18 December 2013

Guest Post: Outfit Ideas - Keeping Alternative in the Office


Hi my name is Amy Marie & I work for Scarlett Fashion. My lovely bestie Kariss has allowed me to guest post on her blog today, because she's so nice like that! Scarlett Fashion is an online boutique that sells an assortment of pieces from smaller brands. We often run competitions for bloggers and enjoy working closely with them. 

I thought i'd share with you a fashion related post today that I hope Kariss' readers will enjoy. It's about how to keep an alternative style while working an office 9-5 job. I'm so proud of Kariss who has recently taken on that sort of job, which I find super strange imagining her in a smart clothes as she's always been my multicoloured haired friend who wears corsets to go clubbing. But of course, people from all walks of life work all sort of jobs so there must be a happy medium! So today I've put together an outfit that could keep Kariss' style of quirky, alternative, nerd girl and not upset her boss! 



There aren't many places that sell them, but I can't express how much I adore 200 denier tights. They are the closest things you can get to leggings, without being tights.. in fact.. they're actually more opaque than some pairs of leggings! They hide a multitude of sins, short skirts, unshaven legs. They a really are a perfect addition to any work place outfit. Speaking of short skirts (although, granted no inappropriately) the dress i've chosen that really looks like it would suit Kariss' style is this gorgeous Scallop Dress by Sugarhill Boutique. Sugarhill is one of my personal favourite brands and they really do have the right amount of quirkiness without loosing the grown up feel. There are few reasons why I've gone for this particular dress, one is the cut. The shift style is very flattering. Secondly, the collar keeps it looking like work wear and finally, apart from myself, Kariss is the biggest Alice in Wonderland fan I know.. in fact, it's quite possible she's bigger. The blue and cream of this dress really does scream Alice to me. If you are going along a different route from the bog standard, blouse and suit route, why not skip the blazer as well? A simple black cardigan can really do the trick like this one from New Look, that also comes in many different colours should you like the style but want to match it with more outfits. It's a great price at £9.99. To go along with the Alice in Wonderland theme, this Falling Alice necklace from Truffle Shuffle will look really cute tucked under the collar of the dress. With it being gold it looks smart but the design is still very much quirky. Trying to find smart shoes when smart isn't really your "thing" can be difficult, thankfully Dr Martin does have some simple styles that will work well in a office, like the Sophie T-Bars! And you'll be able to wear them out of work too! Finally, the bag. The bag is still very kawaii, but it's a satchel and the blue will go well with the dress. It's the Magic Panda Love Satchel and hey, if we're being grown up with the rest of the outfit, why not have something a little out there with a handbag? It's not like i'm suggesting you put a huge bow in your hair! 

I'd like to thank Kariss again for letting me guest post for her! You can find me at Scarlett Fashion or over on the blog here.


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3 December 2013

Library Sale Haul


Would you believe I've put myself on a book buying ban, I'm talking before I posted about the books I bought from charity shops a couple of weeks ago.  Clearly book buying bans are not something I'm good at, but it doesn't count when there discounted right?  I'm glad we are agreed cause my local library had a sale recently and I got a tiny bit carried away.  In my defence all the books were 0.30p and there trying to close it so every bit of cash helps!  Or at least that's how I'm justifying my overflowing bookcase. 
I need to massively apologise for the quality of these photos!  It's the time of year now when it's dark whenever I'm not at work and I'm also pretty Ill so I haven't got the patience for spending ages trying to find some decent lighting.  Also I've kept them in there library jackets (I like to keep the bit of history) so this makes them super shiny.
 So here is what I picked up:

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
"Dear Claire, I had a stressful weekend. It would be nice to come home and not be made to feel guilty. I hope school was interesting. There's some of the chicken (which was very good, by the way) left over. See you for breakfast. I want to talk to you about something. Mom"

Beautifully told through notes left on their kitchen fridge, this is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a hard-working mother and her teenage daughter.

Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, it is about being a 'good mother' or a 'good daughter', and is a reminder of how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.

Try and forgive me.  In real life this book is the exact colour of strawberry milk and I think that was probity the thing that first attracted me (I have a colour coded bookshelf so I'm a sucker for coloured spines).  I'd never heard of it before but I liked the premise although I thought it would be a series of note length stories rather then one story told in the form of notes.  I've read this already as it was a super short and I think because of the serious notion of the subject matter this style didn't work and it just left it lacking depth.  At least it will look good on my shelf!

I Have Heard You Calling In The Night by Thomas Healy
It seems now like a different me, the years I spent with Martin, a Doberman dog, and before he came, another me; and it is a new me now, once again, writing this. I would have been dead long ago had I continued to live the way I had before he came.

I think someone would have murdered me, given how I drank and the dives that I drank in and that I was an aggressive, angry man. I had no money and no friends. I didn’t care, I couldn’t have.
 Thomas Healy was a drunk, a fighter, sometimes a writer, often unemployed, no stranger to the police. His life was going nowhere but downhill. Then one day he bought a pup—a Doberman. He called him Martin. Gradually man and dog became unshakable allies, the closest of comrades, the best of friends. They took long walks together, they vacationed together, they even went to church together. Martin, in more ways than one, saved Thomas Healy’s life. Written with unadulterated candor and profound love, this soulful memoir gets at the heart of the intense bond between people and dogs

This is the book I am reading right now, I have to admit, I was mainly attracted to it because of the dog on the cover and also some personal reasons that I'm not going to get into on here.  The book itself is hardback and in pretty decent condition, it looks as though the cover might have faded but it's really hard to tell if this is just the cover design.

Addition by Toni Jordan

Everything counts...

Grace Lisa Vandenburg orders her world with numbers: how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, where she chooses to sit, how many poppy seeds are in her daily piece of orange cake. Every morning she uses 100 strokes to brush her hair, 160 strokes to brush her teeth. She remembers the day she started to count, how she used numbers to organize her adolescence, her career, even the men she dated. But something went wrong. Grace used to be a teacher, but now she's surviving on disability checks. According to the parents of one of her former students, "she's mad."

Most people don't understand that numbers rule, not just the world in a macro way but their world, their own world. Their lives. They don't really understand that everything and everybody are connected by a mathematical formula. Counting is what defines us...the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we all will die. That's what makes each minute important. Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones...there's no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Without counting, our lives are unexamined. Not valued. Not precious. This consciousness, this ability to rejoice when we gain something and grieve when we lose something—this is what separates us from other animals. Counting, adding, measuring, timing. It's what makes us human.

Grace's father is dead and her mother is a mystery to her. Her sister wants to sympathize but she really doesn't understand. Only Hilary, her favorite niece, connects with her. And Grace can only connect with Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams. Then one day all the tables at her regular café are full, and as she hesitates in the doorway a stranger—Seamus Joseph O'Reilly (19 letters in his name, just like Grace's)—invites her to sit with him. Grace is not the least bit sentimental. But she understands that no matter how organized you are, how many systems you put in place, you can't plan for people. They are unpredictable and full of possibilities—like life itself, a series of maybes and what-ifs.

And suddenly, Grace may be about to lose count of the number of ways she can fall in love.

I don't relay know anything about this book but I spotted Richard and Judy Summer Reads logo on it so thought it must be worth a read, probably for when I'm in the mood for something simple and easy.  Every now and then it's good to have a strait forward shorter read to get myself back into the swing of reading I find.  I'm really hoping this will be funny but of all the books this is the one I'm the most unsure of. 

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now. When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene's door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene's break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home. As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption.

This was another 'summer' read that drew my attention, I liked the idea of a white girl bringing an African-American boyfriend home to Alabama, which as we all know is probably one of the most stereotypically racist cities in the world so I'd be interested to see where they go with this.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

A powerful and intense tale of secrets and a hidden past, The Reader is a thrilling book. As a 15-year-old boy in postwar Germany, Michael Berg had a passionate affair with a mysterious, guarded woman twice his age that ended suddenly when she disappeared. Years later, Michael sees her again -- when she is on trial for a terrible crime

To be perfectly honest this is one of only two books I bought that ware already on my to be read list.  I have heard lots of great things about it and heard it's has the possibility of becoming something of a modern classic so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Engleby by Sabastian Faulks

"My name is Mike Engleby, and I'm in my second year at an ancient university." 
With that brief introduction we meet one of the most mesmerizing, singular voices in a long tradition of disturbing narrators. Despite his obvious intelligence and compelling voice, it is clear that something about solitary, odd Mike is not quite right. When he becomes fixated on a classmate named Jennifer Arkland and she goes missing, we are left with the looming question: Is Mike Engleby involved? As he grows up, finding a job and even a girlfriend in London, Mike only becomes more and more detached from those around him in an almost anti-coming-of-age. His inability to relate to others and his undependable memory (able to recall countless lines of text yet sometimes incapable of summoning up his own experiences from mere days before) lead the reader down an unclear and often darkly humorous path where one is never completely comfortable or confident about what is true.

I've never read and Faulks and although I don't really know anything about this particular book I thought it would be a good place to start.  It's obviously not his most famous work but it will hopefully give me a good taste as to his writing style.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

This is the second book I found that was actually on my to be read list.  I know this has had a lot of attention in the young adult community and a few of my favourite booktubers have given it amazing reviews so I look forward to reading it, probably going to be a post christmas wintery read!

The Death and Life of Charlie St.Cloud

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

This is the final book I picked up, another book I don't really know anything about but it has the 'Richard and Judy Summer Reads' tag on the front, so I picked it up for the same reason as the others, a fun light read that should have some quality behind it.  I also have the feeling I've heard this mentioned around somewhere before but I'm not sure where so hopefully its good!

So there you have it!  Not bad for for £2.40!  If you've read any of these I'd love to hear about it as there are loads I know little about, have you got any info you'd like to pass on?

Kariss xx
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