life was so much easier before we all had mobile phones because in my opinion it wasn’t. I love the ease of sending a quick text, updating my Twitter account with what I have been up to and Facebook has put me in touch with people I didn’t think I would see again (and some people I didn’t want to see again but that’s another story!)

But by making it so easy to keep in touch with people, nobody seems to be writing letters anymore.

I think letter writing is so much more profound than an email. You really need to think about what you want to say and how your letter flows because you don’t have the luxury of copying and pasting or a quick delete (unless you count screwing up the piece of paper you are writing on!)

As a primary school teacher, I am constantly trying to get my children excited about writing but it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle especially when so many words are shortened to ‘text language’ and a Word document corrects all grammar and spelling errors for you instantly.

Writing a letter takes effort, thought and concentration but the result is something so much more reflective and personal than a tweet telling the world what you had for lunch that day (I am guilty of sending tweets like that!); you can’t help but write about your feelings, emotions, hopes…the stuff of life.

I have a couple of friends that I keep in touch with via letters and it is quite a different feeling hearing the thud on my doormat of one of their letters compared to the buzz from my BlackBerry telling me I have another spam email or a text asking “how r u?”

When I lived in Spain for a year, Ian and I often wrote to each other and I would send him postcards from different cities I visited. These small romantic gestures made my day and I have a keepsake box where I have kept all of these letters which I will look back on with fond memories…looking over old emails doesn’t quite have the same feel to it.

Now I too am guilty of constantly complaining about how busy I am and how I have no spare time to do a lot of the things I want to do, like bake and catch up with friends but every time I set aside an hour or so to write a letter I feel good afterwards. I think this is partly down to knowing how the recipient will feel realising that I have taken the time to sit down and write a letter when a quick Facebook message probably would have sufficed.

And don’t get me started on how much I LOVE sitting down to write my Christmas cards!!!

Yes, a letter may not be such an immediate means of contact but it is a much more intimate, meaningful and permanent one. And if my post has made you want to put pen to paper, here are my recommended tools of the trade:

Lovely stationary

I have a dedicated shelf at home, full of lovely writing paper, patterned envelopes, cards, postcards and other bits that I have picked up on my travels, and I cannot walk past a stationary shop without nipping in and getting a little something (Paperchase and Cath Kidston are my current favourites).

I even nick them from hotels we stay in…shameful, I know!

Stickers

This may be a bit too girly for some but I love them!

Gifts

Make sending a letter that little bit more special by slipping a little something into the envelope; a sachet of hot chocolate for your friend to enjoy while they read your letter, a face mask for a stressed out girlfriend or something from Cowshed if they are a really special friend!

Nice Stamps

Whenever I go the Post Office to buy stamps, I always have a look to see what their current issue is. This year has seen Golden Jubilee, Olympics and Roald Dahl stamps and they just make the envelope look lovely. I have a few nice ones left over from their Christmas issue last year.

Address Book

A pretty, up-to-date address book is essential (mine’s from Paperchase…my stationary Mecca!)