Double Thumbs Dresses #11

Hey there dress fans! Long time no see! Apologies for my long absence but I am hoping that this super novelty print special edition of Double Thumbs Dresses will placate you somewhat. There are a ridiclous amount of fabulous frocks around at the moment! It’s really playing havoc with my bank balance – and my thumbs! Anyhoo, I’ve rounded up my personal favourites for you! Enjoy! x

Sweetie Print Tea Dress 46 from Topshop
Sweetie Print Tea Dress 46 from Topshop

This sweet little number has been doing the rounds on a lot of blogs and it’s not hard to see why! Topshop have really been having fun with their prints this season but this is one of the first times I have seen them use those fun prints on a dress! I literally applauded when it appeared on my desktop and ordered it straight away. I can confirm that it’s brilliant, although perhaps a little low cut for daytime wear.

Mushroom Dress £65 from Cath Kidson

Speaking of fun, you don’t get much more fun than a giant colorful mushroom! As usual, Cath Kidston have knocked it out the park with this playful print.  Does it make anyone else think of Super Mario? That’s definitely a good thing, FYI.   I love the shape and length of these dresses as they are just perfect for work and play.

Woody Woodland Tunic £65 by Louche from Joy
Julita-Country Dress £59.00 by Louche from Joy

Next up are these two exceptionally lovely dresses from Louche, both of which are available from Joy. I absolutely adore the woodland scene on the tunic dress! Very Animals of Farthing Wood chic! I’m not usually a tunic wearer myself but I can really see it looking lovely with black tights and some chunky boots come A/W.  It has gone straight to the top of my lust list. The second print is what we’ve come to expect from Louche, a brilliant, barmy and cutesy print featuring cows, cats, houses, plants, dogs, frogs….I could go on. It’s a beautiful colour and shape. I’m digging the full skirt. Continue reading Double Thumbs Dresses #11

She and Home: Candy Kittens

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It takes a lot to get the two of us out of bed on a Bank Holiday Monday but, bleary eyed and a little dazed, we found ourselves doing  just that this week as we were up at the crack of dawn and heading towards Cabot Circus for the launch of the Candy Kittens Pop Up shop. Yeah boi!

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For the uninitiated, Candy Kittens is a confectionery company, pioneered by Jamie Laing of BAFTA winning Made In Chelsea fame. Jamie definitely fancies himself as a bit of a modern day Willy Wonka and wants to make candy cool again by marketing it towards young people. Although it primarily markets itself as a confectionery business, Candy Kittens also has a flourishing fashion line and judging by the shoppers we witnessed, it’s very popular! You can also find such things as iPhone cases, beach balls and pencils nestled among the sweeties! All of which are all emblazoned with the Candy Kittens logo or one of Jamie’s often spoken catch phrases from Made in Chelsea. There is such a great variety on offer that it’s actually a bit of a one stop candy-cane pink lifestyle shop and it works perfectly with Jamie’s energetic personality.

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Victoria: Much like the recent Bella Sorella event that we attended, where Jo wasn’t sure if a clothing range associated with TOWIE would be her thing,  when asked if I fancied heading along to Made in Chelsea’s  Jamie Laing’s Candy Kittens pop up launch, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! Having never seen the show, I had a quick Google and discovered that Candy Kittens is less about kittens and much more about candy, though unfortunately not shaped like kittens. I can deal with that…just! I knew the brand would be fun and bright, so I thought this sunshine yellow River Island woollen dress would be quite fitting. I wore some brown M&S tights and my brogues are from my go to sensible shoe shop, Clarks. My gorgeous bicycle necklace is from Oliver Bonas and my super cute blue floral day bag is from Cath Kidston. Continue reading She and Home: Candy Kittens

She and Home: Gromit Unleashed

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80 Gromits, 10 weeks, 1 city. Cracking good job, Gromit! Led by Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal and Aardman Animations, Gromit Unleashed is a public art exhibition in which giant sculptures of the very loveable Gromit, decorated by invited artists, have been unleashed on the streets of Bristol and we have taken it upon ourselves to find every single smashing one! For those of you not lucky enough to live near Bristol, the original Gromit, pictured below with legend Nick Park, lives at London Paddington Station.

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After we wave goodbye to the Gromits on the 8th September (so hurry if you want to see them!) the sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, follow them on Twitter @thegrandappeal. The Grand Appeal is SUCH an amazing charity raising money for over 100,00 sick babies and children every year, we hope they raise a humongous amount of money at the auction. The auction will take place on 3rd October 2013 at the Gromit Unleashed Pavilion at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol.

Until then, here are a few of our favourite Gromits from the trail. Enjoy!

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All 80 Gromits will soon be together in one giant kennel to form an exhibition called ‘The Greatest Dog Show on Earth’ at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton, Bristol. Check out their website for more details.

Which one is your favourite?

V + J x

Special Feature: F&F

F&F are, as I’m sure you are aware, also known as Clothing at Tesco but they are also, as you may not be aware, responsible for about 75% of my shoe collection! Yes, that’s right, pretty much all of my shoes are from Tesco and I am not sorry! They make blimmin’ lovely shoes that are cheap, comfortable and pleasing to the eye. This cannot be said for many of their more expensive competitors. I’m looking at you, M&S.

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So when those kind folk at F&F offered me a £25 voucher to spend at my leisure, I naturally headed straight for the shoe department! This was going to be HEAVEN.  After putting together a shortlist of about 14 pairs, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I was missing an opportunity to try out some other F&F offerings. After all, I am rather partial to a nice dress! And so, after yet more shortlist making and a lot of sighing, I decided to blow the whole lot on an absolutely gorgeous black & white striped prom dress!

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F&F Horizontal Stripe Prom Dress* £25.00
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F&F Snaffle Trim Ballerina Pumps in Red £12.50

……and because I have no self-restraint whatsoever, I also bought myself a pair of new shoes. Hands up if you’re surprised? In my defence, they were only £12.50 and they have polka dots on! What was I supposed to do?

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I’ve always had a bit of a thing about black and white striped dresses.  They just look so classic, elegant and at the same time fun. Can I also add in French? They look a bit French too. I’d quite happily stroll around Paris in this outfit.  If anyone would like to make this happen I can be reached on my usual email.

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I will admit that I was a little skeptical about paying £25 for a dress from Tesco and, to be fair, this is most definitely at the upper end of their price range. Most dresses on the website retail from between a very reasonable £12 and £20.

I am very happy to confirm that the quality of this dress certainly reflects its price tag. It’s made from lovely material and the cut and shape of the dress are perfect. I love the matching belt around the waist that cinches it in so nicely allows me to have a great big bow! I also love that I can dress it up with a petticoat, heels and a bit of red lippy and look like I’m off out on the town, but equally with flats and a cardigan I will be wearing it to work. If you’re into your ‘cost per wear’ statistics, this one will certainly be earning its keep.

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…..and as always, I love the shoes. The colour and design of these are so fun and they are just so instantly comfortable. I know these will be yet another pair that provoke gasps of ‘Tesco? Really?!’.

Double thumbs all around,

Jx

Hem and Away: Swinging London Town

We went on a wee jaunt to London recently to celebrate Jo’s birthday and while we were there we took the opportunity to pay a visit to some of our favourite shops, with plenty of pancake breaks along the way! On the train journey into London we were treated to a fantastic display by the Red Arrows (which I had so kindly arranged for Jo’s birthday of course….!!)

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It was a positively scorching day in London, so after a cheeky iced latte we found ourselves cooled off and ready to face the day ahead. Our first port of call was The Breakfast Club in Hoxton, where we had…er…breakfast!  Pancake stacks to be precise, with added berries for Jo and bacon for myself. As you can see below, they were towering conglomerations of awesome! We will definitely be going back next time we are in town.

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There’s only one place to go when you are full of pancakes, iced tea and good vibes and that is the marvelous Covent Garden. We had a blast checking out what Covent Garden had to offer and were notably impressed with Pop Boutique, Rokit, Cath Kidston, Tatty Devine and Cambridge Satchel Company.

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We are both big Tatty Devine fans, and I am exceptionally fond of their Eyelash Sunglasses, found here, and who can resist the burger collection, here.

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As the weather was very favorable to us I chose to wear the most lightweight dress I could find in my wardrobe, which was this super stripey number from Primark. My most comfortable shoes were in order as we have a bit of a habit of getting a little lost when we are let out of Bristol, so I wore my Clarks sandals. My Cath Kidston train print rucksack, which I blogged about in my Croatia post, came in very handy to store my sale bargains in. I also wore my name necklace from Tatty Devine and my amazing spotty manicure (as seen above) was done by the lovely ladies at WAH Nails.

Jo – Like Victoria, I also wanted something extremely lightweight so I went for a navy polkadot dress from Instant Vintage. I love anything that’s easy to wear and this dress is my go to ‘look like I’ve made an effort without having made any’ number, which is exactly what you need when the it’s super hot!  It has a lovely Peter Pan collar too, making it suitably jazzy birthday attire. Anyone who reads this blog regularly won’t need telling that my white shoes are from Topshop. I really am guilty of wearing the same shoes everyday and for that I am very sorry. I promise to try harder in the footwear department.

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After a long hard day shopping we were ready for a quick snack before heading home, so Jo introduced me to the delights of Shake Shack, which she had previously visited in New York. I had the mouthwateringly good Shack-cago Dog and was not disappointed.

Jo – It’s often said that I look like I could use a good burger so it made sense to have one on my birthday! I am a bit of a Shake Shack obsessive and I was overjoyed when they announced earlier in the year that they would be opening their first UK branch in London. This was my first chance to go and I was not disappointed. The frozen chocolate ice cream was once of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten, seriously.

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LDN DONE,

V & J x

Magnum Armadillo Shoe – First Look

As some readers may know, in my spare time I’m a Paediatric Nurse! That’s right, when I’m not blogging, thinking about the blog, reading other people’s blogs or sleeping, I have to go to work. I’m hoping these new shoes, which have been sent to me by Magnum, will make my tiring 12 hour shifts a little easier.

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Not only do they have a fun name,  but The Armadillo’s are specifically designed for healthcare and catering employees, in fact anyone who is on their feet for large periods of time. They are non-slip, breathable and are resistant to needle stick penetration.

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On first glance after unwrapping the shoes, they feel light but sturdy enough to keep my feet protected all day. The design is simple and suitable for the work environment and I look forward to testing them out over the next few weeks and letting you know how I get on.  In the meantime you can find everything you need to know about the shoes here and feel free to have a little browse while you are there.

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V x

Hem and Away: Seattle Day #8

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RECAP: I (Jo) am currently* on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. Need a refresher? You can read about Day 1 here Day 2 here Days 3/4/5 here and Day 6 here and Day 7 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.

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Day 8 contained a mini adventure , as we decided to walk from our base in Queen Anne all the way to the neighborhood of Fremont. What better way to kick off an incredible walk? With an incredible breakfast, of course! This particular restaurant had been recommended in guide books, on twitter and by friends and just happened to be on the way. You might say that the 5 Spot Cafe had a reputation to uphold!

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The 5 Spot has ever changing themes, the current one being San Franscisco, and the cafe (and its menu) is fully decked out to reflect this. There’s even a replica Golden Gate Bridge! It’s all completely brilliant, as is the extensive menu! We both went for the lightweight lumberjack, which was a red flannel hash with poached eggs & fancy toast! Toast aficionado’s will appreciate knowing that the fancy toast appeared to be some sort of sour dough. I can confirm it was not only fancy, but also delicious. It was also a bargain at $5.75 and the never ending cups of coffee fueled us for the rest of the day. Reputation: upheld.

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With that, it was off to the wonderful land of Fremont for us! Often referred to as ‘The People’s Republic of Fremont’, it’s all rather quirky and fun! We had found a suggested walking tour of Fremont in one of our guide books and decided to give it a shot! The first site of interest, Rapunzel, came just as we crossed the bridge into Fremont. Poor old Rapunzel is locked up in one of the towers and is the work of local resident, Rodman Miller.

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Next up was ‘waiting for the interurban’, a sculpture created in 1979 by Richard Beyer as a way to commemorate the now defunct light rail interurban that use to run into downtown Seattle. The sculpture is often dressed up, in fact when we visited the would be passengers were ready for a birthday party, and residents are encouraged to commit ‘art attacks’ to keep interest in the artwork alive.

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A short walk away, under the Aurora bridge, lives the Fremont Troll! He is GINORMOUS and appears to be devouring some poor sap’s Volkswagen Beetle, giving the impression that those driving above are running a serious risk! The Troll came into fruition after a competition to design something to improve the space under the bridge (which is also ginormous). This, the winning design, was entered by a team led by Steve Badness. Visitors are welcome to climb all over the troll but I kept my feet safely on the ground.

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Fremont considers itself to be the very center of the universe, so it makes complete sense that there should be a sign post to make this official. The sign is on a tiny little slab of concrete in the middle of a busy road, making the center of the universe quite a difficult place to visit. As you can see though, it’s pretty wonderful.

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Next on the tour was a rocket mounted to the side of a shop! OF COURSE! It was built using a 1950’s Cold War rocket fuselage and now sits loud and proud complete with the Fremont crest, which bares the motto ‘De Libertas Quirkas”, also known as Freedom to be Peculiar. Perfect.

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And what tour would be complete without a 15 foot high statue of Lenin? Not this one, that’s for sure. This controversial statue originally ended up in Seattle thanks to a local English teacher, Lewis Carpenter, who imported it when he discovered it was being sold for scrap. This was not a popular move with his neighbours who fiercely protested against the impulse buy. Unfortunately for Lewis, less than a year after signing a deal with the local Mayor that would allow him to have the statue, he was killed in a car accident in 1994. This left old Lenin flying solo in Carpenter’s back garden until he was moved to a corner of Fremont. It’s fair to say that the statue is not popular with the residents, who are very opinionated on the matter and will gladly come and talk to tourists about why they don’t approve of a gigantic Lenin towering over their neighbourhood.

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We then trundled on to the beautiful Gas Works park, where I got to release my inner steam-punk princess. This park is way cool, and as it’s in Fremont, a bit strange too. It’s built on a former gas works park (you don’t say!) and still contains many elements of the old plant, either as ruins or as regenerated pieces of the park. The former exhauster-compressor building is now a giant play area for children who can clamber all over the machinery! The park also gives you a beautiful view over to downtown Seattle and we spent a lovely afternoon sitting on the hill watching the sea planes taking off.

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I wore my yellow polka dot dress from Primark with my Topshop geek shoes and my Cath Kidston sail print bag!

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Not technically a part of the tour but after all that walking it was definitely time for a nice cold beer! Luckily for us the Fremont Brewing just happened to be on the walk back so we popped inside for one of their taster boards. James had already been in earlier in the week to try their ‘pizza ale’ and was waxing lyrical about their selection. I didn’t manage to try the pizza but I did have a delicious grapefruit and lavender beer that was so good I was half tempted to try and fit a growler in my suitcase.

That’s it for my Seattle travelog! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

Jx

*OK so I’m actually home now but let’s just suspend our disbelief for a few minutes.

Special Feature: Lady V London

LV1Here at She and Hem, we are positively gaga about Lady V London, a web based company who specialise in 1950’s style reproduction dresses. As you will learn, this obsession all started with a wedding but thanks to their timeless style, originality and affordability Lady V has now become our go to place for dresses for all occasions.

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The quality of the dresses is superb and, unlike a lot of their competition, Lady V support British business and workers! They have chosen to make 90% of their dresses in London after visiting China and seeing the awful conditions the workers face there. We really admire this and it makes us love them even more!

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We gathered together our own merry band of fellow Lady V lovers, in the form of the beautiful Ellie, Kelly, Deesha & Leah (seen L-R above) to find out what exactly it is that makes Lady V stand out from the crowd.

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Leah wears Yellow Floral Tea Dress, £45.00, Lady V.

Leah: I love this dress. It actually belongs to Jo and I thought about sneaking off after the shoot and fleeing to Mexico with said dress. The colour is really beautiful and the print is bold, but with muted colours so it doesn’t feel too ‘in your face’. This dress was a perfect fit already, but the tie at the back makes it feel tailor made. I love the neckline, the back and the length. This dress felt really well made and expensive, but I’ve since discovered that the collection is a bit of a bargain so I’ve already ordered a dress from the Lady V website so that I’ll be all set for the next summer wedding.

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Kelly wears Honey Summer Floral Swing Dress, £35.00, Lady V (sadly no longer in stock)

Kelly: My dress started out as a Bridesmaid dress, and I couldn’t have been happier with Jo’s choice! I love anything floral and with yellowy tones, so I knew that it would be great for the wedding’s vintage theme and that I would also love wearing it again after the event. I love the fit of the swing dress as it really flatters my figure and I have had so many compliments that I am looking to expand my collection soon!

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Victoria wears Vintage Floral Posie Swing Dress*, £50.00, Lady V.

Victoria: When I saw this dress on the Lady V site, I fell in love and knew it had to be mine. The design is original and classic and is perfect for my figure. I like to wear a dress with a clinched in waist and a full circle skirt as I find them not only the most flattering, but also the most fun! As you can see I love nothing more than to spin around, be silly and use the full skirt to create great shapes for photographs. This dress looks absolutely stunning with a 1950’s style petticoat and can be styled in so many ways for different occasions, which is why I can see myself wearing this beauty forever. The print and shape are both beautiful and timeless. We wore our dresses on a beautiful hot summer day, but I can definitely see myself wearing this over the Christmas period with some bright tights and a cardigan. I now have my eye on the gorgeous turquoise floral swing dress.

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Jo wears Limited Edition Red Poppy on White Tea Dress*, £50.00, Lady V.

Jo: I first discovered Lady V when frantically searching for the perfect Bridesmaid dresses. I remember very early in the process sitting down with Ellie and discussing my dream criteria – 50’s shape, not a high neckline, be fun to twirl around in, floral print, mustard tones and not expensive.  I didn’t expect to find the perfect dress and after several months of scouring the highstreet, bridal boutiques (being quoted eye watering amounts of money) and the internet I had pretty much given up all hope! But THEN after one of my many ’50’s wedding’ Google sessions, I discovered Lady V and have never looked back! It is an absolute gem of a website and was exactly what I wanted.  The girls all looked stunning in their dresses and they received so many compliments! People assumed I had spent a fortune on them! I am absolutely thrilled that they inspired so many people to check out Lady V and obviously it wasn’t long before I had to buy one for myself!  I really love the shape and high neckline of their tea dresses and think they really flatter my figure. I love that I can dress it up with a petticoat but equally I can wear it with flats and a cardigan. The Red Poppy number you can see above is my absolute new favourite dress! I love the big bold print and think it has a lovely retro feel about it.

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Ellie wears Damask Print Tea Dress, £45.00, Lady V.

Ellie: I’ve always suspected that I should have been a woman in the 50’s. Despite the horrific discrimination women experienced, they seemed to get fashion spot on. My figure is somewhat curvy and the cinched waists and full skirts really flatter an hourglass figure. However, there has never been anything of this style available on the high street – amazingly it’s a fashion that hasn’t come around again. Trawling the Internet proved unsuccessful for the empty of purse such as myself. Then, Jo discovered Lady V! Beautiful fabrics and brilliant fitting dresses that never fail to attract attention and compliments whenever I’ve worn them. And best of all, fantastic value. People always ask where I got my Lady V black and white dress and when I tell them the price they are positively astounded. My one request would be for pockets (I’m obsessed with pockets!) but other than that, these dresses are perfect in every way.

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Deesha wears Lemon Print Tea Dress, £45.00, Lady V.

Deesha: I was introduced to Lady V by Jo a few months ago – she recommended me purchasing one of these fabulous beauties when I was lusting after the gorgeous dresses she had her bridesmaids wear. I flicked through the dazzling selection and the Lemon Fruit Print Tea Dress caught my eye – from that instant I knew I had to have that level of zest in my life! I wore it to my 21st fundraiser-birthday bash and it looked a treat, if I do say so myself. I love teaming it with bright colours but also subtle shades so the jolly lemon pattern stands out.

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Prices range between £30 and £50 and the dresses are available in sizes 8 to 24. They often add new stock to the website to suit every shape, size and personality.

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A big thank you to the girls for letting us take millions of photos of them! It was excellent fun, although we do feel a slight responsibility to point out that the railway you see above is a disused one! Don’t play on the tracks, kids! And just in case you were all feeling curious about those bridesmaid dresses…..

Photo taken by The Little Wedding Helper
Photo taken by the constantly marvelous The Little Wedding Helper

J&V

*disclaimer

All hail the sale

Only a couple more weeks left of the summer holidays, which means the sales are drawing to a close and there must be some pretty awesome bargains around right? Right! Many items have been reduced yet again since our last “All hail the sale” posts here and here, so be sure to check those out too.  There are some particularly lovely pieces on offer at the moment, especially from Next, who have included their red laser cut clutch into the sale, designed by Elle Magazine’s senior fashion editor and also the mighty Topshop, who never fail to provide a good sale.

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Broderie Lace Dress, £18 (was £38), Next.
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Skinny Jeans, £10 (was £20), Next.
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Red Clutch, £10 (was £22), Next
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Leopard Relaxed Skater Dress, £18 (was £38.00), Topshop.
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Embroidered Prom Dress, £25 (was £50.00), Topshop.
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Straw hat, £4!! (was £22), Topshop.
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Flower Crochet Shirt, £10 (was £34), Topshop.

As I write this, Jo will be flying over from America on her way home, and I’m looking forward to a big catch up over cake and gin.

TTFN,

V x

Hem and Away: Seattle Day #7

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RECAP: I (Jo) am currently on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. Need a refresher? You can read about Day 1 here Day 2 here Days 3/4/5 here and Day 6 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.

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After getting back from Redmond on Sunday, we decided to use a couple more of our City Pass vouchers and visit two of the museums that are based at the Seattle Centre. First up was the Pacific Science Center, which is (you guessed it) a Science museum! It’s a super interactive (aka fun) museum, with a beautiful outside space filled with fountains and water-based Science action! A lot of the exhibits are designed to teach children but we weren’t the only adults to be found playing (and learning!) around the museum. There is yet more fun to be found inside with a dinosaur exhibit, Imax theater and a laser dome, just to name a few!

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Rather bizarrely, Victoria and I both managed to sit on giant novelty chairs on Sunday, despite being on opposite sides of the world. We often joke about the weird similarities in our lives but I think this one takes the biscuit!

Outfit wise, the dress is Cath Kidston, the satchel is Zatchels and the shoes (I’ve nearly worn them out now) are Topshop.

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My personal favourite part of the museum was the Tropical Butterfly House! It was so wonderful to be able to stand and watch so many different species of butterfly! It was a beautiful experience and excellent fun when they decided to land on you! I could have stayed in there all day but at a cool 80 degrees, it wasn’t to be.

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Next on the itinerary was the EMP Museum, housed in the shy and retiring building you see above, designed by Frank O Gehry.

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It’s a museum for music, sci-fi and popular culture. As you can imagine, it’s pretty darn cool and I had been champing at the bit to visit!

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We had a great time exploring the Nirvana and Jimmy Hendrix exhibits. As a Nirvana fan, James was very impressed with the memorabilia on show. We then moved onto the exhibits for Sci Fi, Horror and Fantasy. There was a LOT of cool stuff to see, including The axe from the Shining, original costumes from Harry Potter and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as J.R.R Tolkein’s original hand-edited manuscript pages for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings! It’s fair to say I was *quite* happy here.

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That’s all for now!

Jx