Tuesday, 29 March 2011

pick of the best: fringing

Welcome to a new item for the blog; pick of the best! Each week I will choose a key trend, or a style that I'm particularly admiring at the moment, and share some of my favourite items with you.

Everybody knows that this summer the 1970's are making a huge comeback; this means bright colours, denim flares and festival chic - which leads me, of course, to fringing! The high street is already going mad for this trend, with plenty of fringed bags, tassled loafers and distressed tees having hit the stores in time for Spring, so here are some of the items I'm currently lusting over.

Leather Fringe Backpac, £60 (Sales), Urban Outfitters

Coral Lace Fringed Crop Vest, £26, Topshop

Sand Fringed Side Denim Shorts by Unique, £70, Topshop

Brown Fringed Flat Loafer Shoes, £39.99, River Island

House of Holland Dress with Fringe Strap, £485, ASOS

Eleven Paris Fringed T-Shirt, £65, ASOS

Okay, the House of Holland dress is slightly expensive but I love it so much that I just had to include it! It's nice to dream anyway.

What do you all think about the fringed trend? Is it the ultimate addition for boho chic, or too try-hard festival fashionista? 

Monday, 28 March 2011

style focus: joy the baker

I though that I had this week's Style Focus all planned after I came across a lovely online jewellery shop run by a fashion blogger (more in next week's Style Focus!), but that was before I discovered Joy the Baker and fell head-over-heels in love with her site. Okay so it is a food blog, rather than a fashion based site, but Joy certainly knows how to make cooking stylish! The photography is absolutely stunning, like something out of a professionally published cookbook, and the recipes are charming; they read as if you're talking to one of your friends about something they whipped up in the kitchen last week.

I admit I am not exactly what you would call an accomplished cook; I generally prefer to read recipes and admire the pictures than actually get in the kitchen and make anything! But, I feel genuinely inspired by this blog and have been scribbling down recipes that I want to attempt from the site all week. I'm thinking that Mother's Day on Sunday could be the perfect opportunity to test something out?

Anyway, here are some links to a few of my favourite recipes on the website (although there are so many that I have yet to sift through them all!). I'm particularly keen on trying to bake my own Pop Tarts, which I used to love eating for a breakfast treat as a child but can now only find in Cybercandy for nearly five quid a box!

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup with not so vegan herb bread

Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes

Spicy Vegetarian Chilli

Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts with maple glaze
(All images from www.joythebaker.com)

Happy cooking everyone!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

lady luck

I had planned to post about the Country Living Spring Fair this weekend but, rather stupidly, I forgot my camera so I only have a few pics that I took on my phone!

Photos taken via Hipstamatic for iPhone
It was a really lovely day though, and my Mum and I really enjoyed browsing all the stalls. I picked up a cute horse print greetings card from Petra Boase; it was only £1 and is now sitting rather proudly on my dressing table like a piece of art! I also got some colourful bird-print fabric from Beyond Fabrics which I'm going to attempt to make a cushion with! For those of you that live in London; definitely check out their website as they have a great shop on Columbia Road where they stock heaps of lovely fabrics, and even run fun sewing workshops!

I also picked up this absolutely stunning tortoise ring from one of the stalls. I'm not sure if it's a one-off piece or not, but I had to add it to my collection of hugely over the top rings! I absolutely love it.
(You can kind of make out the card I bought in the background - will try and post a clearer photo soon.)

How is everyone else's weekends going? I went out for a scrummy Mexican dinner last night with a friend, and one too many mojitos, and popped to the local market this morning where I managed to pick up plenty of new reading material...and all for under a fiver!

Looks like I'll be spending the rest of my weekend curled up on the sofa reading, and attempting to bake Peanut Butter Pecan Biscotti (yum!), from the lovely elliand blog.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

en provence

Last night I enjoyed a lovely evening at the L'Occitane boutique in Islington, courtesy of L'Occitane and YOU magazine. For those of you who aren't aware of the brand, L'Occitane is a French company who use lots of naturally sourced ingredients to create beatifully fragranced and luxurious feeling products. I have had a few bits and pieces in the past, for Christmas and birthdays, and absolutely love everything I've tried in the range.

(Image taken from uk.loccitane.com)

The evening began at 6.30 where we were greeted with champagne and lots of lovely edible goodies, before being offered mini hand massages. The beauty therapist cleansed my hands first, using a lavender hand gel which I made sure to purchase later in the evening, before massaging them using the 20% shea butter hand cream for dry skin. My hands felt amazingly soft afterwards so I would highly reccommend the hand cream! I think the full sized product is quite expensive but you can pick up a handbag sized tube for about £7.

We were then left to wander around the store and try out all the gorgeous products. The staff were incredibly helpful, without being pushy, and had plenty of advice and testers for everybody to try. Although there were heaps of things I wanted to buy, I eventually settled on the lavender fragranced 'Clean Hands Gel', and the 'Rose 4 Reines' eau de toilette; which has a very similar scent to the new Chloe Rose fragrance but with a slightly cheaper price tag.

The products from our lovely free goody bag!
 As we left the store we were all handed a bag packed full of lovely freebies to enjoy! The free products, shown in the picture above, included; Rose 4 Reines Body Milk, Verbena Shower Gel, Very Precious Cream, Verbena Extra-Gentle Soap, 5 Essential Oils Shampoo, 5 Essential Oils Conditioner, Almond Shower Oil, Shea Butter Hand Cream and Shea Butter Foot Cream.

I can't wait to test them all out!

I also treated myself today, although I really shouldn't have been spending anymore money after last night, to a few products from the Topshop make-up range. I have been debating over whether to purcahse the skin tint for a while now, but after doing a bit of research and my friend giving it a rave review I decided to go for it! I have yet to test any of the products out properly, apart from the  pretty useless back-of-the-hand test whilst in Topshop, but will let you all know how I get on!

Images from http://www.topshop.com/

I purchased; Skin Tint in Fair (£10), Lip Stick in Coy (£7) and Blush in Nutmeg (£6). I particularly love the coral colour of the lip stick which will look lovely in this sunny weather we have been having! I just hope that the creamy consistency transfers well to lips.

I'm off to the Country Living Show tomorrow so fingers crossed I should have some lovely snaps to share with you all later in the week!

Monday, 21 March 2011

style focus: storm in a teacup


I discovered this weeks' style focus after the company began following me on Twitter; ah, the wonders of social networking! Storm in a Teacup is a jewellery company run by just one lovely lady, Jennifer, who stocks gorgeous hand-made pieces at really affordable prices. The designs are incredibly unique, and there is even a Vintage range of pieces for those of you who like your jewellery to be one-of-a-kind!

The website has a huge amount of stock so I definitely suggest you go and check it out for yourself, but I have selected a few of my absolute favourite pieces to share with you!

Apollo Vintage Necklace, £14

P-A-R-I-S Necklace, £14

Ship to Shore Vintage Earrings, £12

Emma Multi-Way Tie (Navy), £17.50

I am definitely planning on making a couple of purchases when I start my new job next week! I particularly love the versatility of the Emma Multi-Way Tie (available in various colours), which looks just as good wrapped around wrists as a bracelet or left long and loose as a necklace, as it does tied in your hair as a boho-chic headband. Great value for money!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

sunday sunday

I've got that usual restless Sunday feeling today. Does anyone else get it? Since I was a child I have always found Sunday to be the most boring day of the week; it just has a feeling about it, sort of like you're just waiting for Monday to come around I suppose.

Image from http://styleofafashionista.blogspot.com/

I bought this gorgeous crochet dress from H&M on Thursday, and am absolutely in love with it already. It was a bargain at £19.99 and, although I bought it with the intention of it being a summer staple, wore it for a trip to the pub on Friday night layered over a black Topshop bodycon dress, black opaque tights and my Doc Martens for a more winter-friendly look! H&M were also stocking crochet tees in the same style, in both white and black, for about £12.99; I think i might be popping back soon to invest in the black.

Mint green chiffon blouse, £19.99, H&M
  I'm also planning on buying this lovely cropped blouse with embroidery detail, which is also available in black and white. This mint green colour is quite unusual though, and would be great for a hint of the returning pastel trend this year, and I love the romantic floaty sleeves.

Barry M nail paint in Mushroom (310)
I also picked up this Barry M nail polish in a lovely mushroom brown colour. I have recently discovered a love of more subtle nail polish shades after my sister bought me a Max Factor nailfinity polish in Percolated Pink (732); a dusky pink colour which is definitely more sophisticated than my usual choice of black or bright red. Saying that, I also have my eye on the Models Own nail polish in Orangeade; a neon orange colour with lots of glitter!
I've never used any of the Models Own nail polish so it would be great to know what you all think of the product. I don't normally spend £5 on a polish, my favourite brands for nails being Barry M and Rimmel. Have you used any of the nail polishes? Would you reccommend them? Which colours are your favourites?

Last night I stayed in to watch 'New York, I Love You' and I highly reccommend it to everyone! I picked it up for £7 in the HMV sale, having had my eye on it for a while. I watched 'Paris Je T'aime', a film by the same producer, a couple of years ago and was completely taken aback by it; the cinematography was stunning and it was so interesting to see how the various directors' styles contrasted in each short film. 'New York, I Love You' continues in a similar vein, with various short films by different directors pieced together to make a feature length movie that really explores the beauty and versatility of New York.

Apparently, more films are planned for this fantastic 'Cities of Love' series with 'Moscow, I Love You' having been showcased at a Russian film festival last year. Fingers crossed it will be hitting UK shores soon!

Friday, 18 March 2011

take a chance

Just a quick post today, as I have a feature deadline this evening and I have yet to put pen to paper! (Or fingers to keyboard anyway..)

I just wanted to share the beautiful package that arrived for me this morning, containing my gorgeous monopoly ring that I ordered a few days ago!

Vicki from Sense and Sensibility made this quirky delight, using the iron monopoly piece. It is great quality, and the adjustable ring size is great as it means it's sure to fit everyone! At the moment you can choose from either the iron or the boot, or you can contact Vicki directly to request other pieces.

Check out her shop here; where you can also purchase some other fun pieces at bargain prices!

I took a trip to Oxford Street yesterday, planning to spend some of my eBay profits on some new bits for my wardrobe, but didn't come back with much at all. I did, however, buy a couple of lovely bits from H&M which I will share with you later. I'm planning on heading into London next week to do a bit of vintage shopping as I'm feeling a bit uninspired by the high street selection at the moment. Any suggestions of shops to visit would be welcome!


Monday, 14 March 2011

style focus: one of my kind

I've decided to start a new 'style focus' feature on the blog where I will look at a shop/blog/designer that I find exciting, inspiring or simply lust worthy(!) that week. 

This week's find definitely falls into the latter category. One Of My Kind is an Australian eBay store who sell a beautiful selection of vintage and preloved items. There is an excellent range of high waisted maxi skirts and pretty pleated dresses that all look completely on trend, despite being wonderfully one of a kind. The gorgeous pieces are, surprisingly, quite reasonably  priced considering the quality of the items and the obvious amount of care and effort that must have gone into sourcing them all. However, for those of you that aren't lucky enough to live down under (like me!), the shipping costs are pretty high; roughly £15 on average, which is often the same cost as the garment itself.

Now, normally I wouldn't share my eBay lusts until having safely secured the item, but as I don't have the funds to make any purchases at the moment I thought I would show you my favourite two items on their shop at the moment.

Vintage Nude Beige Camel Sheer Floral Tiger Shirt Dress
If I was in paid employment I would snap up this beauty without a second thought! I am a huge fan of sheer shirts anyway, as they are perfect for throwing over a pair of jeans during the day or layered over a skirt in the evening, but the pattern and shape of this one is particularly stunning. I love how it is long(ish) enough to be worn as a dress; although I don't think I would be quite as risque as the model in wearing it over underwear and would probably wear it over a short bodycon dress instead.

Vintage Pastel Peach Pleat Maxi Mid Calf Dress w Sash
I also love the simplicity of this beautiful nude coloured midi dress. I normally shy away from longer length items, as they make such a huge statement, but I think the pleated detail gives it a casual twist that would make this dress perfect for dressing up or down.
For those of you lucky enough to have a few pennies in the bank at the moment, definitely head over to the One Of My Kind eBay shop or blog to have a proper browse as every item is a gem!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

white blank page

I have been enjoying a wonderfully lazy Sunday; finding lots of lovely new blogs to follow, catching up on the lastest magazines, listening to Mumford & Sons, and cooking a yummy dinner for my family.

I made involtini from Nigella Lawson's 'Feast', another of her amazing cookery books - I often read them in bed like novels!

In the words of the wonderful Nigella; '"Involtini" just indicates that something is wrapped - turned - around something else. I always use aubergines as the casing rather than, say, courgettes, partly because you can get more in, and partly because I think it's the best possible use of an aubergine.'

Despite not being much of a cook, the aubergines turned out beautifully. They were stuffed with a delicious cheese based mixture (feta, mozzarella and parmesan - this is definitely NOT a recipe for anyone with a dairy intolerance!), covered in tomataoes and more cheese and baked in the oven. Heaven.

I also enjoyed flicking through the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of Company High-Street Edit. The magazine looks amazing. It's full of fashion spreads that have the visual style of Vogue couture but featuring clothes from the high street. There is something about the matte pages that make the whole publication seem very expensive, too.

I loved the minimalist feel to the 'Cut me some slack' style shoot; the city shorts and sharp blazers were given a contemporary twist by being juxtaposed with cotton tees and string vests.

In contrast, I was also inspired by the inspirational key pieces feature in this month's Elle magazine which was a riot of floral prints and denim - my usual summer wardrobe. I loved the silk dress by Paul & Joe, but will be seeking a high street alternative unless I happen to stumble across £960 any time soon!

My freelance writing for the home interiors website is still going really well, I absolutely love writing and it would be the icing on the cake if I could find somewhere that would pay me to do it! I'm really grateful for the opportunity at the moment though, as it's a really great website to be involved with.

One of the perks of writing, in any capacity, is being able to nab a free ticket or press pass every now and then. I was lucky enough to get hold of a press ticket for this month's Country Living Spring Fair, and a complimentary one for my mum! We usually go along to their Christmas Fair to browse all the lovely craft stalls and eat as many free foodie samples as we can manage, so I'm really excited to go along to this on the 23rd. I'm planning on doing a post about it, if the exhibitor's don't mind me snapping a few pics of their products!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

pancakes and eBay

Happy pancake day everyone!

I'm off to The Diner in Camden later to scoff some delicious American style ones, washed down with a huge milkshake! For those of you who havn't visited the joint before, or any of the four other branches dotted around London, I can't recommend the it enough! Okay, it might be slightly pricey but the 1950's style diner decor is spot on; and the chilli cheese fries are heavenly.

Since I am nearly on the last dregs of my wages from Topshop, I have taken to eBaying my unwanted clothes in the hope of making a little extra cash! You can find the items I have up for sale at the moment here;  http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/yllek96. There is only a day or so left on most of them so get bidding if you're interested! I will be putting up a few more bits and pieces later this week though.

What does everyone think of eBay in general? Is it the best place to sell/find second hand clothes? I've got me eye on a lovely polka dot skirt that someone is selling on there at the moment. I am begining to worry that any money I make will be going straight back out of my Paypal account!

I should be starting a part-time job at the end of the month, as a way of making a bit of money whilst continuing to build up my portfolio with my freelance writing. Whilst in New Look yesterday, a shop that I often avoid due to the poor quality of lots of their items, I spotted some beautiful blouses and shirts that I can't wait to pick up with my first pay check! There are lots of gorgeous shirts on the high street at the moment, and I purchased a fair few during my last weeks at Topshop, but New Look seems to be slightly ahead of competition with their reasonable prices.

Lemonade (Yellow) Frill Peter Pan Blouse | 218096286 | New Look
Frill Peter Pan Blouse, £21.99.

Blonde (Cream) Tie Peter Pan Blouse | 215478014 | New Look
Tie Peter Pan Blouse, £15.99.
Chalk (Cream) Chiffon Waist Tie Blouse | 220587612 | New Look
Chiffon Waist Tie Blouse, £19.99.

I have particularly fallen in love with the chiffon waist tie blouse, that I think would be perfect for the summer teamed with some high waisted denim shorts and some floral print wedges. The sunny weather today has definitely got me planning ahead for all the beautiful outfits that warm weather allows for!