A knockout of a pinny from Bespoke Binny

When Bespoke Binny got in touch about trying out their homewares, after looking at their site I settled on an apron. With the promise of more outdoor cooking on the cards, and with no pinny of my own it seemed meant to be. The designs all have vibrant colours and West African prints, and well you know me and colour, so you'll not be surprised to learn my apron had some yellow in it!

It arrived, beautifully packaged, on the Saturday morning of our 110th party, so arriving with great timing for me to put it to the test. By the time this photo was taken I'd half changed for the party, but I was still unsure what top I'd wear (as I was reconsidering my chosen outfit given the heat!). And why is it that my hair flicks out, instead of under in the heat - it's fixable of course, but only with the addition of even more heat.

CHEAT'S PANACOTTA, ME AND MY BESPOKE BINNY APRON

CHEAT'S PANACOTTA, ME AND MY BESPOKE BINNY APRON

I hadn't really thought my outfit through alongside the apron. The Black and yellow check pattern, which I loved, was stylish and different enough to stand out, but not so much that I felt overly conspicuous, but with orange cropped trousers, that was colourful!

Never let it be said that I like a bit of colour!

Never mind, there was still work to be done.

And much to MOH's dismay that included arranging (or plonking) some flowers into water. He thought it was a non-essential job (ahem, less so than cleaning the inside of the bathroom cabinet I'd say), but having bought yellow and coral carnations I was determined to use them as I'd planned.  And as I was snipping their stems and placing them into our small gravy and cream jug I realised that yellow and orange weren't that much of clash after all. It can't be can it, as it's one of nature's colour schemes.

Who said yellow and orange don't go? My carnations were that exact colour combination, the same as my party outfit and apron from Bespoke Binny - I must have known!

The apron is lined with cotton twill and I think after washing will be less stiff, as it'd just arrived that morning I didn't have time for that, but that didn't mean it wasn't comfortable. The neck strap was a little long for me, but I expected that, as at five foot two things are often a little long. A quick knot in the neck strap and it was easily adjusted. 

My next job that was captured on camera was hanging some bunting in the gazebo, not usually the kind of job that requires an apron but by now I'd forgotten I had it on and when I remembered I was so sure I'd spill something down my trousers that I was happy to leave the apron on until the party started.

Hanging bunting doesn't usually call for an apron, but with plenty of jobs to do and if I'm honest i forgot I had it on

I think part of the reason I haven't had a pinny of my own until now is I've not found one that isn't a bit too twee and frilly, or one that I'd wear. Strangely MOH now has two aprons (not pinnies obviously) but I think that's because he's most likely to wear them cooking outdoors, whether that's the barbecue or the pizza oven. And I'm happy for him to continue leading on the outdoor cooking - it's a man thing, I know - but now if and when I'm called into help I'll be well equipped with my own pinny.  

Actually I think I'll be donning my apron for bread making, as I invariably end up with flour down the front of me at some point, especially if I'm kneading bread. There's a large contrasting pocket on the front, just where you'd expect and I'm sure in weeks to come I'll store something there and forget about it. For me, I think there's a small improvement that could be made to the apron, and that's to have longer ties so that it could be tied at the front, rather than just at the back. A small thing, but I naturally crossed the ties over at the back, to tie at the front, but they weren't quite long enough. Of course, that's not going to stop me wearing this, or enjoying it - I mean anything that helps me be less messy, or making my clothes less messy, is good by me. 

My apron from Bespoke Binny, it certainly added some colour to my day
 
HANGING OVER THE DOOR TO SHOW OFF ITS FULL DESIGN

HANGING OVER THE DOOR TO SHOW OFF ITS FULL DESIGN

As well as aprons and matching oven gloves, there's also cushions and lampshades too and I think any of which would make a unique and stylish gift. What's even better is the designs are, I think, suitable for anyone, male or female and that makes them a great find in my book. There's plenty of designs to choose from and I'm sure you'll find one for whoever you have in mind.

An African print pinny from Bespoke Binny

What do you think?  I love the colours of mine, and I think it's very me - the fact that it matches a third of my dining chairs just underlines that really doesn't it?!

 

* This is a collaborative post, but all views and opinions are my own.

My week this week: Ambivert

Ah, what a week! Not only was it the hottest since 1976, which if you ask people of a certain age they'll always say was a 'very good summer' our long awaited and much planned for 110th party took place. I've already written this week about the party and about how our to do list was constantly under review, not only because of the heat but for practicality too. 

We managed to get enough of our essentials on the list done and were both in our party outfits before the first guests arrived, which is always a plus I think. And I managed to take delivery of an apron by Bespoke Binny in the process, but more on that in a post in a while.

The party was great. The weather was hot. We opted for the barbecue instead of the pizza oven on a temperature basis, and it was great to spend time with so many of our friends and family, although I'm sure I didn't spend anywhere near as much time speaking with everyone as I wanted to. There is still much to do hosting a party isn't there, but many of our friends chipped in and volunteered for jobs, which was very welcome. Not big jobs but having someone slice the rolls for burgers and hot dogs and another make the green salad really does help.

Our lasting memories of the day are many, but it was the children (mostly) that made us smile, it seems the buffet - or grazing table - was popular with them, and our cherry tree too. One six year-old got MOH doing cartwheels, which was amusing for all around, I've no idea why, and nor has he and thankfully he didn't injure himself in the process either. Another was very taken with MOH's record collection and wanted to hear Depeche Mode, great taste for a ten year old we thought. It seems though that they all eat more heartily, and perhaps with less caution when they're at someone else's house, which of course was fine by us, but left some of their parents bemused. 

The next day we had burgers for breakfast with my parents - much better than any McBreakfast, and then later more party food and burgers and sausages for lunch with MOH's family, before saying goodbye to everyone, a quick tidy up and pulling out our sun loungers for the rest of the day! The big tidy up was postponed until the next day, although MOH let slip he hadn't booked the day off work after all.

Hmmnn.

Initially I wasn't too pleased with that, but the more I thought about it the better it sounded. And after starting a new book on the Sunday, which quickly had me gripped, when he suggested he could work from home I was quickly ushering him out the door, already relishing time alone. Well, with the pile of washing up and other tasks. And my book and sun lounger, of course. 

And that's why, my word this week is ambivert. 

I loved the party. I loved seeing everyone and speaking to everyone. I loved the quieter Sunday with family, still eating the party food and reliving memories of the day before. But I also loved spending time on my own, with my book, the next day. 

I only heard the term ambivert relatively recently, and immediately identified with it.

Most people assume I'm an extrovert, and it's true I enjoy lots of extrovert activities, I'll happily talk to people I don't know and like to be 'out there' - but after a big event, then quite often I retreat and regroup adopting more introvert tendencies, and that was true this past week.  For the first time in a while I didn't post on my blog for a week, I can't remember without really thinking when that last happened (I've thought: it was when I migrated my blog to this platform and I spent a good few days getting it looking just how I wanted).

I am in fact borderline extrovert and introvert, and have been in every test I've taken. I'm adaptable. With stronger extroverts, generally I withdraw, but with introverts, I can be the opposite. Peculiar hey?  Usually January I notice my more introverted behaviour, and as January follows Christmas and lots of parties and socialising I'm never surprised. I wasn't quite expecting it this week though, because, well it's June not January (obviously!), and so I'm blaming the weather in part too. The heat has made me, like you I'm sure, slow down and take it a bit easier  

And I finished the book - it was great - I'll share a review of that and some books I've been meaning to write about for a while next week. In the meantime, how beautiful is this yellow tree. It looks like a broom, or beesom or cytisus scoparius (according to the RHS site), but it's huge. A proper tree, rather than a shrub, so I'm not so sure.

But anyway, how was your week?

Yellow against the clouds in the sky in Greenwich

Oh, in case you're wondering, I think the balanced ambiverted me is back. I've still a lot to say, but I just needed a break to rebalance for a bit!

The Reading Residence

Love this #75: The story of us from Twenty Fingers (+ offer code)

You'll know that we're celebrating this year - I've mentioned it once or twice here on the blog already, but in true Fawlty Towers style, I think I've got away with it so far.  But I'm not done yet, and I think you'll forgive me for today's post, because this papercut artwork - because I really do think it's a piece of art - is just gorgeous.

When Lana from Twenty Fingers got in touch, I was intrigued. I'd not seen anything quite like this before, and I knew fairly quickly that I was keen to review one of their items. Browsing the site I was spoilt for choice, but as soon as I saw the "story of us" timeline, I was sold.

The tricky thing was working out - and remembering all the dates, especially the early ones. I knew when we bought our house and when we got married, and I knew MOH proposed on Valentines Day, but what year?  After some careful questioning and secret collaboration with MOH I had the dates I needed. 

Ordering was easy, as you simply enter the text you want and the dates online as well as being able to suggest the images to go alongside each date. You choose the artwork colour and the frame colour; there's a range of colours and frames available, and while I love colour, I wanted this to last and not be tied into a colour scheme that we have now, and may not have later.

There was also an opportunity to review a proof and make any amendments necessary.  I'd already explained the shape of my engagement ring and was pleased that my description translated, but I did ask for a change to the image that went with buying our house. You've not seen the outside of our house, or not all of it, and that's on purpose. It's also not very exciting from the outside, if I'm honest, it's more distinguishing features are inside and the most obvious one is our spiral staircase.

I was keen for our story of us to be something to help us hold our memories - as well as be something visual that MOH can easily check our wedding anniversary date on - and so I sent Twenty Fingers a picture of our staircase asking for a generic spiral staircase shape to be included.

What they did was fantastic. They'd taken my photo and used that as the basis for the papercut. It is our staircase, with the patterned balustrades, and it's that personal detail that's made this so special. Just look:

The story of us by Twenty Fingers

The photo below really shows it. I'd like to say this shot was planned, but only noticed the (real) stairs' reflection when I was editing my photos.

A close up of the story of us by Twenty Fingers

Enjoy 10% off at Twenty Fingers

I've a feeling that this will become a cherished item and will prompt plenty of memories in the years ahead, especially when the time comes to leave this house.

I'm pretty sure that you'll find something unique and clever on the Twenty Fingers site, whether that's for your or a gift. I know I'll be keeping them in mind for those 'occasions' gifts where you want something a little different and special.

You can choose from family tree artwork, new baby artwork and much, much more - and I've an offer code for you, so you can enjoy 10% off your purchase, by entering save10 at the checkout - and don't forget to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And don't forget to let me know what you choose.