A day out at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park...

My sister is getting married in mid-August  (not long to go now!) and we spent this weekend up in Manchester to celebrate her hen do. We spent the majority of the day at the RHS flower show at Tatton Park, followed by dinner at The Old Sessions House then drinks at The Alchemist in Spinningfields. It was a really nice day, even if I did get sunburnt and drink too many cocktails! I only had my phone so please excuse the lo-fi pictures, I was going old school!

Café Smithy was my first stop, you can't beat a flat white and Eggs Benedict to get your day started off on the right foot!

As you would expect, the gardens were filled with hundreds of beautiful flowers.

I did not expect to see so much veg there though, these award-winning onions were seriously impressive!

I love how many different types of squash there were too! 

I have never seen a horned melon before but I have to confess that I am intrigued!

If only you could get these beautiful beans at my local Tesco!

I'm not sure what this was but it looks pretty primeval...

I would have stolen this if I could have fitted it into my handbag!

My mum spent a lot of time trying to work out how we can recreate this beautiful arch/table combo for the wedding in a couple of weeks...

They had sheds made up to different themes, I loved this little library one...

The millennial shed was super cool, the idea was that a shed is all any of us will be able to afford to live in with rising rents and house prices!

'The Seed Bouquet' was inspired by the flowers in a traditional wedding bouquet. I love how bright and cheery the flowers are against the dark grey.

The bride-to-be in the wedding shed!

The inside out shed wa probably my favourite though: tools on the outside, plants inside!

I have no idea what these were but they look pretty darned cool...

Gigantic lilies...

We had to stop for a glass of Prosecco (or two) to cool down...

This is a look of pure concentration
This had to be the best part of the day for me- we made mini willow baskets with the Woodland Skills Centre and it was so much fun!

How cute is this?! I was told I had 'good weaving technique' and I couldn't have been prouder, I was such a teacher's pet! I am seriously considering doing a course to make a stool or something for my birthday though, how cool would that be?!

The lovely hens with the bride, can you tell who I am related to?! ;)
I can't believe we have had the hen do already, now just to countdown to the wedding in a couple of weeks!

Summer stripes...

My name's Maria and I have a confession to make: I'm obsessed with River Island... I have to say that I never saw this coming. I have always been a bit wary of the brand but they have come a long way from the diamanté-encrusted shop of my youth. Now, I am a regular visitor and a fair few pieces have made their way into my wardrobe, starting with this gorgeous striped top which I absolutely love. The stripes make it feel really crisp and summery and the shape makes it much more interesting. I went fairly neutral with the rest of my outfit here but wouldn't this be ace with bright red or coral accessories?!

Top: River Island, jeans: Gap, shoes: Marks and Spencer
I love getting my hair cut (unlike some people, I find the whole process mega-relaxing!) but the best part is the swooshy blow dry at the end. My hairdresser can work magic even on my unruly locks and the best part is that it can last for a couple of days if I use my super sexy shower cap!

I have raved about these jeans a million times before and they just seem to get better with age. I wanted to wear these blue flats but I couldn't find them (the perils of having a whole unit full of shoes!) so I opted for these nude shoes instead. Not quite as fun but they did give me that much needed height!

Are you a fan of River Island? Which shops have surprised you recently?

Parrot print...

This post contains a dress that was sent for review

Maxi dresses are one of the easiest things to wear in the summer and when House of Fraser offered to send me one to review, this parrot print beauty was top of my list. I love how swooshy it is and the brightly coloured print is right up my street! Even though it is polyester, it feels very light and airy and I like the fact that the dress is lined all the way down to the hem. It makes it feel much more expensive and there's no risk of flashing here, win win! This dress is very long (even with heels) but I'm hoping that I can persuade Mark's mum to shorten it for me! ;)

Dress: Yumi c/o House of Fraser, shoes: New Look
With a print this bold, I didn't want my make-up vying for attention so I went for a more subtle glowy look. I paired Sleek's Rose Gold blusher (the best dupe for Nars Orgasm that I have found) with the 'Seductive Pink' Max Factor Creme Puff blush to give me a summery glow. This Bourjois lipstick in Fuschia Libre is my favourite pink at the moment and layered with the C-3PO Max Factor lipstick, it was the perfect level of shimmer. I love Nars products but even though their Hungry Heart duo is supposed to be a blush/highlighter product, I tend to use it as eyeshadow because it is very light, even on my pasty pale skin!

I love the detail on the back too, even if it could lead to some awkward tan lines!

I never thought I would buy a pair of platform shoes but these sandals were such a bargain that I couldn't resist. For a mere £8, I can feel both ridiculously cool and tall too!

Are you a maxi dress fan?
P.S. I was sent this dress to review but if I didn't love it, I wouldn't feature it!

The Crown at Amersham (a review)...

After our trip to the Harry Potter studio tour, we decided to make the most of it and stay down in Amersham rather than driving back. We picked The Crown as it was both reasonably priced and convenient and I was really happy with our stay and can't recommend it enough!

Our trip to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers studio tour... (PICTURE HEAVY)

The Harry Potter tour at the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden doesn't need much introduction but I can safely say that it was one of the best days out that we have ever had. Even if you aren't fanatical Potterheads, it is super fun and so so interesting, especially if you are a film fan. We arrived for 9.30am and got the digital guides which is definitely worth doing as there is so much to take in! All in all, we were in there for about 5 and a half hours (including a pitstop for lunch) and we could have definitely spent more time there. I would recommend having the films ready to watch after you go as you appreciate them so much more once you see how much work went into them. Plus you can annoy everyone by spouting off useless interesting factoids that you learnt on your tour... ;) We took about a million photos, but these are my favourites, enjoy!

Chambray and confidence...

As I have got older, I have been less inclined to spend time fussing over my outfits at the weekend, Basing an outfit around my comfiest jeans mean I have more time for fun things like lie-ins or brunch instead! ;) I had never really been one for double denim but this chambray top is so comfortable, that paired with black jeans it managed to convince me. I picked it up in the sale at M&S a while back and although it's not flattering, that's OK. I felt really comfortable here, even if I'm not going to win any fashion awards!

Top: Marks and Spencer, necklace: Warehouse jeans: ASOS, shoes: George at ASDA
The sleeves in this top are my favourite thing about it. I love a fluted sleeve and these certainly add a bit of interest to a plain top. This necklace is one of my recent favourites, I love the simple deco shape of it, even if it is wonky in all of these photos... I have been going make-up free as often as possible recently and not wearing anything other than mascara and lipstick has been doing my skin the world of good. I am more self-conscious about my rosy cheeks (and my embarrassing tendency to blush) but so far no one has run away screaming so I'm counting it as a success! ;)

These dalmatian print shoes have been in my wardrobe for over 4 years and they were the perfect finishing touch for this muted outfit. I will be so sad when they finally give up the ghost, they may have only cost me £12 but they are so comfortable!

Are you a fan of double denim?