Saturday, 31 March 2012

Things I've liked in March

The blossom is coming out on all the trees! They never stay for that long, but it's such a pretty indicator that Spring has arrived that you have to enjoy them for as long as they're there.

S Club 7 are getting back together! If you aren't aware of them... well, you've missed out on something unbelievably cheesy and yet completely wonderful. One of the biggest regrets of my childhood was never seeing them live, and now I can rectify that, by going on their comeback tour!

I may have already mentioned it, but the Winchester Fashion Week Blog kicked off this month, and I've already contributed three posts! It's really exciting and I think the hype around fashion week is going to be on a really big scale by the time it comes around.

Credit: The Guardian

Seeing the Stella McCartney Team GB kit for the first time. While I wasn't thoroughly convinced by all of it (what's up with the tracksuits?) it looks like it serves its purpose very well and I'm particularly pleased with this tennis kit, as modelled by Andy Murray. Who cares if there isn't much red in it? It looks very sleek and stylish in my opinion.

Learning how to make the most mouth-watering (and most ridiculously large) Black Forest Gateau I have ever seen from the Hairy Bikers.

I'm  more than halfway through my mission to read all the completed novels of Jane Austen. I'm now on about chapter 25 of Sense and Sensibility, then just Emma and Persuasion to go.

I've been reading some posts and articles which have encouraged me to spring into Spring over at The Simply Luxurious Life, Normality and Me, Hello It's Valentine and Fashion Your Seatbelts.

Nothing could make me happier than the sight of this fresh edition of Vogue on a freshly made bed in my light and beautiful attic bedroom. That's my afternoon sorted.

All pictures are mine unless otherwise stated

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Skills you need for a career in fashion

Credit: The Sartorialist

The ability to convey no emotion at all when watching a show you are actually loving (or possibly despising)

Talking into one phone in English and switching to French in the other whilst writing an email in Italian

Knowledge about what you should order at Tom's Kitchen in Somerset House, as it's the closest place for food when watch the main shows at London Fashion Week. I would reccomend getting a mix of their wonderful array of salads, and if you're not a model, be sure to grab a piece of artisan bread.

Picture taken by me

Complete lack of embarrassment as you take out an enormous camera to snap a shot of a total stranger because you like their jacket.

A complete mastering of the Parisian Chic look. How else will you be able to pass yourself off as the kind of person who visits the French capital all the time because you're just so jetset?

Adeptness at riding a bike in completely impractical clothing which won't possibly work for long journeys and is quite dangerous because you aren't wearing a helmet or reflective strips. But you'll look very cool.

Credit: The Sartorialist

Indefatigable hands for holding an umbrella above the head of your superior

A full fashion vocabulary. Having trouble? Try The Gloss

Being able to do that thing where one foot is further back and the leg slightly bent. Apparently it looks natural, but maybe you should practice yours, just to make sure it doesn't look weird...

Credit: Models Off Duty

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I Want It! Adidas JS Wings 2.0

Over the top? Yes. Head over heels? Absolutely.

I first saw these in a shoot Bruce Weber did for this month's British Vogue and was instantly stuck by that mix of Americana with Greek mythology. I can just imagine a modern-day Hermes looking fresh in these as he delivers an important message to the White House or something. they're pretty expensive, but I think you'd be investing wisely in terms of comments/compliments per wear, which is a much better measure than cost per wear. Anything with as much power as a conversation starter as these has got to be worth it. Now if only they did them in women's sizes...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The best of Pinterest this week

I love that this font in combination with the image evokes the thought of a luxurious lifestyle, even though the picture itself is actually just of tarmac and cones.

Words cannot describe how much I love this image. In some ways it reminds me of Rose from Titanic, but mainly it just has an air of travel,  adventure and freshness. I think I'd happily get married in that dress.

I'm almost halfway throught the works of Jane Austen right now, which I'm reading for a project - this reminds me of how much I have left to go, it seems I've read all the shortest ones so far! Still loving it though.

Twigs & Honey is a company which makes accessories and ornaments for mainly brides, which means I shouldn't be interested in their pins, since I don't have a wedding to plan. BUT every one of their boards is delightful for more than just the soon-to-be bride, as this bouquet shot proves. My favourite boards are Things I Adore and Prettiness With Colour.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

How to host a vintage tea party

1. Buy an outfit - How illogical! I hear you say, to start with the outfit, everyone knows that's the final phase of party-planning! I'm not saying you're wrong, but let me bring you around to my way of thinking: As soon as I purchase a new dress, I automatically want an event to wear it to. Unfortunately, most of the events I go to don't require a sequinned vintage flapper dress or retro 50s poodle skirt. Thus, I must host the event myself. Believe it or not, this is how the ideas for most of my parties come about.

2. Decide on a theme - You don't have to pick a specific decade, though of course that is an option. I f you'd like to set a dress code but think a particular era would be too restricting, why not theme by colour, a favourite film or something a bit more general like "the golden age of Hollywood" or "the jazz age"? This will set the tone for the rest of your party.

Issy (photo courtesy of Amelia)

3. Handle the logistics - Set a date, write a guest list and send out invites. These could be online or by text, but why not go all out with a fancy notes or cards in envelopes? There are a few free printable ones here. Make sure you ask your guests to alert you of any dietary requirements, as this will help you with step 4...

4. Set the menu - I used The Vintage Tea Party Book, which you can see above, as it contains several recipes of varying difficulty which reflect tastes of a time gone by - specifically post-war Britain. A book like this will be helpful if you plan to have a menu which matches your chosen theme, but otherwise there are plenty of recipes in books and online which will make ideal and charming food for the party. The best way of serving food at a tea party is tyo have plates of small things which the guests can help themselves to as they please, with no formal courses. Classic treats would be English scones, cupcakes and cucumber sandwiches.

Lemon scones - they consist of just cream, lemonade and flour!

5. Plan the mood - this includes everything from decorations to seating arrangements to games. In terms of entertainment, a classic game like Monopoly is always good fun, or if you have the space perhaps some dancing! The layout of the room is fairly key, but as long as everyone can fit comfortably around the table it should work out well. Add to the ambiance with a good soundtrack - you could either accumulate music from your chosen era or choose a modern artist with a vintage sound. I find Caro Emerald's music to be always reliable and gives a great vibe.

6. Ask a friend to arrive early - you may not think you'll need them, but there always ends up being something to go on the table, some chair to be added, something to be done to your make-up. They can help to take some of the stress out of the beginnings of the party so that you can be a smiling hostess on opening the door.

Holly (photo courtesy of Amelia)

7. Enjoy yourself! - This may sound easy, but when you're the one hosting, it can be easy to get caught up in rushing back and forth to the kitchen and making sure everyone is comfortable. A few of my tips would be
  • Get everyone else to take the photos - you have enough on your plate without trying to capture the moment, hand round the camera and ask people to snap a few shots
  • Don't pick anything too complicated for the menu, or if you do, try it out a while before the date so you know if it's likely to go wrong
  • Let go and try not to be overly-concerned if everything isn't perfect - you can't force perfection, but if you stop paying attention to every annoying detail, it will come of its own accord

Winchester Fashion Week Blog

one of Winchester Fashion Week's exhibitions from last year
I haven't been posting as regularly as I wish I could, there is no real excuse for that except for perhaps the fact that I'm on a mission to read the entire works of Jane Austen and all my free time is now spent reading. This is just a quick note to alert you to the fabulous Winchester Fashion Week Blog, of which I am a contributer. If you live in or near Winchester and are interested in the fashion scene going on there, this is the blog for you - plus it posts far more regularly than I do! Even if you don't really know Winchester, it is an interesting look at everyday fashion with an emphasis on Great British Style. There's something for everyone, so please go and take a look! It's over at

Proper posts coming soon!

Monday, 12 March 2012

I Want It! Holst + Lee 4 Strand Necklace

Just look at this necklace. Take a deep breath, open your eyes and let the carnival of colours widen your eyes. While the style is recognisable as the simple friendship bracelets you made when you were young, the minute details and neatness speak of a more advanced skill. Each strand is a tribute to happiness and positivity. Personally, I think that the tribal trend can be a little underdone in the jewellery area, because everyone wants the loud prints on their clothes instead. I tend more towards a surfer-chic look - plain white fabrics with one or two VERY loud accessories like this one. That's why I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.

Then I saw the price... £338.85

Oh well, maybe I'll dig a few of those friendship bracelets out.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The best of Pinterest this week

I just love these sketches, I'd like to have a whole load of these and just wallpaper one of the walls in my room with them. It also reminds me of Dreaming of Chanel

I think this is really clever.There is so much you could read into the meanings of this photo.

Aaaww, it's Sheldon and Amy! And they're dancing or something! ...I spend way too long watching this show

Is this Marilyn? I'm not sure, I think it is. Either way, you can see a clear influence on THAT Madonna costume, and on her whole look during a part of the 80s.

Click on images to find them on Pinterest

Links a la Mode


Edited by: Victoria of vmac+cheese
There was a time in the mid-90s when girl power was all the rage (thank you, Spice Girls!). While midriff baby tees might have fallen out of fashion, now more than ever bloggers prove that girl power is still in full effect.Whether it’s donning a lacy top, a beautiful lip color, or even raising a glass to the original girl power movement of Rosie the Riveter, fashion bloggers know better than anyone else how to celebrate being a woman! In honor of National Women’s History month, check out these posts that are all about the things that make being a woman fun.


New Sandals at">Shopbop: Ras, Yosi Samra, Kalmanovich, LK Bennett, Aquazzura, Minkoff, Rachel Zoe, Acne, Miista, Premiata, Loeffler Randall, Sam Edelman Sandals & Pelle Moda Shoes

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine

I am very honoured to once agin be in great company for Links a la Mode in a celebratory week for International Women's Day! I didn't think about IWD when i wrote my post but am very pleased that it is relevant. Also, if you would like an update on what has been going on in the Ananda Marchildon case (mentioned in my post)... she won! You can read about it here.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What is fashion's role in negative body image?

The debate about the media's pressures on the public today to achieve unattainable standards has taken many forms: size zero, airbrushing, sexism and over-sexualised young models. The image above is from an ad which was banned in the UK for being overly airbrushed and subsequently misleading about the product being advertised. It was mainly thanks to the MP Jo Swinson that this ban went ahead, and I was fascinated by Swinson's view on today's culture in the Guardian. She says it isn't just about airbrushing:

"it's about the whole range of body image pressure on men and women – but this kind of culture creates a huge amount of pressure on people, and that can lead to self-esteem problems. At extreme ends, we have rising rates of eating disorders, and we [also] have a much larger section of the population that engages in what they would call disordered eating rather than eating disorders. And then, from an educational point of view, there's research that shows young people are less likely to participate actively in class on days when they're not feeling confident about their appearance."

Now there are many reasons for our culture to be like this, it could be a reaction to rising levels of obesity, improvements in plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures which make the standard higher or may even be a result of the fact that social networking sites mean that the average person has more photos of them floating around the interenet than ever before. The thing is that fashion often tends to land right at the centre of any debate, alongside the beauty industry.

The question is whether fashion as it is today is perpetuating this culture, or whether it is just an easy target for those who have never understood the art of expression through clothes. Personally, I can see both sides of the argument in a lot of cases, for instance in the recent story about Ananda Marchildon. The winner of Holland's Next Top Model was recently fired from her modelling contract, which she won as part of the show for becoming "too fat". On first impression, this seems completely outrageous, since she had not yet received the promised amount of money which she earned the right to by winning the show. She was to earn this money by compelting modelling assignments, however, the agency claim that she exceeded the size they allow... by about 2cm. This meant that they claimed they could not secure any suitable jobs for her, and were unable to make back the promised money.

Ananda Marchildon showing her supposedly "too fat" body in a recent photo-shoot

In defence of the agency, it is acknowledged in the industry that catwalk clothes only come in a certain size, and what can they be expected to do when a model simply will not fit the garment? This issue could be viewed as not the fault of the agency, but more of the industry in general. Just because some standard or regulation says that the clothes should be a certain size, that doesn't mean that a woman with frankly a rather amazing figure like Ananda (above) will not look good in pretty much anything she wears.

So has it always been like this? My view is that there has always been a kind of aspirational figure for each age, and it has always been out of reach for the average fashion fan, whether because of body type, funding or just not being the right kind of person to pull it off. As new ways of staying thin, beautiful and young forever have emerged, that unattainable ideal has become closer to our reach... then it moves further away into the realms of near-impossible.

I think that the reason it has become increasingly pressured in recent years is because you can now access images of perfect-looking people at any time of day anywhere in the world through the internet. the expansion of fashion magazines into websites and the explosion of fashion blogging has played no small part in this. however, it is certainly not the only factor. Social networking sites allow all the photos ever taken of a person to be accumulated in one place, so people are now more aware that any badly-taken shot will be visible to a good few hundred of their 'friends' and even Pinterest can sometimes turn into what looks like an unhealthy obsession with desperately trying to stay in shape.

However, I do think that something needs to change in fashion. I'm not suggesting anything radical, because I understand the importance of displaying clothes to their best advantage for the purpose of sustaining an industry based on appearance. Nigel from Devil Wears Prada was certainly not being serious when he said "Yes, because that's really what this whole multibillion-dollar industry is all about, isn't it? Inner beauty". 
All the same, it could be beneficial to, well, loosen up a bit. Obviously, this world relies on the dates and times in busy diaries being kept to the letter and every flaw being eradicated. But would it really hurt to just run with the imperfections every once in a while? I often think that a photo of a model which looks natural, undone, perhaps a bit blurred and certainly not plastic or overly airbrushed is far better than one which is barely recognisable as a human. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what needs to change, but Ananda winning her court case would be a good start.

What do you think?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Things I've liked in February

Macchiatos (above) I have a real thing for them right now. I think it's the heat and caffeine kick which you need to get going on a chilly morning, but it's not so heavy like a cappuccino, which is good now that we're coming into Spring.

Reading amusing, interesting and sweet articles which coincide with Valentine's day on Thought Catalog, Hello GigglesThe Simply Luxurious Life and The Guardian

Ridiculously cute Spring colours over at Liebesbotschaft

Seeing Zach Braff's play All New people, which he wrote and starred in alongside 3 other brilliant cast members at the Duke of York's theatre in London. We then found a very secluded Italian restaurant with delicous food. It's quote exclusive, so seems to be where most of the West End actors go. I can't tell you what it was called though, that would spoil the secret...

Being able to get up when it's not pitch black outside. I really can't function in the mornings without natural light!

Visiting Oxford for a couple of days. I saw a lot of classic student style about the town, especially this guy with the long grey coat and battered brown briefcase. So vintage.

The launch of the Hummingbird Bakery's blog

My epic last meal before giving up meat for Lent - pancakes with bacon, warm fruits, yoghurt and maple syrup, with just a sprinkling of icing sugar for decoration.

And one thing I haven't liked...
So, I was at a climbing competition on Sunday, and on reaching the top of a climb, I fell and landed on my ankle. it isn't broken, but is severely sprained, so I'm currently on crutches and have a "Beckham boot" on. Finding it a little difficult to accessorize, but otherwise I'm doing fine. maybe I'll do a few outfit posts on what to wear with crutches!