#rainbowsforresearch

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Today I’m excited to launch my new fundraising campaign #rainbowsforresearch, raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month coming up in March. I’ve been working on this in secret for a little while so I’m very excited to tell you all about it!

As some of you may remember from last year, March is Brain Tumour Awareness month, and it all starts on Friday 2 March (just 3 weeks from now) when The Brain Tumour Charity are asking everyone to don a bandana and, this year, to also get baking to help raise funds and awareness and show your support for the charity. (You can read more about the charity’s Big Bandana Bake campaign for 2018 here)

This is a statistic I often quote – brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and under 40s, but in the UK less than 2% of cancer research funding is spent on research into brain tumours. For the 10,600 people diagnosed each year, this isn’t good enough. You can help us change this. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to raise £150k throughout Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, which could fund a life saving research project for over two years.

I decided to give my fundraising for The Michael Barry Fund a rainbow spin this year, so I’ve come up with products and ideas which all link in with the bandana campaign, but with lots of rainbow colours! And since the aim of the fundraising is to raise money for brain tumour research, I’ve decided to call it #rainbowsforresearch

Why rainbows?

So why choose a rainbow theme? Well, first and foremost, I love colour, as much of it as I can get, and Michael was just the same. You might also have noticed that rainbows are very “on trend” at the moment – over the past year or so the internet has been going wild for anything rainbow themed, and I think it’s such a great expression of colour, creativity and happiness.

Rainbows can also stand for many things, and I love that rainbows are a symbol of hope, which it’s a perfect theme for the fundraising campaign. Setting up The Michael Barry Fund and getting involved with The Brain Tumour Charity have been my beacons of hope since losing Michael. I recently read a quote on Pinterest which summed up exactly what I mean by this, which I have paraphrased slightly below:

When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm didn’t happen. What it means is that something beautiful has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds

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And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that Michael was a truly colourful character, as you can see from these pictures! Both of which were taken while he was going through chemo. It makes me so proud to see how happy and full of life he was, and that never changed. So all in all, rainbows seemed to be the perfect theme for this year’s fundraising – full of happiness and colour. Just like my Michael.

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Fundraising Products

I’ve put together a new collection of rainbow inspired fundraising products to tie in with the campaign, which are all available to buy now in my pop up online rainbow shop! 100% of the profits from each item will go to Michael’s fund – I have donated all of my time and most of the materials in making these rainbow goodies! All of the items are limited edition and have been made in small runs, and I have priced them affordably to sell so that we can try and raise as much as possible during brain tumour awareness month. So please go and fill your baskets with rainbow goodies, and wear them with me on Friday 2 March!

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My favourite new product is the bandana necklace. I’m a big fan of novelty acrylic jewellery, and I had the idea of making a necklace version of a bandana as a fun new take on the concept. I came up with a simple design based on a bandana tied around your neck, and worked with the lovely folks at Yeah Laser to turn my idea into an amazing acrylic necklace! I’ve made the necklace in a range of colours, including this bright rainbow combo, plus a pastel rainbow version, and red and aqua colour ways to be in keeping with the colours of The Brain Tumour Charity. I’m so happy with how they turned out, and I think they look fab with stripey tops! You can buy the necklaces here.

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I’ve also made a range of wired bandanas (like last year) which you can twist in your hair, in a selection of fun rainbow and cloud themed fabrics! You can buy the bandanas here.

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I stitched up a range of rainbow hued cross stitch embroidery hoop necklaces too, including this slice of rainbow cake – yum! As I mentioned above, The Brain Tumour Charity’s theme for the bandana campaign this year is the Big Bandana Bake, and they are encouraging people to don a bandana and host a bake sale to raise money, so a rainbow cake necklace seemed like the perfect idea! There are a few other rainbow designs to choose from, plus pastel alternatives of each design, which you can buy here.

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I’ve also put together some craft kits so you can make your very own rainbow collar! I thought this might be a fun idea for those of you who love sewing and might want to make something yourself rather than buying a ready made product, and I think the collar is a fun alternative to the bandana. You can buy the craft kits here (and if you’re not much of a sewist, I have popped one ready made version of the collar in the shop here too).

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And to round off the rainbow collection, I whipped up some purses and zip pouches in rainbow themed fabrics, with super pretty iridescent cloud zip charms! I do love a good finishing detail! You can buy the purses here.

I’ll also be continuing to make donations from the rest of my Smile & Make product sales and adding these donations to the #rainbowsforresearch fundraising total. All of my pins and patches are all currently on sale here if you fancy a bargain, and £1 from the sale of each goes to Michael’s fund.

Rainbow Craft Day & Bake Sale

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To kick off brain tumour awareness month and to tie in with the charity’s Big Bandana Bake, Mum and I will be hosting a Rainbow Bake Sale and Craft Day at our workshop in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and we’d love to see you there!

There are two elements to the day. First up, we will be hosting a small rainbow themed bake sale at our workshop, and you can call in anytime from 12pm – 2pm for cake and a chat!

Following on from the bake sale, we’ve put together a rainbowtastic craft session which will run from 2pm to 5pm, and places must be booked in advance. You will have the opportunity to make three fabulous rainbow inspired projects: rainbow bunting embellished with all manner of pretty papercraft, a cloud hanger with colourful raindrops, and an embroidered pennant featuring a colourful house floating away on balloons (just like in the movie Up!). You can find out more details and book your place here.

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Rainbow Raffle

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And finally, I’ve also put together a raffle to win the ultimate handmade rainbow outfit – you could win a Smile & Make handmade rainbow dress and clutch bag, and entry is just £3!

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I’ve been thinking of holding a raffle to win a handmade dress for a while, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to offer the chance to win a rainbow dress as part of #rainbowsforresearch. I first came up with the rainbow dress design last year for a colour walk with In Colourful Company, and it was a big hit! I was asked if I would make the rainbow dress to sell, and I did for a short time, but the design is quite time consuming to sew as the skirt is made up of lots of rainbow panels, so I only ever made a few. But in honour of #rainbowsforresearch and Brain Tumour Awareness Month, for one last time I’m bringing back the rainbow dress, plus a super jazzy rainbow clutch bag to make it a complete rainbow outfit. You can find out more and enter the raffle on the Just Giving page I have set up here.

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That was a bit of an epic post as I wanted to document all of my different fundraising plans in one place, so thank you for reading and sticking with me if you’ve made it this far!!

I should also add that if you’d like to make your own bandana or bandana inspired project to wear on Friday 2 March and support Brain Tumour Awareness Month, you are very welcome to (and very much encouraged!). I shared a few tutorials on the blog as part of the campaign last year to give you some ideas which you can find here and here. And if none of these products take your fancy but you’d still like to make a donation to Michael’s fund, you can do so here, or through Just Giving here.

Lucy x

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What Kind Of Bird Are You?

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I thought it was about time I showed you another dress from my series of handmade outfits inspired by Wes Anderson movies. And for Moonrise Kingdom there was really only one option – a Suzy Bishop dress!

I think if I had to choose my personal favourite Wes Anderson film it would be Moonrise Kingdom. It came out back when we lived in Nottingham, and I planned a Moonrise Kingdom theme for Michael’s next birthday as a surprise. The day before his birthday, I set up a tent in the spare bedroom strung with fairy lights and filled with his presents, our record player and a birthday cake. I set his alarm clock and left a note by his bed, just like the letters Sam and Suzy exchange in the film, with his rucksack containing a Sam Shakusky outfit (which was basically one of his shirts with badges I’d made pinned onto it and a fake pair of glasses!) and a map of New Penzance. I left a series of X’s on the floor leading into the spare room, and I can still hear his laugh when his alarm went off and he realised what I had planned. I also dressed up as Suzy, and my improvised outfit was a coral coloured jumper over a cream dress with a peter pan collar, and the two tone navy and white brogues Michael bought me when he worked for LK Bennett which look just like Suzy’s “Sunday school shoes”. It was a very good day – we ate an entire birthday cake just between the two of us!!

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So I’m pleased to have finally made my own version of Suzy’s dress – and I imagine this dress is probably one of the most recreated outfits! I didn’t make an exact replica since I don’t often wear solid colours and prefer prints, so instead I opted for a floral print that I thought still captured the essence of Suzy’s dress, with a very 1960s feel. I chose this amazing barkcloth fabric from the Outback Wife collection, and managed to make the dress out of only 1.5m!

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I used the Tilly & The Buttons Françoise pattern as it’s a very similar shape, and exaggerated the collar by extending it out. I really ought to have added cuffs to be true to Suzy’s style but I do tend to wear cardigans over dresses and unfortunately cuffs can get in the way!

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It’s the first time I’ve made the Françoise and it was a very satisfying sew – it came together really quickly, and the shape is very flattering for a shift dress thanks to the French darts.

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I paired the dress with a Tatty Devine binoculars necklace I had for Christmas, and my incredible Storybook Rabbit brooch, which is an astonishingly detailed recreation of Suzy in bunny rabbit form!

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I really do love this dress and have already worn it quite a lot as it’s cute, retro and incredibly comfy. This has also inspired me to make a few more 1960s inspired dresses – I already have some in the pipeline!

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Lucy x

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We’re Going To The Zoo!

For the final week of #noveltyoutfitclub, we all took a trip to the zoo! The idea for this week was to wear your best animal themed outfits, and it didn’t have to just be animals you might expect to see in the zoo – all creatures great and small were welcome! Here’s a quick round up of the week.

My Outfits for “We’re Going To The Zoo!” Week

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Day 1 – Kew Gardens Border Print

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Day 2 – Floral Foxes

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Day 3 – Off on Safari!

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Day 4 – Penguins with Balloons!

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Day 5 – Tropical Birds

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Day 6 – More Fantastic Foxes!

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Day 7 – Lions & Tigers!

Highlights from “We’re Going To The Zoo!” Week

We saw all manner of animals, birds and insects this week! There were…

…lions and giraffes… (@whiskandstitch@zannaspanner)

…flamingos and hummingbirds… (@pippaquigley25@miss_lottie_rose)

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…some fabulous leopard print… (@hp_sews@nickabockaglory@thecupcakequeen)

…frogs, raccoons, koalas and quokkas, and even some Muppets! (Clockwise from top: @miss.v.stitch@wotnotsmade@catherine2147,@lespetitloups)

We saw some more domestic creatures aswell… cats, mice, birds, bunnies, ducks and creepy crawlies! (Clockwise from top: @honeycreweller@katieloveskittycats@therealfairymary@vendouris,  @miss_strawberry_shortgirl@lynnie_bop)

And some woodland animals too! (Clockwise from top: @rebeccarowlands, @sewmesunshine.uk,  @alyssak316@geminigemgems)

And to finish off, there were also some incredible outfits featuring a whole host of animals in one go! Special mention to Char for her Noah’s Ark themed outfit on the bottom left, such a good idea! (Clockwise from top:  @j9shappiness,  @chimpsteaparty, @kezziesquirrel@dinoprincesschar)

So, that brings us to the end of the first #noveltyoutfitclub! There have been over 400 pictures shared on the tag on Instagram and counting, so do have a look through the full gallery here. It has been such a fun month and I’m so glad so many people joined in! I must confess I was a little nervous it might just be me posting my outfits each day, which wouldn’t have been half as much fun, so thank you for getting on board with my idea!! I know these challenges can be hard to keep up with, and it takes a fair amount of time and planning, so I really appreciate the effort of everyone who has taken part. Since all of the algorithm changes to Instagram I seem to find it much harder to keep up with what’s going on, and find I spend less time chatting and engaging with the amazing creative community on Instagram than I used to, so this has been a great way to reconnect. I’ve discovered lots of great new Instagram accounts to follow and feel very inspired by all of the amazing outfits I’ve seen and the different interpretations of each theme, and I’ve added so so many fabrics and accessories to my wish list!!

I hope people will continue to use the hashtag to share novelty outfits and fun accessories even though the weekly challenges have finished, and since this has been so much fun I *might* plan a week long festive edition of #noveltyoutfitclub in December too!

Lucy x

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Sweets and Treats

The theme for week 3 of #noveltyoutfitclub was Sweets & Treats, and this week’s outfits certainly left me feeling a little peckish! Here’s a little round up of my outfits for the week, plus some of the very sweet outfits shared on Instagram.

My Outfits For Sweets & Treats Week

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Day 1 – Pick & Mix Sweets & Chocolates

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Day 2 – Time of the snack is enjoyed greatly!

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Day 3 – Tea & cake

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Day 4 – I carried a watermelon

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Day 5 – Ice cream is gonna save the day!

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Day 6 – Does Yogi Bear like picnics?

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Day 7 – Biscuit love!

Highlights from Sweets & Treats week

There were so many cute outfits this week! Here are a few of my favourites…

Look at all of these amazing shoes! Ice creams and donuts 😍 (Clockwise from top: @noleenashby80@pinup_is_my_prozac@miss_lottie_rose@dinoprincesschar)

These outfits are all simply good enough to eat! Gorgeous! (Clockwise from top:  @dinoprincesschar, @nickabockaglory@miss_strawberry_shortgirl@pippaquigley25)

I was VERY excited to see some Smile & Make accessories in the mix! Does Yogi Bear Like Picnics? with @sewinthegarden and Tip Top Like Soda Pop! with @hp_sews were both perfect for this week’s theme!

We did have some healthy treats as well as all the sugar, with avocados, cherries, strawberries & watermelons! (Clockwise from top: @lespetitloups@thecupcakequeen@zannaspanner@j9shappiness)

So many scrumptious accessories! (Clockwise from top: @tracylilibet@therealfairymary@geminigemgems,  @lynnie_bop,  @katieloveskittycats,  @chimpsteaparty)

Once again there were some incredible handmade outfits! Can we all take a moment to marvel at Georgina’s watermelon Cleo dress?!? (Clockwise from top: @sewinthegarden@whiskandstitch@sewistella@wotnotsmade)

There were some excellent foodie themed prints & patterns! (Clockwise from top: @alyssak316, @allaboutzsuzsanna@dotty_lea, @vendouris)

And I was delighted to see some early nods to Christmas with @rebeccarowlands and @miss.v.stitch! I’m one of those annoying people who loves Christmas and it can’t come soon enough for me!

This is just a small selection of the delicious outfits from this week, do have a look through the tag here to see more.

Week themes

The final week’s theme which kicked off on Monday is “We’re Going To The Zoo!”, basically a cute way of saying it’s animal week! It doesn’t have to just be animals you’d see at the zoo though, all creatures great and small are welcome in the #noveltyoutfitclub!

Lucy x

Adventure Is Out There!

Time for a round up of the second week of #noveltyoutfitclub, “Adventure Is Out There!” It’s been another fabulously colourful week and I’m having so much fun seeing everyone’s outfits!

My Outfits For Adventure Week

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Day 1 – Up!

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Day 2 – Paris

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Day 3 – San Francisco

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Day 4 – Camping!

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Day 5 – Bon Voyage!

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Day 6 – Boats

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Day 7 – New York

Highlights From Adventure Week

This week’s fabulous outfits took us to London, New York and Paris with @miss_strawberry_shortgirl, @alyssak316  & @hp_sews

There were more gorgeous handmade creations in some very fun fabrics! (Clockwise from top: @sewistella, @thedressgarden, @catherine2147, @whiskandstitch)

Some of the outfits even took us into outer space! (Clockwise from top: @miss.v.stitch, @thecupcakequeen, @katieloveskittycats, @therealfairymary)

And there were some gloriously colourful accessories! (Clockwise from top: @geminigemgems, @noleenashby80, @lespetitloups, @myshewasyare)

We’ve cycled and sailed off on our adventures… (Clockwise from top: @lola_and_squirrel, @j9shappiness, @sewoldfashioned, @chimpsteaparty)

As always, there was excellent head to toe outfit styling from these gorgeous ladies! (Clockwise from top: @pippaquigley25, @miss_lottie_rose, @pinup_is_my_prozac, @rebeccarowlands)

And our adventures even took us to the wild west, and up snowy mountains with @dinoprincesschar & @vendouris

Again, this really is only a small sample of the fabulous photos people have shared, so do have a look through the hashtag here. Thank you again to all of the wonderful participants for creating such wonderful and imaginative outfits, it’s an absolute joy scrolling through the hashtag now! And apologies for sharing this round up a little later than planned – I’ve been struggling with headaches and migraines so have had to avoid too much screen time, but I think it’s starting to get a little better now.

Week themes

Moving on from adventure week, this week’s theme is “Sweets and Treats” and there are already some truly delicious outfits on the hashtag! I’ll be back this weekend to share the top treats – yum!!

Lucy x

Bam! Movie Marathon!

We’ve come to the end of the first week of Novelty Outfit Club, my Instagram outfit challenge for October, with the theme of “Bam! Movie Marathon!” I’ve been absolutely blown away by the incredible response! There have been so many amazing outfits and such fun and creative interpretations of the theme, I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s photos! I thought I’d share some of my favourite entries here, plus a little round up of my outfits from the week.

My Outfits for Movie Week

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Day 1 – The Wizard of Oz

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Day 2 – Grease

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Day 3 – Serendipity

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Day 4 – Popcorn!

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Day 5 – Funny Face

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Day 6 – Fantastic Mr Fox

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Day 7 – Mary Poppins!

Highlights from Movie Week!

There are some incredible outfits featuring a straight up movie theme, with popcorn, cats at the cinema and drive in movies! (Clockwise from top: @katieloveskittycats, @tessweck, @thecupcakequeen, @dinoprincesschar)

Quite a few nods to the Wizarding World, with these excellent outfits inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter! (Clockwise from top: @rebeccarowlands, @rubyqueenofcats, @nickabockaglory, @therealfairymary)

I was delighted to see so many gorgeous handmade dresses, in some truly excellent fabrics! (Clockwise from top: @miss.v.stitch Singin In The Rain, @sewistella Alice In Wonderland, @hp_sews Star Wars, @whiskandstitch Marvel Comics) I should mention these aren’t the only handmade outfits – there were lots of others too which I’ve included under other categories!

Lots of fun Disney outfits, and lovely to see a good Cath Kidston turnout! (Clockwise from top: @miss_lottie_rose Beauty & The Beast, @lespetitloups Peter Pan, @j9shappiness Gnomeo & Juliet, @noleenashby80 101 Dalmations)

I’ve been really impressed by the creative interpretations people have used to theme their outfits, I think it’s been a great way to look at your wardrobe in a new light! (Clockwise from top: @pinup_is_my_prozac Jurassic Park, @pippaquigley25 Despicable Me, @wotnotsmade Clockwise, @alyssak316 Pleasantville)

It’s been good to see a nod to some of the cult classics too. There has been such an interesting range of movies featured! (Clockwise from top: @vendouris My Neighbour Totoro, @lynnie_bop Gremlins, @kayjaymorrison Star Wars, @geminigemgems Labyrinth)

And so many gorgeous accessories! Serious jewellery envy here! (@chimpsteaparty Grease, @zannaspanner Peter Pan)

The photos I have featured here are really just the tip of the iceberg as there are so many more amazing outfits – over 100 posts on the tag already! I’ve just picked a few highlights and tried to include everyone who has taken part ( but apologies if I’ve missed anyone!) so do pop over to Instagram and have a proper look through the hashtag (click here to take a peek). I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the challenge, and I’m glad to have discovered some awesome new ladies, and added quite a few dresses, jewellery and fabrics to my wishlist. I have a  feeling this month will be fabulous for inspiration but terrible for my bank balance!!

Week themes

The next theme starting tomorrow is “Adventure Is Out There!” Think anything travel related, the great outdoors, places you have visited or would love to visit, or anything you count as an adventure. I can’t wait to see the next week of outfits, this has already been so much fun!

Lucy x

Introducing #noveltyoutfitclub

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Hi guys! I have a fun new idea which I’m excited (and a little nervous!) to share with you today – the Novelty Outfit Club! It’s an Instagram challenge I’ve put together for the month of October, where any fellow novelty outfit lovers can all share and appreciate each other’s themed outfits and accessories, with a prompt to provide inspiration each week.

Novelty definition

First up, I’ll tell you a little bit about the inspiration behind the project. Last week, I shared a post on Instagram about the importance of dressing up for me, which is something I’ve also written about here. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that not only do I love to dress up, but I also love to theme an outfit and tell a story with my clothes! These days, nothing makes me happier than finding the perfect novelty jewellery and accessories to match the print on my colourful dresses. It’s a simple silly pleasure that can bring a lot of joy to your everyday, and my ambition is to have a themed outfit for every occasion! And Michael loved a good theme just as much as I did – he’d wear his favourite burger socks on national burger day, plan primary coloured brick themed outfits for a trip to Legoland, and even theme his birthday and Christmas gifts to me, like the birthday when he bought me an ice lolly dress with matching necklace and socks!

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One of my very favourite things about Instagram is the constant inspiration I get from seeing awesome ladies rocking their outfits, and the excitement when someone pairs the absolute perfect accessories with their outfit. I also really enjoy taking part in monthly challenges and hashtag projects as it’s a great way to discover new online friends and engage in the community, which after all is what Instagram is all about.

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All of these factors started to spark into an idea when I shared my #aweekinwonderland outfits recently. After discovering I now have no less than 7(!) Alice In Wonderland themed dresses in my wardrobe, I decided to wear one each day and share my outfits on Instagram. I had a LOT of fun planning it all, so I thought why not do a weekly themed outfit project, but this time invite everyone to join in? I’ve come up with 4 themes, one for each week in October. If you’d like to take part then choose an outfit or accessory inspired by the prompt each week, and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #noveltyoutfitclub. Here are a few more details in a handy square form…

How to take part

There are no strict rules to this challenge as it’s about encouraging each other to have fun with our clothes, as for me it’s a big part of bringing a little bit of happy to the every day. I know that not everyone is quite as obsessed as I am with tracking down that perfect picnic pin to go with their picnic dress, necklace and bag, so you really don’t have to wear a matching head to toe ensemble! Even just wearing a pair of socks that fits with the theme will be great, and I’ve tried to keep the prompts broad so it will hopefully be easy to join in!

Week themes

  1. Bam! Movie Marathon! We’re off to the movies for Week 1! You could go for a straight up popcorn movie theme, or plan an outfit inspired by your favourite film! So much scope here! And the name of this theme is what Michael used to say whenever he fancied a cosy afternoon with our favourite movies, so I had to use it for this week.
  2. Adventure Is Out There! It’s time for an adventure in Week 2! You could choose a travel theme with airplanes and hot air balloons, camping and adventures in the great outdoors, favourite places you’ve visited, or anything that counts as an adventure in your book. The theme for this week is inspired by one of mine and Michael’s favourite Pixar films, Up!
  3. Sweets & Treats. I can’t resist any fabric or jewellery with a novelty food theme, so this was an obvious choice for Week 3. Think burgers, hot dogs, pizza, doughnuts, ice creams, cakes, sweets, biscuits, pineapples and water melons – anything food related. You might also want to stock up on snacks for this week, as I anticipate these outfits will make you feel a bit peckish!
  4. We’re Going To The Zoo in Week 4, rounding the challenge off with an animal theme, so expect some wild outfits! It doesn’t have to just be animals you’d find in the zoo, so feel free to take inspiration from all creatures great and small!

Everyone is welcome in the Novelty Outfit Club and I’d love to see your interpretations of each theme, so here’s hoping you’ll join me in October and fill up the hashtag with colourful cuteness!

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Lucy x