Review: Soak Wash + Flatter Spray

Gone are the days when I would chuck my clothes in the washing machine on a standard 40-degree setting and hope for the best – since I’ve been making my own garments, I’m far more careful (some might even say obsessive) when it comes to how I wash my me-mades.

So, although student me would’ve scoffed at the idea, I often hand-wash some of the more delicate fabrics in my wardrobe – anything to avoid that sinking (or should that be shrinking) feeling when you realise your favourite top is now doll-size.

Let’s face it, though – hand-washing is boring. Soaking, rinsing, drying – it’s all more of a faff when you’re doing it by hand. So I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that Canadian laundry brand Soak has revolutionised hand-washing for me. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration – but it has made hand-washing a whole lot speedier. As its name suggests, with Soak you just need to soak the garment for around 15 minutes or so then squeeze out the water by rolling the item of clothing in a dry towel. That’s it! Easy, quick and very non-faffy. I have the Yuzu scent, which has a fresh, light, citrusy fragrance that isn’t overpowering (there are also fig, pineapple and scentless options). The formula is environmentally friendly and biodegradable, and the bottle is recyclable and printed with water-based inks.

As you can probably tell from the bottle in the photo, I’ve used mine a lot (and a little goes a long way – I’ve had mine for ages now and there’s still plenty left) for everything from delicate vintage blouses to occasion dresses and it’s never caused any shrinkage or colour-running (although obvs it’s always best to test). And, if I’ve still not managed to convince you of the joys of hand-washing, it can be used in the washing machine, too. A newer addition to my laundry cupboard is the Flatter Smoothing Spray, also from Soak’s range. As previously discussed, pressing has not always been my favourite part of the sewing process, but I have learned to love it – in fact, it’s now one of the most enjoyable aspects of stitching for me.

Aside from the fact it’s so satisfying to see a lumpy seam become beautifully flat and crisp with just a quick sweep of a steamy iron, pressing also provides an excellent excuse to buy more sewing tools, from steam-generator irons to pressing hams (I’ve got one of those fancy wooden clapper things on my wish list).

And, although not technically a tool, this handy little spray is now an ironing-board essential for me. It leaves fabric beautifully pressed with no residue at all, even on dark fabrics (although, as always, test it on a small area on the wrong side of the fabric first just to make sure) and kinda makes me want to sew seams just so I can press them, which I’m hoping will work wonders for my sewing productivity.

What are your pressing essentials? Share your pressing-tool geekery!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post or ad – I just like the products.

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A new season (and a not-so-new name) at Duo Boots

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since my first blogger evening at Duo Boots in Bath – and, impressively considering the rate at which I seem to ruin shoes (I do a lot of walking), I still wear and love that very first pair of Duos. Continue reading “A new season (and a not-so-new name) at Duo Boots”

A Fairytale Fit at Ted & Muffy in Bath

When much-loved brands get a makeover it’s not always for the better, but this isn’t so for shoe boutique Ted & Muffy. Duo was known for its excellent fit and beautiful quality – just check out my post from their blogger event last year to see what I mean – and while I’m sure many will be sad to see it go, its latest incarnation as Ted & Muffy is an exciting one. Ted & Muffy is Duo’s cool, stylish sister – like Duo, it offers a vast range of calf and width fittings (and size 35s for my little feet, hurrah!), but there are edgier styles as well as the classics Duo was known for which makes for a more interesting collection, with flashes of cherry red, cobalt blue, metallics and animal print. Continue reading “A Fairytale Fit at Ted & Muffy in Bath”

91 Magazine’s Print Issue

While I love the convenience of digital magazines, there’s nothing quite like casually flicking through a printed mag on a relaxed Sunday morning with a cup of coffee in hand. You don’t have to scroll too far down my blog page to find out that I’m a long-time fan of 91 Magazine – I’ve even contributed a few articles myself – so I couldn’t wait to have a read of their first ever print issue, created in collaboration with Mollie Makes.

This 32-page special features the usual gorgeous home tours (which look even better in print), as well as an interview with the creator of Pygmy Cloud‘s whimsical designs in the Folksy Seller Spotlight, plus plenty of ideas for getting creative and crafty yourself. I particularly love the tips for decorating with paper – such an easy and effective way to add a unique touch to a room.

With the Christmas break fast approaching, this lovely issue will be just the ticket on those lazy, in-between days spent eating chocolates and doing very little.

You can purchase a copy for yourself on the 91 Magazine website – it’s an absolute steal at just £2.95 including P&P.

91 Magazine Continue reading “91 Magazine’s Print Issue”

Christmas Shopping at Bicester Village

I’ve been wanting to go to Bicester Village for yonks. I’ve heard so many people wax lyrical about it, that I sort of imagined it to be a magical place where fashion dreams really do come true – a Disneyland/Toys R Us for clothes, if you will. And it kind of was – as long as you have a fair bit of spare cash, of course. I don’t, however, recommend going the day after the dreaded Black Friday as I did (or, indeed, on Black Friday itself) as shoppers still seemed to be in frantic bargain-hunting mode, though the stores did well to keep the queues moving.

While I saw plenty to tempt me to splurge, especially at Kate Spade, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry, I’m trying to save the pennies at the moment (and I do have that Harvey Nicks voucher to spend) so I instead just treated myself to a few beauty goodies from L’Occitane. I also wanted a peek at the shiny things in Pandora, but the relentless queues meant I didn’t get a chance. I’ll definitely be back – preferably on a slightly quieter weekday, nowhere near Christmas – and next time, I might just have to get me a little something from Kate Spade.

Christmas Shopping at Bicester Village Continue reading “Christmas Shopping at Bicester Village”