Old English Company Haul and Review

I’m a big fan of shopping small businesses where possible and I have an entire favourites file on my laptop dedicated to my first ports of call when seeking the perfect gift- for a loved one or for myself. High up on that favourites list is the Old English Company- known for their hand letter-pressed wares, it’s one of those sites where you are guaranteed to find something for everyone so when they got in touch asking if I would like to collaborate I wasted no time at all in sending my reply.

All items c/o Old English Comany

I was pretty much given free reign of the website and allowed to pick out some products to review and keep. The decision process was a lengthy one, there were (and are) so many items I love and narrowing it down was near on impossible.
My Mum and I both collect enamel pins and the Old English Company do an impressive selection for £7.00 each. I had to go for the coffee for life pin for myself- coffee IS life, every one who knows me is aware of this and waits until I’ve had at least one cup before attempting any kind of interaction.
I picked the Number 1 Mother pin for Mum as she’s been a bit stressed out lately and I wanted to remind her how much I appreciate her. I seem to barely see her these days between work and spending time at Bob’s so I’ll take any chance I can to make her feel special and remind her that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
As well as collecting enamel pins I also hoard mugs- I have a vast selection at home, and at Bob’s- and his collection is growing rapidly thanks to me as well. The Old English Company sell many, many mugs with tongue in cheek, motivational and sentimental statements on them- perfect for gift giving (and budget special at a tenner each, not bad for something so personal to the recipient). I chose the “good morning my love” mug to give to Bob as it’s the first thing he says to me each day- in a terrible Bristol accent, and as soon as I saw this print it made me smile. Of course I went coffee themed again for myself. It’s become a new fixture on my desk at work, where my dependence on coffee is now a standing joke.
Finally the stationery addict in me couldn’t resist adding this planner (sparkly pen from Typo) to my notebook collection. I’m a list maker, it keeps me grounded and on track and this planner has no dates on it so it’s perfect for ad-hoc use at any time during the year. It would be great as a bullet journal platform as well, and a great gift for any one who is in to their organisation. It’s £11.95 which may seem pricey, but any fan of a good note book will know and appreciate that some times it’s just worth paying that bit more- with it’s chic black cover and pearlescent print, this is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical- it also comes in several other colour ways.
As you can probably tell, the Old English Company certainly didn’t disappoint and I hope this post serves as inspiration and encouragement to shop small businesses. Take a look at the website and let me know in the comments what your favourite products are- I’m desperate to add more of their homewares to my life, and I’m pretty sure Bob won’t notice if a sneak a few to his until we get a place of our own…

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My 9-5 Style

Ok, so I don’t know where the last week has gone but I want my time back! Every time I thought I’d get a minute to sit down and blog something got in the way and at one point I’d convinced myself I had already written and published this post!

Now I’m working 9-5 it’s been harder and harder to get motivated to do any outfit photos, all of my favourite, casual outfits barely see the light of day, and with one exception there’s not much in my work wardrobe that I want to be showing off- and by the time I get home from work I’m usually do dishevelled that it’s not worth photographing. I did finally get my bum in gear though and took this outfit with me to a weekend at Bob’s purely for photo purposes- it ties in nicely with how I’ve been wearing my Zadig & Voltaire watch I featured the other week and whilst my working wardrobe is still a work in progress, this is the kind of style I’d ideally be sporting every day.

Shirt: Monki | Trousers: Monki : Boots: Banana Republic | Ring and Watch c/o watchshop.com

Monki wasn’t the first shop that sprang to mind when I thought about work wear, but on a shopping trip for some weekend clothes (jeans, mission aborted) I ended up grabbing two of these shirts and these trousers instead. I’m not really a shirt or blouse person but these hang so nicely, and are a great length- I got two in the end, this one and a black and white pinstripe one and I highly recommend them. The trousers were very reasonable at £30 and fit like a dream. I love culottes, prefer them over full length trousers to be honest as I can never quite find the right length in not cropped styles. I’m definitely going back for a black pair as well, they are hugely flattering, and whilst I’m not a trouser person these days due to ever expanding waist line these don’t make me feel anything other than a little bit smart and refined.

Sadly since taking these photos my beloved Banana Republic boots have died a tragic death and are no longer in circulation. I’m yet to find the perfect pair to replace them- this is not the time of year to find yourself in the market for a new pair of boots- if anyone has seen any that may bridge the gap do let me know…

I’m constantly seeking inspiration for my work wardrobe these days as I spend the majority of my life there so I would love to know where everyone shops and what styles they are loving at the moment.

That said, I have a week off next week and I am hugely looking forward to breaking in to denim dresses and trainers and kicking back for a while.

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Never Pay Full Price Again With These Savvy Shopping Tips*

“I need to be more responsible with money!” How many times have you said that to yourself? It’s not always easy to show restraint, and if you find that your savings are always being sacrificed for the latest ‘must-have’ you could start feeling anxious about your financial future- I’m forever telling myself I need to spend less and save more, but then something exciting comes along and I find myself splashing the cash.
Is there a way to shop and save? There certainly is- and when you become a better bargain hunter you can learn to get the things you want at a lower price – allowing you to put those extra savings aside.

Want to learn what it takes to be a savvy shopper? Read these top tips and never pay full price again!

Never accept the first offer
When you’re shopping – the first price you see doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you end up paying. See that price tag as a challenge to beat and save yourself some money. If you always approach shopping with a view to saving money you’ll develop some great habits that will make you much more thrifty – without compromising on the things you want. You’ll need to work on beating your urge to impulse buy, but once you get past that – there’ll be a whole world of shopping opportunities at your feet.

Always compare

Comparison sites are great, they do all of the hard work for you so that you can get a clear picture of every deal that’s out there and make the best decision. Take cheap car insurance for example, to quote those (annoyingly true) TV ads – a quick search really could save you £££s on your car insurance. Comparison sites exist for everything from insurance and flights to makeup and blu-rays – always do a little comparison, even if it is a manual one to see which retailer offers the better deal.

Make money while spending

Are you using a cashback scheme? If not – start one right away. Cashback schemes like Topcashback or Quidco are great for saving money while doing your usual shopping. They work as a sort of gatekeeper to online stores, simply start your retailer search with them rather than Google and you’ll be given back a percentage of your spend into your account. When the cashback amount builds up you can swap it for gift vouchers or a bank payment to use as you please – it’s such a simple way to get some extra savings with barely any effort!

Search high and low for discount codes

There’s nothing better than finding a great discount code. Saving 10, 20 or even 30 percent can make a big difference when you’re unsure of whether you can afford to buy something. A quick search for ‘retailer + code’ could open up a lot of offers that you wouldn’t have found elsewhere. Sign up to newsletters, search Twitter and try every avenue possible to find a good discount code.

As a little bonus tip, you can buy discounted gift cards from places like Zeek. This means that if you can’t find a discount code for something you want to buy, you could buy a discounted gift card instantly and use that instead. Some cards are sold for as much as 15% off their actual value – which is a great discount to have off different items. If you do manage to find a discount code on top, your savings could be even greater!

Make wish lists

Wish lists are great for bookmarking items you might want to buy later or might be out of your price range at the moment. Having a wish list for places like ASOS, Amazon and Topshop means that you can find discounts and sale deals easily – without you having to search around for them. When sale time comes around, you’ll already be able to see the savings on items you liked in the first place – stopping you buying items on impulse.

Don’t forget eBay
eBay is a fantastic tool when you use it properly. Using eBay to shop doesn’t have to mean buying used or second-hand goods, there is still plenty of newness there for you to sink your teeth into. Some amazing eBay buying tips include searching for ‘new with tags’ on items you have been eyeing up elsewhere, and seeing what comes up. You could find yourself saving much more on an item that’s still in store simply because someone couldn’t be bothered to return it. It’s always worth a try, and you can even set up search alerts to make it easier for you to get the latest deals.

By becoming a savvier shopper, you can help your money stretch further to build up your savings. You can also grow your savings through investments, which can make those goals such as a house deposit or wedding fund much easier to get to. Good financial habits are important as you get older, so make sure you start adulting when it comes to your money.

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The Cat Lady Wish List (volume II)

Given how obsessive I am about cats, there has been a distinct lack of them on the blog lately (along with posts in general). Whilst having a rare hour or so of down time at the weekend I found myself browsing my favourite online haunts and homing in on all things feline, which led to this post, volume two (volume one here) of the cat lady wish list. It may only be a brief post, but fellow cat ladies (and gents) I hope you find some inspiration.

Ring: watchshop.com | Slippers: typo | Mug: thunder egg | Tee: monki | Stickers: katie moody | Skirt: joanie | Cross Stitch Kit: the geeky stitching co

As far as purchases go, at least a few shall be made- I actually already own the cross stitch kit (and have for some time, with no time to stitch these days!). Typo have recently opened a store in Bristol and given that I have to pop in to get a gift for someone it would be oh so very rude not to grab a pair of those slippers whilst I’m at it right? The Monki t-shirt is a bargain at £8 and I think two of those shall be picked up- one for myself and one for my Mum, who I inherited my cat lady traits from.
The other three items will be winging their way on to my Birthday wish list- somehow almost an entire year has passed since I turned 30…time really does go faster the older you get!

Have any feline themed items caught your eye lately? Feel free to let me know what, and where in the comments.

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A Holiday Swimwear Wish List*

I’ve finally got around to booking some time off work over the next few months, and for the first time in a few years I’m in a position where I can afford to book a holiday. After an incredible but somewhat cold and rainy trip to Scotland last year I’m seriously hoping to head to sunnier climes this time around. Working out where we want to go is proving tricky for Bob and I- we’d be going in July and want somewhere with sunshine, but not too hot (Spain’s 40 degree days might be ok for me but I fear Bob would come back as a puddle). It also needs to be affordable and somewhere that doesn’t take 6+ hours to fly to- four hours is about my maximum tolerance on a plane for a week long break.

Whilst picking a destination might be difficult, thinking about a holiday wardrobe is all too easy, although not without it’s own challenges.
My body this Summer is going to be very different to how it was last Summer, and even more so than the ones before. The idea of baring skin is daunting as I’m not yet used to my changing figure and it’s certainly not as toned as I would like (there’s a whole other post coming on that one). Still, the high street seems to be awash with gorgeous high-waisted bikinis at the moment so I thought that today, with it’s grey and dismal sky, I’d pop together a wish list of some of the swim wear I could definitely envisage myself in this Summer.

From top left-
ASOS | Simply Beach | Simply Beach | ASOS | Monki | Simply Beach

It goes without saying that ASOS was my first port of call when seeking inspiration- I barely even scratched the surface of their swim wear pages before I had more than a dozen items on my wish list! I was especially taken with this white and floral printed number for lazing on a beach, as well as the much plainer block navy set for more practical purposes such as swimming or any water based activities.
It would also go without saying that I’d find something I loved from Monki- every Summer I admire their swim collections wishing I had reason to justify a purchase. This year I might be able to do just that and I feel that this ruche monochrome bikini set would be both flattering and stylish.

Branching out of my usual haunts and I stumbled across Simply Beach as well, which got me thinking back to the quality over quantity debate. I am absolutely smitten with the blue and white set by Lepel London- and whilst the set might set me back £40 one suspects it is built to last more than some of my cheaper picks on this wish list. I might be imagining it but I also imagine it to be more supportive and therefore flattering, but that could just be me trying to justify potentially spending more on a bikini than I ever have before.

So there we have it, my swim wear wish list. All I need now is for us to decide on a holiday destination, get something booked and then start shopping (and given I’ve grown out of every bikini/pair of shorts/just about everything I own) I feel I have the perfect excuse.

Where are you heading for your holidays this year? Do you have any recommendations that fit my affordable/not too far/plenty of sunshine brief?

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