Friday 30 November 2012

Last Christmas...

Gosh, I've been so busy this year that I haven't even stopped to think about Christmas CARDS (that'll serve me right for being so smug about finishing my Christmas shopping in November, won't it?).

For the last few years, I've drawn my own Christmas card. It's a little tradition that I really enjoy, even if it is tempting to take a year off once in a while - I just know that several of my friends are expecting their illustrated card!

Anyway, I haven't started my design for this year yet, but hopefully it won't take TOO long. So if you would like a Christmas card from me, pop me an email at or a DM on Twitter with your address.

Here are my last few...






Thursday 29 November 2012

Run, rabbit, run.

Do you remember weeks ago – no, let’s be honest here - MONTHS ago, I wrote about wanting to start running? The evenings were light, there wasn’t too much rain, no ice... the ideal time to start, really. My housemates were even up for the challenge too, and we all enthusiastically downloaded the Couch to 5k app to our iPhones.

Our first run was last week.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and we’re thinking it too. Why on earth would you start running in NOVEMBER? It’s cold, it’s damp, it’s miserable. Why? It’s something I thought on our last run, as we made our way through drizzle and negotiated slippery pavements. But the thing is, we just didn’t get round to it when the evenings were light and it, y'know, made sense. We've only been 3 times or so, but it's okay so far! A bit of running, a bit of walking... I can kind of handle it. I'm still so new to it, and I'd be lying if I said I was ENJOYING it, but I'm persevering. And I've been putting together my own little running toolbox, which I figured I'd share with you even though to be honest, I really don't know what I'm talking about. Intrigued? Sure you are!


Wednesday 28 November 2012

Stomp, stomp, stomp.

I'm having such a shoe moment at the moment, especially for chunky footwear that I can stomp through puddles in. Let's face it, there are a lot of puddles to stomp through at the moment. I mean, half the footwear I'm obsessing about is still skyhigh - I'm short, okay? But I fell for these Bertie boots because they were chunky, sensible, waterproof AND heeled. YAY.

I got these a couple of weeks ago at the Bertie Blogger's Event - a dream for me, as I got to nose through their gorgeous shoe selection and pick a pair to take home (whilst gossiping with some mega babes of the blogging world, which is always my favourite part). I really love them, even though they're actually not all that ME. But they tap into my wistful 90s self, and I find myself wanting to team them with ripped tights and a babydoll dress. Ah, the 90s were great.

I failed to take hardly any pics at the event, but there's a whole bunch here! I'm in none of them, which is ace as I looked all sweaty and scruffy that night. HOT. (No, really, I was boiling)

Finally, I love the bowler hat, I do, but I never manage to wear it OUT. I don't know. I feel kind of silly in it, even though I like it. How does one get over this?

Dress - New Look | Cardi - TK Maxx | Hat - H&M | Boots - Bertie

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Hey, sexy boots.

Sometimes I feel like a ridiculous girl cliche when I compile a list of items that all look very similar and yet... I want them ALL. Because they're not the same, they are different AND important and I just NEED them.

Boots, boots, boots. If I could, I'd have shelves of black ankle boots. All different, all special, in subtle little ways. I've already bought the first two pairs on this list, but my fingers are itching to buy the rest. I just, er, think I NEED them. You guys agree, right? Especially the third ones on the list, those Blink ankle boots. SIGH.

God, I love SHOES.

At the moment I'm dying to wear them with this Vivienne Westwood dress from Jules B. Can I afford a Vivienne Westwood dress? No. Would I wear a Vivienne Westwood dress anywhere? No. But do I want one? Oh yes.


Monday 26 November 2012

Ho ho ho.

Hooray for Christmas! It's an excuse to go shopping ALL THE TIME. I love shopping. It doesn't matter if it's for me. In fact, it's almost better if it's NOT - no guilt, far more acceptable, happy unselfish feeling of giving.

Anyway, I'm almost done with the Christmas shopping now because I'm one of those unbearable freaks who is crazy efficient (I just said! I love shopping!) and have become QUITE the shopping ninja. In and out. Like a machine. Or a... no. Like a machine.

Even though Amazon and the like have been my saviours, I have had to venture out to get a few bits - giftwrap, secret santa presents (seriously, go to Wilkinsons! I got a whole bunch of stuff! Nice stuff!) and gubbins, and I've been suffering with carrier bag wrists (you know, when you get those attractive red welts) and bruises from boxes banging into my legs. Most of the injuries happen when I'm trying to wrestle my credit card out of my wallet, inevitably spilling most of my bag onto the floor of Topshop, tampons and all.

So I think I'm going to take the advice of this little video and get one of those gizmos so I can pay with my phone, because as the worrying dent in my little finger tells me, I cannot put that little bundle of smartphone joy down for a second. So that would totally work for me. How are you coping?

Sponsored post

Saturday 24 November 2012

When the moon hits your eye

On this miserable rainy day, it seemed fitting to share some more pics from my Italian holiday back in September! One of the things we were keenest on about Lucca was that it's a pretty small town, and so getting to the station was pretty easy, which meant we could do day trips easily. As always happens, we had grand plans, but only managed two, and one of those was on the way back to the airport! But I was happy to see Florence again, although pretty much devastated that the full market wasn't on (I was hoping to get another awesome bag). It was just as pretty as I remembered though, and I had the best gelato of my life at Caffe Dell Carrozze. Peanut butter. Oh my god.

We also had some INSANE pizza at Pizzeria Toto. It doesn't look like much, but the tomato sauce was perfectly spiced, the cheese of the finest quality... seriously, my eyes are rolling back in my head right now as I remember how good it was. Epic.

I really recommend Florence if you haven't been - it's a pretty quick and cheap flight from England, and although a lot of the hotels are pretty no frills, that really didn't matter when we stayed last year. I would LOVE to go again.

That trip I mentioned on the way back was Pisa - we wanted to see the tower, of course! It was perfectly fine to do on the way back to the airport, though - the tower is very cool, but it doesn't take THAT long to see. I was mostly amused by all the tourists. Have you ever seen this picture? It's totally photoshopped, of course. But these aren't. (And yet the tower still leans.)


Thursday 22 November 2012

Fake it 'til you make it.

I love getting together with the Witch Flawless Friends, and not just because I love having a good gossip with their social media lady, Holly (although she is one of the best ones). It’s just a great and diverse group of bloggers, and the Witch team also always cook up something fun for us all to do together, like last time.

This time around, we met at the seriously swanky Soho Hotel for afternoon tea a couple of weeks ago. It was gorgeous – all bright colours and delicious cakes. If I ever get the chance to go there again, I’m taking a little box to serve as a doggy bag – YUM.

The biggest part of the day, though, was a talk by Donna Dawson about confidence. Donna is something of an expert in the field, and gave some great advice on how to appear more confident in everyday life, and got everyone talking and comparing their experiences. Some of the Flawless Friends are still in their teens, whereas a few of us are late 20s/early 30s, and within the discussion I did notice the distinction more than usual.

You see, if you’d asked me five or more years ago if I was confident, I would have said no. I’ve always thought of myself as pretty shy, mostly because I WAS – awkward amongst new people, or in big groups, not willing to speak out in meetings (or lectures, or classes). If I could avoid talking to someone on the phone I would always send an email, and public speaking? Forget about it.

But here’s where I truly believe ‘Fake it until you make it’. Because once I realised I wanted to work in marketing, being the shy and retiring type just wasn’t going to cut it. Those who project confidence are the ones who interviewers remember, and ultimately, the ones who are going to get the jobs. So I faked it. Big smile, clear speech, relaxed persona... and I fooled people. I did it so often that I stopped thinking about it, particularly when I was made redundant in the height of the recession, and went to a LOT of interviews. So then, in one interview, I was asked what my weakness was, and I said that sometimes I could be shy, but I was working on it... and the interviewers said ‘You? You’re not shy!’ And suddenly I realised they were right – I wasn’t. Not any more.

There are a lot of elements that tied into this change, and completely changed this very big part of me. Earlier this year, I did my first public presentation to a room of 200 people, and have done similarly-sized presentations twice since then. I've gone from being terrified at the first one, to now quite enjoying it. And what’s interesting about that is that part of the ease I feel in front of an audience has actually come from something Donna mentioned – are you more confident online than in person?

Because, I think as bloggers and tweeters there’s an element of seeking validation. If your outfit post gets nice comments you do think ‘Oh, okay, I do look alright then’. If your jokey tweet gets RTed you do think ‘I must be at least a LITTLE bit funny’. If your photograph gets pinned, you do think ‘I can’t be that bad at photography, after all!’ And gradually you start to believe in yourself a bit more.

My point is this; if I’m being honest, the biggest reason I think I am more confident IS the internet. It’s given me the chance to let my silly sense of humour loose and I’ve got (almost) nothing but positivity back. So I got up there in front of 200 people, and I talked about marketing, and I made jokes about my team and the company, and I was FINE.

I’m not saying that I don’t have doubts, or awkward moments, or fat days or bad skin days or frizzy hair days, and when I meet new people I quite often spend ages afterwards worrying that I was annoying or horribly drunk (normally both). Because it’s normal, and if I didn’t, I’d be a pretty unbearable, deluded person. But I DO believe in myself more than I did five years ago, and you guys are a big part of that. I just wanted you to know that.

So, if you’re where I was in my early 20s, full of doubt and fear and shyness – just work on it. Focus on the things you like about yourself. Give yourself some credit for the things you’re good at. Then maybe, when you hit 30, you’ll realise you’re not that scared little person any more, too.

And it'll feel kind of amazing.

In case you were wondering: 
Dress - River Island | Belt - New Look | Necklace - Wharton Goldsmith | Collar - Girl & Bird | Friis & Company Flat Shoes c/o Spartoo Shoes

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Among the stars.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been hard at work over the last week, jazzing up my Etsy shop, Benita Blue. I’ve added lots of new stock which is great for me – loads of new bits to add to my own jewellery collection! I’ve been living in the bracelets, especially the one below.

I’d love it if you popped over and had a peruse – there is a huge selection of products now (I just hit the big 50!) and I’ve done my best to keep the prices low... hopefully to aid in your Christmas shopping a bit!

If you’re thinking of making a purchase, you can get 10% off before 15th December by using the code ESSBEEVEE (just enter at checkout). 

Oh, go on.

"Little Owl"

"Reindeer Games"
(matching necklace available too!)

"Giver of Stars"

"A Ribbon at a Time"

"A Ribbon of Moonlight"

"The Fall of the Leaf"

"The Moon was but a Chin of Gold"

Do let me know if you decide to buy anything – and if you have any ideas for more variations I could do! I make everything by hand, to order, so I can do all sorts of fiddling.
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