November 2013tori's tales: November 2013

29 November 2013

135 // Festive Friday Finds - Anthropologie

Anthropologie is one of those magically mysterious places whose name I've seen frequently dotted across blogs and other such sites but haven't - until now - thought about visiting. Why, though, I don't know - craziness on my part I'd say - because when I first hopped on-board the charming express, first stop - Anthropologie-ville, I instantly fell in lust. It's a really beautiful site - especially it's Christmas page - and it feels as though each and every piece displayed and sold is done so for a reason. What that is beyond making it's visitors incredibly happy I'm not entirely sure but, boy, am I not complaining. Everything is beautifully designed, original and quirky, so I'm more than willing to hop on that train and take the one-way express. Anthropologie? More like ain't-no-apology (I'm terrible!)

There's currently a '20% off each and every item you wish' (applied at checkout, as read in the small notes!) between today, November 29th, and Monday. You can thank me later ;)

Clockwise from top left to bottom left
1 // Grace
4 // Paris Street Style

I'm kicking things off with books. All of the above are perfect for the fashion-lover in your life; the first is Grace Coddington's memoir dedicated to her journey towards becoming American Vogue's Creative Director (if you haven't, I suggest watching 'The September Issue' dedicated to the putting together of American Vogue's, well, September Issue, in which Grace is featured). Radical Rags is 60s-fied (from what I can tell this is the only copy on the site and was originally published in 1990). Vintage Fashion & Couture tells the story of fashion through the centuries, 'focusing on key designers and icons......from Grace Kelly in the 1950s to McQueen at the turn of the Millennium'. Paris Street Style - if you can't beat 'em (and you just won't, Parisians do style like no other) you may as well try your best to join them, and this book offers you a guide to doing just that! Lastly we have Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger. If you haven't heard of her, go look her up - from what I've read, Barbara's collection stands at 4000 pieces. That's some dedication! 

2 // A Christmas Carol

This Secret Garden book could easily be mistaken for Burnett's classic but, instead of a jolly good read, you're in for a colouring book treat with this one; 96 pages of illustrations for you to decorate as you choose. Oh, and a treasure hunt! Jennifer Adam's 'Babylit' collection includes this A Christmas Carol number, as well as others such as Anna Karenina (how she made that baby friendly I'm not sure!) and Alice in Wonderland. A Map of the World offers travel-lovers a 'collection of maps and atlas imagery from around the world, including classic cartography (I may need to look that one up!) from traditional mapmakers to creative illustrations by contemporary designers'. To round out the collection, I included this Doodle London, (I'm coming over all I-want-to-be-creative in my old age!) an interactive book that offers readers the chance to re-imagine and re-create London landmarks. 

1 // Scarf 
2 // Socks
3 // Mittens
4 // Cowl

As ever, FF wouldn't be complete without a collection of winter warmers - this 'Junellia' scarf features autumnal blooms, proving florals don't need to be kept hidden until spring! I know what you're thinking, more socks? But hey, these are called 'Jazzy Bed Socks', so I couldn't really leave them out, could I?! Another pair of mittens, this time these 'Fireside Tales' (perfect!), handmade by a mother-and-daughter duo who divide their time between Peru and New York (very swish!). And this cowl (I'd call it a snood?) - almost monochrome and not-to-glittery - is a sure-fire hit for day-to-night outfits. 

2 // Towel

Right, onto the household, starting with the bathroom! Soaps. You can never have too many (or, in my case, you never have one!). Nowadays there's a tendency for the  'push-top' types but I love the idea of a bowl full of colourfully-packaged soaps (even if they only get so far as being bathroom decorations!). I have to admit these soaps appealed to me because of their packaging and, although I still have no idea what their scents are, I do know they all come in multiple colours and smells (Hand in Hand - 3 scents, Mistral - 4 scents and Barr-Co. - 4 scents)! And this towel? It reminds me of Art Deco, New York-ean design. And there ain't ever gonna be anything wrong with that (and, ok, the claw-footed tub its casually draped over may also have had something to do with it!).

2 // Lip Balm

I'm not one for smellies myself but I do think they make wonderful presents - this Capri Blue Mercury Glass Jar Candle would look perfect on anyone's dressing table, kitchen worktop, or fireplace mantle (do I think we're living in the 1900s?!). This Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm looks and sounds good enough to eat and would be a lovely stocking stuffer! The second candle in my finds, this one is a Holiday Candle available in three different scents, all, as the name suggests, perfectly catered towards the holiday season. I'm not a perfume wearer myself but I adore the pretty bottle and packaging that belongs to this Tocca scent (of which there are 5 to chose from).

3 // Glasses

A few kitchen oddities here - I love the idea of measuring spoons though all I have are some cheap cups! I don't own a tbsp so this collection would solve that problem rather nicely! I like the idea of a chalkboard jar - inevitably it'll probably be more mess and fuss that it's worth, but I think it'd be a sweet kitchen treat for kiddies to store their own bits and bobs in, and then label as they wish! I think these Etched Fern Stemware glasses would be perfect for all manner of liquid holding - wine, vodka, water. You name it, I'd slosh it in them! For the cookie-baking-fiend, these little cookie stamps would add a super-personal touch to every batch!

1 // Mug
3 // Bowl

More one-off kitchenware pieces. I do love a good mug, and this patterned piece - Kebaya Mug - looks all kinds of grown-up and would make a great coffee-or-tea vestibule for all! These Dulcie mixing bowls look like they'd withstand any heavy-handed batter-whisking that may come their way. This Vezda Bowl is another one of those 'I must just have it' pieces; I love the colour. A canapé plate this may be, but I think it'd equally make a lovely wall hanging or jewellery dish and it can be personalised thanks to it coming in designs featuring all letters of the alphabet. 

1 // Timer
2 // Pie Dish

I could not resist this collection of poppy-patterned kitchen goodies. Yes, I love me a cottage kitchen, but I'm now thinking pale blue walls, lots of bare wood and matching kitchen accessories! This timer, although not part of the same collection, would sit perfectly on any fridge and would offer me (and those who normally avoid 'cooking to time') the chance to get on top of their cooking timings! I don't have my own collection of pretty pieces so, at some point in my life, I'd love just that! These three poppy-decorated darlings would do just nicely. And who knows, maybe I'd make a pie and bake some brownies of an evening to try them all out!

I'm not much of a cookbook collector myself but I was drawn to the beautiful photographs and illustrations these books offered. If you're a whiz in the kitchen, or know someone who is, I think every one of these would be a fantastic addition to yours, or their, collection! A bit of a fun never hurt anyone and the kitchen (although safety first, people!) shouldn't be any different! Hosting a party or having the girls over? The Fashionable Cocktail book will have you showing of your skills in no time! Smashing Plates (love that name - to the point!) is a book of Greek Cuisine but with a contemporary twist, inspired by a Cypriot summerThe French Market Cookbook is a vegetarian book with a difference, offering recipes full of fresh flavours, laden with vegetables but without the heavy additions you sometimes find cluttering up a vegetarian's kitchen (cheese and pasta, I'm looking at you!). Love Bake Nourish would be a perfect present for the baker in your life whose looking to have a go at something different - all the cakes and puddings featured use seasonal ingredients and natural honey in the place of artificial sugars.

Edit: I was all ready to post when I realised the Baby-lit books, the Paris Street Style and the lip balm are no longer available on the Anthropologie website (blame it on the 20% off!). I'd suggest a search online if they caught your eye!

Happy Friday everyone!!

28 November 2013

134 // Thoughts on a Thursday

Image Credit: Emily Carlin, flickr
Image Credit: Ben Joyce, flickr
Image Credit: found on Life on Sundays, tumblr
I don't know what it is about snowy scenes, but I couldn't help but be drawn to the above images when scrolling through tumblr. Despite the fact it's beautiful, and I love the way it's captured in photos, I'm not a big fan of snow in real life thanks to the 'drama' it brings. Although, in all honesty, Nottingham dealt with it well last year (or the beginning of this year? I can't remember). Back home, however, there's always bus problems or train cancellations of something to stop people going about their daily business and that, my friends, is why it's a pain in the bum if it hangs around beyond a day or two!

Right now I'm in a very odd mood. I'm not going to go into it, because it's uni-related and it bores me to even think about it, so I'm not going to expose you to it also (I'm not that horrid), but it has meant a return to the kind of frame of mind that means even when I have posts in the pipeline - and I do, I have a couple lined up, that I've been spending time on - I can't bring myself to put too much energy into them, too much of my time, because - although I love doing so - I know it's not what I should be doing when I have so much work I actually have to do. And for this bloody degree, no less. 

So, it may mean a time out. It may not. I'm not sure. But for now I'm putting the longer, more effort-full (and, thus, interesting) posts on the back-burner, and will have to make do with updating you in this very short-and-not-so-sweet manner. It ain't exciting, insightful or inspiring but, in all honesty, it's a situation born from my own university-work-ineptitude so it's no more than I deserve! 

The winter evening's are drawing in on us now, which means duvet-covered sofas, condensation-covered windows and frown-covered faces (thanks to the lack of warmth in our flat - heating is going on tonight!). The mornings, though cold, up until now have been crisp, which I can deal with. But today's dampness? It got in my bones and doesn't want to leave. Which means a warm bath for me before bed. 

Image Credit: Tatyanna Gois, flickr
A few updates from my week:

  • I managed to get out to watch Catching Fire last night. Having been driven insane by my lack of essay-writing meant an 'I have to get out of the flat!!!' mood. Thankfully my friend Emma from uni was free and we ended up visiting the local Imax together, on a bit of a whim.  It was fantastic. If you are a fan, and haven't seen it, do so asap. If you aren't a fan, or haven't seen the first one, a) watch the first one and b) get you arse over to watch the second. You won't be disappointed. 

  • I went to Physio on Wednesday - I think it was maybe my fourth appointment - and this time I got to talk about my shoulders. I have joint-hypermobility-syndrome, which basically means weak muscles and un-stabilised joints (namely hips - meaning back ache - shoulders, fingers, ankles, knees and my jaw). Turns out my posture is poor and my shoulder blade muscles are almost non-existent, which causes my sharp, 'oh my god my shoulder/neck is on fire' heat/pain I get in them daily. Like right now. Cue more weird 'exercises' for me.

  • It's only two days until I attend the #EastMidsMeetUp and only 9 until I head to Bath for the weekend and the #BathXmasMeet. I'm super excited to meet lots of new people and greet lots of familiar faces too! 

  • Another uni friend lent me Rent, the theatre performance and film - both on DVD, one of which I'm hoping to watch Saturday evening when I'm back from the meet. Hit me up with recommendations as to which to watch first! 

  • I haven't been able to pick up a book since I put down Wonder and I'm beyond frustrated that, yet again, uni stress is getting in the way of my reading for pleasure. If you have any tips on how to get around/cope with this, please let me know!!

Image Credit: Vic. flickr
And while I'm here, and it's Thursday (oh, and thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving to all of those across the pnd!), I'll add a few things that I'm thankful for this week, just so I don't leave you on a sour note! Don't forget to head over to Lisette's blog to check out all her 'Thankful Thursday' posts!

  • My new wheat bag heat thing, which helps relieve some of the pain from my shoulders.

  • English Breakfast tea, and lots of it!

  • The sweet little notebook my parents got me for my birthday. It comes in handy for jotting down all manner of bits and pieces!

  • My new gloves, for the bitter mornings

  • Asda Smartprice jaffa cakes. Better than the real thing ;)  

  • Memories of toy duck!! (this is what I named the ducks - seen below - which we came across, frequently, in Germany and Austria. They are so beautiful!)

Taken by me in Kassel, Germany, in 2010

Turns out that post was a little longer than I thought it would be!!

26 November 2013

133 // Tori's Tales of the Week

Taken on a walk around my university campus on Thursday
One of the things I love doing when choosing my favourite tales is going back through my 'liked' lists and re-reading all those that struck a chord with me throughout the week. It's a great way to spend my time - with a cuppa in hand and a dressing gown on my back (oh, and wrapped tight, around my front!) - y'all are such an inspirational bunch it always gets me in the mood to try my best to come up with new and interesting posts (although my creativity and imagination is, unfortunately, rather limited in comparison!). 

This week featured a lot of sharing and thankfulness. I guess with Thanksgiving coming up for those across the pond it's sparked such a feeling in all of us. It made me realise how the littlest things really can, and do, make the difference. 

All images shown belong to the blog whence the came and all credit belongs to the authors of the posts!

Tuesday 19th
Julia made me thankful for the beauty in nature

Wednesday 20th
Kelly shared some quick, but insightful, thoughts

Thursday 21st
Ella had us all missing Paris

Friday 22nd
Flora made me appreciate my own living situation that little bit more

Saturday 23rd
Bee showed us why books really do make the perfect of Christmas gifts

Sunday 24th
Chloe showed us how Asos should be done!

Monday 25th
Ronnie shared why communication is key

25 November 2013

132 // Monday Motivation

At the University Park campus
This past weekend was spent with these two wonderful ladies by my side; Auntie Ju on the left, Moomie on the right (although sometimes we mixed it up!). We spent as much time as possible between their arrival mid-afternoon Friday (a little delayed - why is it something always goes wrong with trains?!) and departure late-afternoon Sunday, catching up on all that we could do, chatting away the days - making up for the couple of months since we'd seen each other. It was bliss. I miss having family around me but thankfully I don't have to wait too long before it happens again as I'm back home for a Christmas visit as of Monday 23rd December. I can't wait!

It seems to be taking me longer and longer to get up on Monday mornings (I think if I hadn't had a book to take back for the boy this morning, before my seminar at 10 am, I may not have got up at all!) and feel at all motivated to make a start on my day. It's got to be done though, I have to get in the swing of things, as this week is going to be spent preparing for (and hopefully starting) two essays I have due on the 10th and 11th December as I've (another) couple of busy weekends ahead - the #EastMidsMeetUp this Saturday (hello to all going!) and next weekend I'm off to Bath for the #BathXmasMeet as arranged by Megan. I'm so excited because the two of us have been chatting for well over a year so it's going to be amazing to finally meet! I'm also looking forward to seeing all those I've made friends with via the opportunities blogging has presented me since I made myself a part of it's community last June (just by tweeting people whose blogs I read - I didn't start TT until February!); there are so many of you to list but you should know who you are by now (expect lots of mushy 'I can't wait to see you!' tweets over the next couple of weeks!). Hang on, what was I saying? Oh, that's right, essays. So, yes, they very much need to be started on because I'm going to endeavour to get them done (or at least to a point where all I need to do is check and print the following Monday) by next Friday. Should be interesting as I still have no real idea what I'm doing for either of them!!

Anyway, that's enough rambling for a Monday morning! Happy new week to you all, and here's a couple of photos to inspire and motivate you on your way....

I know it's hard to leave this

Image Credit: Vanessa, flickr
But remember, you can go get yourself one of these

Image Credit: Memento Mori, tumlr
And look forward to mid-morning when I'm sure you deserve one of these

Image Credit: themorningtrain, flickr
Or this

Image Credit: celine steen, flickr
I mean, you are a grown up after all. You can eat and drink what you bloody well please

Image Credit: hoa tran, flickr
Image Credit: emma louise. flickr
You can daydream, like this guy

Image Credit: synne j. flickr
Plan trips

Image Credit: Olena Vorontsova, flickr
Because there's no reason to forget places, landscapes and beauty like this exists

Image Credit: zazenit, flickr
Image Credit: deepsleepdarling, flickr
Image Credit: turquoiseacco, flickr
Image Credit: evgenia kohan, flickr
You can take the long walk home

Image Credit: Guilia, flickr
Then fill your belly with winter food

Image Credit: glutenfreedaily, tumblr
Before escaping to somewhere only your imagination and the company one of these allows you to

Image Credit: & it was fun fun fun, tumblr
Or write until your fingers and heart ache

Image Credit: The Straight & Narrow, tumblr
Or sew, maybe until that aching heart is content again 

Image Credit: Dream on Dreamer, tumblr
Then you can return to this

Image Credit: Lita Bosch, flickr
And say goodnight to him

Image credit: grandma hands, flickr
So you can sleep among these 

Image Credit: Man & Camera, tumblr

21 November 2013

131 // Thankful Thursday

Today I felt the urge to put together a little Thursday Thankful post, inspired by Lisette's wonderful series. I'm not sure what triggered such a feeling but hey, when one feels thankful one should probably just be grateful for it, rather than worry about why!! 

Is there anything better than golden leaves? Well, yes actually - stomping about in them!

This Thursday I am thankful for:

  • The ever-present feeling of autumn on campus, witnessed in my above photos taken this morning

  • That, even though I don't actually like my course, I had the opportunity to attend such a beautiful university

  • The offer of help from our Dean of Arts (a chat over a cuppa!) to get me feeling the love for my subject!

  • That it's only one day until my Moom and Auntie Ju come a-visiting

  • That I have a Dodge who looks out for me in the form of sending me helpful tips to keep me warm in this ridiculously large-windowed flat

  • My big, huge rug-of-a-scarf that keeps my neck (and the rest of my body when laying on the sofa) nice and warm

  • Ladies across the pond who always brighten my week (and as a result make me entirely thankful for the internet) - Chloe, Megan and Kailey, I'm looking at you, kids!

  • Good customer service 

Now, I've a little bit of a tale to tell regarding this last one. This afternoon I sent this tweet about a local cupcake kiosk:

After a few tweets back and forth, in which the company assured me they don't use cinnamon (possibility of a dodgy batch!), they offered me a free red velvet cupcake (which I happily picked up about 5 mins after our conversation) to try out for my-very-self. Now that's what I call doing what you can to keep your customers satisfied! 

Oh, and I'm pleased to say there was no cinnamon in sight (or taste!).

How about you? What are you thankful for this Thursday?