Friday, 22 August 2014

Red Gingham and Strawberries

When I first began blogging, I was happy to post photos of my outfits on my blog regardless of the quality of them. Grainy, shadowy, dark... I took what I got and just shared them. Now I have much higher standards, and try to use only the best photos my little point and shoot camera can take. (Which, let's face it still aren't great). I just like to do everything as best as I can. That's the control freak in me.

Today's photos have been sitting in my drafts for about a month. I wasn't going to share them because they're awful. I took them on an insanely hot sunny day during last month's heatwave, so they came out so over-exposed. Our garden doesn't get any shade from dawn til dusk. I had hoped to re-shoot this outfit, but I've not been physically able to, and I'm not sure when I will be, so I've decided to share them anyway. I wanted to show you guys this dress before Autumn starts creeping in because it is a real gem of a summer frock, and I'm too aware that summer is swiftly ticking away.

Introducing my very first Lindy Bop dress- the Audrey red check swing dress!

I adore it! 

I'd been on the hunt for the perfect red gingham dress for a couple of years, so when I found it and realised it came in my size, I just had to have it. I hadn't worn gingham since primary school and back then I was forced to wear a red gingham shirt dress every summer with a red sweatshirt and white socks. I loathed that uniform. When I left Primary school in 1996, I was determined never to wear gingham again... and for eighteen years I didn't... until last month when I found this dress and fell in love with it. I blame blogging; blogging has made me love gingham again! That and the fact this dress is an absolute beauty!

Sure, I may look like a table cloth threw up on me, or that I've just come from a 1950s village fete, but I love it. It makes me want to go picnic down by the river, make daisy chains and read old Enid Blyton novels.

What I love about the dress is that it's so beautifully made and high quality, yet so inexpensive. This dress was just £29.99! Lindy Bop is the most affordable vintage reproduction brand I've personally come across, and the quality is far greater than most dresses you can find on the high street for the same price. They're a great brand to start with if you're thinking of dabbling in rockabilly fashion but aren't quite sure what styles work for you yet, and they're equally great for anybody on a tight budget.

One size up // Two sizes up

What I didn't know before I bought this dress was that Lindy Bop cater to plus sizes! They stock UK sizes 8-22 with many pieces up to a 26, and instead of creating a separate plus size range, all clothes are available to all sizes they carry (well, at least up to a 22) with is fantastic. I'd always assumed that they wouldn't stock my size, so I had only admired them from afar. I could kick myself for not checking sooner! 

As for fit and sizing- I ordered a size up to begin with, as I usually do with fitted waist dresses, and as you can see in these photos, it fit well everywhere but was a little snug on the waist. Snug clothes hurt my spine so I decided to send it back and got the next size up, which was a much comfier fit on the waist, but as usual, baggy on top. 

It's rare that I get the perfect fit. I'm broad-shouldered, but only a c-cup, and my waist is only two or three inches narrower than my bust, so if I want a dress to fit comfortably on the waist, it will usually be loose on top. It's not a big deal to me because I always cover up with a cardi in public, but I think I'll probably get my tailor (read: Mum) to take this one in for me. (I really need to learn how to sew). 

I've seen other bloggers call this dress true to size, so all I can say is use the size guides on their website against your measurements if you're unsure. 

The good news is, if you need to exchange anything for a different size, you can send it back for a straight swap instead of having to return and reorder! My exchange was with me in less than a week. The bad news is, you have to pay the postage costs to return anything, which sucks.

I styled this dress with a strawberry necklace, strawberry cross-body bag, yellow polka dot pumps, and a red shrug. My only mistake was putting the cardigan on in 32'c heat for a couple of minutes. It wasn't my wisest move. I thought I was going to pass out! I started feeling sick and had to get a cold shower to cool my body down. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box.

The print would make a great table cloth, but it's an even better dress! I wish it came in other colours!

The strawberry necklace came from a vintage shop / stall in Camden called Berty and Gerty. I'm pretty sure it's not vintage, but I love it just the same.

The white flowers remind me of strawberry blossom, so I had to use it as a background for my strawberry bag. I think the bag is perfect with the gingham dress, because red gingham makes me think of summer picnics and you can't have a summer picnic without strawberries! 

The bag came from Accessorize about a year ago, so unfortunately it's not a current line.

I don't own the perfect pair of shoes for this dress, so I just wore my new yellow polka dot ballet pumps from New Look. Aren't they cute? They're from the wide fit section and were only £9.99, so naturally I had to buy them in navy as well. They're not available online anymore, but it could be worth checking your local store just in case.

Outfit Details

Dress- Lindy Bop. (Sizes 8-26).
Cardigan- M&Co. (Similar, sizes 8-22).
Necklace- Berty and Gerty.
Bag- Accessorize.
Shoes- New Look. (Wide fit sizes 3-8).

Since ordering this dress, I've purchased another two Audrey dresses- this one and this one- and I'm hooked. I'm coveting so many other Lindy Bop clothes that I know this is just the start of what will be a large collection. I can't wait to show you my two polka dot Audreys this Autumn!

Are you a Lindy Bop fan?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wednesday Wish List

Well hello there!

How is it Wednesday again already? It doesn't feel like a week has gone by since my last wish list post, or my last trip to the hospital. The last few weeks have ticked by so quickly and I've no idea where they've gone.

I've got lots of beautiful pieces to show you this week, but I'm going to keep the words short and sweet because I'm struggling to sit here and write. I had multiple facet injections in to my spine last Wednesday under local anaesthetic (I lost count after eight), and the pain in my back has been raging far worse than normal ever since. My spine and lower back are on fire. I haven't been able to lie on my back or sit up against anything since they were done, because my back hurts so much, and the extra pain is making it difficult for me to function for any length of time. I'm not quite sure when the pain will ease off, since I was told I'd bounce back after a day or two, but hopefully I'll be back to my normal level of pain soon. I'm beginning to doubt that the injections are going to make a difference to the pain, but I guess we shall see.

I can at least see that this isn't short and sweet at all, and I just wrote an essay! Let's move on to the wish lists before I send you all off to dreamland!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16

I'm currently obsessed with everything red, black, burgundy, plum, and forest green, not that you'd know  it from the wish list above... I'm loving a bunch of beautiful dresses from Lindy Bop and Hell Bunny, but my most sought-after piece this week is the gorgeous burgundy satchel from River Island. I need it, I want it, and I have to have it! It would go perfectly with so many AW outfits. I already have two very similar RI satchels in green and gold, but it wouldn't hurt to add a third to the collection... the colour is proving impossible to resist.

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

My wish lists wouldn't be complete without a good dose of colour, and a quirky accessory or twelve. 

Aren't the 'Little Moose' sloth and octopus accessories amazing?! Char shared them in her Friday Favourites post last week, and made me fall in love with them all! They are hands down some of the cutest accessories I've ever seen.

Dress // Jumpsuit

I forgot to add these to the first collage, but I really love the spot prom dress and black lace jumpsuit from Claire Richards' collection for Simply Be. The jumpsuit is stunning!

What's on your wish list this week? 

Which of these are your favourites?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Cut Make Trim Leather Satchels + Discount Code

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember that a little earlier in the year I had the pleasure of reviewing a beautiful handmade leather barrel bag from British satchel manufacturer Cut Make Trim. [Read the review here]. 

The bag is one of the most beautifully-crafted, high-quality bags I've ever owned and over the last few months, it's become one of my firm favourites. I've enjoyed using it time and time again, and I couldn't be happier or more impressed with it.

So, I'm pleased to be able to offer an exclusive Cut Make Trim discount code for Polka Spots and Freckle Dots readers today. (Coming up at the end of this post).

First, let me tell you a little bit about Cut Make Trim and the bags they make.

Cut Make Trim are a small team of experienced crafts people who make high-quality leather satchels by hand at their workshop in London using high quality leathers and fittings. At present, their collection is made up of five designs which come in up to twenty-two stunning colours including neutrals, brights, neons and pastels. There's sure to be a design for you no matter what your colour preference and handbag needs are.

The 11.5 Inch Satchel

The 13 Inch Satchel

The 15 Inch Satchel

Cut Make Trim's beautiful handmade leather satchels come in three sizes, so whether you like to travel light or prefer to carry everything but the kitchen sink around with you, they've got you covered. Each size comes in 18 or more classic and fashionable colours, and feature brass buckles and adjustable straps. These classic satchels are stylish and will never go out of fashion, so they're a great investment for your handbag collection and capsule wardrobe. They're ideal bags to take to college, uni, and work, as well as for every day use, like going shopping or doing a spot of sight-seeing.

The Barrel Bag

The barrel bag is a fantastic alternative to the classic satchel, and it's my personal favourite because it has much more room than the average satchel. It's the perfect bag for anybody who wants the charm of a classic satchel but needs something with a lot more space for all those essentials, and perhaps something a little bit different.

I have one in fuchsia and it's not only functional and practical but one of the most beautiful bags I've ever owned. I can fit so much in it, it's one coat stand away from becoming a Mary Poppins bag! I couldn't recommend this bag enough, and if fuchsia isn't your thing, it also comes in 20 other colours. If you'd like to read my full review of the Cut Make Trim barrel bag, you can do so here

The Saddle Bag

The saddle bag is a smaller but just as stylish alternative to the satchels and barrel bag. It comes in 22 gorgeous colours, so whether you love brights, pastels, or classic neutrals, there's sure to be a saddle bag for you! This design would go perfectly with jeans and a tee, or worn over a dress, cardi, and tights.

So, now I've shown you Cut Make Trim's beautiful leather bags, it's time for the good news:

Cut Make Trim are offering Polka Spots and Freckle Dots readers an exclusive discount of 15% off all Cut Make Trim bags at using the code: polkaspotsandfreckledots!

Fantastic, right?

This code is available to the first 50 customers who use it, and all you need to do is enter the code at the checkout at once you're ready to pay for your order. It couldn't be easier.

Why not take advantage of this exclusive discount code and treat yourself to a beautiful new bag for Autumn or the new school term? I promise you won't be disappointed!

Will you be treating yourself to one of these lovely bags? Which one is your favourite?

*The exclusive discount code is available to the first 50 customers who use it, on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Serendipity Sunday

Hey guys,

It's Sunday again already, and you all know what that means; it's time for a new dose of my Sunday favourites! Enjoy!

I love these pretty eyeshadow colours.

I think we forget this far too often.

Nature can be so beautiful. (Whether this photo has been photoshopped or not, though, I'm not sure).

I'm in love with Kaylah's gorgeous hair! Those colours are amazing!

Doesn't Amanda from June Bugs and Georgia Peaches look stunning in her red dress? I love the rainbow coloured wall in the background, too.

I want to make this DIY strawberry garland!

I really like this lady's vibrant pink and purple hair and eye make up.

These graphite drawings by Malaysian artist Monica Lee are incredible. When I first saw the completed picture of the bearded man, I thought it was a photo! The attention to detail is truly amazing; I've never seen freckles captured so realistically before. 

We shall be different and we shall love our bodies!

This is the most adorable chinchilla I've ever seen!

These tiny animal embroideries created by illustrator and embroiderer Chloe Giordano are amazing! Most are not much larger than a thimble, which makes the attention to detail  all the more impressive.

These photographs taken by photographer and amateur surfer Clark Little are stunning. 

Yes, that's a guy planking on a tiger...

This made me laugh because it's so true!

I love this desk arrangement.


These GIFs of Robin Williams with Koko the gorilla are so heart-warming. I love that she asked him to tickle her!

A graffiti tribute to Robin Williams has appeared in Serbia!

Don't let anybody make you feel ashamed of your body!

I love this! I definitely inhabit the 'land of self checkout lanes' and the 'river of daydreams' on a regular basis!

Louise's Lovely Links

♥ Leah wrote a brave and informative post about depression, mental illness, and suicide in light of the tragic suicide of Robin Williams earlier this week: Robin Williams, Suicide and Knowing You're Enough: Her post includes an extensive list of helplines and websites you can turn to for help, should you need it.

♥ Fox television presenter Shep Smith disgracefully called Robin Williams a coward for committing suicide this week, which was not only insensitive and inappropriate, but a completely misinformed opinion about mental illness. If you'd like to sign the petition calling for Fox to fire the presenter, and educate their staff about mental illness and suicide, you can do so here.

♥ Robin Williams once secretly fulfilled a dying girl's wish. This is just one of the stories which has emerged this week, showing what a truly lovely, inspiring man he was.

♥ Gene Simmons tells people with depression: 'Kill yourself!' Gene Simmons, you are a nasty excuse for a human being. and I hope karma comes back to bite you in the balls.

♥ Here's a list of counselling and prevention resources compiled by Tumblr.

♥ We all feel alone from time to time, whether regularly or once in a while, so here's a list of 25 ways to feel less lonely.

♥ I'd also recommend you read these 50 simple steps for cultivating self love

Thanks for reading!

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