Monday, 27 May 2013

Bits and Pieces #1: Zara Home

Hello! Hope you've been enjoying the Bank Holiday - the weather's had a turn for the worse today where I live but fingers crossed that it's still glorious for you. Today I thought I'd post some bits and pieces that have caught my eye during my online homeware perusing sessions. We're currently in the process of securing a flat to rent in a glorious area of Bath, which although is scary (credit checks!) it's done nothing but fuel my excitement for relocating. I'm off to Hampshire to temporarily live with my mother as of Wednesday, and at the end of June we're off to see Robbie Williams in London so I've been prepping myself and making lists of shops to visit that are only based in the capital.

I've never really considered Zara Home, most likely as I've only ever visited a handful of the regular clothing stores, but noticed a link to the Home range the other day while having a look for a potential graduation dress. And it was love. Immediately. I missed most of the Soap Awards as I was transfixed on the website. Sadly the majority of the stock is way, way out of my price budget (anyone else feel they need a Zara Home TRF section?) but I've rounded up a selection of nice bits that wouldn't break the bank too much. I love so many blogs but it breaks my heart to set my eyes on a beautiful lipstick/accessory/anything and discover it costs more than my monthly food shop.

Patterned L Bathroom Set - from £7.99
Now I know this is a bathroom set, however it's the tumbler I specifically have my eye on. I like to have a glass of water at my bedside during the night and this looks pretty much perfect, it even has my initial on! Failing that, I'm sure the jar would contain my cotton wall very well.

Paisley Tray - £7.99
I love paisley! Nothing more to say really. Upon seeing this tray I immediately drifted off into daydreams of carrying drinks out onto the decking of a sunny afternoon or serving up brews to visitors, and I think it'll really get some colour into the kitchen if it's kept propped behind the sink. If I buy anything when I'm in London, I think it'll have to be this.

Crochet Bread Basket - £8.99
I apologise now about my collage skills, I'll get working on them. You can't really see this too well on my blog (or the website to be honest) but it does what it says on the tin. I'm really liking crocheted homeware lately (I'll have to do a post on our extensive crocheted blanket collection once we're unpacked), and I like the idea of bunging a load of fresh bread into this. However, I'm wondering whether this could be a bit of a DIY jobby - I'm thinking covering a box in cling film and PVA'ing a crochet placemat, leaving it to dry and removing the cling film/box? We shall see.

Pink Tumbler With Raised Design - £3.99
Now anyone with a beady eye might be able to see that I already own one of these cups (as seen on my dresser in my last post). However, mine is a BHS via TK Maxx purchase, and I'm pretty sure it cost no more than £2. However, if these are the same colour and so on, I think I'll be inclined to snap some up for 'outdoor entertaining' as I've a huge jug that matches perfectly. Let's be honest, no one wants to be cleaning up smashed glass after an evening of outdoor boozing, so plastic cups are a wise choice.

Wooden Salad Servers - £9.99
At almost a tenner these are the most pricey of my list, but I feel they could be worth it. Depending on how well made they look in person I think these might be another potential purchase. I love the mixture of both dark and light wood.

Hologram Napkins (Pack of 20) - £3.99
The jewel-like colours initially drew me towards these napkins, however if you click though you'll see the pattern is actually made up of lots of animals. The flat in question has a very decent outdoor space considering it's only a wee one bed flat so I'm imagining these napkins would be perfect for brightening up any BBQs we might have. There are also melamine plates available in the same pattern, if you're into it.

Has anyone ever shopped at Zara Home? Let me know how you get on - I'd love to know if the prices are worth it!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Charity shop favourites

 Today I thought I'd share some of my favourite recent purchases from charity shops. While we've been slightly cursed with a very tight budget to be moving into our own place, we're both incredibly blessed to live in areas where the charity shops are both cheap and plentiful. So here are some of our purchases over the past few months, they're all currently packed away into a variety of shoe boxes under my bed but I cannot tell you how excited I am to unpack them all in a Somerset postcode so we can get using them!

I wish I had a better photo of this dresser set, but this is the only one I have to hand! I apologise that these photos aren't up to 'blogging standard', but hopefully I'll learn. These photos are just ones I grabbed off my phone from excited iMessage exchanges showing off my purchases to friends. This set was from my favourite charity shop, the East Lancashire branch of PDSA. The two stands were upside down in the shop and being used as candlesticks, however they are now the proud homes to my most used lipsticks and my cotton pads. The ring holder now also contains odd hair grips and earrings. What I loved most about this set is that the colour matches my brush pot holder perfectly, which I picked up in TK Maxx a few years ago. Although beautiful, I fear this set will probably stay at my home here, as I'm warming towards a greens/yellows based bedroom when we move. Again, beloved Lamby may end up staying. I saw him in a box of brick-a-brac tack, left him, then spent that evening thinking about him. He's now the home to a cactus my mother bought me just before I set off to uni, so we shall see where he ends up living!

Since we confirmed our decision to move in together I've tried to ban myself from the clothing rails of the chazzas, and kept myself to the homeware shelves. However, sometimes a striped shirt like this one jumps out at me and I can't help myself. It's originally M&S and while mustard is a colour I'd never usually wear, I love it. The pigeon mug seems unused, and it looks as if its fate lies in becoming a pen pot for my boyfriend's desk space, as he's taken a particular shine to it. The L'Occitane tin bowl was another brick-a-brac box find, this time in the village where my mother works. Although I'm not sure what it'll end up being used for, I'm sure it will be handy for keeping our bathroom tidy.

I'm pretty sure this Cath Kidston keyring was only 25p! It seems it was a design for Shelter, a collaboration I had no idea about. I always say I'm not a big fan of CK... But then I remember I have a purse, some dusters, a keyring, some candle holders and a big mug by the brand. Oops! I'm saving this wee keyring until we get the keys for the new place so I can have a fresh start. The keyring currently on my bunch is a Nation of Shopkeepers one which replaced their members' cards (meaning cheap/free entry and discounted drinks), and I guess I won't be frequenting that place often in my future, so a switch up seems necessary.  The cookbook was only cheap, and if anything I bought it for the portion sizes. I'm used to either cooking for one, or making huge batches and freezing the leftovers, but seeing as I'm going to be regularly cooking for two come summer, I think it could be a good help. I've got my eyes on the vegetable pasties already!

One of my favourite things to do on day trips into town is to have a good potter around the homeware sections of department stores, and I always end up eyeing up the Tala cook's measure. I'm too stubborn to pay around £7 for a glorified measuring jug that'll likely scratch in no time, so I was delighted to find this sturdy stainless steal measure in Shelter for only £1! It has both French and English labelling for things such as sugar, cocoa powder and raisins, alongside ml/fluid ounces. I also love that this one has a tiny pouring spout, something that I've never seen on other dry measures. Finally, here's a classy changing room selfie (a small child walked in on me in my bra soon after this was taken) of a beautiful Topshop shirt that I picked up for a couple of quid. It's the perfect length to wear over leggings but looks equally nice tucked into some jeans. It's very similar to a Kate Moss shirt from many, many moons ago that I loved, but the fit was so awful I never ended up purchasing one.

Well I guess this has been a good insight into my life, I probably visit my town's charity shops at least twice a week, so I'm sure there'll be more posts to come like this (although with better photographs, I promise)!

PS if anyone has any idea how to put photos next to one another I'd love to know! They show up next to each other on the create post page, but not when published!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

First post!

Hello! As this is a brand new blog (and brand new territory for me!) I thought it would be best to start things off with a welcome/hello/about me post of sorts. I'm not at all familiar with Blogger so please be patient with me.

So, let us start with the obvious. My name is Lois and I currently reside in a small town with a castle in Lancashire, hence the blog title. Having just finished my time at university in Leeds I have exciting plans to soon relocate to Bath so that I can live with my boyfriend and relieve us both of the long train and bus journeys that we endure to see one another. The plan is (although I am sure I'll go off on many a tangent) to document my adventures of exploring and residing in an area new to me, and as we'll be moving into a place together, I will no doubt be blogging a lot of homeware-related posts.

I'm also a big fan of cooking, charity shopping, plants and lipsticks, so I'm sure such topics will crop up along the way. Having seen many of my friends' grow and nurture some
lovely little blogs, I must admit I'm excited to do the same. I've tried writing diaries so often but have never kept up - I'm glued to my Macbook however so hopefully I'll be more likely to keep up with an electronic diary of sorts!