If you ever come to Scotland, please, do me a favour and come in summer. Yes, it might be raining. In fact, it probably will be. But if you’ve ever visited the Scottish countryside on a warm summer day, you’ll hear people make the same observation on repeat: “If we just got the weather,” they say, “no one would ever leave!” Well, I’m not sure that’s quite true, but one thing I AM sure of is that when we DO get the weather, it’s beautiful. And in future, if anyone ever asks me why I hate autumn and winter so much, I will simply point them to this wonderful summer field, with the bright blue sky shining above it, and I will tell them they can keep their Fall-Is-My-Favourite-Season, and their OMGSNOW, and just leave me the summer, as long as it looks like this.
These photos were actually taken last Sunday, but because of all of the stress with The House Purchase That Never Was last week, I didn’t have time to get them off the camera. I barely had time over the weekend either, because as soon as we knew for sure that we weren’t getting The One (sob! Still not over it!) we plunged straight into a frenzy of house hunting, which basically involved us looking at aaaaaaalllll the houses ever made, on the basis that one of them might be The Other One. And of course, no, they weren’t. Well, actually SOME of them very well could have been: we spent yesterday looking at a bunch of showhomes in the area, and OMG, some of those houses were just beyond amazing. They were also beyond our budget, though, so it’s back to the drawing board for us, and after yet more issues with the dog-care thing over the weekend, I can’t help but feel that we HAVE to be in line for some good luck soon, so hopefully when we get back from Miami, The Even Better One will be sitting there waiting for us.
In the meantime, some more of that sunshine would go down well around about now…
Transport, motorways and tramlines / Starting and then stopping /Taking off and landing / The emptiest of feelings /Disappointed people clinging on to bottles / And when it comes it’s so so disappointing… [Radiohead, 'Let Down']
Last Wednesday we got an offer on our house.
It wasn’t a great offer, to be honest, but we did the maths and worked out that it was possibly enough to allow us to offer on the house we’d set our hearts on, so we crossed all of our fingers, toes and paws, and Terry called the seller to make a verbal offer.
Well, we waited, and we waited, and finally we got The Call. The seller would accept our offer, he said: all we had to do was put it in writing the next day, and he would instruct his lawyers to accept. We were overjoyed, except… not really. Really, we were dubious. We LOVED the house – we’d loved it from the first moment we saw it – but there were a few things about the deal which made us suspect things might not run smoothly, so we kept the champagne chilling in the fridge and tried not to get too excited.
[Dress: ASOS (last year) | Shoes: Charlotte Russe (ancient) | sunglasses: eBay]
These aren’t the best photos of me ever taken, partly because direct sunglight + feet-concealing-grass does not the best outfit photos make, but also because I’d let my hair air-dry that morning, and to say it ended up flatter than a pancake would be an insult to flat pancakes everywhere. They’d be all, “Hey, what’d WE do to deserve that comparison, bitch?” and they’d be right. Sorry, flat pancakes.
I think they’re amazing photos of Rubin, though, and they also bring back lovely memories of a sunny Saturday afternoon spent at the first barbecue of the summer, so I think I’ll keep them. Even although this one totally looks like it was shot in a portrait studio, in front of one of those cheesy painted backdrops:
“It… kind of reminds me of the Wizard of Oz,” said Terry, when he looked back at it. I’m not sure if it’s the combination of blue dress + small dog, or whether it’s because it looks, you know, totally FAKE, but I see what he means. All I need is a scarecrow and a tin man and I’ll be all set.
So, either you believe me that this is a real photo, and that all I’ve done to it is to crop and re-size it: no Photoshop whatsoever. OR, this photo is totally fake, which means EVERYTHING about this blog is probably fake, and I’ve been lying to you all along. In that scenario, you can’t believe a word I say from now on, because I’m actually a balding, middle-aged man called Clive, and my secret is OUT. I mean, that’s NOT the case, obviously. If it was, I wouldn’t have given myself flat, and yet strangely frizzy, hair in these photos.
It made you wonder, though, didn’t it?
[Dress: Pretty Dress Company (last year) | Shoes: River Island (old) | Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs*]
I feel like I have to apologise for the terrible case of Smugface I’m demonstrating in the first photo here. I have no idea where that came from, or what the hell I thought I had to feel smug about, because seriously, people, last week was NUTS. NUTS, I tell you. Some of it was nuts in a good way, and some of it was nuts in a very, very bad way. Some of it was nuts in a “yet more stuff to do with selling my house way,” but that’s another story for another day. Maybe.
Mostly, though, last week was nuts in a … well, a NUTS way. It was super-stressful, super-surreal, and at times it was super… I can think of at least one other “S” word that would work here, but this is a family-friendly establishment, so I’ll let you fill in that particular blank for yourselves. On the plus side, though, it was also super-sunny, which is no small thing, trust me.
Back at the start of the week, I had an appointment in Edinburgh, so I grabbed the opportunity to spend some time in the sun, and also to take outfit photos somewhere other than a country lane, or a field, or something. (I DID take photos in a field later in the week, though, don’t worry. OK, TWO fields. You’ll be seeing them soon.) I also grabbed the opportunity for a quick look around the shops, leaving with a pair of shoes for me (naturally), and a birthday present for Terry, which he picked out himself, from the Zara menswear department. I DID offer to surprise him with something, but he refused, because he doesn’t trust me to buy clothes for him. He says if I did, he’d end up looking like Jean Paul Gaultier or something. I opened my mouth to argue with that, but then just closed it again, because, to be perfectly honest, that WAS the look I had in mind. Well, you can’t go wrong with a Breton stripe, can you?
Actually, though, Terry did pretty well on his own, and picked out a pair of mint green pants for himself. SO PROUD, you guys, seriously. And then so worried, because I have mint green pants too, so now I’m worried we’ll end up looking like THOSE people who wear His n’ Hers outfits all the time. Which I guess is what would’ve happened if I’d had my way with the Breton stripes, now I come to think of it.
Anyway, despite the stress of last week (Which continues into this week too: awesome!), I did manage to take some other photos, which I will post as soon as I have a few spare minutes to download them. Let’s hope I’m looking a little less smug in at least some of them…
[Trousers and top: Zara | Hat: Topshop | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs*]
It’s become a running joke in our house that the second I try to take outfit photos, the heavens will open up and it will start to pour with rain. Doesn’t matter how good the forecast is, or how blue the sky has been up until then: I step out the door, it instantly starts to rain. It’s as if I have a little personal rain-cloud hovering permanently above my head, or some mad rain-making skillz. And seriously, if I’m going to suddenly acquire a talent at this late stage in life, rain-making is probably the LAST thing I’d want it to be…
That’s why this outfit was actually a little bit less unsuitable for the weather than it looks. It may have been raining when these photos were taken, you see, but it had been sunny all morning (So sunny, in fact, that I’d actually been planning to wear a sun-dress. I changed my mind at the last minute, which I guess is a good thing, or these photos would’ve looked REALLY bizarre…), the sky was blue when we left the house… then two-minutes later, the rain came down, and it came down BAD. It cleared right up again about ten minutes after the photos were taken, obviously. I mean, OF COURSE it did. But until that happened, the straw hat that was supposed to shield me from the sun certainly came in handy protecting me from (some of) the rain instead. Don’t you just love it when it (sort of) works out?
This weekend I was really excited to get a tweet from the lovely Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb, letting me know we’d both been featured in the July issue of Essentials magazine, in a feature about wedding guest style. I WAS going to rush out and buy it, but, well, I’m lazy, and I was still in bed at the time, so I downloaded the digital version instead, and instantly opened up a whole new world of possibility re: magazine reading. I actually hardly ever buy magazines these days (see: lazy), but I think I might download a few to read on the flight to Miami later this month, so if you have any favourites, feel free to tell me about them!
Anyway, I’m pictured wearing the outfit I wore to my friends’ wedding, which I’ve just realised was a year ago this week: how time flies! The long story of how I came to acquire that dress can be found here: now I just need someone else to get married, so I can have an excuse to wear it again. Anyone want to invite me to their wedding? Anyone? Hey, where’d everyone go?
[Skirt: ASOS (2012) | Cardigan: Zara | Cherry brooch: River Island | Shoes: Vivienne Westwood for Melissa | Sunglasses: eBay]
I’ve not been doing a great job of keeping the ol’ blog updated recently. I say this, not by way of apology, because I very much doubt you’re all sitting there hitting the “refresh” button over and over again while muttering, “How long do I have to wait before I see another photo of Amber in a 50s-style skirt?” but mostly to prepare you all for the fact that this is going to be YET ANOTHER post about my attempt to sell my house. GOD.
The House Thing, as I think of it, is the main reason I haven’t been blogging here so much recently. It’s not the only reason, of course: there’s also my complete lack of inspiration when it comes to deciding what to wear (No, it didn’t escape my notice that this outfit is exactly the same as this one, just with different colours…), and my upcoming holiday, which is currently requiring me to write almost a month’s worth of blog posts in advance. Let’s be honest, though: it’s mostly The House Thing. And on that subject…
WHY WON’T SOMEONE BUY MY HOUSE ALREADY?!
Since the last time I wrote about this (so, a few days, then…) we’ve actually had quite a lot of interest in the house. We’ve had more viewings in the past couple of weeks than we had in the first month combined, and, even more encouragingly, the people who’ve been coming to see the house have seemed to really like it. Some of them came back for second viewings. Some of them came back for thirds. (THIRDS!) Some of them ticked the box on the feedback form which says, “Yes, I would totally be interested in buying this house! Where do I sign?” They were even liking the shoe shelves, which made for a pleasant change.
Despite all of this, we weren’t getting our hopes up. After what happened last month, we learned that … well, we learned that The Others are every bit as inexplicable in the realm of property as they are in everything else they do. Possibly more so. And honestly, it’s a good thing we learned that, because otherwise we’d have really gotten excited about those second and third (THIRD!) viewings, and those encouraging noises everyone was making. We’d have spent hours and hours (and hours, and hours…) wondering if they were going to make an offer, and when they would make it, and how much it would be, and then we’d have felt totally crushed when it all came to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Which is, of course, exactly what happened. Every time.
According to what I’ve been reading, we’re not the only ones in this position. Not only does the market just absolutely SUCK right now, the first time buyers (who are the people most likely to be interested in buying our place) are being super-cautious, and super-picky. They basically have so much choice that its seems to have paralysed them, and rather than picking the house they like most and buying it, they’re so terrified of making the wrong choice that they’re just circling endlessly around and around the same properties, doing second, third and sometimes more viewings, and never actually coming to a decision. There always seems to be one more house to see, then another, then another, and by the time they’re done, they’ve forgotten what the first set of houses were like, so they book second viewings with those, and the whole process starts again.
I have some amount of sympathy for this, obviously. I mean, I’m pretty indecisive myself. It sometimes takes me weeks of deliberating just to choose between two dresses, for God’s sake, and after all of that I’ll probably end up buying both, which you can’t really do with houses can you? So I get it. And I also get that it’s a huge decision, the most money you’ll ever spend on something, your happiness depends on it, blah, blah, blah. But even although on the outside I’m saying I understand, what I’m REALLY thinking here is, OH MY GOD, JUST MAKE A DECISION ALREADY. And also: BUY MY HOUSE. Because, seriously: as a buyer, I know that it’s a huge, huge decision, and not something to be taken lightly. But as a seller, there’s only so many times you can show the same set of people around the same house (We’re doing the viewings ourselves now, after someone turned up unexpectedly, and Terry managed to tap into a side of himself that has secretly always wanted to be a salesman, apparently…) before you start to wonder if they’re going to ask to move in next, “just to get a proper feel for the place”.
Just to add to the fun, that house we wanted? It’s still on the market. The seller let us know that the rental can be cancelled as long as he gives the tenants enough notice, so he’s still actively marketing it. This is good news for us, of course, but also bad news, because this week he started to market it even MORE actively than he’s been doing, which makes us worry that someone will come along and snap it up, while we’re still showing the same people around for the 15th time, only to have them decide that actually, they were never really that interested in the house after all.
Still: there are cherry shoes and there are gingham circle skirts. There’s also sunshine. Sunshine makes EVERYTHING seem better…
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[Dress: ASOS (last year) | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Belt: vintage | Sunglasses: House of Harlow]
When I was putting this outfit together (Which is a really pretentious way of saying, “deciding which shoes to wear with this dress…”), I realised I was sticking to a formula which I’ve repeated too many times to count, both on this blog, and in real life. It’s a very simple formula, which basically dictates that if I’m wearing some form of black and white (or black and cream/off-white/whatever), then I will always wear red shoes. Like, ALWAYS. Almost as if there are no other colours in the world. Or as if I’m a tabloid newspaper or something.
Now, obviously this wasn’t exactly a revelation for me, but for some reason, this time it gave me pause. I felt like I should probably “mix things up”, “give it a bit of edge”, er, wear something different, just this once. (Sorry, I ran out of fashun-speak…) Either that or just, you know, not bother photographing this one, because, as we all know, if you don’t blog it, it totally doesn’t count. Ahem.
I didn’t actually WANT to wear something different, obviously. But I felt like I probably SHOULD, if only so that this outfit wouldn’t be in exactly the same colour scheme as the last one I posted here. Or any of the kazillionty-one near-identical versions I’ve ALSO posted over the years. “People will say I’m boring and predictable!” I fretted. “And they’ll be right!”
So I went and got out a bunch of other shoes and tried them on. Blue ones. Green ones. Yellow ones. Er, that was pretty much it, really. And you know, they all looked fine. But as I clomped around, “auditioning” them all, I realised that I wouldn’t be wearing them because I WANTED to wear them: I would just be wearing them because I felt like I should – and for the sake of the blog, basically.Which is pretty silly, really. I’ve always said I’d rather have a signature style - even if it DOES mean wearing the same styles and colours over and over (and over and over…) again, rather than feel like I have to wear things I don’t really want to wear, just for the sake of being “different”, and well, now I do. This is part of my “signature” style: it involves black, white and red – ideally with some kind of polka dot print, but if not, stripes will work just as well.
I have a feeling you haven’t seen the last of this combination, folks…
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[Skirt: Robert Rodriguez * | Shoes: Zara (2010) | Top: ancient, no idea | Clutch: New Look | Sunglasses: House of Harlow]
So, we’re in the car, just driving along, when suddenly Terry pulls up next to a derelict industrial site.
“Let’s take photos here!” says Terry.
“No,” says I.
“But it’ll be really cool,” says Terry. “It’ll look all post-apocalyptic and awesome: the juxtaposition of fashion and decay! Or something.”
“No,” says I, “It’ll look like I’m tripping around a derelict building site in stilettos: the juxtaposition of style blogging and stupidity. Which actually describes my blog pretty well, now I come to think of it.”
“It’s abandoned,” says Terry. “There won’t be any Others there to stare at us.”
And that’s how I came to find myself tripping around a derelict building site in stilettos. And also how I came to climb a steep, muddy hill in those same stilettos to get to it, because honestly, there’s not much I won’t do to escape The Others. Also, I’ve long been claiming that anything other people can do in flats, I can do in heels, and I’d hate to have to contradict myself at this late stage.
So my belt is crooked in some of these, I got building-site dust on my skirt and I was holding my clutch bag upside down at least part of the time, but at least it’s not another country road, hey? “You look like you’re walking away from the building after setting the explosives,” Terry commented when he looked at the last one. Which is certainly ONE way to look at it, I guess…
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[Skirt: ASOS | Cardigan: H&M | Shoes: Vivienne Westwood for Melissa* | Sunglasses: eBay]
Can you believe today was only the second sunny day of the year so far? (The first one was documented here, just in case you’re keeping track… ) Yesterday, I was walking the dog in a winter jacket. (Me, I mean, not the dog. He just wore his own clothes…) Tomorrow, the forecast is for pouring rain. It’s been COLD, in other words. Really, really cold. Also: rainy and miserable. Fun times, people, fun times!
Because of all of this, I’ve been feeling really, really uninspired with fashion lately, which explains the complete lack of posts here this week. Not only was it pretty much impossible to get out and take photos (Because, did I mention COLD? And RAIN?), even if it hadn’t been, I’ve basically been taking refuge in comfort clothes most of the time. Jeans. Sweaters. Those H&M cropped pants that I bought in four different colours, and thank God for that, because I actually can’t remember what I used to wear before I had them. All very boring, very sensible, very WARM. Which has been the main thing, really.
Up until last year, I’d probably just have ignored the weather and worn all of my little cotton dresses and skirts anyway. Because it’s SPRING, dammit. It’s for dresses and sandals and other lovely things, and I WOULD wear them. This year, though? This year I just can’t be bothered. I remember at one point during last year’s disappointing summer (OK, make that at SEVERAL points last summer…), I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be doing THAT again, and by “THAT” I meant “insisting on wearing sundresses and sandals, even although it’s cold enough for coats and boots”. I slipped up a couple of times that summer (old habits die hard), but so far this year I’ve just not felt that pull to wear something unsuitable in defiance of the weather. It’s very unlike me, and will no doubt make this blog even less interesting than it was to start with, but. … I wore a coat last week, folks. A COAT.
On the plus side, I may have completely given up on the Scottish spring/summer, but I haven’t given up on the warm weather altogether, because next month we’re headed to Miami, to warm our poor, chilled bones in the South Florida sun for a few weeks. Yay! As most of you know, Florida is like a second home to us at this point, but although we’ve visited Miami a few times now, we’ve never actually stayed in the area, so that should be fun. And hopefully HOT. Or hotter than here, anyway, which, let’s face it, won’t be hard.
So, we’re goin’ to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami. And yes, I WILL be quoting Will Smith a lot, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the meantime, I think I might need a few more pairs of those H&M pants to get me through the rest of the “spring”…
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