Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Trinity of summer trends: Nautical

As with Tribal, there are so many ways you can wear nautical. You could go for full on 'Ahoy Sailor!' get up, with anchor print and a captain's hat, which may appeal to the more theatrical amongst you. Alternatively, the more subtle approach would be to embody the chic of the French riviera - Breton tops, white linen, floppy hats. However you choose to wear it, nautical is a stubborn trend, and that's probably because it is ideal for reclining by the beach, pool or even television. Wear your red, white and blue with pride and wear it constantly for a flawless summer of seaside perfection.

Key pieces:
Striped tops
Red, white or blue swimwear
Tote-size beach bags
Worn-in white or blue denim shorts
A floppy/captain's hat

Friday, 27 May 2011

Trinity of summer trends: Tribal

Every year it's out with the old and in with the new. Every Spring/Summer season, the whole fashion industry right from designers to budget stores present us with what we should be wearing on holidays. While these new trends often have a kind of gimmick which differentiates them from eachother year on year, the same three styles remain the core or 'Holy Trinity' of the summer fashion world:

Tribal, Nautical and Floral

To illustrate each of these, I have made a collage. Today, we start with Tribal. A trend inspired by the furthest places of the world which sparkle with light and colour and sound. No wonder many a designer will create an exotic collection following a visit to Morocco or India or Peru. This trend will appeal to the more adventurous, travel-loving ones among you, and the glamorous, showy ones too. There are many ways to wear it, incorporating mini-trends like animal print, safari, military and even crossing over with floral. As long as those flowers are big and bright, they count as being part of both trends!

Key pieces:
Printed maxi dresses
Leather sandals or flip-flops
Chunky wooden jewellery
Colourful wraps or scarves

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Glee moving to Sky

Image from here
Yesterday, I was devastated to hear the news that one of my all-time favourite shows, the magnificent and uplifting Glee, will be moving to Sky next season.

For those of you who are outside of the UK, Sky is a British broadcasting company and you have to pay for a subscription in order to view their channels. The first two seasons of Glee have been shown on a digital channel (free to see as long as you have a freeview box) called E4, then shown at sometime in the following week by its parent channel - Channel 4, which everyone gets.

I don't have Sky,which is why I am so upset. I look to Glee for a way to cheer myself up, discover new music and be inspired in terms of outfits. I know I can still buy the box set, but half the fun of it is that Glee is the first thing my friends and I discuss the morning after it was on. Yes. I'm aware that I am now sounding like a rather sad person whose life revolves around an American musical-comedy-drama. But I have other reasons to dislike this change.

Firstly, illegal downloads of Glee are just going to go up. OK, initially some people might decide to buy into Sky so they can see it, but it won't be just this one show that makes that decision for them - they will be the kind of people who have been considering it anyway. Hopefully, nobody is going to completely change their view on paying for TV subscriptions or shell out for something they cannot afford based on Glee alone.

Secondly, I think this is absolutely typical of Sky, who are also the reason I could no longer watch House after the 4th season. Taking the show off a free channel can only lose viewers. I'd love to continue ranting on this point, but I think my views are pretty much summarised by a commenter on the Guardian website: "Classic Sky tactic though. Miss the opportunity for the series first time round. Wait for a terrestrial/FTA to do the hard work and build up an audience in this country. Then, mid way through the series' life, swoop in and snatch it away. Series then disappears into obscurity with a fraction of the audience."
Eloquently put, blabla500

Finally, I am uneasy about the idea of big corporations taking over everything. I'm not the kind of person who claims that Apple is trying to brainwash us but I do find it a little scary when I realise how much power some big corporations have over how we spend our money and other aspects of our lives. That isn't just in technology or TV - think about major fashion design houses. One week they're showing their new collection in Paris, the next we are all wearing it or clothes with similar aspects to it. The difference is, we are aware of this pattern and marvel at how it can affect us. That is the nature of fashion. With Sky, they take a programme away from a channel and this forces us to buy into Rupert Murdoch's empire by subscribing to Sky.

What I say to you today is: don't fall for it! If you have already got Sky, then good for you. I hope you enjoy the new series but please try and be sensitive to friends without it. If you have already made the decision not to get Sky, don't change your mind now - you'll be doing what they want you to do.

Apologies for the lack of fashion-related content in this post. To say sorry, how about I show you some of my favourite outfits from Glee?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

What's in my bag? - 1st week of exams

Revision guides - for some last minute revising

Water - not sure if I'm allowed this in the exam, but I can't think straight without being hydrated

Pencil case - As you may have seen from my post Case Closed, I consider this aspect of the exam very important. I may have panic-packed pens... I have at least 10, just in case.

Lucky charms - My silver 'A' necklace and magnetic bear. As far as fate's concerned, I'm not taking any chances!

Calculator - Maths isn't for a few weeks, but I'm so hopeless that I know if I don't pack it now I'll forget it on the day.

Watch - A lovely, functional, clear watch. What's that you say? Isn't it a little plain? Of course not my friends! I love the very slight texture on the simple black strap, the silver around the face and the fact that i can totally envisage it on the wrist of a chic Parisian lady eating her morning croissant.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - If you also have exams around now, I would recommend reading as a good way to calm down, plus you can get some ideas for descriptive writing. Other ways to calm down include going for a brisk walk and my secret ingredient...

Emergency white chocolate mice - any chocolate will do, in fact, dark is probably best. Did you know, when you eat chocolate, it can cause emotions of happiness because it contains phenylephylamine - the same hormone the brain triggers when you fall in love.

Good Luck if you are also taking exams this summer! You'll do fine.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A

I was recently lucky enough to visit this much-anticipated Yohji Yamamoto retrospective. I must admit, for me it was only highly anticipated due to the large number of magazines telling me I had to go and see it. I will also admit, with shame, that prior to this, I had no idea who Yohji Yamamoto was.

Of course, now I know better.

The exhibition is ridiculously brightly lit, like a sort of amplified daylight, but once you adapt to this the benefits are obvious. At first the designs seem minimalist and the initial beauty lies in the shape of the garments, but on closer inspection, you can see how these shapes are created by complicated tailoring. You may also notice how the intricate weave of some of the materials is what really makes the outfit work. I particularly loved a men's blue coat, done in an almost Mr-Darcy-esque way, with the detail of two embroidered gold stars on the front. There was also a lot of information on the man himself and his many creative outlets: hefty books; martial arts and even music recordings!

Unfortunately, photography was strictly prohibited while inside the exhibition space. However, if you happen to be in London then I can recommend a visit to this - it's well worth the entry fee and it's a great way to spend some time for anyone who is interested.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A lady attends a birthday party

Welcome to my new regular feature, in which I classily demonstrate appropriate outfits and accessories for a range of social occassions, with the aid of my copy of 'How to be a lady' by Candace Simpson Giles.

Today was my friend Oscar's 16th birthday, so we celebrated with a barbecue in his local park. Nothing too fancy, but at the same time, I feel that it's rude to make no effort at all when attending someone's birthday party and turning up practically in your pyjamas (unless it's a sleepover). Hence - My casual outfit with the added glamour of a 30s-esque hat and wedged to add extra height. I had to be able to get up an almost-vertical hill so stilettos were out of the question.

Now, Candace Simpson Giles says that "when a lady is invited to someone's home...she knows to take a gift". Of course this is obvious for a birthday party, which is why I bought a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys and also a set of fake moustaches (it's an Oscar thing. I'm sure he'll love them). But I felt like I needed something extra. So since I am reading a book called Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Coolgan, which features some cupcake recipes, I thought I'd adapt one to make double chocolate moustached cupcakes (yes, I am aware I have spelt moustached wrong in the above picture):

Double Chocolate Moustached Cupcakes
(adapted from a recipe in Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe)

250ml double cream
400g good-quality dark chocolate
5 eggs
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 tbsp drinking chocolate
1/2 tsp baking powder

Butter icing
140g Soft butter
240g icing sugar
2 tsp milk (or as many as you need to keep it from becoming hard)

Stir double cream and chocolate in a pan over low heat until smooth.
 Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl then slowly beat in chocolate mixture.
Sift in flour, cocoa and baking powder and combine
 Divide the mixture between cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C/gas mark 4 until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in pans, then put onto a cooling rack for decorating.
 Cream the butter then slowly add the icing sugar. Combine the two until you get the consistency you want and taste a tiny bit to make sure the butter:sugar ratio is correct (try not to eat all of it!). Add more butter or sugar as you see fit, then put the icing in a piping bag. Use the bag to create moustaches or other designs on the cakes once the cakes have cooled enough so that they will not melt the butter.
 Eat several yourself then place some in a box to take to your party.

Enjoy! They are incredibly chocolatey, like a double chocolate brownie in cake form, so not a good option for anyone who dislikes chocolate!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

I want it:Bitching & Junkfood Showgirl Headdress

When one comes across a piece of attire such as this, many questions ought to be going through one's head: When on earth would I wear this?; Is it worth £190?; How long would it take before it fell apart? And can I get away with wearing this to work?
But where would be the fun in that? Instead, most of us tend to think: Wow. I must have it.

Bitching & Junkfood is an online store and blog which has designed a series of accessories and clothes for Urban Outfitters including this intricate Showgirl Headdress. The collection features two other headdresses, pictured below. If you decide to ignore the rational thoughts and go straight for where your heart tells you (your wallet) then you can check their stuff out here.

Friday, 6 May 2011

What's in my bag? - Punting in Oxford

Vintage bag from The Ballroom (oops, forgot to take off that thing that holds the label on)
Cream pashmina from the local market. My mother always says: never travel without a pashmina. This is sound advice.
A souvenir Map & Guide to Oxford. I've been to Oxford so many times, and yet could navigate no further than the high street - this map is beautifully illustrated AND helped inform my knowledge of the area.
An apple. You know, just in case.
'Kid', a book of poems by Simon Armitage. We have to study some of his poems for English so I thought I'd revise and look intellectual at the same time whilst reclining in my punt.
Home-made Germany 1919-1945 Top Trumps. Also for revising. Trust me, these really help you remember stuff.
My phone
No purse. It was only way after taking this photo that I noticed I had totally forgotten to take any money with me to Oxford! In fact, only when I found my purse on my dressing table did I realise!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

An Update

Oh dear, I really haven't written a post for a while have I? I must offer my sincerest apologies for this, but I am fast-approaching my GCSEs and stress is building up! I'm putting together a load of posts for during exam season which I can let the robot post, so hopefully this won't happen again.

Anyway, where did I leave off? Oh yes! Anna Wint-egg. Well, she didn't come to the best of ends...

If you are unaware of the tradition of egg-rolling, it basically involves painting hard-boiled eggs then rolling them down a hill to see who can reach the bottom fastest, travel furthest or survive longest. Mine was none of these. Never mind, I had a lovely day, despite having chosen to wear a flaring skirt at the top of a windy hill.

After the Easter Bank Holiday, we had just 3 days of school before another Bank Holiday for the royal wedding. I decided to celebrate with a joint party at my house, involving watching the wedding, having a picnic and playing croquet. I cannot get over how beautiful Kate Middleton (now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) looked in her Alexander McQueen dress, designed by Sarah Burton. A lot of British designers probably would have killed to get this commission, but I think they will all agree that it could not have got any better than that long, drifting skirt and those delicate lace sleeves.

Not much other news, I suppose, so instead, here is a picture of me with my current favourite hairstyle. What do you think?