Chunky knits: A love affair

chunky cream cardigan

I don’t know exactly how it happened but all of a sudden I find myself completely obsessed with chunky knits. In September the weather started getting colder and there they were: cosy, warm and soft. The grown up equivalent of a security blanket. They are all I want to wear.

I used to avoid overly slouchy and chunky knitwear. I thought it wasn’t a terribly flattering look. I’m not sure if that’s changed, it’s not like I’ve found some revolutionary way of styling them. But maybe it’s wisdom that comes with age: perhaps I don’t mind looking a little like the Michelin Man when I’m so warm and comfortable.

chunky cream cardigan
chunky cream cardigan

Either way, I have been particularly partial to my cream cardigan from ASOS ever since I bought it. It’s so slouchy and big, and the sleeves are just the perfect length for pulling over my hands when they are chilly. I think this style is sometimes called the grandpa cardigan, which makes me love it even more. So far, I’ve worn it mainly with jeans and t-shirts but I’m curious to see how it will pair with dresses and heels, à la Carrie Bradshaw in SATC early season 4.

It will be a bit tricky to keep wearing chunky knits when it gets a bit colder. I tried wearing the cardigan underneath my leather jacket the other day. It kind of worked, I thought it looked cute, but my movements were definitely a bit restricted. In fact, I’m not sure I could lift my arms above shoulder height. I’m thinking of trying to layer the cardigan over a slim-fit cashmere jumper. With a big scarf on top it could possibly work for wintertime too. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull off the Yeti look.

purple jumpers and red lips             purple jumpers and red lips

I’ve also rediscovered a Massimo Dutti jumper that I’ve had for years and years. It’s a wool and mohair mix so it’s incredibly soft. I really like wearing it with my leather skirt, the contrast in the textures is very pleasing. It’s also kind of a departure from the norm for me, because it’s not grey or navy or some other boring colour. Because it’s this lovely, warm purple hue, I’m loving it worn with a red lip. It’s one of my favourite colour combos ever.

purple jumpers and black leather skirt
purple jumpers and red lips

I’m so happy with my chunky knits, they definitely have been a highlight of this autumn so far. What have you been enjoying wearing recently?

 

My new Instagram project – #ALittleAdventureInAJar

I saved a small piece of summer in a jar. #ALittleAdventureInAJar

I saved a small piece of summer in a jar.

There are so many moments that I’d like to save. Preserve them and keep the memories intact, so that I’m able to revisit them long after they’ve passed. Moments of gratitude, contentment, or joy. The falling crunchy leaves of autumn and branches heavy with blossom in the springtime. Perfect, simple days filled with life’s little pleasures. Then, in the grey days of winter I could catch a glimpse of that warm, lazy summer sunshine. Or when my spirits are low I’d have a reminder of cherished moments when my heart was full.

After having these thoughts for a while I started a new photography project on Instagram. With a bit of picture editing and a touch of magic I started #ALittleAdventureInAJar. I’m having such fun creating these images! And just being on the lookout for these precious moments means I notice and appreciate them more when they do occur. I love that about gratitude. The more you look for things to feel grateful for, the more reasons you have to be grateful.

I’ve already created another image that I’ll post on Friday. I’ll try to stay consistent and post a picture for this hashtag on the same day each week. I’m very excited for this project and I sure do hope you’ll follow along.

Sartorial musings – Fun items in my wardrobe

Fun items in my wardrobe: A sparkly necklace worn with a blue button down shirt, black leather skirt, and my trench coat.

When I made my Wardrobe Resolutions (one, two, and three), I was looking for a way to get out of a style rut and banish the dreaded “my closet is full of clothes but I have nothing to wear” scenario. And it worked! I slowly started creating a wardrobe that consists of things I actually like wearing and that suit me, and cultivated a more thoughtful approach to shopping.

The second resolution was to have fun with my clothes, to embrace the quirky and playful pieces that I’m drawn to and to actually wear them often.

I still forget sometimes and fall back into a habit of wearing a lot of grey. Or the mentality of saving the more fun pieces for “special occassions” creeps back in (don’t even get me started on how silly and illogical this is). But for the most part I enjoy brightening my days with light-hearted, unexpected pieces. They make me smile. Wearing fun items definitely affects my attitude every day!

Where I find it really easy to include more unusual, fun pieces is in my accessories collection. I feel that if the rest of my outfit is relatively basic, I don’t look too eccentric if I’m carrying my ostrich feather bag!

It’s often something sparkly, like the vintage necklace I’ve got on in the picture up top. I’ve got a few of these, they are the result of my late-night Ebay trawls. They are one of my favourite ways to brighten up grey, wintery days.

I also really enjoy embellished knitwear; I love the contrast of combining a playful jumper with a masculine button-down shirt.

And of course, I’ve got quite a few pairs of impractical, slightly less than sensible shoes, and I love wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my blue Converse trainers and my blush pink Ferragamo flats. But sometimes, a boring jeans-and-a-white-blouse outfit needs a pair of sparkly, embellished Sophia Webster heels. Don’t you think?

Fun items in my wardrobe

I’m sharing some of my favourite fun & playful pieces in my wardrobe in this brand new video:

These are the pieces I reach for when I’m feeling a bit low and need some spirit-lifting. I hope this video inspires you to inject a bit of fun in your wardrobe!

Oxford Botanic Garden – Part 3: The Merton borders

The Merton borders

PART 1 OF THIS SERIES, WITH PICTURES OF THE GLASSHOUSES, IS HERE & PART 2, FEATURING THE WALLED GARDEN, IS HERE.

I’m sure I’ve posted about the Merton borders before but they are still my favourite part of the garden. A visit to the botanic garden is not complete without a stroll around these borders.

The Merton borders were planted a few years ago, as an example of a more sustainable way of urban planting. They require no irrigation or fertilisers and the plants can survive during longer dry spells as well as provide plenty of pollen for pollinators. And they are also very beautiful!

The Merton borders

I always enjoy the pink echinaceas in these borders. I think they are the kind of flowers that look so interesting from different angles, and it’s fun to get up really close to them for some macro-ish shots. (Although, during this visit, my new lens meant I had to find a different way to try to capture their beauty which was a fun challenge!)

The Merton borders

The Merton borders have a kind of messy wild look that never fails to make me smile. On this visit they reminded me a bit of Monet’s impressionistic paintings of his garden at Giverny. They are a jumble of different colours, textures, and scents. Truly, delightful for all the senses. And the bees and butterflies seem to love them; some parts of the borders were positively buzzing!

The Merton borders
The Merton borders


FLOWERS ARE HAPPY THINGS

— P.G. WODEHOUSE


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little series from the Oxford Botanic Garden. I’m planning to share more places to visit and things to do in Oxford soon. Having lived here for 5 years I definitely have my favourite places to wander, explore, shop and eat. And I think it’d be nice to share some love and gratitude for our hometowns, don’t you agree?

Oxford Botanic Garden – Part 2: The Walled Garden and Lower Garden

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Part 1 of this post, with pictures from the Glasshouses, is here.

Once I have my fill of exotic climates and strange plants in the glasshouses, I like to wander around the various botanical family beds. I find that there is always something of interest blooming, no matter the time of year. This is where ‘Tolkien’s tree’, that great and beloved black pine stood for 200 years. The Walled Garden also has the 17th century section which hosts the same varieties that were found in the Botanic Garden when it first was founded.

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Dotted around the garden are many wooden benches, perfect for a little rest. I can’t think of many more idyllic spots to sit and read a good book.

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The Herbaceous Border (top picture) is pretty much the ultimate cottage garden inspiration. Don’t you just love how rambling and romantic it is?  On my visit last week, the Japanese anemones really stood out to me as they basked in the sunshine.

I try to look up every now and then because the garden offers some classic Oxford views. Magdalen Tower can be seen from among the Botanical Family Beds, while the Merton College Chapel tower makes the perfect backdrop for the Lower Garden. I think that colourful plants and beautiful medieval buildings make a perfect combination!

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The Walled and Lower gardens offer so much to delight, fascinate and inspire. I made many mental notes for my future/dream garden, just like every other time I’ve visited the Botanic Garden. It was also a great treat to spend some time reading in this peaceful place.

Part 3, with pictures of the Merton Borders (possibly my favourite part of the garden), will be coming next week. I hope you are enjoying this series!