Friday, 30 September 2011

Cool September

I thought a Fishtail braid was going to be so difficult to do but after seeing this tutorial, I've been doing them left right and centre!

I teamed this outfit with the same shoes and bag as seen in Hot Pink.

And so September ends.  Not as cool as first anticipated, we've cranked up the heat in England this week.  Suffice to say though I think you'll be seeing far less of those strappy-bandage-sandal-flats that frequently appear on here.  They're getting ready for hibernation.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Death by Twenty8Twelve Dress and Other Stories from London Fashion Weekend Sept'11

From Black Pepper Martini's to a Diet Coke photo shoot, I wanted to share my little jaunt to London Fashion Weekend, on Friday, with you all.

 For those that aren't aware of  London Fashion Weekend, it's essentially a very large and discounted shopping experience, following London Fashion Week.  This ticketed event, although has a focus on Fashion (obviously), also offers some fun and stylish treats to attendees in order to make it much more of an all round experience.

Firstly, the weather was beautiful in London on Friday, warm, sunny but there were already crunchy red and brown leaves on the ground.  My mum and I took a lovely stroll across London, through St James' Park all the way to Somerset House, where London Fashion Weekend and also London Fashion Week, is held.  Suffice to say we worked up an appetite so we dined at Tom's Terrace before we got stuck in .  Tom's Terrace and Tom's Kitchen are always situated at Somerset House, so this was not one of the restaurants/cafe's that LFWend put on for the event.  The Terrace was spectacular to sit at on one of the very few good weather days we've had in London this summer and I would recommend anybody drop by, even just for a cocktail.  You'll have to be quick though as the Terrace is only open between May and September!

I opted for a Black Pepper Martini, which was divinely delicate.  Sitting out on the funky terrace, the decor was very contemporary and it had some chilled out club versions of Madonna, amongst others, playing in the background.  Apparently on Friday nights they have DJ's and musicians too, so put it in your diary for next May folks.  For £25.90 my mum and I could not resist the Sea Platter, which consisted of; a very generous amount of gravalax, curried crab in lettuce leaves, potted shrimp in a chilled lemon butter, smoked mackarel pate, alioli and ciabatta bread.  Although it may not have looked massive for two, it was quite rich so actually the amount was more than enough and we both felt a little guilty over the gravalax we left behind.  We did, however, over-indulge with an extra side dish that really we should not have ordered.  Chips with truffle oil and parmesan, I dare you not to be tempted too.

After stuffing my face and evading my diet completely, I proceeded to get stuck in a Twenty8Twelve dress.  Yes folks, alone in a canvas curtain, make-shift dressing room, mother outside cooling off, I managed to get myself in a bit of a pickle.  The zip was nowhere to be seen, I proceeded to find it afterwards, so I brazenly placed it over my head forcing it down my body.  When it resisted just a little bit too much at the thighs I decided to call it quits.  Up it went and there it stopped.  Flustered, gasping for air, blinded and hands restrained I had no way of calling for help.  After what can only be described as a fairly traumatic experience I finally won the battle.  Upon finding the zip I went back for more.  After getting stuck a second time, although slightly less traumatic, I decided that maybe I wasn't built for this supposed "size 10" dress.  I blame the truffle chips.

I did manage to snag myself a couple of bargains however.  One was incredibly practical, the other a sheer desire.  Juicy Couture always has quite a large area at LFWend but a lot of it is on the more "bling" side of Juicy and not really my style but I did find a body warmer that I was drooling over last winter reduced to £75.  I can't quite recall how much the original price was when I saw it in store but I think it was around the £250 mark.

I also fell in love with this quirky clutch bag from Wilbur and Gussie which was reduced to £50 from £135.  The brand had a number of different styles and brooch clasps but this was by far the coolest and the most relevant for me.

Diet Coke were running a promotion to get a free can of coke as you wander round as well as your very own cover shoot.  Please bear in mind I did this post Twenty8Twelve-gate, so I look a bit of a hot mess!  Thought I'd include it anyway for a little bit of a chuckle.  Great fun to do with a bunch of friends!  My mums camera shy though.

Our ticket also included a goody bag which I think has improved since my last jaunt to LFWend a few years back.  It included...

Karl Lagerfield Diet Coke bottle, label m protein hair spray, Kleenex tissues, Kleenex face wipes, Johnson's baby oil, Lavazza coffee, Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules and a pair of false eyelashes that are nothing short of horrific and will be staying firmly in the bag.  There may have also been some Gu Rocky Roads *ahem*...

All in all it was a fun day and so glad I ventured back to LFWend after so many years away.  Hopefully I'll make it in February too and if you've never been before and London is feasible to get to, or you're visiting then I'd definitely recommend signing up for some tickets!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Hot Pink

Bit of a Zara love-fest going on here.  I wore this to two Summer parties in the same evening, a few weeks back, when the weather was a tad more reasonable than it has been the rest of the Summer.  It's also my nod to this supposed Indian Summer the UK's about to get this week.  Enjoy the heat-if it comes!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Haunting Handsoaps and other Devilish Delights from Bath and Body Works

This post was originally a "Woo hoo! Bath and Body Works now ship to the UK" post but instead it is now a "Boo hoo!  No they don't, I got it wrong, please consider shipping to the UK" post.

Yesterday whilst casually consulting the Bath and Body Works website, via Blackberry, to decipher which treats I would instruct my Las Vegas holidaying sister to bring home with her today, the website conducted itself in British pounds.  You cannot even begin to appreciate my excitement. I texted the Bestie immediately to inform her of this life altering situation but today when consulting their website on my computer I was devastated to see that they're shipping conditions are still very much the same.  I have no clue why their website when loaded onto my phone would be showing the price in pounds, even today but suffice to say I am now inconsolable.  Holly couldn't get to a store so came back from Vegas empty handed and I now have a long list of some devilish delights for the, now present, Autumnal season.

It's no secret that I love Halloween, don't believe me, see what lengths I went to last year in Some Hocus Pocus.  It is also no secret that next to luxurious, hard working beauty products, I am all about the quirk.  Eccentric packaging, cute ideas, novel products, themed treats.  You get the picture.

Here's what's featuring on my shopping list and I bid you lucky US and Canadian readers to go forth, shop, prosper and I shall live precariously through you all.  Or, if like me you're stuck in blighty then start lusting...

The Bath and Body Works pocket antibacterial gels have been a handbag staple of mine for quite some time, great for warding off those tube/subway germs and they're likely to produce a smile as well.

You can get Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, Pumpkin Caramel Latte, Poison Apple, Candy Corn and more for $1.50 each or 8 for $5.

Or you could wash away your fears with this kooky and this scrummy beauty...

The Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin soap in pumpkin dispenser retails at $5 and the Caramel Apple at $5.50.

Or maybe you're more of a scented candle lover, well if that's the case, cosy up on the sofa, Gilmore Girls at the ready and start burning these...

Pumpkin Patch, Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, Pumpkin Caramel Latte, Leaves, Autumn and Cinnamon Sugared Donut all retail at $19.50 or 2 for $20 as well as an array of other autumnal fragrances.  I'm desperate to get my hands on Pumpkin Caramel Latte as the Spiced Pumpkin Latte's from Starbucks in the States are a favourite of mine but alas that is something else that we just aren't catered for in the UK!  I may begin campaigning for that too!

Or you could pucker up your pout with these ghoulish glosses...

Crazy for Candycorn, Wicked Witch's Kiss and Cookies and Scream all sell for $8.

The site has many more tricks and treats so make sure you take a gander over there for a spirited take on Halloween.

PS:  Bath and Body Works did use to have several stores in the UK but I think they migrated before we were ready for them (although I've always been ready).  So this is now my plea to BBW "start shipping to your UK admirers!"

PPS: Hmm, as this post went to print (digitally of course) the BBW website is now showing UK prices on the computer as well but still no confirmation that they will ship here yet.  Bank cards at the ready my loves, I think it could be in the stars!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Welcome to London Fashion Week!

Last night I was greeted by this image whilst dining at Pont de la Tour.  Sometimes I think we all take London for granted and don't appreciate just what a striking city this is.  It seemed even more poignant when I took into consideration that this morning marks the beginning of  Fashion Week.  

Twitter is already alive with the sound of #LFW tweets and I'm braced for all the exciting things that London has to offer.  There's a misconception that we must live Fashion Week through the eyes of our favourite magazines and bloggers but the World is a-changing and even if you don't quite make it to the FROW of PPQ, you can still be very much a part of the fashion fixation that is sweeping our magical city as I type.

Watch it Live
Turn your computer volume down, build a fortress around your desktop with your ever important work files and have your Starbucks at the ready to tune in to live streaming's of the shows.  started live streaming at 9am this morning for Paul Costelloe and will continue to do so until KTZ on Wednesday.

Watch here
Go see
The Mayfair Hotel revealed their Fashion Week windows designed by Spiros Halaris and maybe you could pop in for a Catwalk body wrap too!

Selfridges is the home to the latest pop up, The Sweat Shop.  Originating from Paris this sewing cafe will teach you how to create a show stopping piece without the hefty price tag.  Simply rent yourself a sewing machine and you can be designing like the greats alongside some well deserved tea and cake.  My workshop picks are...

Sonia Rykiel: Saturday 17 September at 1pm. 
Lace appliqué workshop hosted by Sandrine Doczekalski, accessories designer at Sonia Rykiel.


Customise: Monday 12 & 19 September, Wednesday 14 & 21 September, Fri 16 & 23 September, from 3pm - 6pm. 
Personalise a piece from our vintage collection or from your own wardrobe using a wide array of themes and techniques. Drive nails into your dress, put some Rock ‘n Roll in your jeans and bring old t-shirts back from the dead. All material included. 3 hour rate: £40

Pinkberry at Selfridges Designer Collection.  Will you be picking The Anna, The Henry or The Karl?!

At Topshop, Oxford Circus and wade in on all their Fashion Week action including Fashion Insider Talks, share your fashion week takes at their media space and spend over £50 to receive your very own Fashion Doll and dress her in exclusive designer items.

To celebrate Rodial sponsoring Mary Katrantzou, they're offering the chance for you to win tickets to the show as well as a Rodial beauty kit here.

*Images taken from and 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Brora Preview of Autumn/Winter '11

Cashmere screams luxury.  It's in the name after all, "Cash"mere.  You must have lots of cash to buy it BUT it promises to be a timeless piece that lives on in your stylish life for, potentially, ever.  I've always wanted to own cashmere, it sounds indulgent and expensive and that's my kind of noise but I've only ever really skimmed my fingers along the cashmere of the high street and it's always left me a little underwhelmed.  Now I know why.

About two weeks ago I attended an exclusive preview of Brora's Autumn/Winter '11 line and now I can finally understand how cashmere should be.  Prior to attendance I have to admit I had some, quite strong, misconceptions about the brand.  Firstly, I thought they were just available by catalogue.  In fact they have 14 stores and usually in very affluent and exclusive areas.  The preview for example was at their Sloane Square abode and they have recently opened one in Covent Garden, in which I was urged to visit by every Brora employee there, apparently the manager is fantastic.  Secondly, I had this picture of very quintessential English, twee-like fashion, which after my little jaunt I discovered it's actually much more about personal style, which again is music to my ears.

The event gave those that attended the opportunity to talk one to one with owner and creator Victoria Stapleton, as well as watching a presentation by her.  Both discussions were really informative and such an inspiration.  Victoria was not how I imagined her to be at all, another misconception.  She was rocking out one of the Liberty print long jersey skirts they have created, teamed with converse like plimsolls, which I believe are also theirs.  It was relaxed, stylish and totally Victoria.  Her personal style.  This, was in fact, one of the first lines of conversation I had with her on my arrival.  The brand is for every woman (and man) from 0-100 (and maybe beyond if you're lucky enough) but the pieces you hand pick and how you style them is down to you.  Victoria's mother, for example, apparently owns the very same skirt but would never team it with the shoes as Victoria had done, instead she would opt for a much more classic look.  Personal style is such an important notion to me as I truly believe that the way you wear something makes a statement about you and I love choosing items from all over the place to create one ensemble.  Looking around at the collection there were numerous items I could pin point as "lust haves" for myself and my mind was alive with different colour, pattern and brand combinations I could make with them.

This belt and bag were items, prior to the event, that I would never have imagined Brora showcasing.

Victoria and her design team pressed on three further matters that are really key to Brora and facts that made me re-look at the brand and realise that I can definitely imagine myself shopping from them in future.  

The pieces are updated vintage finds that Victoria and her team source from markets and vintage stores.  Sometimes they return with a plethora of clothes due to them becoming rather carried away with the interesting styles, colours and textures on their shopping expeditions.  This dress below, for example was inspired by a Parisian dress and is one of the more exclusive pieces from the collection with only 200 being made.  The limited availability of this dress again highlights their dedication to personal style, as Victoria explained, she can't stand the thought of millions of women traipsing around in the same outfit.  The material was gorgeous, the pattern chic.  Definitely the "WOW" piece of this season from Brora.

The cashmere is made in a Scottish mill also used by the likes of Chanel and Burberry, as well as other high profile designers.  Yes Brora is not quite high street prices but when taking into consideration the house deposit you could put down on a cashmere piece by one of the designers just mentioned, it's definitely affordable! I'm all about good quality for affordable prices and this is yet another range that promises it's customer the best without bankrupting.

Each season the Brora team arduously decide the colour combinations that will appear in their line.  The team give an idea as to the colours they are looking for and then several palettes of just one colour are returned for them to carefully select their favourites.  There were some great brights across the range, most notably mustard which I haven't worn in years but my desire was re-ignited for it at the event

Attention to detail was very prominent.

But this was my personal fave.

I can just imagine teaming this with all black, most likely leggings, with this being my statement!

To see what I wore to the event, check out Country meets City.

*First and last image from Brora

Monday, 12 September 2011

Country Meets City

I'm back from doing some Theatre in Education in Italy and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging again and VERY grateful that I don't have to wear shapeless t-shirts and trousers any longer!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Vivo Cosmetics

The last time I bought make-up from a supermarket I was less than impressed.  It was circa 2007, I was in my third and final year at University and had just blown my entire student loan, read accommodation money, on a five day trip to Boston with my best friend Leanne.  Desperate times called for desperate measures and I was already living off of reeses peanut butter cups instead of food.  So, the Diorshow mascara I had become accustomed to had to be shelved for a £3.99 substitute.  It was so horrific that I actually ended up using my good old trick of converting five cent coins, in the vending machine on campus, into 20p coins in order to at least afford myself a rimmel mascara.  After all of that I might as well have just paid for my trusty fave.

So when I was invited to the Vivo Cosmetics launch last week, available in Tesco's from September, I was really interested to see how affordable supermarket ranges had evolved since my last experience.  

 The line includes foundations, concealer and highlighter kit, brow kit, highlighter, primer, blushers, bronzers, eyeshadows, kohl and liquid eyeliners, mascara's and false eyelashes.  Everything a woman needs to brighten up her look and all for the cost of £6 or under.  In an age where it's pretty cool to be thrifty due to the current economic climate, a lot of us are looking for the most bang for our buck and Vivo interestingly enough delivers.  It's a perfect impulse purchase line.  Cool eyeshadow?!  Well for £1.50 you'd almost feel guilty not to buy.  With the tag line "Alive with colour", it's not surprising that the eyeshadows and blushes were my hero products of the brand.

There are certain qualities in eyeshadow that need to pass the test in order for them to take prize possession on my dressing table.  Longevity, little to no creasing, little to no fall out and a great depth of colour.  That last one is especially important.  Nothing saddens me more than a whole wad of product leaving just a hint of pink!  

Vivo's eyeshadow range consists, of trio palettes for a smoky eye which are retailing at £2.50, matte single eyeshadows retailing at £1.50 and pearl eyeshadow singles also retailing at £1.50.  The pearls are gorgeous and totally honours the Vivo brand ethos, with that ever stylish pop of colour that is hot, hot, hot, right now.  These singles are a great way to experiment with colour without breaking the bank, take heed those that nervously linger at a £20 eyeshadow but can't justify in case you're too scared to wear the colour when push comes to shove.

They also do a baked shimmer palette for £6 which combines blusher and eyeshadows, making it of course my number one product recommendation from this line.  They'll be perfect for the upcoming season and dare I say it...Christmas *gasp*.  

My sister also thinks that the primer deserves an honourable mention.  I am not well versed in primers, don't use them and don't like to use them but both my mother and sister do and both of whom said they loved the velvet like quality it gave to the skin, it kept their make-up in place and my mother said she almost felt like she could have used the primer on it's own. 

If only they'd been around when I was at University.  Would have made mascara-gate much less painful!

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