18.06

Cider-with-Rosie-hm-shirtdress

Opaques in June? Whatever next.

I’ve heard at least three different people over the course of the past few weeks say that this summer is supposed to be the warmest we’ve had for five years/ten years/since records began…and yet despite being hopeful that they’re right, I’ve got to say that I’m just not seeing it so far. The odd glorious day- sure! We’ve loved them! Made the most of them too- BBQing and picnicing and sunbathing in the garden and all that other good stuff we British are prone to do when the sun blazes hot. But consistently lovely weather? Not so much of that.

But, there are plus sides to this sometimes-summer. Like how much easier it makes it to wear awkward dresses like this one, the kind that is, for prudish 24-going-on-74 year olds like me, just that bit too short to wear comfortably with bare legs. (It’s the split up the front that gets me. I’ve tried safety pinning it closed, but it just won’t have it!). And needing to wear tights in June means also not having to shave your legs in June, which is an unseasonable bonus! So really it’s just a case of swings and roundabouts, right?

What I’m wearing ::
Shirt dress – H&M {on sale at the moment, going absurdly cheap!}
Navy tights – M&S
Leopard slippers – Hobbs, identical from Dune
Bracelet – Monica Vinader
Watch – Olivia Burton.

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^^ I call this photo ‘a study in sitting down-wrinkles’. ^^

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I took myself and my tights and my dress up to London last week, for a day of press events and lunch with a handful of blogger friends.

We first of all headed to Cath Kidston to ooh and ahh over all things floral, then to lunch on Marylebone High St, and then finally over to Laura Ashley to mentally redecorate our homes. Our lunch was at CocoMomo- a new-to-me restaurant, and a total treasure! Salads the size of your head (which is how I like my salads, just FYI), fruity, non-alcoholic cocktails (special shout out to the virgin passionfruit mojito!), and, for the Instagram-minded among you, positively *bathed* in natural light! ;)

I went for the very best kind of salad- salad with a whole cheese in it. Leaves, roasted vegetables, pearl couscous…and a giant ball of burrata on top. (Autocorrect REALLY wanted that to read ‘a giant ball of burrito on top’. I definitely did not eat a ball of burrito.) The burrata was beautifully creamy, the vegetables were fresh and roasted to perfection…and yet I was so busy chitchatting with Sara and Kat about Instagram photo styling and layout techniques (it’s a thing, so I’m learning!) that I barely tasted a bite of my food!

If that’s not an excuse to go back, I don’t know what is. Perhaps next time to be tied in with a visit to my Marylebone High St-based spiritual home

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09.06

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First things first, let’s talk V I D E O!

I’m trying to push myself to get weekly videos up on my YouTube channel these days, and it’s exciting! And addictive! And time consuming, and challenging, and hard.

I hadn’t quite appreciated before now how long it takes to put together a video. I mean, granted, I’m hardly the speediest editor- Premiere Pro and I still have a long way to go before I could be considered anything other than a fumbling beginner- but still, even a 10 minute video can take several hours of work to pull together. Saturday evenings are now spent plugged into my laptop, mumbling swear words under my breath when I just can’t figure out how to make a title move at the same pace as the clip I’ve laid it over, or have to export the same video three times because I keep messing up the encoding settings. I mean, what on earth is ‘bitrate’, anyway!?

But, it’s fun! After having worked my way into a little groove of photography and writing here, it’s so exciting to branch out and try something new. Even though I’m really not very good at it yet. I think there’s something to be said though for getting out of your comfort zone though, and being okay with doing a less than perfect job. Sometimes I’m guilty of avoiding trying new things for fear of it not going quite right, but I’m trying to get better at being okay with making mistakes. I watched this video Casey Neistat made the other day where he talked about never actually ‘getting there’. About how we all think we’re striving towards an end point- a moment of satisfaction where we feel we’ll have made it. But actually, we never do actually make it. The good stuff is in the journey.

And goodness me, that got mighty deep mighty quickly, didn’t it? My latest little video is below, if you’d like to see, and S U B S C R I B E too! :)

Black vest top || Black skinnies || Sunglasses || Leopard slippers

Now, I’m trying hard now to have too much crossover between video and blog content (which is tricky! I mean, there are only so many interesting, share-able things I do in a week ;), but there are a couple of bits in the above video I can’t not share here! Consider it a teaser, if you will…

Firstly, Wahaca!

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I caught up with Lucy for dinner whilst I was in London last Thursday, and since neither of us had ever been to Wahaca, we decided to give it a go. And it was a total revelation! Who knew the food at Wahaca was so delicious?! It was so flavoursome and everything tasted so very fresh.

We started with a portion of guacamole and some light, puffed pork scratchings (my only bug bear was that the portion of guacamole was pretty meagre, I like to go to town with my scoopings of guacamole!), and a glass of green juice each. Then came plantain tacos (kind of like a semi-savoury banana topped with creamy cheese and coriandar, totally delicious!), and a salad for me that turned out to be…more than a salad. I mean, *look* at it…
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The chicken was charred and gently spicey, the avocado creamy and ripe, and…it all came served in a deep fried bowl. I did *try* to restrain myself from snacking on it too much, but the temptation was strong and before I even knew what I was doing the bowl had no sides left and the table covered in crumbs. Worth it though, so whatever.

Lucy and I rounded off our meal sharing a portion of churros, which have been a favourite dessert of mine since forever. These were pretty spectactular. Not as overly sweet as others I’ve had, and the chocolate was a tiny pot of heaven.

Wahaca- I’ll be back!

Wahaca-Churros

Lastly, let’s talk about this dreamy collaboration between BirchBox and French Sole!

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I’ve become quite smitten with Birchbox’s service over the past few months. I’m not the most clued-up when it comes to beauty products, and never fail to find new, totally life-changing (well, skin-changing) products in the beauty boxes I’ve sampled that I’d have been far too daunted to ever try otherwise. It’s a revelation! And a little hard on my bank balance, if I’m honest, because I’ve now got a beauty product shopping list as long as my arm…

The collaboration between Birchbox and French Sole is totally perfect (hashtag not sponsored, just in case anyone wondered!;). French Sole have released three pairs of limited edition shoes that tie in with Birchbox’s three June boxes, and they’re all so very pretty. The Breton pair came home with me after Thursday’s event (so very lucky!), and I seriously cannot wait to wear them. I mean, Breton striped shoes?! What could be better!

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07.06

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I had a conversation with my friend the other day in which we discussed how wearing white is really, when you think about it, more of a lifestyle choice than it is a simple choice over what to wear.

It’s the choice to fend off the dog when he comes at you with muddy paws (instead of saying ‘to hell with it!’ and embracing his muddy love), to always remember to put a napkin in your lap whilst eating croissants (curse those greasy mark-making flakes!), and to never, ever take the lid off your coffee. It’s about repeating the mantra of ‘I can be ladylike when I want to, I’ve totally got this!’ over and over, and channelling your inner Audrey Hepburn. And, I’ll be honest, it’s not the kind of choice I tend to make all that often.

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I mean, it’s not as though I willingly go around throwing green juice down myself or wiping Teddy’s paws on my sleeves (though both have happened in the past two weeks, if we’re being 100% honest here…), but being polished is never something that’ll come easy to me. I’ve spent many years trying and failing to be someone with smooth, glossy hair, and attempting to tuck my shirt in just so and have it last more than three seconds in said ‘just so’ state after I’ve left the house, and trying to have the lovely crisp white tees I buy every few months last more than a few wears before they look a little sorry for themselves. In short- trying to just *be* Olivia Palermo.

But, if there’s ever a time to give being ‘someone who can wear white’ a go, it’s when summer finally arrives. And, as luck would have it, this dreamboat skirt took its place amongst the ranks in my wardrobe right as the sun began to shine! I can’t quite decide what I love most about it- the lovely A-line shape and careful structuring, the broderie overlay, or the fact that the length is oh-my-goodness-so-very-perfect (fun yet demure all at once!).

I wore it during a day in London last week, and even though the sun disappeared behind clouds just as we got ready to take these photos (oh British weather, you do keep us on our toes!) rest assured that the combination of warmth on my face, plus the unbeatable atmosphere London has during the summer, and the fact that I managed to keep my white skirt pristine all day long, left me feeling pretty happy indeed.

What I wore :: Top – Mango || Skirt c/o Boden || Ballet flats – French Sole || Sunglasses – c/o Bailey Nelson
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14.05

Cider-with-Rosie-off-duty-London-2

Does it feel like an age to you since we last had a proper sit-down-with-tea-catch-up type post? It does to me, at least. Please consider this your polite notice that now’s the time to go and make a cup of something. Maybe go for an iced coffee (for me the year goes Autumn, Winter, Spring, Iced Latte season), or a green juice, or whatever’s about to become more trendy (…fleek? Am I using it right?) than green juice.

I’ve nothing and everything to fill you in on. Important stuff and nonsense, something and nothing. Probably more nonsenical nothings than important somethings, to be honest.

Let’s kick off with a little round up of all the things that’re swimming around in my mind most frequently at the moment!: Female friendships, and how life-enhancingly beautiful they are. Capsule wardrobes. Puppies and babies. YouTube and videoing and cameras. The wedding. How Time Flies. And also all the usual nonsense, like how I need to buy a mop (OH MY GOSH MY LIFE RIGHT NOW SUCH EXCITEMENT), and how annoying it is that the stupid living room curtains shrunk at the dry cleaners last week, and that I wish I could be someone who didn’t scuff their shoes to buggery after just a handful of wears.

To friendships, first.

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Working for yourself, in whatever capacity that may be, can sometimes be an isolating experience. Incredible and exciting and freedom-providing, yes, but also tricky. I spent hours (and I really mean hours!) chewing the fat with my friend over drinks a couple of weeks ago about the logistics and nuances and challenges of being your own boss. Of being at once creative and free-thinking, yet also logical and evaluative and driven. To act as your own greatest champion (self-belief, yeah!), but also needing to be your own greatest critic too. I feel especially that sharing content online can sometimes feel like shouting into the abyss- we pour out our hearts and souls via photographs and stories and posts and updates, then try to make sense of the numbers and statistics that come back so that we can learn and grow and progress. It’s an imprecise art! And if you ask me, it’s for exactly these reasons, for the imprecision and the sometimes-solitude, that friendships and connections become so vital.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past three years of running this online space, it’s that there’s nothing as powerful as collective creativity. Nothing as strengthening as a pep-talk from kindred spirits, or as empowering as being part of a community that encourages sharing and cross-promotion and leg-ups as much as it does personal growth. It’s the brain-picking WhatsApp messages sent to blogger friends 11 o’clock on a Thursday evening that matter, and the sharing of contacts, and the passing along of opportunities.

The expression ‘all ships rise in high tides’ is a true one, that’s for certain.

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And now, to the dumb stuff! Like capsule wardrobes! I’ve nothing to tell you really other than that I’ve become a bit obsessed with them as a concept. Many hours have been spent scouring Caroline’s blog, and looking at ‘how to capsule wardrobe’ thingies on Pinterest.

The idea of havingsomething resembling a uniform is so very appealing to me. My uniform at school was beyond hideous- a shades-of-green striped blazer with brown shoes that made your feet look about 8 sizes bigger than usual- and yet despite the ugliness, I adored it. Loved the ease of getting dressed each morning, loved the feeling of well-worn fabrics against my skin, loved how it became a part of my identity. The focus on mixing and matching within a capsule wardrobe seems so much more sensible to me than constantly trying to reach some impossible state of ‘enough’ within a larger wardrobe, and surely would stop me doing the whole ‘I need more tops- now I need more jeans/skirts/trousers to go with the tops- a few new dresses wouldn’t go amiss- oh look coats and jackets’ thing year round. I feel like it’s a big life decision (it’s not, I’m being dumb, but dumb is fun and that’s kind of a rhyme so there’s that), so maybe I’ll think on it. Start ‘capsuling’ after the wedding, when I’m a wife who just totally gets this sort of stuff done, and never ever scuffs the toes of her nude ballet flats whilst running for trains or forgets to buy tickets for said trains then has to bat her eyelashes at the ticket inspector to avoid getting a fine.

That’s it. August. Rosie Chappel- wife, organised, tidy, never late, owner and creator of capsule wardrobe. It’s happening. Watch this space.

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What’s next on the agenda to discuss? Oh yes, puppies and babies! I’m feeling clucky and would like some (of each, though probably not simultaneously), essentially. And also some chickens, and maybe a horse. I’m going through a ‘let’s have a smallholding’! phase- can you tell? I opened Jason’s phone the other day and found he’d been researching sheep farming. I mean, at least we’re both on the same page, even if that page is coloured in all fanciful and ridiculous and nonsensical. Speaking of colouring, I’m still making my way through that colouring book I told you I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. I’ve moved onto *shading* now. That’s right. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

Lastly, weddings! I was talking with Jaclyn the other evening on Twitter about how weirdly, the smaller our wedding related to-do list becomes, the more stressed about it I feel. I think because it feels like perhaps we’ve forgotten something, or made some horrendous oversight, or maybe it’s just that in all honestly I actually lost the wedding to-do list itself about 4 months ago, and so am relying solely on mine and Jason’s collective brain power (HA!) to make sure we actually *don’t* forget anything. The wedding anxiety dreams are still here, largely still centring around some sort of panicked rush on the morning of the wedding, though just one that involved me realising that Tania and Freya hadn’t to the wedding. I don’t think I need to worry about that circumstance one bit though, since if I know one thing about my friends, it’s that if they’re given opportunity to eat burgers and toast marshmallows, they’ll be there with bells on ;)

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And now, actually lastly (not like the last time I wrote ‘lastly’ at the start of the previous paragraph, which was quite clearly a lie), I should probably give these photos some context.

They were taken during an admin-y kind of day spent in East London with Tania on Tuesday, that involved a few hours spent blasting through emails in the Albion cafe whilst on a caffeine high, a lunch meeting over in St Katherine’s Dock, and then a trade off of photo-taking in the afternoon. Turns out though, sometimes it’s just not sensible to take photos with someone who sets you off laughing and encourages you to pull faces and prance around like a fool in front of a camera. You wind up with photos like the below, which look more like stills from some modern dance piece (I was going back to my roots, I guess!) instead of super slick and uber-Pinable blog photos. What can I say? We’re just too good an audience for one another ;) (I should say that it was the model’s fault, not the photographer’s. The photographer was a total pro. It was the other party who let herself down. The worst of the photos will never been seen on the Internet, and for that you can thank me.)

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^^ Hopeless. ^^

What I wore :: Trench || Chambray || Breton || Silk trousers || Ballet flats || Watch

Oh MY it felt so good to write! Guess I needed it too, because we’re 1200 words in and still going.

Now, what’s new with you? Are you doing thrilling things like I am today, such as purchasing mops and arguing with your significant other about whether straight or rotary washing lines are better (I say straight, Jason says rotary, you’ll likely not care which is totally understandable)?

Fill me in on what’s up!

x

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