Cranbourne Tales: Favourites This Week

This week, we stuck a pin on a map and ended up going for a walk near Cranbourne – I’d never heard of the area before, but it’s well worth a visit! We found a walk online and gave up halfway through – it was hot, overgrown, full of insects and flies, and seriously boring, traipsing along hedgerow-lined tractor paths with no view of anything except the hills ahead. But the village and the garden centre on the outskirts were gorgeous!

We even found a garden where they were giving away produce, including this beautiful beef tomato and some fresh peas. Yes, thank you!

I have a bit of a thing about gorgeous front doors (funny, because mine is actually pretty unimpressive), so whenever I go anywhere I have to take a snap at some of the pretty ones I see!

Anyway, I’d definitely recommend a little trip to Cranbourne, if only for the little garden centre or the pretty pubs and restaurants located there!

I’ve also been continuing with Louise Parker’s Lean for Life – which led me to a stunning realisation… Microwave poached eggs are actually the easiest way to make them! I used this recipe, which is as follows: crack one egg into a mug half full of water, then microwave it on high for one minute. Then, you just empty the water out and drain the egg on a paper towel, before transferring to your plate. Crazy simple!

There have been no end of salads here since the kitchen was pretty much out of order – I was dying to try this pommy Cobb salad from the recipe book and it was gorgeous. Good job the weather suits cold food!

And that tomato got put to good use too, on an antipasti platter! A simple selection of cured meat, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, olives and spinach makes a great dinner or lunch – another hit from Louise Parker’s book!

When it comes to keeping up my step count, I must confess, I don’t just go walking in the woods and through fields – I’m partial to a bit of shopping (how did you guess?!) and a trek around Gunwharf Quays was a lovely way to get to my step count in the evening. And I couldn’t resist snapping these gorgeous salt and pepper shakers, below – what a beautiful rainbow!

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Replikating at Hobbs, Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is my local shopping outlet, and whilst it doesn’t have as many luxury brands as Bicester, it’s still an amazing place to shop.

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If you’re after some Kate Middleton style, it’s also a great place to pick up replikates!

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Many of Kate’s favourite shops and brands are here, including L.K. Bennett, Barbour, Hobbs, Jaeger, Ted Baker, Links and Ralph Lauren

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I popped in to Gunwharf for a quick pit stop this weekend, and here are some of my finds!

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This awesome Ted Baker jacket in silver was a special sample priced at £80. Unfortunately it was a bit creased and didn’t photograph well, but it had a beautiful shape to the back.

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Ted Baker is an excellent place to get really gorgeous party dresses or frocks for the races.

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Another great outlet is L.K. Bennett. I’ve purchased many a great item in here, including a teal Jude jacket (£60) and a pair of black suede Harper pumps (£115). Highlights today included a black Davina dress (Kate has worn one in teal under her Jetta jacket – like the Jude) for £150, and Sledges in beige, gold and black glitter for £115.

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I spent most of my time in Hobbs though – I love the brand and the physical stores, but let’s just say their online service leaves a lot to be desired… But let’s stick with the positive for this post!

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There were a few items in here from the current mid season sale, including plenty of items in the same Dalmatian print that Kate wore in Southampton (hers was a collarless coat). The Niamh top was there in blue and white for £28.

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There were also trousers, a scarf, and a cardigan (£50).

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As the Dalmatian mac that Kate wore is long since sold out, these are great replikating options which use the same print! There are even shoes – the Lexi open toe court for £49 and the Bea ballerina, £35.

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My favourite replikate from Hobbs is the Myra wedge, in navy suede (£49).

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They also had the mushroom version, which was incredibly tempting!

Hobbs Outlet stores can be found at Bicester, Braintree, Canterbury, Cardiff, Cheshire Oaks, Kildare, Portsmouth, Swindon, Walton-On-Thames and York. Track them down at http://www.hobbs.co.uk.

’40s curls by The Painted Lady

Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a competition for a vintage hair styling session by Belinda Hay at The Painted Lady in London. Belinda Hay literally wrote the book on vintage hair, so I was over the moon at the prospect! Unfortunately, due to the bad weather in January, I managed to miss my first appointment that I’d booked with her, but Belinda graciously allowed me to rebook – and so, yesterday, I finally got my hair did!

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As I won the competition by professing my love for Gil Elvgren’s curly haired beauties, I thought it was only right to request a similar look for my styling session. Belinda began by curling my hair using hot tongs and allowing it to cool in curl clips. Then, after a copious dousing in hairspray, the clips were removed, and the brushing out began! This is the bit that I’d probably have the most trouble with – after all, once you’ve spent so long pinning your hair up, it’s scary to take a brush to it. Knowing me, I’d brush all those curls out! However, Belinda’s expert touch and total confidence left me with gorgeous pin-up curls all day long (and they’re still in today!).

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Check out the back – such amazing waves! I told Belinda my hair only behaves for other people – but I’m getting better at giving my hair some gentle curls with heated rollers…

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(In case you wondered, I wore my NW3 Hobbs Annabel dress, Miss L Fire Monaco shoes, Monty Mouse earrings from Hobbs, and Audrey sunglasses from Jeepers Peepers (via ASOS). I’ve worn the Annabel dress so many times now, it’s starting to become my uniform…)

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Excuse the cheesy grin – I was pretty pleased with my hair!

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I also wore my trusty old coat from Next, which I bought a year ago from the outlet store in Gunwharf Quays after I totally misjudged the weather! Good buy in the end…

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In other news, I’m experiencing feelings of confusion about the upcoming summer months – on the one hand, I can’t wait for warmer weather, but on the other hand, I’ll probably have to retire my gorgeous shoes for a while… Hence wearing them as often as I can at the moment!

Visit The Painted Lady online here, or pop into the salon at 65 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, E2 7DJ. The phone number is 0207 729 2154. Vintage hairstyling starts from £45, but you can also get party packages, as well as hair dying services – and there’s a nail bar, too! TPL is full of lovely, attentive staff, and everyone I saw while I was there left looking absolutey fabulous!