Friday, 31 December 2010

London Passing in a Blur

The 29th was the first day after my birthday which was not a bank holiday, which made it the perfect time to go to London with 4 friends (all girls) for an exhibition, lunch and some shopping in my favourite parts of the capital!

 The discovery of the day was that the underground is apparently like Marmite, in that you either love it or hate it. We were pretty evenly split in opinion, with me on the 'love it' side of course. It was made even better by this new wallet which I got for my birthday, which served not only as somewhere for my money and loyalty cards, but also as a way to work out where we were. That is the definition of Fashionable and Functional.
The exhibition we went to was 'Dior Illustrated' at Somerset House, which I have never been to before. In fact, I felt a little daunted actually going there after recognising its signature white bricks in the background of every photo in the street style section of the London Fashion Week newspaper. It was great though. We went to our exhibition in the Embankment Galleries then looked around the main building, which included a free Matthew Williamson exhibition and this fantastic staircase, which we had a lot of fun on.
By Rene Grau
By Rene Grau

 The exhibition was of pieces by Rene Grau, who did much of the illustration for Dior campaigns across the majority of the house's history. I've picked out my favourite two above, but you don't get the full effect until you see the original, because the texture of the paint contributes so much to it. There was also a section of works by artists who had been commissioned to make their own pieces inspired by Grau. Some of them, I didn't like that much, but I thought this picture of a man getting stuck whilst trying to take his shirt off  by Richard Kilroy was amazing. It looks like a photograph! I will be looking out for Kilroy's work from now on.
If you have a spare 1/2 hour and £6 (or £5 for concessions), 'Dior Illustrated' is well worth a look.


Finally, of course, the shopping. We had lunch in Covent Garden, so we started there with a look around Lily Allen's shop, Lucy In Disguise. I wouldn't say that I didn't like it, there were some beautiful things and the space was light and open with fairly helpful staff, I just think I'd like it more if I had the salary of a city banker, rather than a freelance babysitter and non-professional blogger.

We moved on to Radio Days, my favourite vintage shop, as I think I've mentioned before. I didn't buy anything this time. There was a light cream skirt on sale for £5 which i think 3 of us fell in love with, but we quickly learned that the reason for its price was the fact that it had been made for a the petite waist of a '50s hourglass girl. Seriously, it probably wouldn't fit around my head!

At last we got to Kensington High Street, which is my favourite place for chain stores because it has the choice and space of Oxford Street but with reduced crowds and slightly less labyrinth-like shops. Plus, it was where I first went to an Urban Outfitters, where I bought my favourite T-shirt and my watch, where I found my best schoolbag ever, and now, where I discovered my Zara trousers which I'm convinced will get me into college. OK, they won't get me into college on their own (I need a whole outfit yet!) but I will wear them to my interview when it comes around. I'm thinking either with a blue and white striped T-shirt and navy blazer for a sort-of nautical thing or maybe a matching blazer and caramel-toned top for a Love, Chloe feel (I know I've mentioned that before but that just shows how obsessed I am with it). How would you wear them?

All in all, a great day! And we might just be going up to London again very soon... more on that later.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Birthday Wishes

It was my birthday yesterday! We went down to Portsmouth to have brunch, saw Harry Potter (again) and had a look around Gunwharf Quays but there it was packed full of January sales scavengers and there wasn't much exciting. I didn't need to buy anything though, because I had plenty of lovely presents! Some of these are from Christmas, but I suppose I just wanted to flaunt them anyway.

I've obviously got the message across that I'm interested in style and fashion, judging by the number of style books I received, these ones aren't all of them! Plus I got the beautiful purse and make-up bag which you can see at the top, which is exactly the kind of thing I've been looking out for. Finally, there's the baseball jacket. Hooray! The absolute embodiment of my obsession with Americana. That will be the perfect thing to wear while I'm watching my brand new Glee box set...

I'm having a day out in London tomorrow with friends so expect a post about that soon!

Friday, 24 December 2010

5 ways to wear the same dress

1. Smart
2.Work wear
3. Ladylike
4. military

5. Androgynous

Christmas Eve! I had a lot of fun shooting this the other day with my friend Holly, so first off thanks to her for taking the pictures.

Secondly, here I have put together some basic ideas on how you can customise one dress so that it doesn't look too obvious that you're wearing the same thing to two different Christmas/NYE events or how you can take the look straight from the office to a party. You can take these ideas and add extra accessories along with different hair and make-up for each night, then lo and behold, the same dress takes on a whole new persona.

I have chosen this black and gold dress which I wore to The Birthday Party because it is fairly versatile and the colours are not too overwhelming, but if you want something a bit less distinctive, I would recommend the classic LBD or since it's the festive season, an LRD (Little Red Dress).

1. Smart - This is a good look for an official event where you will be required to dress formally. By adding a blazer, you make the outfit become serious and ready-for-business, but the addition of a pretty necklace, like my black, gold and pearl one from New Look, keeps it pretty and lets people know that you haven't forgotten how to party. Black courts are probably the best to wear with this one, but kitten heels work just as well.

2. Work wear - I suppose this is an illustration of how to go from day-to-night, but that's an important aspect of party dressing anyway, so this one is vital. The look is inspired by the idea of an intern working late into the night with the office party afterwards and no time to change. It's also cold outside, so the solution is to wear a big woolly jumper over her party dress, turning it into a skirt, and to keep a pair of killer heels in her handbag which she can replace her sensible flats with later.

3. Ladylike - It's been all over the runways, now it can be all over the season's party wear. If you slip a scoop-neck top on over your dress, you can make it a little more demure and also turn the outfit into separates. This could be another day-to-night look, or could also be a good solution to those times you don't know the dress code. If you would feel overdressed without the top you can slip it on to feel a little more casual, but if you turn up and everybody is in cocktail dresses, take the top off and put your hair up for a chic and classy style. Don't forget the square-toe kitten heels!

4. Military - I swear by military clothing. Any piece, a jacket, coat, jumper, can just lift an outfit and add serious interest. In my example, I've introduced a new colour into the ensemble, but you don't have to. I've followed a tip from Gok and added shoes in a matching colour, which he claims "makes anything you do in the middle OK." so keep that in mind. If you don't have a piece of clothing which is military, try to find an army-style brooch to just add that detail.

5. Androgynous - This is by far my favourite one. You don't have to use actual men's clothes, maybe just get something in the next size up. This waistcoat is actually far too big and I bought it by accident, but here, cinched in with a man's black belt, it looks really good. You could wear some laced up boots with this one, but try to make sure they have some sort of heel to keep it feminine.

Thank you for reading my blog in its first few months, I'm going to take a break until my birthday (which is only a few days away anyway) but until then, have a very merry Christmas, and I'll be back with you for New Year's.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Where Angels Fear To Tread

Advent day 23. In 5 places to find your party dress, I said that a good place to find pieces would be the dressing up box. Just to illustrate that this is actually possible, I fished this old angel dress out, which I wore when I was in a Nativity play a while back. It probably covered my legs back then! I've added a white belt with gold stars on which I got from Primark when I dressed up as Wonderwoman, my favourite heels which I wore to The Birthday Party and a gold sequin purse on a shoulder strap. If I were braver I might have done something to the neckline, but I'm scared of ruining it. I think the overall effect looks pretty good, though I probably should have taken the wings off...

Hopefully I'll be putting some more outfit ideas up before NYE, but tomorrow is my last advent post and I'll take a little break after that.

Pictures by Holly B

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I'm hot on your heels

Advent day 22, I spotted these shoes for £4.99 in a charity shop yesterday and was thinking about them all night, so I went back this morning and got them. I know what you're thinking: Leopard print?! I know, that's kind of what I thought, these are way more OTT than anything I'd normally wear, but I think I know how to work them without it getting trashy, so I've made a set of 3 rules:

  1. No other animal print with it. Some people can make that work without looking like an Eastenders character, but I think I'll be playing it safe
  2. Bare toenails. I can't handle these shoes and Ciate nail polish in Dangerous Affair.
  3. Keep the rest of the outfit demure. If I'm wearing these to a party, I think I'd keep the skirt no shorter than knee length. Likewise, a plunging neckline is probably best to avoid.
Of course, that's just me. How would you wear them?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In between dreams

Advent day 21. I was a little feverish and unwell last night which meant I kept having those weird semi-dreams where nothing actually happens, you just see images and hear words in your head. This would be fairly normal except that I've just started reading The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake, which is about Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in 70s Paris, which meant everything I had just read about was swirling around in my head. I've tried to collage what it felt like above, but there were far more components than that, and other unrelated designers like Alexander McQueen would pop up occasionally. Still, there are worse things to be stuck in your subconscious than the Paris Fashion scene from the 1950s to 1970s...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Reusable Gift Wrapping

I recently discovered this stuff which you can use to wrap presents without scissors or stick tape, it's just a piece of material shaped in such a way that you wrap it round the gift then tie a bow to hold it together. One of my Christmas presents and a birthday present came in it and I think it looks great, in fact, it helped my solve the problem of how to wrap up those bunnies. I used a square piece of plain white material to wrap them up, folding all the corners together, then tied it with some Christmas ribbon at the top to hold everything together.

I think it worked really nicely, and you can use it as a solution to any awkwardly shaped gift, because it can fold around strange angles without ripping, plus it ends up looking really chic. What more could you want?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Blog lovin'

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Some Recent Buys

Advent day 19
The bunnies are Christmas presents, the Vogue is for me, and the pillow is something I got for myself then loved so much I bought one for a few people as presents. I hope they like it as much as I do.
If you are wondering how on earth I wrapped those bunnies, the secret will be revealed tomorrow...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Yet Another Winter Wonderland

Advent day 18, and the snow has returned! At this rate we may well get a white Christmas. Unfortunately, since the end of school was yesterday, I can feel that illness I always get as soon as the holidays begin, probably because I have no time to be sick during school, so it all hits me once it's over. My defence to this is  to wear odd socks (they have to be odd, and warm) and consume copious amounts of Hot Health, my honey and lemon drink which will make you feel instantly better, especially for snuffly colds and sore throats.

If you are also finding the onslaught of the holidays disadvantageous for your well being, here is a recipe for Hot Health. You can put it in a mug to have in bed or you could always make it up in a cute mulled wine glass to sip alongside friends at your Christmas drinks evening.

You will need:
  • A jar of runny or set honey (runny works better but I prefer the taste of set)
  • 1/2 a fresh lemon or a bottle of lemon juice
  • Boiling water
  • A small teaspoon of ginger cordial (optional) 

  1.  Boil enough water to fill your mug or glass
  2. Put 2-4 teaspoons of honey (depending on how much sweetness you like) in the mug and pour boiling water on top until the mug is filled up a little over 3/4 of the way. Use the teaspoon to stir until the honey is all melted into the water.
  3. Squeeze the lemon over the drink, being careful not to get pips in it, or pour from the bottle. How much you add will depend on your taste and how much honey you put in, I normally have about 2 teaspoons, but try to make sure it doesn't get too bitter, you can always add more honey.
  4. If you fancy a bit of a festive kick, try putting a little bit of ginger cordial in. Belvoir do a good one, but it is quite strong, so only use the tiniest amount. Other variations you can try include replacing the honey with maple syrup (yum) and the lemon with lime juice. 
 However you take it, be sure to get well soon!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Italian Boys and Christmas Joys

Advent day 17, the last day of school. Anyone with presents gave them out today, and I was given this little necklace with a moped pendant on by my friend Holly. I love it! I actually remember pointing it out in Accessorize ages ago, but I didn't realise she would get it for me. It reminds me of my short stay in Italy earlier this year and all the boys on mopeds who would whiz past, two to a scooter, apparently obliged to shriek "Aaaayyy!" at any group of more than two girls. 

Oh those Italian guys, they always know how to capture a girl's heart. 

P.S. Sorry about the cheesy post title. I thought it was quite good.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

All I want for Christmas is...

Advent day 16. This Alexander McQueen clutch caught my eye as I was flipping through the December issue of InStyle, because it's absolutely perfect. Just look at the colours, festive and year-round at the same time! And that signature McQueen skull... it comes with a hefty price tag though, (£1,295!). I think this is one best left for the wildest dreams wish list.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dreams in Collage Form

Advent day 15. My very stylish friend Evie made this for me to go with my christmas present, which I kind of already opened, but she opened the one I gave her too, so it's all good. I think I might use collages as cards more often, starting with the thank you notes for my birthday presents.

I just love this collage, especially the shoes, the quotes and the little Audrey Hepburn pic, but my favourite bit has to be that white and silver dress in the centre. If you zoom in a little, you'll discover that dress is actually from Jack Wills! So they actually do make stuff other than overpriced hoodies! Nice stuff too... it seems my opinions are becoming transformed.

What's your favourite bit?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Memory for Sale

Advent day 14. I just put this little mock-suede suit in camel up on eBay, it's for a 7 year old, but if you know anyone who'd like it, bidding starts at just 99p!

It's quite special to me actually, because it was probably the first piece of clothing which I absolutely focused my mind on, that I had to have, that I wanted so much I would go to Debenham's every Saturday just to touch it. And, lo and behold, come my 7th birthday, there it was, wrapped up in a gold box with white tissue around it.

I now, however, don't really need it any more, and I don't want it as much as I did, so now is the right time to sell it, especially with camel being so in. In fact, I was reminded about it by the ad for Love, Chloe, just the soft, 70s feel of it is the same. I think that's why it's a good piece, it may go out of style for a bit, but it's sure to come back again one way or another.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Badly Drawn Boy

Advent day 13, I've been experimenting with illustration on Paint - it hasn't gone terribly well. These are my first two, and they haven't turned out exactly as I'd hoped, despite using that special graphic design pen-mouse thing. Oh well, if I keep practicing, maybe I'll be able to get a little more out of it... or not.