Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Inspiring Vibes // Podcasts I'm Currently Loving

Gang, gather round, I have something to share with you. From background company while you tap away on the computer, to getting comfortable with a coffee and really engaging, my latest source of entertainment and inspiration comes from a handful of epic and diverse podcasts!

Now, don't get me wrong, give me a good book and a quiet afternoon and I'm happy as a pig in shmelly poop, the same can be said for my intense Netflix habit, but for those days where multitasking is a must, or simply just to relax in a non committal way, completely hands free, floating in a wave of audial delight... The humble podcast is my choice. And talking of choice, man oh man are there tons to pick from!

I am here this very fine day to share a few of my current favourites in the hopes that I can spread the love and brighten your busy day, lighten the load or at the very least help you pass the time!

Stuff Mom Never Told You hosted by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin-

The audio podcast that gets down to the business of being women from every imaginable angle. Fuelled by boundless curiosity and rigorous research, Cristen and Caroline are girls-next-door gender experts who skilfully decode the biology, psychology and sociology of ladies and gents, from their evolutionary past to millennial present, to better understand all the Stuff Mom Never Told You.

Incredibly informative and diverse range of topics discussed in a familiar, chatty manner with a huge sprinkling of hilarity and sass!

#GIRLBOSS Radio hosted by Sophia Amoruso-

On each episode of the podcast, Sophia interviews world-class Girlbosses who have made their mark in creative, cultural, and business ventures to extract solid advice from the lessons they've learned along the way.

Just as Sophia's kick ass book, this podcast packs a motivational punch from the uplifting advice to the inspiring stories of her guests. This one is ace for those slumpy days when you need a little boost!

Nerdette hosted by Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda-

Interviews with your favourite authors, artists, astronauts and more. Because everybody is a little bit nerdy about something.

Cultural and social commentary mixing intelligence and humour, covering consistently awesome topics and guests (Judy Blume, Game of Thrones, Caitlin Moran), so much going on, you won't be disappointed!

Dear Sugar hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond-

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar is here, and speaking straight into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions- no matter how deep or dark- and offers radical empathy in return.

I mean... Cheryl Strayed! If that's not enough to get you tuning in, how about the fact that they release new episodes weekly, offer an email submission for questions and have current posts titled 'Friends With Benefits', 'The Inevitable Guilt of Motherhood' and 'Letter From a Closet Atheist'.

If you are already a fan of any of these podcasts, I'd love to know which episodes you enjoyed and if you have any recommendations or suggestions for other shows to check out! Wishing you guys a fab week!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Pleated Perfection // Summer Sewing Wish List!

Having spruced up my sewing studio lately with some snazzy new furniture, I can't wait to get constructing some pieces on my sewing wish list, and have decided to share with you a few ideas and inspirations I'm hoping to whip up in the next few months!

Pleated midi length skirt

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First up on the cutting table is this super simple yet desirably diverse pleated Zinnia skirt by Colette Patterns, which I have downloaded ready to go! I'm thinking of choosing the shorter version with a zip, in a navy blue cotton, to begin with, then of course I'll have to try out the button up version! (Is it wrong that I'm excited for button shopping? Choices choices!)

One of my main reasons for wanting to make a lightly pleated, knee length skirt was diversity when styling. You can really dress these guys up or down, stay cool and fresh in the summer with sandals and a strappy T but also layer up with a cute blouse/cardigan combo! Some of my outfit inspirations based on this skirt:

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Pleats and stripes, what more can we want for? I love this combination of girly, swishy skirts coupled with the hard edges of a good stripe.

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Going fuller in the skirt and folding a wider pleat allows for this slightly more dramatic silhouette, balanced out by a delicate yet defined waistband. And let's not forget the beautiful fabric choices here, propelling these skirts into chic occasion wear!

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For endless dreamy, retro inspiration head over immediately to the gloriously fashionable Instagram page of Amanda aka Modern 'June' Cleaver. This girl can wear the heck out of a full skirt but also kills a pencil skirt like no other!

Simple playsuit

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I am thinking of making a pattern mash up of this cute and simple Poppy playsuit from issue 16 of Simply Sewing Magazine and the stylish form and more fitted silhouette from the Salme playsuit PDF found on their brill Etsy store. Ideal for the warmer summer weather, comfy enough for days spent in the garden or by the pool and dressy enough for sight seeing during a city break! This is where a lot of my ideas sprung from:

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Keeping things casual and comfy, these loose fitting, light rompers could be made in all manner of light cottons or jersey, with or without pockets... endless variations!

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The fine details and precise tailoring take the humble playsuit up a notch or two, refining it's soft edges and adding some sweet straps or sleeves.

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One handy way to dress a playsuit up, taking it from day to evening wear, is to make it from a bold print or geometric pattern. I love love love the fabrics used in these outfits, showing just how creative you can get with your home made wardrobe!

A couple of weeks in the Spanish sunshine should give me an extra little boost to get stitching some new pieces for my summer wardrobe. What do you guys have planned to add a sprinkle of sunshine to your lives? Do you have anything special lined up to make or any ideas on how to update an other wise ordinary June?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Digging For Treasure // Second Hand Book Haul

There are many things I hold dear to my heart and visiting my family in England is one of (if not the most) precious ones- add to this books and boy oh boy am I a happy bunny! It just so happens that on my latest trip back home, my parents, fella and I spent a wonderful weekend discovering the historical treasures and stunning landscape of Wales. Nestled in the grounds of the magnificent Chirk Castle was the tiniest of second hand book sales, that of course I scavenged through, selecting for myself a little collection of goodies to bring back to the Netherlands and cherish forever as a momento of our visit.

The first book that caught my eye was a delicate, old copy of The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, originally released around 1850, this version was published by Mellifont Press Ltd in 1948. Immediately the engraved work of the intricate design on the cover just grabs your attention and this delicate pattern continues inside the book and on the spine. A glorious sized novel, its hardback standing true to the test of time has protected the pages within, showing that it has been lovingly read yet carefully kept. The introduction reads:

The Scarlet Letter is one of the first great regional novels of America; and one of that Continent's first classics, for its author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was a contemporary both of Fenimore Cooper and of Edgar Allan Poe, and an imaginative writer of supreme genius.
The theme of this book is sin. Its title is the symbol of sin. The story tells  of the effect upon the sinner of her sin and of its strange symbol- the Scarlet Letter 'A' of a detected adulteress, that she must wear embroidered on her dress, for in the intolerant Puritan New England of the 17th century the Wages of Sin earned that badge of shame. It is an unforgettable book and both tragic and powerfully dramatic. But so subtle and skillful is Hawthorne in his treatment that never once could delicate taste be offended. Indeed, despite its theme, The Scarlet Letter wrings pity from the reader for its harassed characters. Indeed, he solicitously shares the sufferings of its four immortal fictional protagonists: Hester Prynne, the erring wife, Arthur Dimmesdale, the false priest, Roger Chillingworth, the betrayed husband, and Pearl, the fatherless child. In short, it is a book that must, and ever will be read.

The other yellowed with age, shining gem that I found was the controversial classic Madame Bovary written by Gustave Flaubert and translated in this Penguin Classics 1952 edition by Alan Russell. The pages may be crumpled and torn, there may be scratches and dashes of ink here and there but this is another elusive find. I love the size and weight of this book, the stand out green that was standard for the Penguin Classics back then, and if ever a book were to have that ripe, truly loved book smell, then it would be this one! And for two shillings and sixpence I'd say it was a bargain!

The story that caused a moral outrage upon its publication in 1857, follows the tale of bored and beautiful Emma Bovary, stifled by married life she longs for passion and escape, although where this leads her holds little to be desired. Heralded as one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, erotically charged and controversially admonished, yet still read and re read today.

My third and final bounty comes in the bright and punchy form of Lion Boy {Big Secrets, Big Cats, Big Adventure} created by Zizou Corder, a Puffin Books novel published by Penguin in 2003. I am quite sure I need not explain what drew me to this book, but the joy grows once you open its pages and revel in the magnificent end pages, the chapter titles, the scattering of tiny illustrations throughout and the sheer imagination that oozes from this small bundle of paper. I had never heard of it or its author but can't wait to sink my teeth into this treasure;

Escape on a voyage of wild adventure and incredible friendship. Charlie Ashanti can speak Cat. He takes it for granted- but when his mum and dad go missing, the cats are the only friends he can turn to. Setting out to find his parents, Charlie stows away on an incredible circus ship bound for Paris. On board he meets six proud, beautiful lions who need his help. With danger close behind and uncertainty ahead, they embark together on the adventure of a lifetime.

So there we have it, a small pile of books stemming from curious minds and unquiet imaginations, travelling through time, passed from hand to hand, continuing to stoke the fire of escape and adventure. Happily crossing my path for the time being, who knows where the future will take these three parcels of joy?! For another loved before book haul head over here!