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I’ve been squirrelling around since the morning building another 2013 in review post, and at 6 o’clock, I’ve decided against publishing it. 2013 sure has been a tremendous year for me, filled with highs and lows of varying strengths. Quitting my full-time job to charge on with this blog was surely a high, although to be honest it was technically a corner I was driven into that thankfully happened to have a little door. Regardless, I don’t regret taking that leap of faith and it’s been a hell of a ride ever since. The eczema probably was, and still is, the lowest … a problem I’ve sworn to tackle in the new year. I’ve decided against publishing a comprehensive review because, last year I wished for less shoes, more family, less ‘me’, more ‘you’, but the highlights were specifically about more shoes, and much more ‘me’ (5kg more at this point, to be exact), than ‘you’. So I want to start a clean slate, let’s try again, shall we?

Wishing all my readers a great start to 2014. Looking forward to prattling on in the new year!

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Pattern from Kim Hargreaves Scarlet pattern book, called ‘Craft‘.

C2B, C2F, KTBL, P2…

…which is not an encoded call to Starfleet, but nonetheless a new language for me this season as I enter a new domain that is sweaters and cable knitting. Before I delve into the complexity of this sort of pattern, let me just say: if I can knit, a mattress can knit. A fingerless mattress. A blind, fingerless mattress. So don’t be discouraged when I say my eyeballs were bleeding and it took literally 32 hours to do a mere 6 inches. Cable knitting follows a grid pattern, and I’m not sure if you’ve tried doing geometry homework while watching a BAZILLION movies, but it sure slows you down (duh). Especially if some of them are Italian (La vita e bella) or French (Amelie) and you get your subtitles and knitting pattern confused and end up knitting “Bongiorno principessa“, then undo the entire row afterwards. It’s all good fun though, and not at all hard if you have Youtube and some time handy, which is exactly what this Christmas was, spending it quietly in London just with the hubby.

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Ballerina flats – Josefinas

Ryan G

These navy classic ballerinas are from a Portugese brand called Josefinas, but considering how much I fondle them and dream of spring-time dates by the riverside I’ve decided to name it ‘Ryan G’ so that when the times comes I can say ‘I’m taking Ryan out for a ride’ and confuse the crap out of hubby. For now Ryan G’s in winter hibernation in a snug silk dust bag that smells like Eucalyptus.

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White candle – Diptyque ‘Cypres’. Dark candle – Dior 30 Montaigne. Cuff – Chanel ‘boy’ lego brick cuff. Rings – Monica Vinader stacking rings

I’ll count, you hide.

A couple firm favourites from 2013 that I’ll be taking into 2014: a Mikimoto circle pearl necklace that used to be my mother’s, Monica Vinader stacking rings (Baja and Diamond pave), and Chanel ‘boy’ lego brick cuff from the Cruise 13 collection. The cuff is actually on loan from the Chanel press office to ‘play’ with (their words, not mine), although the most ‘playing’ I’ve done so far with it was wrapping it with bubble-wrap and placing it in a 6-digit-code safe. Which is what I used to do with my prettier looking Barbies anyway so I guess that does count as playing.  

 

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Necklace – FHH Accessories via Lulu Guiness. (Similar here)

Come on baby light my fire

When this arrived in the mail my pyromaniac husband put it around his neck and ran around the flat giggling. I’m afraid I’m not even kidding. I swear one day he will burst into flames from sheer girliness.

 

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Striped top – c/o Gudrun Sjoden. PJ Bottoms – Gift from mummy (from Oysho, I believe)

A new surface

Ever since spilling beer all over my slightly more ‘agile’ laptop (aka not a tank) I’ve had to get out of bed, walk a meter, sit in a chair, and start my day on the internet like a normal human being. However, thanks to the recent acquisition of Microsoft Surface 2, a tablet with a handy keypad/cover that snaps onto the side, I’ve been able to return to my blissful lifestyle of a single-cell organism, that is: wake up, troll online, sleep. Some kidding aside, so far it really has boosted my level of productivity, although if you’ve e-mailed me in the past couple of months and didn’t receive a response, MY DOG ATE MY PURPLE KEYBOARD OKAY.

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Wool & the Gang ‘Ashleigh’ sweater knit kit, with custom elongated sleeves.

Chunky monkey

World, meet my first ever hand-knitted sweater! All thanks to Wool & the Gang, who generously supplied with the pattern, wool and constant cheering throughout. Their HQ happens to be located about 2 minutes walk from where I live, so sometimes I hear a ‘GO SHINI!’ which usually just turns out to be one of the teachers in the school behind my building yelling ‘NO SHITTING!’. Which, don’t get me wrong, is pretty good encouragement too because one mustn’t poop in the living room. This particular pattern didn’t take long to do (6-8 hours in total?) as the yarn is super chunky, so I’d say it’s perfect for first time sweater knitters!

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Perfume – Kenzo Flower in the Air

In the air

A whiff of the Flower in the Air takes me back to that one day in June when I took a train to Paris, rode a ferris wheel by the river, and again, then hopped back on a train and came home. A fleeting moment, that’s what it smells like, which is surprisingly lyrical compared to the usual scent pairing with my sarcastic temperament. On the skin, it’s a clean, modern scent, quite sharp at first, but settles into a comfortable floral blend of rose, gardenia… almost berry-like. I can’t wait for it to snow a little actually, I have a feeling this might be a great pairing, albeit slightly ironic.

 

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Time machine

Watch & straps – Daniel Wellington

Somehow the folks over at Daniel Wellington know about the unfortunate vintage watch I cracked with a plier three years ago, I think. Then again, it was a plier that usually does the pipes under the sink, I don’t know what I was expecting. My hand slipped and crack, a spiderweb on the watch face. A roll of duct tape was the only adhesive tapey thingy I had in the flat, and for a week I’d only know when it was 2:15. This DW set, however, comes with a tool that sings finesse: a firm nudge and it dislodges the bar from the hinges, which you then slide out the leather, and back on the hinges again. The grosgrain ribbon (that comes with a rose-gold buckle) slides through the bars, then secured. I can probably duct tape my eyes shut and do it again. Curse you plier! 

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Gilet – All Saints

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Fluffy gilet – All Saints (on sale!). (DIY Slashed) jeans – Supertrash. Bootes – Kurt Geiger. Bag – Couronne. Silk & mohair sweater – Hoss Intropia. Watch – Lasson & Jennings. Rings – Monica Vinader. Silk bracelet – Hermes Petit h. Gold bracelet – Kenzo. Thank you Kit for helping with the outfit pics!

So… I may have skipped out on the annual rumble with desperate last-minute shoppers by finding gifts earlier in the month, but turns out none of that mattered because I was that person with the bulging Santa sack at the post office on the very last working day before Christmas begging for stamps. I don’t even get points for joining a 50-strong queue that snaked around the building because none of the gifts will arrive on time anyway. I was also the person fighting a lady with three kids over the last orange in Tesco’s thinking if I don’t buy this now we will get starve and DIE over Christmas, or get scurvy, then die. Oh, and the girl that got carried away buying winter essentials as if preparing for a snow disaster, and by essentials I mean fluffy gilets from All Saints (on sale, no less) that probably aren’t very practical for any disaster, really, unless I’m doing a style-off with the snow. In any case, I do hope for a bit of weather drama over the next few days, just so I can blame it for the gifts not arriving on time and hope no one will check the date on the stamp, or this blogpost. Oh I’ve screwed up this year, haven’t I.

Since I’m probably getting whips/handcuffs again for being naughty this year, let me know if you’re as bad as me with Christmas and maybe we can start a business together by selling them all. What do you think?

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Plus, the winners for the 5th Anniversary giveaway!

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White coat – Charlie May AW13. Leather trousers – Topshop (similar Topshop). Shoes – Kurt Geiger. Sweater – H&M.

I’m a simple person, not minimalist simple, just tea in a mug, juice in a glass type of simple, in fact, I may be one of society’s flock of sheep that buy things with louder packaging. I’ll even add a beeehhh while I’m at it. Is it just me, or minimalist simple seems a somewhat superior form of lifestyle – I mean, how do you deal with so much white with all the food flying around in life? I have orange bedsheets for when I feel like taking my Spaghetti Bolognese dinner to bed, for example – which is every day except curry day. Curry day is green sheets day. I pinched this coat (Charlie May AW13) off Charlie’s studio the other morning when I’d arrived completely underdressed for a coffee date, and given my history with food/drinks and how famously it orbits the massive body that is, well, me, naturally I was hesitant to take it out. Alas, it was freezing and eventually I convinced myself that since I’m craving a flat white anyway it could as well be fine. I don’t know about the chocolate brownie though.

Thank you so much to those who entered the 5th Anniversary giveaway. Here are the five winners by random selection, congratulations!* Additionally, I’ve decided to pick 8 extra winners because I figured that’s the least I can do for the beyond amazing response I’ve had in the past week. I’m sorry if you weren’t one of the 13 to be picked, but if my love is worth anything you can download some here.

*Winners will be notified by email, please make sure you add shini@parkandcube.com to your contacts so that none of them end up next to ‘you win £3 million’ emails by Nigerian princesses, I can’t compete with that.

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And here are some of things up for grabs…

One box contains: a heap of (seven!) YSL beauty goodies for the festive season!

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One sack contains: One classic-red YSL lipstick, to wear with a tartan hat that comes as a knit-yourself kit by Wool and the Gang (or I can knit it up for you!)

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Wearing: Dress – ASOS. Bag – Kurt Geiger. Shoes – Mango. Coat – Zara. Watch – Sekonda. Necklace – Mikimoto

Woof, five years! Before I get all sentimental about what five years ago felt like for me in terms of how many more stairs I was able to climb without throwing up my lungs, let me just say, FIVE!? Come on, vaccinations, play dates, potty training… don’t you get some kind of medal for this? Oh I forgot, this bundle of joy of mine lives on the internet. Can we just pretend for the sake for things, that it’s a living, screaming, kicking, pooping child – because thanks to you, loyal readers + occasional swing by-ers + first time visitors, this kid is fat and very happy. And it’s his 5th birthday today. (Well, it was technically back sometime in November but I’m a shitty parent, remember) Thank you for feeding bacon through the cage, and thank you most of all, for your support for the past five years. I’m very lucky to have you all. Oh there goes the emotions, paypal me some tissues will ya.

I’ve prepared some gifts for you, and while I’m sad that I cannot gift each and every one of my readers, I will sure strive to create content that hopefully will educate/entertain/inspire you, even accidentally, in the coming five years. In the meantime, do stick around!

giveaway

closingdate
Sunday, 15th December 2013 23:59 GMT
howtoenter
  1. Leave a comment under this post (Please make sure to leave a valid email in the email field so winners can be contacted.)
  2. (Not required but would be greatly appreciated) Share on any social media platform you prefer using the buttons below
♥ YSL Beauty and Wool and the Gang have so generously offered to send the prizes, so it would be nice, out of respect but not requirement, to show support by visiting their sites and social media platforms! YSL | Wool and the Gang
goodies
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threewinners

5 x YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Mats lipstick shades 201, 202, 204, 205, 206
1 x La Laque Couture nail polish shade 01 Rouge Pop Art
1 x Le Teint Touche Éclat foundation shade BD 40

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additional

1 x Wool and the Gang tartan Zion Lion hat – knit-yourself kit,
OR pre-knitted by Park & Cube
1 x YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Mats lipstick (Shade 203)

Well, good luck!