Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Robert's 'Revival' Radio

One of my most treasured possessions is without a doubt my Roberts 'revival' radio.

Robert's 'Revival' radio in Duck Egg Blue

I was very kindly bought said radio as a present from my Mother goose when I went to Uni. 
After dropping blatant hints about how I hated my room being so quiet when I worked (and how Radio 1 would be the perfect company) we took a little shopping trip when I returned home for Reading week.

I wasn't sure what kind of radio I wanted at first, but as soon as I walked into the shop I spied all the Robert's radios...
...Let's just say that if it was a cartoon my eyes would have been out on stalks and there would have been a cloud of dust in my wake.

So this is why I think a Robert's 'revival' radio is a household essential. ;)

They come in every shade you could possibly want.

They can be a beautiful asset to any room in the house, regardless of what style the room is - because you can just pick a design that suits your style. :)
In my very non-technological head any sort of gadget was either in grey or black, or a hybrid of the 2 if you were being particularly exotic - which would stick out like a sore thumb in my bedroom, which is full of little trinkets and is mostly vintage pastel colours. 
I'm personally quite a fan of the block colours that are pictured above as I think they are really striking, but they have loads of amazing quirky patterned ones too.

My personal favourites are these ones with the little dogs on, and the Cath Kidston inspired floral prints :)

They are very easy to transport
Being as how I'm at Uni (which essentially means you live in 2 places at once... which doesn't get tricky AT ALL, oh no) one of my main requirements is that my possessions are easy to transport from one place to another. Robert's radios even have a little handle.. n'awww.
I did have an old Hi-Fi in my bedroom at home which I'd considered just taking up to Uni to save money on buying a new radio, but quite frankly it would probably have taken up one suitcase in itself. (Besides which, it's so old that it's the kind that has an aerial and a dial to tune it to various stations... you get the picture)
I'd say the Robert's radio is probably about the size of a baby's shoe box, and not much heavier.

They are extremely good quality
Robert's radios were founded in 1932 (thanks, Google) and have an unwavering reputation as being one of the best radio manufacturers around. 
I'm DEFINITELY no expert on sound quality, but my untrained ears certainly find the sound quality to be amazing, no matter what the volume is!
The Robert's company are also very environmentally conscious, using recycled materials for packaging, and seem to constantly be updating their radios to increase the battery life.
I'm also sure I heard somewhere that they were introducing a solar powered radio - which sounds pretty cool.

The one drawback is that they aren't exactly cheap.
They tend to vary in price, from about £150 to £190, depending on where you get one from & what model it is and whatnot.
I personally thought this was very steep for a radio when I first saw it, and I did spend an embarrassing amount of time in the shop umm-ing and ahh-ing, since there were quite a few cheaper options & I wasn't sure if I could justify that sort of money on a radio.

However, 2 years later it's still as good as new & has definitely been worth the money for me.
My parents have had one for about 8 years now (the maroon coloured one pictured above) and heck, even that one is still going strong!

To be honest, I think even when mine DOES eventually give up the ghost I'll still keep it, purely for aesthetic purposes...
For the last month mine has actually been on my bookcase not plugged in, just looking pretty. :)

P.S. I just realised how much of a Robert's cheerleader I sound.. I promise I'm not an advertiser, I'm just a fangirl loser. ;)

If anyone else has one or just wants to fangirl with me, I welcome you! Nay, I BEG you!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Wonderful World of Whitlingham

Over the weekend I had a few days off (salvation! joy! wonder!) and since the sun was shining, it seemed almost offensive not to jump in the car and find somewhere to enjoy a summery Saturday out.

The original plan was to hit the beach, but since I live about an hours drive away from the nearest coast we felt that it might be nicer to find somewhere a bit closer to home, and therefore reduce the amount of time spent cooped up in a car.

With that in mind, we decided to go to Whitlingham (a good move, as it happened - we ended up passing the traffic heading beach-wards. It was not pretty). 
Whitlingham is a country park in Trowse, just off Norwich. I had a hankering for a picnic, and I was assured it was the perfect spot for an al fresco blanket lunch!
We stopped off at a trusty Tesco on the way, and stocked up on goodies.

When we got there we found EXACTLY where was best to have lunch, helpfully called "Picnic Meadow" ;)

Only problem was, we had somehow managed to jump in the car and leave the picnic blanket I'd spent half an hour seeking out sitting in my kitchen -  but luckily after minimal annoyance I remembered there was an old curtain in the boot of my car (do NOT ask me why, for it is equally mysterious to me!)
But, it did make for a good makeshift picnic blanket :) if marginally less picturesque.

After lunch, we decided to walk off the excessive amount of soft cheese consumed with a brisk walk around the lake.
There were butterflies and bees everywhere, as well as various breeds of duck and several swans... I kept stopping to admire how pretty the birds were and try to take some pictures but I was successfully shooed away by some rather alarming hissing!

After a lap of the grounds (and stopping to take many, many, MANY photos) we decided to call it a day and head home to consume yet more food on a family bbq ;)

It really was a fantastic day, and I'd recommend it to anyone who fancies a cheap but lovely summer day out. Aside from a couple of pounds for parking (and the picnic of course) we really didn't spend anything but could have spent all day admiring the lake and relaxing in fields with beautiful views! 
Next time, I might even try taking a canoe out - perhaps in slightly more suitable footwear. :)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

My Happy Place

So I made a garden centre visit t'other day - the same one, in fact, where I got all my last goodies.. just in case anyone has read my last blog post and thinks I make daily pilgrimages ;)

Out at the front was a display of garden furniture, and in among them was a rather sweet little park bench!
It was only £29.99, and since it's summer & I'm out in the garden as much as possible at the moment, I couldn't resist buying it.

Initially, I was heartbroken to find out that it came in a flat pack :(
My assembling skills were relatively virgin, but luckily I did at least know one end of a hammer from the other.
So, with a little (lot) of help from my Ma & Pa, the assembling of the park bench could commence!

And let us not forget the help of my dog. He oversaw the project like a true boss, except a really pesky one who thrusts a tuggy toy at you when you're trying to hold a screw in place.

An hour later... TA DA!

I'm incredibly lucky that my parents work so hard to make my garden as nice as it is, so my new favourite thing to do is take a book & a cushion outside and settle myself on the bench for the afternoon :)

If I'm feeling especially jazzy, I lay down and hold my book up to read so I can see the sky behind the pages (which sounds fabulously romantic and lovely.. for the 10 minutes until my arms start to ache)

I think this will do me quite nicely for the rest of the summer!

It's also pretty beastly when you take out a home made ice lolly.. except it does mean you make some insect friends.

Does anyone else have a happy place for summer? :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Home goodies... from a garden centre?!

Last week I tagged along with my Dad to our local garden centre.
I thought garden centres were just for weedkiller & watering cans, maybe a picnic table if you were at a particularly exotic one.
But, I actually ended up stumbling across loooads of goodies for my room!

First, I stumbled across these framed prints, at £5.99 each :)
I walked past them a few times without them catching my eye, but when I looked closely I saw they have teeny tiny cartoon pictures from various films of each decade. I loved looking at them so much and trying to guess what film they were I decided I should probably buy one and continue guessing at home ;)
Problem is, I couldn't decide which one to buy... so I might have got a bit carried away and got them all!
Only problem is, they didn't have a 1980's one.. so my strip of pictures will be a bit lopsided :(
I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for it!

In amongst the pictures, I also happened to spot this framed "Romeo and Juliet" print.
Being a bit of a literary geek, I couldn't resist adding it to the basket, as it was always my absolute favourite by Billy Shakes.
I thought it'd look really nice propped up on my bookshelf (disguising all my less-intellectual books, like 50 Shades of Grey ;] )

Next I spotted this in a little bargain bin, going for 99p!
I'm a sucker for a reduced price anyway, and I thought it would be very cute to hang outside my bedroom door.

In keeping with the white wrought iron appearance, I saw this bad boy, which I think was about £8.99.
It was displayed in the kitchen section with a cookery book propped open on it which looked really sweet. However, since I don't have full reign of a kitchen yet I thought I'd alter it and put some of my books on it on top of my bookshelf.
For now I put on my illustrated copy of "Alice in Wonderland" on it, so I have the Cheshire cat keeping an eye on me.

I then spied these rather useful little wicker baskets. They were reduced from £10 to just £5.99. At just 2 pounds a basket, I couldn't very well resist. I'm very VERY disorganised with my various beauty products, so I thought these would be a neat way to organise my bits and bobs.

I had a little sort out of my beauty, and decided to put my skin care travel size/testers/smaller bottles in the smallest basket...

 ...Then all my daily moisturisers/ cleansers/ zit fighting instruments in the middle sized ones.
This is perfect to keep on my bedside table :) and will hopefully encourage me to be a bit more organised with my skincare routine!

Finally, in my biggest basket I put all my hair products/ body bits. 
I thought I'd keep this on my dressing table along with my hairbrush, to encourage myself to make a bit more effort with my hair rather than giving it a buzz with the dryer and putting it into a rough ponytail as I do usually *smacks wrist*.

Anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED with clocks. So naturally, I needed a new one to brighten up my room!
I wasn't sure about this clock to begin with, but when I saw it at a distance it was actually really striking, and I figured it would be particularly eye catching on my white walls (and it looked vaguely Jack Daniels esque! Never a bad thing ;] )

I spotted this bottle & it was just too cute to leave.
I wasn't entirely sure what to use it for at first, but as I walked around the store I spotted a HUGE display of fake flowers! I thought this little array made for an eye-catching bunch and might brighten up my windowsill :)
I think the bottle was £3.99 and the flowers around £1.50 each!

Finally, I bought this little box, which I believe was £4.99 :)
It looks a bit like a book from the side so makes it quite versatile as to how you display it which I thought was handy. I decided I would use it as a "memories" box, and keep anything and everything that has sentimental value to me in it :) 
So far I have a "Good luck" card from my parents from my high school exams, and a little teddy that I had in with me when I had my first operation aged 8 (he has a little hospital wristband around him that says he belongs to me - my nurse was lovely!)

So, purse strings considerably lighter, that concluded my purchases for the time being!
I had no idea garden centres could be full of so many cute things for the home, I will DEFINITELY be looking into more quirky places to buy little bits :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Dream Kitchen

For someone who can't cook without hospitalising someone, I seem to have been spending a disproportionate amount of time daydreaming about my ideal kitchen recently.

I don't entirely know what triggered it, but I have a sneaky feeling it has something to do with getting lost in John Lewis a few weeks ago and ending up wandering aimlessly through the home section. It seems strange that probably less than a few years ago I would have been moaning if my Mum said we needed to get something for the house, now I'm the one getting excited over floral tea sets... like the party animal I am.

However, since kitchen decor is still something that's relatively new to me I thought I'd have a browse on good old Google & get some inspiration. :)
I've tried to look at a range of different design ideas, which gives me the opportunity to decide exactly what I love in each!

I absolutely LOVE how this kitchen appears very jumbled and quirky, but when you look more closely it's obvious that lots of thought & care has gone into making it so adorable. I think the chairs are really unusual and stand out a lot. Definitely the sort of kitchen I can imagine making endless cups of tea in :) although I do feel it would be almost wrong to be in it without wearing a Cath Kidston apron.

This is definitely a DREAM kitchen for me.
I don't think I have ever been in a kitchen quite so massive, or nearly so beautiful. I absolutely adore the exposed brickwork and the wooden flooring. I also love the fact that the island in the middle gives the kitchen and table some separation, but still appearing hugely spacious. The lighting is also beautiful, and gives the room a lot of atmosphere!
Only thing I think I'd change would be the chairs.. I'm personally not too keen on the cushioned seats, I think I'd prefer it if they were all wooden like the one on the end. But frankly, I'd eat out of rubbish bins for 3 weeks to get this kitchen.

What I love about this one is that it's quite a bit smaller than most "dream kitchens" that I drool over when I Google them. It definitely shows that a kitchen doesn't have to be industrial sized to be made beautiful and quaint! I particularly like how the space has been used, such as the basket storage in the corner. It's also a great example of how using lots of light colours can really open up a space! I also love how they've thrown a splash of red in there to jazz it up a bit.

 However, no matter WHAT kitchen decor I choose to go with in the end, a kitchen must-have for me will always be a Welsh dresser like this one I filched from Google. I personally love them a bit "shabby chic-ed", with flecks of paint coming off (many's the time I have taken a perfectly lovely new piece of furniture and put a great deal of effort into making it look like it's falling to pieces). What I love about them is the fact that as well as being practical for storage with drawers/cupboard space, they are also hugely decorative. It is also pretty easy to find inexpensive ones - I've seen several in second-hand furniture shops that I have had to be dragged away from with the reminder I don't have anywhere to put one. YET.

I am so, so in love with these. Most ovens/cookers are blacks and greys, which is obviously absolutely fine. Essentially, they are practical rather than decorative. But to me, rangemaster's are the best of both worlds!
Sadly, they aren't exactly among the cheapest of cooking devices - I think the one I saw in J Lew was pushing up to the £2000 mark, which frankly made me want to sob. But, I suppose you could justify it by saying it would be something that you would use every day... ;)

FINALLY, Smeg fridges!
I personally don't know if I could ever justify how much these little babies cost - they do vary a lot depending on what you're after fridge/freezer wise, but they are definitely the Rolls Royce of fridges.
(Although, if I got a cream one it would go very nicely with my rangemaster... NO. Stop it, brain.)

Quite frankly, they're just the most beautiful cooling devices in existence.

If you have any pictures you've found of gorgeous kitchens please link them to me!
I could spend all day designing my kitchen... even though I'll probably only use it to make toast. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Waffles, Glorious Waffles

Yesterday I tripped, fell and tasted a little slice of heaven.

I don't know if they have places like this elsewhere, but if you are ever anywhere near Norwich and are even a little bit peckish there is only one place to go: THE WAFFLE HOUSE!

It's a little restaurant in easy walking distance of the shops that seriously has the best food ever. Obviously waffles for dessert is a time honoured concept, but this place also has waffles for main course. As a squeamish eater, the idea of this thoroughly repulsed me at first, but when I tried them it was like fireworks were popping and heavenly choirs were rejoicing in my mouth - and I daresay I may even have slightly preferred the main to the dessert. Shocker.

Left - Garlic mushrooms with cheese sauce
Right - Smoked haddock with white beans, salad leaves and salsa

Left - The banoffee waffle
Right - Chocolate mousse waffle with fresh dairy ice cream

I hope my pictures can do the deliciousness a bit of justice!
I also really like that they do 10% student discount too. It's a pretty inexpensive restaurant anyway, but I always get a little glimmer of excitement when I see I can get money off. Such a little scavenger. Staff were really friendly too, which always makes all the difference. :)

If you have been to The Waffle House before, please let me know and we can drool over how amazing it is together!
Or, if you know anywhere else in the UK that has anything similar, please PLEASE tell me and I can attempt to arrange some sort of national waffle eating tour for myself.

PS. They also do the best milkshakes -  yaknow, the thick ice cream ones. MMM.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Summer dresses on a budget

Since doing a huuuuge clear out of my clothes and getting rid of dresses I haven't worn since my 15th birthday party, I felt now was high time to inject a bit of new life into my newly spacious wardrobe ;)

However, since I live in England (where we get sun for about 20 days of the whole year) I can never really justify spending lots on summer clothes that I know I will rarely get a chance to wear. I also happen to be a big fan of scouring charity shops for hidden gems.
Put 'em together and what have you got? Bippity bappity BARGAINS!

From left to right: £4.50, £3, £7.99, £6.50, £2.50

I find charity shops a brilliant way to get some unique outfits for next to nothing... and you can smile knowing your money has gone to a good cause!
 As you can see, my most expensive dress still left me with decent change from a tenner, with my cheapest being not much more than a book of stamps. ;)

I love this dress because it has quite a vintage feel to it, but has a tie at the waist so is still very flattering :) 
I also thought it could look quite good in winter with a pair of tights, a retro cardi and some chunky boots!

I wasn't sure about this dress when it was off the hanger as I thought it looked a bit like it should be on a 10 year old haha, but luckily I tried it on and it fitted so well! It's quite a thick material so the skirt flares out when it's on, and leaves you looking teeny tiny at the waist :) 
The only thing that did make me sad with this dress was that it clearly is supposed to come with a belt and the belt wasn't there :( so I will never know what the desired effect was! It still looks good on its own though and I'm sure picking up an alternative to fit the bill would be easy enough.

Again, this picture doesn't do the dress justice! It's very cute and vintage. It was a little too big for me round the waist which was a shame because I think it's designed to be quite fitted :( but it looks fab with a belt to draw it in :)

This is quite possibly my favourite dress I found! It definitely won't be to everyone's taste as it's quite unusual at the hem, but I thought it was really unique and would definitely stand out at a party :)
Only problem is, it IS pretty short... maybe I'll do some squats before I brave this one in public ;)

Finally, I found this little baby!
I can see from the label it's actually a Topshop dress, so I was pretty chuffed that I had found it at probably more than a tenth of what its original price would have been.
It's not something I maybe would have picked up in a shop, but when I put it on it fitted SO nicely! Plus it's nice to step out of the old comfort zone at times :)
It's definitely more an evening dress than daytime as its pretty tight, but it feels like swimsuit material so its very light & would be perfect for a summer night out.

So there we have it, 5 dresses for under £25!
If there's one thing I love more than dress shopping, it's finding bargains when I'm dress shopping ;)