Happy feet

Like a lot of other women, there is an incredible amount of black in my wardrobe. There’s denim, navy blue, grey and whilst I have a fair few brightly coloured tops, the number is heavily outweighed by the number of black items in there. I go shopping and so many times I end up with more black to go in the wardrobe. And as for shoes, I love my Uggs, boy do I love my Uggs, but some days I long for something different to get me through this long dark winter month…

I was browsing through the Sarenza website the other day and I saw the shoes that would lift anyone’s spirits. Classic in shape, these shoes are anything but classic in colour!

Dune 'Hotty' shoes available from Sarenza

Dune 'Hotty' shoes available from Sarenza

Made by Dune these aptly named Hotty shoes come in two colour ways but for brightening up an outfit, the magenta is the only way to go.

With their bold orange stripe along the platform sole, the design has a distinct nod towards the highly publicised Pantone colour of the year, Tangerine Tango whilst the combination of magenta, orange and fuchsia echoes the colour blocking trend that has been so prevalent of late.

The bright colours mean that the style of the shoe should be clean and classic and this is exactly what Dune have done. A simple platform court, the style means that even with their bright colour, these shoes will be incredibly versatile whether worn with a pencil skirt, black trousers or skinny jeans.

The fusion of the funky, eye-catching colours and classic style makes for a pair of shoes that will remain a wardrobe staple for a long time to come, as well as making you smile every time you wear them.

Available from Sarenza, the even more amazing thing is that these shoes currently have 20% off so can you really afford not to?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some shoe shopping to do…

Average Josephine x

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A cup of tea solves everything

A cup of tea solves everything

A cup of tea solves everything (C) Nikki McWilliams

My mum has often said she would be useless in a crisis. Not because she is prone to panic but because if offered “a nice cup of tea” her response would be “sod the tea, can someone get me a brandy?!”

I, on the other hand, am a massive believer in the healing power of a nice cup of tea. Many of the problems of my life have been dissected and solved over a few cups of PG Tips, Tetley, Yorkshire Tea, Scottish Blend, English Breakfast Tea, even a cup of Earl Grey will do in a pinch… You name it, I’ve had it.

Tea purists will often say that tea is best served in delicate china or even glass I maintain that the vessel used should be more suited to the occasion that the contents.

There is something inherently comforting about a warm mug being cradled in your hands.  And in situations where comfort is required, there really is nothing better than a proper mug. A thick, heavy, earthenware mug. Nothing expensive, none of this bone china or porcelain malarkey, just the sort of mug you can pick up in the supermarket. I will confess my favourite mug isn’t a supermarket purchase but my first Christmas present as an auntie…

Giddy Aunt mug from the Big Tomato Company

Giddy Aunt mug from the Big Tomato Company

There are however occasions where the comfort of a cup of tea is required but the soothing ritual of making tea using a teapot, cups and saucers is required. It requires precision to check the tea is brewed to the correct level and that there is not too much milk in the cups. It is an archaic ritual, although not as formal as the Japanese or Chinese tea ceremonies, and one where porcelain is most definitely welcome.

My love of tea is such that for my birthday my brother and sister-in-law bought me the most gorgeous Wedgwood teapot.  It is the sort of teapot that is kept in its box or in a display cabinet and only used with loose-leaf tea, none of those common tea bags. I want to collect the whole set (I currently have the peach and blue tea cups in addition to my teapot) to enhance the experience but this is likely to be a long (and expensive) process. If, of course, anyone wants to help out with this, then please feel free. No, really, feel free!!

Would you choose a cup or a mug when having a cuppa or does it depend on your mood? Or would you just say “sod it” in a crisis and opt for the brandy?!

Average Josephine x

Just keep pinning…

Being a chronic insomniac, I have a lot of time where I don’t want to be doing anything that will involve my brain too much and keep me awake but lying in your bed when you can’t sleep is torture!

One of my default activities when I’m awake at 1am is to play freecell, one of the card games that comes as standard with virtually every version of Windows still in current usage. It’s not particularly taxing but the repetition of moving cards around is sometimes enough to make me drop off.  Although the fact that I’ve played about 5,000 games in a year does say something about the level of my insomnia…

But the other thing I have discovered which keeps me somewhere near sane (not entirely sure I can claim to ever have been totally sane) is one of the newer social media networks on the block…

Pinterest

For anyone who has yet to discover Pinterest, it allows you to create a virtual pinboard of images from the internet, pretty much any image you want, and organise them onto different boards. All the images are then available to repin and are categorised in to Art, Design, Home Decor etc.

Whilst in abstract it sounds spectacularly uninteresting, it’s actually a bit like a tube of Pringles. One you pop, you can’t stop! Or in this case, once you pin

I have ten boards and one of my favourite categories to explore is Home Decor as I’m moving into my flat in the near future (I’m getting there but procrastination is my favourite trick!) and want to do some redecorating. One of things I have discovered is that in an ideal world I want a really big, white, country style kitchen. I think I must have over 50 pictures of those alone.

But here are some of my favourite other pins which include a gorgous chair from Graham and Green, crafty ideas and what looks like the most incredible cake ever…

Recipe for home made lemon sugar body scrub

Recipe for home made lemon sugar body scrub

Graham and Green pink velvet slipper chair for one's boudoir...
Graham and Green pink velvet slipper chair for one’s boudoir…
Whimsical Bakehouse cake

Whimsical Bakehouse topsy turvy cake

What do you do when you can’t sleep? And if you have ventured into the world of Pinterest, what are your favourite pins?

Average Josephine x

Objects of desire #2

OK so I’m running a bit behind this week.  Actually, scratch that I’m running a lot behind as this is my first post since last Thursday’s “Things I want” post (now renamed Objects of desire) and given this will be posted on Friday rather than Thursday…. You see my point!  And after last week’s slightly frivolous post, we are coming back down to earth with a shiver.

Winter is approaching fast despite last month’s random Indian summer (very peculiar but I will never understand the vagaries of the British weather) and with the advent of winter, this means the start of the cold and the wet… Remind me why I live in this country again?!

So it’s time to stock up on woolies and bring out the wellies and, in my case at least, start looking for that fashion essential to see me through the dark months.  Yes, I am in need of a new winter coat.  I have one and it’s still in OK condition considering I bought it nearly three years ago and it does get worn pretty much every day for about five months of the year.  It’s black, fairly basic and goes with pretty much everything I own but to be honest, it’s a wee bit on the dull side.  I’d like something to brighten up the dark winter and add a bit of fun to the standard workwear that largely consists of grey, white and black.

The problem is I’m a bit picky when it comes to my coats and the vast majority of them are black and grey.  I was losing a bit of hope when the red one I saw online was alarmingly orangey in real life (and orangey reds and I do not mix!) until I saw this

Oasis pink herringbone car coat

It’s pink! It’s tailored! And it’s pretty!  And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also available in a brilliant purple colour (decisions, decisions…).  Just to add to the fabulousness it’s not horrendously expensive; £100 is not what I would call cheap but given that I have seen coats on the high street costing anything up to and above £300, £100 is not bad.  And whilst I have been going for looser coats over the past few years to cover up the flab, with my current weight loss and Operation Fit and Fabulous helping to lift my self-esteem above floor level, the fact that it has a nipped in waist to help show off my curves is brilliant.

The only problem is… pink or purple?  Come on folks, give me a hand, what’s your vote?

Average Josephine x

Objects of desire

So I decided to add a bit of structure to my week by including some weekly posts which include Things I want Thursdays!  I have already touched on some of the things I’m currently coveting in the post I want, I want, I want… but the list is, to be honest, so long that I can easily write about this every week without running out of things to write about.  What can I say?  I’m a defeated shopaholic.  Defeated because due to exam retakes and time off sick I am currently poorer than a church mouse whose wife has run away taking all the cheese.  And anyone who can spot where that quote comes from will earn my eternal respect…

The question is though, not what do I write about but where do I start?!  Having been using Twitter actively for the past six months or so, I have discovered a number of smaller websites that I might never have looked at previously.  That’s not to say that everything that I want is from niche boutiques, oh no, some of the things I want are from giants of the retailing world and it is with one of these giants that I will begin…

If you uttered a word preceded by the letter ‘i’ ten years ago, people would have looked at you like you were mad.  But now, it’s relatively commonplace and it is all down to one gadget: the iPod.  Released in November 2001, I remember my brother ‘getting’ one for Christmas either that year or the next.  I put getting in quote marks as he didn’t get it for a while after Christmas as at that point it was the item you couldn’t find for love not money.  At the time the iPod was released, Mac computers were known as being reliable but little used outside of the advertising, media and design world.  Now, Apple computers are becoming more and more common despite their relatively high price tags.

I have an iPod; in fact, I have two.  One lives on the speakers in my bedroom and another in my handbag.  This doubling up is not due to sheer profligacy but because the one in my room sits on the speakers for a reason.  It’s nearly six years old and whilst it has put in good service, the battery is not what it was.  In fact, I’m lucky if it lasts for more than a couple of hours.  So when it comes to listening to music when I’m out of the house, it’s about as much use as a chocolate frog.  Hence the second iPod.

So I have an iPod, I have a fully functioning laptop which means there is no requirement for a MacBook or iMac (even though the iMac’s are incredibly desirable) and technically there is no need for what I am about to discuss here.  I definitely don’t need one but I want one.  I really, really want one.

What I’m talking about is, by manner of elimination, is of course an iPad.  An iPad 2 to be precise.  And before anyone asks why, there is no why.  They’re flat (less than a centimeter thick!) and you can effectively take a computer in a relatively normal sized handbag.  Also with the addition of the smart cover, you don’t even need to remember to turn it off.  Just flip the cover down over the screen and it turns itself off.  With the wireless off, the battery can last for up to ten hours so you could do pretty much a full day’s work.  I say with the wireless off as it tends to be the wireless (or 3G function if that is the option you have chosen) that eats battery life.

One of the main reasons I would love an iPad is because whilst I have blogged via my BlackBerry, the size of the keys mean that it is an arduous job and I tend to end up with cramp in my thumbs.  But the number of times I get inspired at work or when I’m out and end up making notes while I’m out, only to have lost the inspiration by the time I get home.

iPad with red smart cover

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to say I want the 64GB 3G plus wireless version which costs £659, although if anyone wants to buy one for me, I wouldn’t say no (a girl’s gotta try!), I’d be perfectly happy with the 16GB wireless only version, especially with the advent of the iCloud which means stores your content and makes it accessible from all devices.  Although I will confess I would go for the more expensive leather smart cover, even though the colours are slightly less inspiring (Apple, make a note, better leather smart cover colours!).  If for no other reason you can buy a red version from Apple which is part of the PRODUCT [RED] project where a portion of the proceeds go to help the fight against AIDS in Africa.

So how do you feel about the iPad?  Is this the ultimate accessory or will it be obsolete before you’ve even had time to set it up properly?

Average Josephine x

Afterward: since I wrote this I have heard that Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, died. He was a true visionary in a fast moving, highly innovative industry and has changed the face of music and computing forever. He transformed Apple from a niche manufacturer to one of the most widely recognised brands on the planet. And whilst his achievements have been immense, at this time my heart goes out to his family who have not lost a technological genius but a husband and father. RIP Steve Jobs