#StandForSomething: Summer in the city with Dr Martens

Shirt and bowler hat comboPhew! Just editing photos that feature a buttoned up shirt are making me hot under the collar. Summer is well and truly here and has hit Bristol, and the rest of the UK, with a sledgehammer over the past couple of weeks.

I’m all for wearing teeny tiny shorts and vests while on holiday, but living in a city means that I’m surrounded by beautiful women who are able to pull off long sleeved blouses tucked into jeans and ankle boots in the height of summer, and who don’t look like they’re about to melt. I thought I’d give the look a try with this ensemble and while I couldn’t quite face skinny jeans (it is pushing 30 degrees after all) my trusty New Look shorts make an acceptable stand-in.

Dr Martens Adrians in cherry redI picked this shirt up from Old Navy when we were in San Francisco and since it’s a little too big, I like tying it at my waist. It’s 100% cotton so it’s seriously comfortable in this weather, but it also creases like crazy. You win some, you loose some…

The shoes are from Dr Martens. When I was asked to take part in their #StandForSomething campaign, I was a little worried about how to handle thick leather boots (like my navy ones) in such hot weather, but fortunately they sell plenty of shoes and sandals too. I picked this pair of cherry red Adrian loafers from the Bristol store and the combination of classic chunky DM sole and fading red colour (a bit like the Chesterfield sofa I’m pining after for our living room) won me over in a heartbeat.

One of the things I like about Dr Martens is that you can’t be a wallflower while wearing them. They command attention and as such, my small but growing collection always pushes me to style them in interesting ways. I also feel like I could stomp around in them to my favourite music all day, which is an added bonus…

The Dr. Martens Store, 16 Broadmead, Bristol, BS1 3HH

Cream and navy polka dot shirt – Old Navy / Shorts (old) – c/o New Look, Cabot Circus / Cherry red ‘Adrian’ shoes – c/o Dr Martens / Bowler hat – H&M Black bag – clothes swap

Dr Martens Stand for Something outfitRed Dr Marten AdriansOld Navy shirt and green bowler hatDr Martens cherry red AdriansOld Navy shirt, New Look shorts, Dr Martens shoesOld Navy polka dot shirt

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My Exercise Routine

Current exercise routineThere are two pastimes I’m loving at the moment and one involves being sedate and calm, while the other is at pretty much the other end of the scale. These two are passions that have always been there, but have stepped up a gear recently. They are reading and exercise, and I wanted to write a little bit about the latter. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you may be aware of how much I’m enjoying my exercise routine at the moment, and as it’s quite varied I thought I’d share a little bit about each sport/activity.

Boxing

In pursuit of a new exercise fix, I recently joined a boxing gym and I absolutely love it. At the moment I’m just doing non-contact classes, which combine skipping, shadow boxing, circuits and punch bag work. The latter is incredibly therapeutic after a hard day at work, and the one hour classes are intense and ludicrously sweaty, but over in the blink of an eye.

Aerial Silks

The circus skill I wish I could be better at! Never does my body ache so much the next day than after a silks class. Circus is quite big in Bristol and there are two places (that I know of) that offer beginner silks classes – Circomedia and The Island. Both these companies/venues also offer static trapeze lessons, something else which I’d love to try.

Running

I started running a few years ago and I find that, for me, it’s something that if I don’t do regularly, I find it difficult to get back into. In May I completed the Bristol 10k in my fastest ever time, and although I have run a couple of half marathons in the past, I think it’s a much better distance for me to race and train for. At the moment I’m only going out running once a week max so I’d like to double this. When I feel like I don’t want to lace up my trainers, reading a chapter of Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley usually spurs me on.

Hula Hooping

After a six week hooping course earlier in the year, which involved circus moves like getting the hoop from our waists to above our heads, I’m now the proud owner of a turquoise and gold hula hoop. I try to use it when I come home from work and hoop for ten minutes each day, but I’ve been so busy that this is currently only happening a couple of times a week.

Self Defence

Probably the most important course I’ve been on, the four week course I took part in this spring was run by Tracy of Brainbox Coaching at my local Sweaty Betty, and didn’t cost a penny. Each week we learnt about the psychology of attackers and victims, what to do in different types of attacks and we even practiced our moves on Tracy’s 6ft, 18st trainer friends, which really gave a realistic sense of what a scary situation might feel like. Tracey and Sweaty Betty will be running more courses in the autumn so if you’re Bristol based this is definitely worth booking on to.

Yoga

I used to go to a free yoga class once a week (also at Sweaty Betty) but haven’t had the time with silks and boxing. I’d love to start again so if any of you have any recommendations for short routines or YouTube classes that I can do for ten minutes in the mornings then please share them in the comments!

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(Camera) Bag Lady: L & K Get Married

Me and the blushing brideAt the beginning of the the month, two very special people got married. The wedding, put together on a shoestring and organised in just seven weeks, took place in a little village in Oxfordshire.

We have another wedding to go to this weekend and it will be a different type of celebration altogether, but the act of marrying, choosing one person to be with for (what is hopefully) the rest of your life is still very emotional for me. The handful of weddings I attended before my own nuptials were fun, but I feel like now I appreciate the significance of and enjoy these ceremonial occasions a lot more.

I was lucky enough to be asked to photograph this blushing bride get ready, and my (multiple) cameras and I didn’t pause to take a break for the rest of the day. All our friends pitched in to make the wedding so special, and Mr Ship-Shape even had the honour of acting as celebrant, conducting the ceremony, which was emotional to say the least.

As I plough my way through editing the 1,000+ photos I took *gulp*, I thought I’d share a few from the day. Congratulations L & K – here’s to a lifetime of happiness and cheese!

Pimms in jam jarsWhite rose button holeThe bride and groommore buntingCamera ladyLomo Diana cameras

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Lazy Sunday Breakfast: Avocado & Pancetta Toast

Avocado toast recipeI think in the year and a bit that I’ve been on Instagram, I’ve posted avocado related photos around a thousand times. Shop-bought guacamole aside, I only tried avocado for the first time last summer, and since then I’ve become hooked on the stuff, most notably in the form of this recipe, which is my favourite breakfast to eat on a lazy weekend morning.

This recipe is super simple and although avocado toast seems to be quite fashionable at the moment, I can assure you that this recipe is far better than just using an avocado like butter, and came about by combining two over my favourite foods – cheese and avocados!

Avocado and pancetta toast ingredientsAvocado & Pancetta Toast

Two slices of wholegrain bread
One whole avocado
Six slices of mature cheddar
A handful of pancetta 
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Mashed avocado with salt and pepper1. Toast the bread of your choice – I use Soya & Linseed bread by Burgen, but any will do. While the bread is toasting, fry the pancetta in a dash of olive oil until cooked.

2. Halve the avocado, discard the stone and scoop the contents into a bowl. I like to use a whole avocado in this recipe because I’m greedy, but if you prefer you can just use half.* Add a little salt and pepper and drizzle the bowl with olive oil. You don’t need much, as avocados are packed with natural oils, but this just helps loosen it a bit. Take a fork and lightly mash the avocado.

3. Once the bread has been toasted, layer it with slices of cheddar, then spoon on the mashed avocado and spread evenly across each slice. Add the cooked pancetta on top and now you’re ready to serve your avocado toast!

Avocado toast on Sophie Conran chopping boardWhen we have guests I whip out this beautiful board, sent to me by Sophie Conran, to serve the toast on, and although its purpose in life is to be chopped on, I think it’s far too pretty, hence why it’s become my favourite serving platter**.

The boards are actually a collaboration between Sophie and the Bristol-based company T&G, and come inscribed with ‘made with love’ and ‘make every day a beautiful day’, both of which are perfectly suited to serving home baked treats on. Any excuse to make another batch of brownies…

*Seriously? You don’t want the whole thing? You have more willpower than me. If you want to find a way to stop the other half of your avocado going brown and funky, check out this post by A Thrifty Mrs.
**You know you’re getting older when you start professing your love for serving platters…

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Festival Fashion 101

New Look denim dressGlastonbury may be over for another year, but the British festival circuit is only just getting started. This month Latitude, Port Elliot and Secret Garden Party all take place, which means there are still plenty of festival fashion looks to experiment with. I wish I could attend all three, but for now I’ll have to settle for wearing my festival threads to the park instead.

I’ll always preach comfort and practicality over fashion trends (I’m looking at you, wedge-heeled wellies) so I’ve teamed up with New Look to offer some festival fashion pointers to any readers attending their first festival this summer.

Floral New Look kimonoTop Tips

 My number one piece of festival fashion advice is to never take what you can’t replace. As much as I love vintage, I rarely take any to festivals as I know I’d be devastated if it got damaged or lost.

♥ Capturing the festival vibe. Kimonos are everywhere right now and they couldn’t be better suited to a festival, acting as bother a lightweight layer when the sun goes down, and a throw-back to the 60s (if you want to see how festival fashion has evolved since then, New Look have just the thing.)

♥ Accessories are your friends. Taking a rucksack can seriously limit the number of outfits you’re able to pack, so hats, face paint, glitter and colourful jewellery are a great way to enhance and alter any outfit.

 Channel flower power. For Glastonbury I made floral headpieces for all my friends. Perhaps it is a massive cliché to wear flowers in your hair at a festival, but it’s also very pretty. Want to make your own? Read my floral crown DIY post.

 Make sure you take a small across body bag or backpack with you. You don’t want to be burdened carrying round a heavy bag all day, but you’ll need somewhere to stash your cash, phone, camera, sunscreen and hand sanitiser.

 A word on playsuits. Yes, they do look great with wellies and a pair of your favourite sunglasses, but have you ever tried getting out of one while inside a hot, dirty port-a-loo? Enough said… Skirts and dresses, like this gorgeous denim number, are far more festival-friendly.

What’s your favourite festival tip (fashion or otherwise)? Let me know in the comments!

Denim dress with 1/2 sleeves (now on sale) – c/o New Look / Floral kimono – c/o New Look / Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus / Black handbag – clothes swap

New Look festival outfitBright pink hydrangiasNew Look Denim dress and Chelsea bootsBaylyage hair and denim dressFloral kimono and pink hydrangiasSt Weburghs sign

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