Monday, 7 February 2011

(7) First week finished!

Purple and Silver Scarf - Florence and Fred
 I wish I had time to take a photo that showcases these shoes better as they are the most beautiful and comfortable thing I've bought this year. They're tan suede wedge desert boots.

Busy day today. I started a DAFNE course which is all about diabetes and now I have to walk the dog before meeting Mr M to ring in his 21st birthday at midnight (because 2 parties this weekend is apparently not enough). I'd also just walked home before this photo so that is genuine wind-swept hair and british winter cheeks.

My pose remains pretty awkward but at least my face doesn't look so gormless, and I kinda like the cheeky collar pop.

I'm wearing a different outfit tonight, what's the protocol for two outfits in one day?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

(6) - Keep it cool, Keep it warm

Scarf - Liberty for Comic Relief
Seriously loving this scarf, buy yours here
Also, Comic Relief T-Shirts here. I got Queenie.

Busyish day today. I went to the gym this morning with Mr Good and then had lunch in a supermarket cafe (his choice). Then home and cleaning out the rabbit shed.

You know, I love America's Next Top Model. Seriously, love it. I've seen every cycle. And every cycle there is at least one girl that gets criticised for 'forgetting her face' - her poses are great, but her face is vacant. Every single cycle I've been like "WTF dude?? Just look at the camera all serious! How hard can it be?"

Seriously, why am I so stupid at taking pictures of myself? Here's my process;
  1. Turn on crappy camera. Put on anti-shake, flash and self-timer mode.
  2. Balance camera precariously on something. Step tentatively back.
  3. Realise camera will definitely fall. Move it to somewhere more solid.
  4. Press shutter button to begin 10 second beeping countdown.
  5. Rush back to the agreed* photograph area.
  6. Arrange body into casual/hopefully non-awkward stance.
  7. Wait for camera to take photo.
  8. Watch flash.
  9. Realise did not do anything with my face in the photo.
  10. Review photo. Be disappointed in my face. BAD FACE
Seriously, man, it's hard.

That aside though.

I bought some new wellington boots from the supermarket, they were only £12.50 and they're really comfy. They're a softer rubber then my old ones, and have more of a Hunter-esque molded foot, as opposed to old-fashioned boot-style wellingtons. I decided to take Darcy for a muddy walk to test them out. I took my camera and got a few pictures of myself enjoying the cold weather.

Waterproof Coat - Marks and Spencers (Similar)
Wellingtons - Asda
I adore these wellies. I had a proper squelch in the mud while Darcy minced around it, not wanting to get her feet wet. I think I might get some pink rhinestones and bedazzle them a bit, just on a couple of the swallows perhaps.

Pretty dubious accessory choice but I always do this so I leave my pockets free.
Lead, worn as belt - Jollyes (always a good selection, this particular number was on sale!)

Ear muffs - Christmas present, so ask Santa ;)
Scarf - $5 from a guy on the street in New York

What do you think? Should I bedazzle my wellies? What do you think of my practical, dog-walking look?

Afternoon at Affleck's

Today myself and my new resident photographer (a role she has taken on against her will) Miss J travelled from our industrial town to Manchester for a bit of shopping on a rainy day. After hitting the high street (and hard) we made our way off the beaten track and found ourselves entering Affleck's Palace, a quirky department store that caters to all people of all persuasions and budgets.

  There's a lot to notice in Affleck's Palace, so basically a big round of applause to the following to catching my discerning eye.

Vanisha's Design Boutique - 2nd Floor (near the body piercing shop)
The first thing I noticed about Vanisha's Design Boutique was the reassuring clattering of a sewing machine. As Miss J had a browse I went to the corner of the store and met Vanisha, who sat tucked in a corner embroidering a beautiful pattern onto a t-shirt.

At first I was confused, as the machine was sewing circles into the pattern without her moving the fabric by hand. Instead, she explained, there is a handle underneath the machine that moves the cloth while the sewing head stays in the same place. The result is a beautiful, delicate chain-stitch that can be used to create fantastic curved lines.

Vanisha draws the pattern on the fabric and then follows the lines with the machine.
I love the peace symbol/heart here

Her pieces really remind me of Laura Lees' designs and she's very unafraid to use pattern or designs over images that are already printed.

She also had notices around the store saying that she is happy to discuss ideas with people for custom pieces which I think is a wonderful idea; if you have a dress that you love the shape of but hate how plain it is, or if you want a name adding onto a gift item Vanisha is happy to do so.

Vanisha also embroiders her own labels which I find completely adorable.

Wanderland Boutique - 3rd Floor

As soon as we entered Wanderland we were offered champagne and told that the boutique was celebrating its second birthday and invited to look around and try on anything we liked (a changing room is a rare and welcome thing in Affleck's, so a big thumbs up for that alone).

Of all the store areas in Affleck's Palace, I enjoyed the layout of Wanderland the most. They are lucky to have windows, creating a really light and airy space amongst the series of cluttered areas. The store makes more of its space by having less, which gets rid of the jumble-sale aspect that I find some vintage stores can have.

There are several shelves and inglenooks that are used perfectly to display select items. I loved this way of highlighting individual pieces, grouping looks together and also giving the store a really quirky, homely atmosphere.

Another thing I loved about this store was the prices, which were incredibly reasonable for the quality of the items on sale. On accessories they had group sales promotions on the already inexpensive pieces, so you definitely get more for your money.

I love this suitcase, used here to display earrings.

Wanderland strives to stock only the highest quality and most beautiful handmade, vintage and brand new items, which means they have a lot of variety in a small, ecclectic area.

One Man's Trash - 2nd Floor

I loved the selection of vintage, up-cycled and bespoke items on offer in this store and I especially loved the name as well as it speaks volumes about vintage fashion.

The shop was another one with a glorious layout, displaying clothes, accessories and various homewares clearly and with character. They also don't mind when you try things on.

"You look like Elton John" - Miss J

There were also a lot of places that had bits and pieces of Jewellery on display, a lot of it using handmade fimo clay pieces and some using new, found and vintage charms. Unfortunately due to the jumbled nature of Afflecks I was unable to get brand names for these items but I'll update as soon as I find out.

Love these fimo clay charm bracelets, especially the fruit and Peanuts characters!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

(5) Manchester Presents...

Today I went to Manchester with Miss J to get a present from Miss H, whom I'm soon to visit in Germany.

I enjoyed playing with patterns today, wearing lace and florals together. I think it was subtle and worked well. I was originally going to introduce another texture to the outfit by wearing my leather jacket and converse pumps with this outfit, but as it happened the weather disagreed. I ended up wearing my boots and my mum's mac from about 1993.

Coat - Marks and Spencer (Vintage)

Out of my hatred for paying £10 for parking in the city, we got the train in, checked Primark for what I needed to buy later and then went along to TK Maxx to buy some Red Nose Day merchandise (it's for charideee).

Edmund Blackadder ♥

We had lunch and then went to Selfridges. I bought a couple of bits from the groceries section, got myself a yellow bag and then headed for the beauty counters. Since reading this post I've really wanted to try Benefit's newest blusher Bella Bamba I asked Miss Benefit Counter about it and she gave me a quick demo. She first used Hoola to warm up my face, put Bella Bamba on the apples of my cheeks and then finished with Girl Meets Pearl (couldn't find GMP on UK site... odd) to highlight my cheek bones and eye area.

Chubby face - Nature and Nurture
Paloma Heart Necklace - Tiffany and Co
Pearl Necklace - Grandmother's
Scarf - Liberty for Comic Relief
Even though the flash has washed me out a little in the above photo, I definitely think that the blusher stands up to its claim that it creates the illusion of sculpted features. Bella Bamba was a really pretty colour on the cheeks and Hoola is a gorgeous bronzer that I definitely want to try again; it's so rare to find a bronzer that is neither glittery nor orangey!

I then made Miss J embarrassed by insisting on painting each of my nails a different colour using the testers at the Nails Inc counter.

Shades L-R - Shoreditch, In Style London Sky, The Hurlingham,
Montpelier Square (metallic), Neal Street (matte), Chinatown, Union Street (matte),
Seven Dials, Belgrave Place, Carnaby Street

I've used a lot of Nails Inc products before but I had a lot of fun just playing at picking up bottles at random. Even though I only managed to splat on a quick, single coat I got surprisingly good coverage. I'm really impressed with all of the colours here except The Hurlingham, which is an orange red which just doesn't really suit my skin tone. I was really excited by both of the matte colours, as this is a look I haven't tried before. I really want to invest in Shoreditch, which is a true Barbie pink, Carnaby Street (a totally fitting bright yellow) and London Sky.

I picked up the presents I need to buy and after all this our feet were getting to that stage so Miss J and I headed home as soon as I was finished photographing her Jack Wills bag.

I also went to Afflecks Palace for the first time in about two years time, I'll post a follow up about that later.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Mercy Me, I love Alliteration

So this is my first time participating in the Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday.... here goes.

1. With all the blogging events out there how do you determine which ones to participate in and which ones to avoid?

As I'm still only really starting out in blogging, I'm still really eager (perhaps overly so) to join in with these events. For instance, just this February I am participating in Frugal February, The 30 for 30 Remix, and The Shoeper Shoe Challenge. However, this is in no way jumping on the bandwagon. All of these events are things that I think will help me achieve what I want to do, be it getting more out of my wardrobe or curbing unneccesary spending. I think that if participating in any event begins to feel like a chore then that is when I won't get involved; I blog for fun.

2. Be honest, have you ever jumped on the bandwagon of some blogging movement/event for the wrong reasons? How did that turn out?

Not yet... fingers crossed I remain strong, although almost certainly mid-March I'll find myself doing 5 challenges, writing guest-posts every week and suddenly realise I haven't posted a stupid drawing of my dog since January.

3. How do you give your own flair to a blog event while still maintaining the general mission and purpose?

As the 30 for 30 Challenge was my first fashion blogging event, I was keen to make sure I keep the stamp of my blog on it. Instead of photographing all of my items, I drew them all instead. It was arduous and made my hand ache, but it kept my blog looking like my blog and, therefore, kept it unique.

4. When determining the best content for your blog what criterion do you keep in mind?

The most important criteria for content that I post is whether I will be able to write it in my own voice. While I do blog about Fashion and Beauty, I blog for myself, it's somewhere for me to say what I think and feel. I do love the sense of community and I have learnt more from fashion blogs about style than I ever have from the thousands of magazines I've read over the years.

5. While everything will not suit your blog, how do you try and support your fellow bloggers who are participating in something worthwhile but not your style?

If I am following a blog it is because there is something in it that I like; it might be the author's way of styling their outfits, or their voice, or the way they always respond to comments. I always find new posts interesting and exciting and, where I can, I comment or tweet. I also always re-tweet my favourite posts and bloggers. It isn't about you-scratch-I-scratch-yours; I just want to share things I enjoy with my followers and hope that they get pleasure from it.

Tights and Storage Geeks...

I bought this chest from Wilkinsons the other day (the last day of January, to be precise, it was a mini spending-spree binge before the fast that is Frugal Feb) and when I got it home I struggled to justify purchasing it for a while.

It's the sort of thing that would be perfect for housing my make-up, but I recently organised all of my beauty stuff into some mini-drawers I got from filled with goodies, so I had to think of something else.

Then I remembered seeing this picture on Kendi Everyday and I was inspired to do this...

That's right! Tights storage! Previously my tights had existed in a wardrobe no-mans land, some pairs languishing in my pants drawer, some stuffed in my socks drawer. It would not do.

I tried to organise them as nicely as possible, with no blacks touching, but that's gone out of the window over the past couple of days as I've been wearing my colourful pairs.

Also, this is not all of my tights, just the colourful/patterned ones. So the black ones are, actually, still homeless. So now I need to make a decision once and for all; are they socks, or are they pants???

(4) Errands & Welcome Home Cardigan!

Tights: Dorothy Perkins
DP are fab for tights, great selection of colours and a really nice velvet, opaque feel.

Bit of a lazy day today, just running errands with Darcy, so I had to be comfortable. First thing this morning I checked the post and found that my uncle had posted my floral cardigan to me so I was so excited I had to include it in my outfit straight away, so I worked down from that. The boots are really comfortable and grippy so they were good for conducting myself properly while the dog pulled on the lead, whereas the skirt is a stretchy, jersey number so very comfy.

The top I actually bought last summer, it's a really nice cotton with a bit of embroidery on it. The hems are sewn with purple thread so I was tempted to wear my purple pumps, but they aren't quite so useful for dog management and I wasn't quite sure about the red tights/purple combo - is that something anybody else would try?

I let my hair dry naturally too today, so it was quite wavy and bushy (thin Hermione in the first few films) but I quite like it wild. I kept my makeup basic too, although I did wear on of Urban Decay's lipsticks in the shade Buzzkill. I also have two sticks of Lovechild from UD. I love their lipsticks; gorgeous colours, easy to apply and really moisturising, they feel like a balm and yet deliver fantastic colour.

Also it's Darcy's birthday tomorrow so I went and bought her a few presents. She's settled into her haircut, but I'm not sure if I have quite yet; she looks very different! Still very cuddly though :)

I love Darcy's collar, it was a hand-me-down from her big brother. It's patterned with red, yellow,
green and blue hearts so we matched today.

Close up hair and necklace, which I bought in France whilst
skiing about 3 years ago.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

(3) - Day of the Super Awkward Poses

I really need to invest in a better camera, a tripod and a less incredibly awkward body.

Also my face looks unusually aggressive.

I liked my hair today though. I love putting bows on high pony tails, it gives it a real fifties feel.

Quiffs are my fave.

Here's a dreadful quality full length too.

Darcy has had a hair cut today so she feels awkward too. Or at least she looks like she does. Possibly because I can see her eyes properly for the first time in several months.

Excuse the rubbish bags.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

(2) Working the 60's

I was in work today so I had to wear black and white.

Sorry about the fuzziness/bad lighting; I was in the office/stockroom while the photographer was in the toilet/locker room.

I quite like wearing white tights instead of black for work. It really lifts the whole look.

Also I've only realised from seeing these photos how much you can see my bra through this blouse. Cami next time.

Have got my Bumpit in again and my hair half-pulled back. Big on top + Half back = Country and Western Singer to me, for some reason. A colleague said I looked very sixties though so that's nice.

I also wore my Laura Ashley knitted blazer for travelling and these photos in the garden.

Darcy decided chasing was more fun than photos

Windy today, so cold even though the celcius is up.
Fringe needs trimming. A bit too Claudia Winkleman for my liking.
I love this brooch; it makes this jacket look really Austrian.
Just realised I have to leave for the gym in like thirty minutes to make it to my aerobics class. I am so tired :(

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

(1) Lunch Date

Went to have lunch at a secret location today with my best friend. I got him to snap this picture just as we were leaving. It was taken at about 2pm and yet look how long the shadows are! Definitely still winter.

Ideally I would have worn my floral cardigan with this outfit instead of the jumper, but I realised today that I don't know where it is! It's either been left at my uncle's house or it's properly lost, in which case I will swap in another cardigan.

I ended up folding the jumper under and wearing a knotted belt over it so it was on my waist, not my hips (which made me look square and a lot wider).

Here are a few more awkwardly-taken self-shots.

Quickly taken in the garden to show detail on
back of skirt and vest - brr!

Believe it or not this is third-day dirty hair, thrown
up using dry shampoo and some nifty JML bits

 Kept the styling pretty simple today; black tights, grey scarf, Ray-Bans and a grey handbag. Not sure how successful the jumper alteration was, it looked alright in the mirror, like it defined my waist a bit, but not so much in the photos. Hmm.

My hair took literally a minute to do using one of these and one of these, both of which I got for cheaps from Wilkinsons. JML videos seriously make my day, I love when they are showing the alternative to their products when people are going made, like acting as if their bulldog clip is injuring them or frantically hitting a carrot with a knife.