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!

Bookshop dates

I truly believe in finding and appreciating the small things that make every day just that little bit more beautiful or happier. This can be the smell of something delicious baking in the oven, a few peaceful moments to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning, or spending some time in a bookshop packed full with more books than I could ever read. My boyfriend and I often arrange to meet in town after work, for a bookshop date. Nothing works better to cheer up an ordinary day and add a bit of magic to everyday routine.

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We are very lucky to have many delightful bookshops in Oxford, but Blackwell’s is my favourite for our bookshop dates. It first opened in 1879 and it hosts more than 125,000 books spread over four floors. Doesn’t that sound dreamy? There is really something for everyone here. I usually navigate to the modern fiction section (I love to read the little cards with staff recommendations to discover new gems), while my boyfriend tries to find a worthy follow-up to Edmund Crispin’s novels in the crime section (does anyone have any suggestions?), which is starting to seem like an impossible task. We find each other again at the poetry corner or, unsurprisingly for anyone who knows us, by the P.G. Wodehouse shelves.

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Then, we head downstairs to the Norrington room which boasts 3 miles of books! Because we are nerds, we tend to spend quite a bit of time in the maths, physics and computing section. I really like their selection of popular science books (great gifts for friends who ask me “so, what did you do your PhD in?”). No visit is complete without a browse of the travel shelves. This feeds our wanderlust and has often inspired our travels.

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bookshop-9

I am usually not able to resist the lovely and quirky stationery bits and bobs. Inevitably, Alice in Wonderland notecards or a new notebook with a floral cover will find their way into my purchases. I love the feeling I get when I leave the bookshop with my new books. I think it’s the potential that they’ll introduce me to new worlds, new ideas, and new favourite people (fictional or otherwise) that does it. Buying books is up there with buying new shoes on the happiness scale, I reckon.


‘When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.’
— Desiderius Erasmus


These bookshop dates really do put a smile on my face and they are such a lovely activity. There’s always a book that will spark a memory or an idea and lead to real conversation that veers away from work and little daily struggles. We end up returning home feeling optimistic (because if all else fails, at least we will be well-read) and refreshed. On a dull Tuesday this is all I can really ask for.

Summer moments

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August is here and there is an almost imperceptible change in the air. Blushing apples in the orchard, blackberries ripening on the hedgerows, busy squirrels in the garden,  a chill in the early mornings. Autumn is discreetly placing its calling cards all around us. There will still be warm and sunny days (I hope!), but autumn is waiting backstage for summer to finish its dance.

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This makes me want to hold on to summer, squeeze in all my favourite summer activities, and cherish those special summer moments.

  1. Incredibly green canopies and dappled warm light in the forest. These are moments filled with gratitude. Seeing the sunlight dance with the leaves always makes me feel that everything is as it should be.
  2. Rotund bumble bees on lavender plants. We owe the bees so much and we must do our best to save them, so it fills me with joy to see them visit our garden.
  3. Wearing my favourite summer dresses that come out year after year. And on a related note, dresses with pockets! Like revisiting old friends.
  4. Cats napping in the shady parts of the garden. I love observing the habits and rhythms of the neighbourhood cats. On hot and stuffy days it seemed snoozing and stretching were the most important things. I think I’d really like that too!
  5. Warm evening walks around the neighbourhood. No need to take a jumper! There’s always something pretty growing in a neighbour’s garden, a wandering cat to be stroked, a sparrow singing from a tree branch.
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  7. Everything about elderflower. Foraging, making cordial, and then enjoying a refreshing drink. I picked some elderflower in June and made a few bottles of cordial. It’s such a refreshing drink, to me it’s the essence of summer.
  8. Long, yellow grass moving in the breeze. I always think nothing can compare to the spring wildflowers but I must admit that there is magic in the air when the meadows put on their golden summer robes.
  9. Thunderstorms. We were out for a short walk the other day when, as if out of nowhere, dark clouds gathered and it was like someone turned off the light. Running for cover when those first, fat drops started to fall, thunder roaring up ahead, I could help but laugh. I felt very alive in that moment and I guess, happy too.

I’d love it if you’d share some of your favourite summer moments and activities with me.