Of all life’s simple pleasures, a good spring clean and clear out is one of the most satisfying! I’d put off the task for a while, but now it’s over and done with I’m feeling all organised and ready to go. These next few months will probably fly by (hopefully, anyway) so I thought a clear space without too much unnecessary clutter would make life a little easier. Now that a whole load of miscellany has made its way to the recycling I’m wondering how my cupboards ever shut; it seems I have hoarder tendencies to keep hold of things ‘just in case’! During my epic clear out I unearthed a few items that surprisingly haven’t made it to the blog yet, beginning with these ‘cow shoes’ as they’re known in my house. They’re from River Island and aren’t the most comfortable shoes on the planet, but I think the cow print makes up for it! As you can see from these shots my room is mostly pretty neutral: I’m by no means a minimalist person but I prefer the feel of a blank room to which I can then add little splashes of colour and detail. Not sure I’d keep up with a proper colour scheme – one mismatched box and the whole place looks a mess! Maybe I’ll do a room tour once I’ve added a few more touches? Seeing as my first exam is only 63 days away, I thought it was about time I went through all my folders and organised everything together in one place. Organisation is the best form of procrastination, I tell you! It’s totally justified too, since the best work couldn’t possibly be done in messy conditions, in my opinion anyway. If anybody’s interested, I might share a few of my revision strategies and that kinda thing over the next few months as I’d like to think I’m OK at motivating myself to just get on with it! I’ve pretty much scheduled myself to within an inch of my life, but I feel like that’s the best way to manage fitting in school and family and boyfriend and blogging and workouts and (hopefully) 2 minutes of downtime. Obviously I know that GCSEs have always been a lot of work, but I can’t help but feel that the ever increasing workload is maybe not quite right. People I’ve spoken to that sat their exams only a couple of years ago have said that it was different even then: not staying at school until 5pm repeatedly and not starting intensively revising so early, and that was without the extra subject that we’re doing this year. Whilst I appreciate and am very grateful for the tons of extra hard work that the teachers are doing for us (every single one of my teachers is ridiculously helpful and donates loads of their own time to us), I don’t know whether it feels a little overkill in a way. We’ve basically been told to put the rest of our lives on hold until after the 23rd of June, which stops us from throwing ourselves into other pursuits for the time being. I don’t know if it’s a good thing to limit 16 year olds in this way! Of course I’ll just have to suck it up and get on with it, but I do find myself getting ever so slightly annoyed sometimes at how our worth and future seems to depend on grades! Maybe that’s a rant for another time.
Matchy-matchy might be a little twee, but sometimes it’s by far the easiest option; especially with a ‘lil bit of cheetah print to break things up. I would waffle on about how layering both under and over made this bodycon mini more casual, but you’ve all heard that kind of thing before. :P What you can’t see here is the ton of fluff I was coated in at the end of the day. Luckily it doesn’t show up on camera!
A cancelled event on Saturday meant that I actually had a little time to catch up on this, that, and the other, leaving Sunday free for a rainy town trip with my mum. My only purchases were a sports bra and Primark elephant print lounge pants (Fleur DeForce inspired of course!) so nothing too exciting to share.
I feel like I’m turning into a real old lady now and looking forward to early nights; aiming to be tucked into my duvet as early as possible! God knows what I’ll be like at 30.
Flashing a little belly without freezing for the first time this year, yay! I didn’t expect to be able to wear these French Connection trousers for a few months yet, but with the pretty warm light lingering past 5pm it seemed a perfect opportunity to wear these lighter pieces I picked up a few weeks ago. Along with my go-with-everything black booties of course for now, however I have noticed that from certain angles they resemble hooves! I’m not typically a hoodie gal but this H&M one seemed a little different being sheer knit and drawstring, so I thought it was worth a try. I am ‘fabuleuse’, after all ;) It might not my usual look but I’m enjoying trying all sorts of different styles and seeing what suits me best. Trousers long enough for my tall frame are hard to come by, but French Connection fits me brilliantly and this pair actually rumple around my ankles. A whole new experience!
With my mum as a photographer we’ve always noticed when ‘the light is nice’, and Friday night was the first time this year that there’s been a warm evening glow. People tend to think I’m a little odd for mentioning the pretty light; it’s something I can’t help but notice and want to make the most of. I’m probably getting way ahead of myself in feeling that it’s a sign of summer on its way, seeing as inches of snow fell in March last year. Feeling the sun warming my back today, as I took a ‘fresh air break ‘ from many hours of homework, was so nice and refreshing: the thought of a long summer is a great incentive to plough through the 23 GCSE exams I’ve now received my timetable for.
Interviews are something that I’ve heard about so many times as scary, but I have to say I was quite excited for my college interview this Friday! It was very informal and more of a ‘chat’ than a proper interview, and for someone that can talk for England the experience was quite fun. ’15-20 minutes maximum’ did turn into a good 35 minutes of yabbering in which I gave my blog link, so college lady if you’re reading this, I do apologise!
For those of you who have read JoliHouse since it was my mum’s blog (thank you so much for sticking around!), this may come as old news, but I thought I ought to explain a bit of background behind the knitwear that I show here every now and then. I’m aware that new followers might wonder what on earth I’m talking about when I mention my designs and projects, so bear with me! Since I was tiny I’ve had a creative streak, always had some form of artsy crafty ‘thing’ at my fingertips. A ‘mosaic dolphin’ kit springs to mind, but I was obsessed with watercolours, cross stitch, and all sorts really. Around age 8 my mum and Nannie taught me the basics of knitting, and from there I practiced making a whole host of bizarre items. Once I’d progressed through lumpy garter stitch scarves, to stuffed animals, to lace wedding dresses for dolls, I began making socks and accessories for myself and friends. There wasn’t (and still aren’t) a great deal of garment patterns suitable for a 5’6 eleven year old, so I leapt in at the deep end and wrote my own pattern for a seamless, fitted, yoked jumper. Coniston, first blogged here. From then on I was bitten by the designing bug and continued with my own creations, and published my first free downloadable pattern to Ravelry 2 months after starting secondary school. I remember the crown of Aira turning out so pretty as a happy accident, which definitely gave me encouragement to carry on! In 2010 my mum and I were at a little crafty gathering in the Lake District, when Juliet Bernard – editor of The Knitter magazine at the time – popped over to say she really loved the knitted laceweight cardigan I was wearing. (With denim shorts and cowboy boots btw. I wish I had photos of that outfit!). Excited, we started chatting and she asked to feature my design in her magazine. Of course I excitedly agreed, and around my 13th birthday my pattern was published as a supplement with The Knitter.
This is turning into a brief history, so I’ll skip the next few years and just say that I’m very grateful for the opportunities I had to design for myself, and publications like US Vogue Knitting and other UK brands! Almost everything I’ve made over the years can be seen on ravelry here, so feel free to have a look around/laugh at 10 year old Lily’s peculiar poses.
Anyway, back to the now!
As you can see from the first pictures in this post, I’m still very much a crafty one now. Currently on the needles – passing between my mum and I – are two summery designs of mine: a ribbed, poloneck cropped top and a laceweight camisole. Both in shades of pink, which is unusual for me. This year I’m determined not to fall into my usual trap of only starting summer projects in June, to only finish once the sun’s gone into hibernation.
Often when I’ve mentioned ‘designing’ and ‘selling patterns’ to my friends/peers they’ve been confused as to what it is I actually sell, so I thought I might clarify! I’ve written about my design process a few months ago here, and from that point I write up the pattern/instructions to be downloaded from Ravelry. The main confusion when I’ve told people is that I don’t actually sell physical ‘things’, just PDFs of instructions, diagrams and pictures. (Hope that doesn’t sound patronising, I just know people have been confused before!).
Whilst I’m more than happy to post pictures on the internet, until not long ago I was reluctant to let anybody at school know about this hobby of mine. Knitting has a certain ‘old granny’ stigma attached; it seemed pointless advertising the fact that I spent some of my free time knitting to people who weren’t going to be interested in my patterns anyway. Even last year, after I’d gained confidence about wearing my knits, I was slightly dubious about taking my GCSE project into school to work on. You know what some teenagers can be like! However my sitting knitting away at school was mostly met with curiosity; a few odd looks but no negative comments, luckily.
Something that’s always puzzled me is the assumption that hand crafted = frumpy and old-fashioned. Most teenagers would happily wear a Topshop jumper or cardi , but would flinch at the thought of wearing the handknit equivalent. A turnaround of sorts has definitely occured over the last few years, and to a certain extent, hand crafts have become ‘cool’ - ish. I’m thanking programmes like the Great British Sewing Bee for this! Love love love Tilly and the Buttons. Still, I had the feeling that people would be surpised to see that I was knitting a bodycon skirt with see-through panels, that I’d like to think is more Rihanna than Miss Marple. Personally I adore the ‘granny chic’ look, and styled in certain ways I think outdated knits can look fabulous. However, there’s still a way to go in raising the profile of ‘make your own’, particularly amongst teenagers. Lets hope the rise of crafty young bloggers and the like will do so!