Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Styling A Problem Skirt

Sometimes despite all your instincts and any practical thoughts in your head you see a piece of clothing you just have to buy. I saw this skirt in H&M in the summer sales and thought it looked like a designer skirt, I loved the fabric, colour, length shape everything. Where is the problem then? Well the problem was that the top that was sold with it, as lovely and matching as it was was in no way the right shape for my breasts. So now I am left with a skirt that is a beautiful yet slightly awkward shape to work with. Here is how I found not one but two great ways to style it.
The first thing to realise is that you are not going to find a matching colour so get that notion out of your head right now. I would also keep clear of trying to work on a spectrum. If I was to wear another blue with this skirt it would look like I had tried to match and failed. One might assume that matching black and white is simple but the shade of white tops would not look right with the white in the background so that is a no no also. Instead go for a completely different colour.
The second issue is the shape. A top that is too long would make an unflattering silhouette so go for something shorter perhaps in a peplum shape like I did. Despite this skirt looking quite fancy, if I do say so myself the overall look remained casual by wearing flats and my biker jacket.
For the second look I employed the same notion of colour, in fact I stepped it up a little. Maybe a lot, it just goes to show that you can throw lots of colours together, forget the fear and go for it, you can get away with so much if you do it with confidence. Although I advised against a long top if the top is long enough you can tuck it in, that way you can get the full effect of how small your waits appears in a fit and flare skirt.
This look also embraced the fanciness of the skirt with some heels. Chunky ones of course as they are easy and comfortable to walk around in.
Outfit Details
Top One  - Monoprix
Shoes -c/o Boden 
Skirt - H&M 
Bag - Vintage Topshop
Jacket - Lulu
Top Two - Monoprix
Cardigan - Collectif
Shoes - Killah 



Saturday, 13 December 2014

Tiffin Recipe

I have heard this called panpepato, rocky road, even fridge cake but to me it will always be tiffin. In August we held a naming ceremony for Sebastian in the house that is being renovated, and in places re-built. The oven did not, and does not work so I was left with a crawling baby, a wreck to decorate and 50 people to cater for, 14 of whom would be sleeping at the house. Some call me crazy, in fact most do and they are right but I love a challenge. The first challenge was to develop a great menu of food that did not need to be baked. The pudding centerpiece had to be the Coffee & Doughnut Trifle, follow the link for the recipe but the humble tiffin came a close second and it is incredibly simple to make. It is also a fun recipe that little ones can assist with.

I will share more about the actual ceremony another day but for now lets talk tiffin.

you will need;

2 x 155g bags of Maltesers
400g dark chocolate
100g raisins
250g packet gingernuts
3tbsp honey

method;

  1. Melt the chocolate over a pan of water, you know my feelings about chocolate and mirowaves, DON'T DO IT. To this add the honey.
  2. In a large bowl crush the biscuits, mix with the maltesers and raisins.
  3. Pour the chocolate and honey over the biscuit mixture and stir well.
  4. Transfer this between 2 brownie pans cover loosly with a cloth of baking parchment to stop any flies getting in and leave to set. This may take overnight. 
Image c/o Sarah Mason Photography

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My Office Before & Inspiration

Everything fell into place finding this house I mean everything. There was so much more space than was shown on the online spec, for example the dressing room space, there is additional secret room in there too, more on that another day. It was not just the space that was ideal but everywhere was fit for purpose and suited my family. For example the huge window in the roof that floods my office with light, exactly what was desired and required. Luckily what looked like damp in the corner turned out to be dirt, that was a relief and a saving!
The space has to be multi-purpose, although I will create things for the blog, style photos and obviously cook in other areas of the home this will be the central hub of Archie & The Rug. I will need to be able to write, take meetings, craft, store equipment and plan new adventures in this space. It is a fun space to work with due to the roof slant and the fireplace but that also makes furniture a problem too. Did I say problem I meant to say challenge.

I want to keep the multiple power sockets but have a plan in mind to give them more of an industrial feel. I want to keep the room light even though it will be filled with stuff, so, after some extensive searching I have settled on a high gloss laminate floor. I think it will work in the space and give it a contemporary and professional work feel, this is important when your work space is in your home.
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I want to inject most of the colour into this room through the furniture and accessories, however I am not convinced that I want to leave the walls blank. I am busy looking into hand painted walls, in fact I have started a new pinterest board all about it. I am looking to keep it subtle and will most probably be drawing on the walls with a sharpie, exciting times ahead. I love the colourful desk that Elsie has in her new office space, a great way to inject some colour.
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I have plans for Archie & The Rug that go beyond blogging so I need the space to be adaptable. Just like when I was planning my dressing room, (I am still on cloud nine about this), I have not seen a picture that I can point at and say yes this is what I want. I am happy about that as it means I can draw on a number of influences and create a unique and bespoke space to meet the needs of me and my business. Below are a few more examples of colour pops in a plain workspace that I find inspiring.
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For any space that has a number of intended uses I think that it is vital that furniture, as much as it can be, should be duel purpose or at the very least moveable/fold-able.
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I cannot wait to get started on this room, that is true of most if I am honest. Now that the window has been replaced with one that does not leak I can perform all of the jobs myself so I am not held back by saving up for builders. Expect to see a post about how to fit a floor yourself, I may even be dressed in a boiler suit for that one.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Sashiko Stitch Hoop Art

After living out of boxes, in two countries, with belongings in garages, storage units and attics I have learned the importance of 'the clear out'. That being said I am a not one to throw things out so I am now making a concerted effort to create projects with scraps, with all the things that are in the house. I am limiting ALL new purchases in the craft department until I have made my way through current stock piles. Notice how I used the word limit and not stop, I am not an idiot.

This is also the ideal time to make use of those projects that never were projects. The embroidery I used here started life as a sample. I am obsessed with all things Japanese and wanted to practice some sashiko stitches. As yet this practice did not turn into a larger project and I did not want to throw out my hard work, it would be such a waste. 
I always have a lot of embroidery hoops in the house so I decided to take 3 that best fitted the size of the sampler and cover them with fabric from my scrap pile and mod podge. Now they sit proudly on the wall of Sebastian's playroom, more on that later.

Try and challenge yourself to create projects with the things you already have lying around.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Winter Wreath - Hobbycraft Collaboration

One of the things that I hear most about Christmas craft, I don't have time to craft. Not a problem with this wreath. I was excited to be asked to create a holiday wreath for the wonderful folks at Hobbycraft, a shop where I can quite easily run up a hefty overdraft. I had two issues that I needed to combat. The first being that the front door in our apartment is a really ugly colour, oddly enough it is solid wood yet all of the doors in the building have been painted over with a wood effect, very strange. As we are in an apartment block I wanted to make a wreath that was more of a winter wreath rather than a Christmas wreath. Even when you have an ugly door you can still make a perfect wreath.

All of the materials I used can be found in store or online at Hobbycraft.
As the colour of the door could not be changed I decided to spray my wreath white to gain a striking contrast. I drew a star shape onto brown paper and cut out several shapes. Next I unwound lengths of wire and attached the brown paper stars by sandwiching the wire between two stars glued together.

Once I had positioned two of the robins I wound the wire and stars around the wreath. I decided to keep it simple and not add more adornment. I t works really well in the space and I can use it after Christmas as it has more of a wintery feel. The other added bonus is the whole wreath was put together in less than half an hour apart from drying time from the spray paint of course.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pumpkin & Chestnut Soup Recipe

As promised another pumpkin recipe. I simply adore squash season and not just because of the food but the colours, the crisp bright days and my love of hats can be fully realised. This is a light soup, I love a thick hearty soup as much as the next person but hate when all soups are the consistency of greek yoghurt. Maybe I have been living in Paris too long, soup is soup and potage is potage.

you will need;

1 small pumpkin (approximately 1kg)
100g whole cooked, peeled chestnuts
1 large white onion
50g butter
1tbsp sunflower oil
800ml vegetable stock
120ml double cream

method;
  1. Roughly chop the onion and saute with the butter and oil over a low heat until soft.
  2. Meanwhile peel, de-seed and chop the pumpkin into cubes. Also quarter the chestnuts. You should be able to find these in a tin or frozen.
  3. Add the pumpkin and chestnuts to the softened onion and continue to cook over a low heat with the lid on, to keep the condensation in for 5mins.
  4. Pour in the stock and simmer for 30 mins.
  5. Blend until smooth. Stir through the cream. 
  6. Serve or allow to cool and freeze for a later date.