Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sass and Belle Easter Decorations

With just a couple of weeks to go until Easter, I've actively started shopping for new decorations for the occasion.

I'm not religious- in fact I'm about the furthest thing from it, even though I was raised catholic and went to a catholic primary school- but I do love Easter, and I want to start making a bigger deal out of it at home. We already give each other Easter eggs, have an Easter meal together, and usually have Spring flowers like daffodils and tulips filling the house, but I want to decorate the house with lots more lovely decorations, do more Easter baking, and even do some crafting this year, too.

Basically, I want to do Easter like Steel Magnolias.

Just maybe without the bleeding armadillo groom's cake. 

And the bad hair.

I've already picked up a few decorations from Sass and Belle this month, after stumbling up on their Easter range, and I thought you guys might like to see them.

I couldn't resist picking up the Spring Bunny Happy Easter plaque, which was on sale for just £1.50, down from £4. It's a lovely cream-painted wooden plaque, with a cut out of bunnies and flowers, a green wire handle decorated with wooden flowers and leaves, and 'Happy Easter' painted across it in a modern pink font. I think it's such a sweet decoration, and the quality is really good for the price.

The Easter Bunny Family Pastel Hanging Decoration (£4) follows a similar style to the Spring Bunny plaque, being a painted wooden plaque with bunnies cut out of wood to sit on top and a wire loop, but this one features a family of bunnies each with a pastel bow decorating their little necks. The main body of the plaque is painted with pretty pastel tulips and flowers, which I found too cute to resist, and underneath hang single pastel letters fixed in to the word by wire, spelling out the word 'Easter'. It even has a twine bow embellished with a wooden flower and beads to hang it from. It's ridiculously cute, and is going to look adorable hanging by a vase full of yellow daffodils.

My favourite of the three decorations I bought has to be the Shabby Chic Easter Bunny Heart Hanging Decoration, which I got for the bargain price of £1, down from £2. It's a cute double-sided painted metal heart with the same design on each side: two white bunnies that look like they're fist-bumping, yellow flowers, and a little heart design in the centre of another heart, with scalloped edging. It's very twee, but in a good way; I personally think it's adorable. I only wish I'd bought a couple more.

I also bought a pack of Decoris pastel-coloured paper bunny bunting from a Dobbies garden centre last weekend, which you can see in the photos, although I can't find a stockist for it online.

I'm sure that these won't be the last of the Easter decorations I pick up this year, but I like to think my search for new Easter decs is off to a good start.

Do you decorate your home for Easter?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday Favourites #268

I'm running a little bit late with this week's Sunday Favourites because I haven't been well enough to put it together in advance this week, but, hey, it's still Sunday, so at least I've managed to catch up on the right day for a change! Here are some of the things that have caught my eye this week...

This chocolate-dipped strawberry Neapolitan cake from The Candid Appetite looks amazing.

I love this half-moon planter from Urban Outfitters.

Very photogenic farm animals, snapped by photographer Rob MacInnis.

I want to make A Beautiful Mess' DIY cactus-outline pillow.

One of the awesome London Underground notice boards that popped up after Wednesday's terrorist attack in Westminster. 

I adore these surreal blended photographs from Turkish artist Huseyin Sahin

Scuffles the cat is adorable, and he even has a string of chicken admirers.

This photo of the Swiss Alps by Senna Relax is beautiful.

This stunning piece of artwork is made up of 8 million dots, and took 400 hours for the artist, Xavier Casalta, to create.

Stray cats playing in drainage holes in Japan, as photographed by Japanese photographer Nyan Kichi.

Look how beautiful this book, How To Be A Wallflower by Katie Daisy, is!

I love these Frenchie pins from Cry Wolf, although I can't decide if I prefer the mustard or the grey.

This photograph is amazing! The skeleton, Stickman, is the alter-ego of the photographer, Spooky Pooka, who suffers from Chron's Disease, and it's made entirely from sticks to represent the body's fragility during a flare up. It was also the winner of this year's Wellcome Image Awards, and I can see why.

I'm completely amazed by Justine McKinney aka My Gal The Zombie FX's incredible make up artistry skills. She paints herself in to all kinds of characters, and on average spends between 10-20 hours creating each one. Amazing.

Lovely Links

♥ Hot dudes and their dogs. You're welcome.

♥ This stray dog keeps bringing gifts to a woman that feeds him.

For daily favourites, follow me on Pinterest and Tumblr. You can also find all previous Sunday Favourites posts here.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Polka Spots and Freckle Dots Turns Five!

Five years ago today, I decided to start a blog. I signed up to Blogger, created a quick generic blog design, and put together my first blog post- an outfit post with a grainy, headless mirror-shot of me wearing a black polka dot dress, and a couple of paragraphs introducing myself to my zero followers. I clicked 'publish', and nervously sent that first post in to the void, putting myself out there on the Internet. Polka Spots and Freckle Dots was born, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now my little space on the Internet has turned five years old, and I'm here reminiscing like a proud parent. My little blog is all grown up!

I honestly can't believe I'm here marking five whole years of blogging on my little blog already. Where has the time gone?

When I published that first post, I would never have imagined that five years later I would still be here, blogging regularly, and still enjoying it. I guess I assumed that it would hold my interest for a couple of months before I got bored, lost interest, cast it aside, and moved on to the next venture, like I had with other sites like Livejournal and an old Tumblr blog. Sure, the frequency and content I've posted has declined somewhat over the last two or three years, because as my chronic pain has worsened it's become increasingly difficult for me to stand long enough to arrange my flatlays / displays, and take photos- which frustrates the hell out of me- but I still blog multiple times a week, and am always busy working away behind the scenes. I don't think I've ever dedicated so much time and effort in to any other project or hobby in my life; I've never even kept a journal for more than a few weeks! I'm amazed and proud of myself for committing myself to my blog for so long, and for all the time and effort I've devoted to it over the years. I've poured my heart and soul in to this blog and I count it as a great achievement.

Creating Polka Spots turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever could have made, although I never could have imagined the impact it was going to have on my life over the next five years.

When I created my blog, I had no long term plan; I had no vision, no expectations, no goals I wanted to strive for, and no dreams of achieving stardom and success. (To be honest, I didn't even expect to get a single reader. I thought I'd just end up writing for myself like I had on Livejournal). I simply wanted a place where I could share my outfits and my love for fashion and beauty, with the vague thought of working towards body positivity as I went along, and showing other plus size women what fashion was available to them. 

Mostly, I was just looking for something new to do to keep me busy while I was on sick leave from my job in visual merchandising with severe chronic back pain I then only knew to be "disc injuries". After six months of bed rest and living life on hiatus, I was becoming increasingly bored and restless, and needed some new ways to fill the time in my Groundhog Day life. There was only so much reading, watching TV, and mindlessly surfing the net I could do each day before I lost the will to live.

Polka Spots and Freckle Dots has helped me achieve most of those things at different times in my blogging journey. 

All of the years I spent regularly blogging my outfits increased both my body confidence and self-confidence enormously, helping me to accept myself for who I am on the inside and outside. I haven't quite found total body confidence yet, but I'm further along that yellow brick road of body positivity than I ever could have imagined I'd reach. Before this blog, I was the girl who'd spent a life time hating her body, hiding away when the cameras came out, and untagging herself from Facebook photos, and I'd still be that person if it wasn't for this blog, my lovely readers, and the plus size fashion / body positivity communities. Thankfully, I'm not that girl anymore because of blogging. (I haven't been well enough to blog regular outfits in quite a long time, but it is something I'm hoping to get back in to again when my heart rate gets back to normal. I miss it). 

My blog has given me something to do every single day over the past five years, and has kept me occupied during tens of thousands of hours of bed rest, probably more than every other means of escape I enjoy combined. Amazingly, thanks to this blog, I've rarely been bored or short of things to do since I began blogging- which is pretty miraculous considering I've spent the best part of the last five years confined to bed alone, with nothing but a laptop, TV, and a pile of books for company. If anything, there have never been enough hours in the day! You'd think every day would drag on like a prison sentence, but they always pass so far with this blog to keep me busy. There's always something to do when you run a blog!

Polka Spots hasn't just provided me with a bit of fun and entertainment over the  years, it's provided me with an outlet to help me deal with all the struggles and challenges of living with chronic pain and chronic illness on a daily basis, the changes to my life, my body and my abilities, and the difficult and frustrating health care experiences I've faced. It's offered a massive distraction from the pain when it's been raging so overwhelmingly I've been close to giving up. It's given me a place where I've been able to let out my honest thoughts, feelings, and frustrations during these experiences without judgement, and somewhere I've been able to turn to when I've felt alone and isolated. It's always been there for me, long after the people I once considered friends stopped calling. 

I don't know how I would have gotten through the past five years without this blog to keep me going, but I'm certain it would have been far harder and mind-numbingly boring without it. It's been a real life line to me, and far that I owe it so much.

I know I'm not the best blogger. I'm not the best writer or photographer, and the content I produce isn't as good or as exciting as what many other bloggers create. However, I've always put 110% in to every post, and worked hard to create the best content I can. I think the quality of my posts has improved over the years, and my photography has become a little better, and it's something I'm constantly trying to improve.

I'm never going to be a famous blogger with millions of followers, but I'm not sure I'd want to be, either. I may not have a huge following, but I'm grateful for my small following, and it means the world to me. I'm grateful for each and every one of you who takes the time to read along, comment on my posts, follow me on social media, and message me, even though I may take a while to reply these days. I'm ashamed of myself for that, and intend to get my act together from now on and reply quickly again. Even when your comments go unanswered for a while, I do appreciate every one, and they mean so much to me. I definitely don't deserve you guys!

Through blogging, I've made some great friends I would never have 'met' without it,and become part of an awesome community of people I'm proud to know and be a part of.

I've had some amazing experiences and have been able to work with some fantastic brands over the years. I've learnt skills I never would have attempted or mastered, improved on so many different existing ones, and learnt so much along the way. 

All these years of blogging have brought so much to my life, and it's been a fun and exciting journey that I'll never regret having made. It's without a doubt one of the best decisions I've ever gone with. It's not just a hobby, but a way of life now.

I may have been blogging for a full five years, but I have no intention of giving it up any time soon. I still enjoy blogging here, and have so much I want to blog about in the future. I really want to work on bringing back more fashion and beauty posts to the blog, posting outfits again, and blogging about more of the things that matter to me. I need to find a way to make photography easier for me so I can blog regularly again and become much more productive, and I definitely need to give the blog a long over due make over and re-brand ASAP. I still have so much I want to do here, and I can't see you getting rid of me that easily! I'm here to stay.

Here's to what I hope will be another five years of blogging, and plenty of fun, adventures, experiences, and friendships along the way! Another five years of fashion, beauty, Wednesday Wish Lists, Sunday Favourites, outfits, book reviews, craft projects, novelty handbags, colourful eye make up, adventures, shopping hauls, product reviews, home decor, colour, polka dots, and so much more.

Thank you for supporting Polka Spots and Freckle Dots over the past five years from the bottom of my heart! You guys are awesome!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Wednesday Wish List

I'm sorry that this week's Wednesday Wish List is coming to you much later than usual.

My heart has been racing uncontrollably all day again, and has been since the weekend, and it's making it pretty difficult to attach myself to a computer for any length of time. I honestly have no idea what's happening to me anymore. 

I've been determined to put this post together anyway, though, but I've had to do it in stages, and it's taken me all day to finish it. I wasn't able to include everything I wanted to feature this week, but there are still plenty of gorgeous clothes and accessories I'm sure you're going to love as much as I do.

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I'm in love with Collectif's collection of summery novelty brooches, and lemon wedge novelty bag. They'd be perfect for accessorising all of my Summer outfits.

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Collectif also have some gorgeous dresses in their latest collection. I'm particularly smitten with the amazing Mainline Jade Watermelon swing dress. Isn't it fantastic?!

These floral Collectif Vintage Jessie cropped cardigans are so pretty.

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Lady Vintage have some seriously stunning dresses at the moment, and these two flamingo print numbers from the Lady Voluptuous plus size collection, which goes up to a size 30/32, are my idea of perfection. I can never resist a flamingo print, and I doubt that'll ever change; I can't get enough of them!

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I'm quite taken with all of the new classic 1950s swing dresses from Lady V, too. The prints are all fantastic, especially the flamingos, lemons, bird city (which has flamingos, toucans, macaws, cockatoos, and cockatiels on it), and macaw prints. The dresses even have pockets and built in petticoats!

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And last but not least, these patterned A-line dresses from Modcloth are seriously cute. They look like the perfect casual day dresses, with plenty of personality. I think the green dinosaur and purple cacti designs are my favourites.

If you'd like to see more of the fashion pieces on my wish list each week, check out my style wish list boards on Pinterest

You can also find all previous Wednesday Wish List posts here.

What's on your wish list this week?
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