THE ART OF COHABITATION

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

When Henry and I came to the realisation that all of my things were at his house and I was pretty much living with him, we realised that we needed to have a pretty serious chat about a very important issue...

... Interior decoration. 

Like many men who haven't been taught better by their paramours, Henry was under the misguided impression that he was a fan of minimalism. All the perfect room needs is a sofa, an X-Box, a big TV, and all of the wires to be hidden. Oh dear.

It took a lot of persuading, but with lots of references to Patrick Bateman, I explained that minimalism is creepy, and that it's all about shabby chic. 


He wasn't entirely convinced, but his heart is much bigger than his conviction in his decorating tastes, so I began by making things to put in the house. Light-shades, crochet cushions - I started small. I get ridiculously excited like a small child with a finger painting whenever I successfully complete a craft project, so they were always allowed in with no snarky comments.


Step two was to bring decorations into the house disguised as presents (sneaky!). The little panda was a Christmas present from me to Henry. He did think it was a bit girly, but I pointed out that it was wearing a bow-tie.


The next move in my house-coup was to paint his pre-existing furniture to match my aesthetic. I posted about my love of chalk paints here. Henry was pretty ok with this (although he drew the line at letting me replace the handles on this bedside table).

I picked up this pink vintage Ottoman today. He hasn't seen it yet. I may be in a lot of trouble. I will let you know.
I'm now at the final stage, which is just buying furniture and hoping he won't notice/mind. We have managed to reach an understanding about lots on Out There Interiors' website though. We've definitely both got our beadies on this wall light, and are picking out items from the French Furniture section to do up our bedroom, which I'm very excited about!

A serious milestone in our relationship was when he turned around to me and said, "I don't know why I thought I didn't like cushions and smelly candles, they're actually pretty great."

That's when I knew he was a keeper.

Mona.


Although I was offered an item from Out There Interiors, all opinions are my own.

OUTFIT | DINOSAUR ISLE

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hi Cool Cats,

When I was a little'un, I was dinosaur mad. I used to spend my summers partaking in fossil hunts on windy beaches, visiting the Isle of Wight dinosaur museum, and, if I was very lucky, the Natural History Museum. 

I may have grown older but I'm fiercely resisting growing up. When Rhiannon's Dinosaur Smock came up in my Instagram feed, I knew straight away that it had to be mine. My love for dinosaurs is second only to my love of smocks.

 Hairband - Crown and Glory; Dinosaur Smock - Vintage Style Me; Handbag - Vintage; 
Shoes - Topshop 

I absolutely adore this dress. I have lots of clothes that I think are gorgeous and I love to wear, but not so many that make me pretend I'm a t-rex and chase my dog around the garden. You can't put a price on that, can you?

I'm slowly amassing quite the collection of Vintage Style Me goodies, and I now have my eye on their Suzy Dress

Mona.

SHINY AND NEW

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hello my darlings,

It's been over two years since I started blogging. I was feeling a little out of love with my little space on the internet, but after a rename and a little change of design, I once again find myself absolutely delighted to be typing away with a cup of tea to update you all. Chipped Nails and Chapped Lips has become Mona's Miscellany and I feel like I've got my joie de blogs back. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Unfortunately luddite Mo thought that her old URL would redirect you all here. She was mistaken. Her techie friend is working on it for her. 

source

I'm feeling fairly reflective this evening, and have been thinking how bloody lovely it is having a little online place to call your own. It's such a wonderful community to become a part of, so I suppose I just wanted to say thank you for having me! Everybody should blog, it's just the best. I really do appreciate all of your comments, and love being in touch on Twitter and Instagram too.

Hope you've had wonderful weekends!

Mona.

OUTFIT

Friday, 21 February 2014

My favourite shop on the Island at the moment is Crocus, a veritable Aladdin's cave of interior goodies, crafting supplies, and gifts. They have a treasure trove back room stocked full of vintage goodies, and I recently found this Jaeger dress which is a gorgeous woollen dream. It was a little bit too conservative when I found it, with a mid-calf hemline, but nothing an overlocker and a blind stitch couldn't fix.

Vintage Dress and Bag - Crocus Ryde; Shoes - Russell & Bromley
This is my favourite little piece of street art in town - I'm sorely tempted to attempt to recreate it on the garden shed when it gets a bit drier. 


A little stop off at Chocolate Apothecary was the perfect end to the afternoon. Violet and rose petits fours are fast becoming my favourite indulgent treat.


I was a little apprehensive about returning to the Isle of Wight, but I'm finding it so wonderful being back home. There is so much exploring to be done, all of which I intend to share with you my lovelies.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Mona.

REVIEW | SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 8.0

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Hi Cool Cats,

A little over a month ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 made its way into my home. This ace little technological device quickly won me over, and I can't go anywhere now without whipping it out of my bag and scanning for wifi. 

Samsung Tab - Available at Argos
It's the most perfectly portable tablet, and many a previously dull journey has now been filled with Netflix since my divine discovery of tethering. Anything that lets me take mini Lohan around in my handbag, in duplicate, can stay in my book. Apart from rewatching the Parent Trap over and over, I've also been binge-watching period dramas while thinking about empire lines (conclusion - I can't pull them off). 


Like any girl with a blog, I'm a total Instagram addict. My nightly perusal to look at all your snaps now takes place on my Note, where I can view and ♥ pictures and really really see them well. Bigger is always better. 

Trying to stay up-to-date with the blog world is tough when you're working. I'll never be one to type up a blog post on my phone (Blogger, why don't you have a justified alignment option on your app? It makes me crazy!) and carting my laptop around isn't really an option. This little device is a godsend for Tweeting, Bloglovin' and writing my little heart out!


The best thing about the tablet, though, has to be S Note app. As far as I'm aware, this is the only tablet of its size that's made to be used with a stylus. This makes it perfect for me, as I love sketching, note-making, and painting, and I've finally found a perfectly mess-free way to get creative. 

I've been making lots of to-do lists, mostly travel-related as I've just booked a holiday to Thailand (eek!). The stylus has a handy little button that lets you copy text or images, and scrapbook them...

... That's right, a digital sketchbook. It doesn't get much better than that!


I actually kicked off 2014 with a blog post about my resolutions, which I illustrated with a drawing I did on my Note

And then, there are the really important things in life. The things you don't know you need to do until you've done them. Then you look back and wonder how you ever lived life before. Things like copying and pasting pictures of your dog so that it looks like he's photobombing afternoon tea pictures with your boyfriend. 


I may have to give this to Henry as his Valentines Day card.

Although I'd hardly describe myself as a luddite, this is the first time that I've ever felt that a piece of technology has really supported and enhanced my creativity. It really just is the coolest. 

Mona.

This post is in collaboration with Argos

PEANUT

Monday, 27 January 2014

For as long as I can remember, my Ma has worn the same necklace every day. It's a long gold chain with a gold peanut on the end, and was actually a gift from her mother. In Chinese culture, peanuts are symbolic for long life, so I suppose it's always been her good luck charm. 

When perusing one of my favourite websites, Let It Reign, last week, I came across this little sterling silver plated replica of my Ma's favourite piece of jewellery, and I don't know quite why but it really tugged at my sentimental heartstrings. It had to be mine.


It arrived last week, and I was so pleased when I put it on. A lot shorter and on a silver chain, it felt more 'me' than my Ma's, but was still similar enough to give me that childhood 'dressing up in my Mother's finest' feeling that I used to get when I was a little girl.

I think she's also quite tickled that I decided to buy this piece... I suppose it's almost like us having those Friends Forever necklaces that I loved so much when I was a kid.

The Custom Made Lil Peanut necklace is currently sold out on Let It Reign, but is still available at Of Cabbages and Kings, if you fancy a little long life charm of your own to ring in the Year of the Horse (don't forget kids, it's Chinese New Year on Friday!). 

I'm finding that more and more of the things I'm buying, I'm attracted to because they have some special meaning to me. I'm clearly getting overly sentimental in my old age.

Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year? I rather look upon it as a second chance to stick to the resolutions that have fallen by the wayside this January (oops).

Mona.

MY OPTIQUE | LONDON RETRO | DODGER

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Good morning Cool Cats!

Last month I received a little gift from MyOptique - a brand spanking new pair of prescription spectacles. After a lot of oohing and aahing over the London Retro collection, which boasts many of the prettiest pairs of glasses I've seen in a long time, I chose Dodger*, a big chunky frame, to add a little Jessica Day to my life. After a month of usage, I felt that the time had come to share them with you! 


I have an awful lot of love for these glasses, because (a) they help me see,  (b) I think they're pretty cool-looking, and (c) they are the lightest and comfiest frames I have ever owned, despite their size. I can also wear them all day without getting red marks on my nose, which is pretty unheard of for me given the width of my bridge.

The photos speak to the quality of the anti-reflective lenses, and after a month of constant use, and bearing in mind I'm not the kindest to my specs, the scratch-resistance has impressed me a lot! 


As usual with glasses, these have been tried on by a lot of people over the past month - even my dog's had a go wearing them, and yes, he looked very smart - and I've got to say I think they're pretty universally flattering... Even if the wearer happens to be pulling some pretty suspect faces.


I've always been quite bemused by a lot of my bespectacled pals' monogamous relationships with their glasses. We style-conscious types rarely settle for one hat, bag, or pair of shoes... Why should our specs be any different? 

I for one plan to add quite a few more pairs of London Retro glasses to my collection... I can already hear the Fitzrovias calling my name.

I remember when I was a little'un I was desperately self-conscious about my short-sightedness, but now I'm all grown up I love wearing glasses, it's just another excuse to accessorise I suppose. 

Do you wear glasses? What's your favourite pair of London Retro frames?

Mona.

Despite my new specs being a PR Sample, opinions shared are totally honest and my own.

CHALK AND CHEESE

Friday, 17 January 2014

I currently find myself completely and utterly obsessed with redecorating at the moment. All of my earnings are being squandered on prints, fabrics, frames, vintage suitcases and hatboxes, and most importantly, really beautiful fairy lights. 

I've never had such a blank canvas to decorate before, and it's suddenly hit me that when it comes to interiors, I am an enormous francophile. My dream home would be, I think, a French chateau (but one that was filled with woodland creatures a la Snow White, of course). 

Sadly for me, anything vaguely ooh la la was selling for far more than I can stretch my pay packet. But never fear! I have found the solution! 

I've just discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and it is the best stuff ever. No need to sand, strip, prime, or anything, just a few layers of this and even your most Scandinavian furniture is instantly frenchified! So far it seems completely idiot-proof and the results are beautiful!


I just wish I'd had the forethought to take lots of before shots. Oh well, hopefully the afters will make up for it!

So here's to a wonderful weekend painting everything I own in various beautiful pastel shades until Henry has no choice but to organise an intervention...

... My other plan for the weekend is to try out a recipe my new Texan friend gave me. It's his Momma's recipe, and it's for chilli-mac. Why yes, that is a hybrid of Chilli Con Carne and Macaroni Cheese. And yes, I'll share the recipe (if I'm allowed!). 

I know that I should be spending my weekend being wild, but it's January, it's too cold to go out, and I'm seriously enjoying feathering my nest... 

What are you planning this weekend?

Mona.

CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Hi Kids,

As the festive season is drawing to a close, I thought I'd share a little with you about a slightly alternative Christmas tradition that my family have started up.

Crisis at Christmas is an annual event set up by Crisis, a UK charity which battles homelessness. Crisis at Christmas opens centres from the 23rd to the 30th of December that provides companionship, services, meals, and activities for the homeless over the festive period.

My Ma and my brother have been volunteering for years now, but this was my first time joining them; having said that, it certainly won't be my last! 


The centre where I was volunteering had everything from clothing, IT training and Christmas dinner to dental services, a five-a-side football tournament, haircuts and live music - so not only is it some of the homeless population's only opportunity of the year to access vital services, but it's also an amazingly valuable experience for them to kick back and enjoy themselves. Previous guests at the centre have said that their time there gave them the sense of self-worth that got them to turn their lives around, and nothing can be more valuable than that. 

Most of the running of the centres is done by volunteers, and this year ten thousand of us helped to provide a week of safety, comfort and entertainment to over four thousand people who need help.

I was a general volunteer, and had been warned that it was include some pretty unpleasant duties, such as cleaning loos and standing in the rain to welcome guests to the centre. However, I was lucky enough to remain Marigold-free and (mostly) dry, and most of my duties were honestly a pleasure rather than a chore. Most of my time was spent serving hot drinks and biscuits with a balloon-animal poodle stuck on my head, discussing our chances for the five-a-side tournament with my centre's team, or sitting down for meals with guests and volunteers alike. I can't remember the last time I felt like I'd made new friends so quickly, or left an experience with such knowledge that I'd truly made a positive difference.

Just a few hours out of your Christmas week can make such an enormous difference to so many people. My first shift was on the first day, and quite honestly by the fourth day, if you'd taken off our volunteer badges, you would not have able to tell the difference between guests and volunteers - four days of grooming, food, healthcare, fun, and a roof over their heads makes the most astonishing and visible difference.  

I wholeheartedly believe that Crisis at Christmas is the most amazing thing anybody could experience at Christmas. You can register as a volunteer in London, Newcastle, or Edinburgh in October, but Crisis works all year to fight homelessness, so you can volunteer, fundraise, or donate all year round.

This is definitely the start of a new family tradition - one of my younger brothers is old enough to come along next year, and I cannot imagine another Christmas in my future that doesn't involve some time at Crisis.

One of the guests said to me when I was leaving my last shift "You have to come back next year; you're family now." I told him that I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Mona. 

2014

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year Cool Cats!

2013 was quite a ride, wasn't it? I won't go into the highs and lows, but rather will fill you in on how I find myself as I entered the next chapter...

After 13 years, I've returned to the Isle of Wight,  and once again this little rock is the place I call home. It's definitely a quieter kind of life, but there's something to be said for blustery beach walks, friendly locals, and the best fish and chips and apple fritters I could ask for right on my doorstep. Frequent jaunts to London keep me young at heart and give me lots to look forward to!

I've found a manfriend who is handsome, kind, makes the best cuppa this side of the Solent, and laughs at my stupid jokes. We now sort of live together, and plan on having lots of adventures in the following year.

I've also landed myself a little job which I adore, and thanks to the magic of distance-learning, am once again back on track to getting my degree. I'm surrounded by amazing family, friends, and pets, and cannot believe the luck of my situation whenever I stop to count my blessings.

I haven't really thought too hard about New Years Resolutions this time around. I suppose I'll just endeavour to do my best at whatever I turn my hand to. However, there are some things that I'd really like to do, for self-improvement, and for fun. Here's my list:


I drew this little list on my new tablet (review to follow!). I suppose all of the goals are in the pursuit of pleasure, and some are also for that sense of achievement you get when you accomplish something, however little. 

I'm very serious about my return to blogging. Santa left a brand new camera in my stocking, and life is once again fun enough that I'd love to share it with you all. So thank you for sticking by me in my more absent moments, and I promise to give you a lot more to read this year.

I hope that your 2014s are full of health, happiness, and a little bit of magic. If you have any other goals for me, or any of your own that you'd like to share, please leave me a comment!

Happy New Year to you all!

Love,

Mona.
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