Tuesday, 31 August 2010
It was my very first time at Notting Hill Carnival this year. My sister and I decided to scope things out on the Sunday (kids day) and got our bearings, then on Monday we knew the best spots - close to refreshments of course.
Do let me know if you went and what you thought. I think I'll definitely be going next year. I just love the loud music and general fun atmosphere. I got a bit snap happy and think the best way to tell you about the carnival is in my pictures...
Agent Provocateur has always been the embodiment of luxury, extravagance and indulgence, creating “the most erotic lingerie in the whole world” according to some. Oozing with confident sensuality Kirsty Hume breathes life into the character of controlling temptress & femme fatale, Betty Sue. Directed by Johan Renck, this video is bound to get a few pulses racing.
Like what Betty wears in the video? You can shop the look at the Agent Provocateur website. Discover the Katharine range, chic and sculpted in black stretch satin with sexy cut-away sections.
If anything this video has made me book my gym membership...
Monday, 30 August 2010
Wearing: Floral tunic from Zara, leggings from Debenhams, black mini skirt from Red Herring at Debenhams, sandals and parrot earrings from Primark, quilted studded bag from Warehouse, beads from Accessorize, shoulder detail jacket from a sample sale.
Day 2 of Notting Hill Carnival
Wearing: Floral dress from Blue Inc, mohair cardigan from a sample sale, pearl headband from Primark, gold bracelet by Guess, anchor earrings from Miss Selfridge.
What were you wearing this weekend?
Friday, 27 August 2010
I went to DUO's Savile Row store last night to discover their Autumn/Winter collection of shoes. It was a great event, quite small but it meant that I could be walked round the collection and talked through the different styles. Everything from brogue detailing, camel colouring, thigh-high, croc effect, western inspired and traditional riding boots.
But even better than the on-trend styles is the concept behind the brand. Ever got fed up of feeling like a heffa when trying on knee-high boots? I know I have! The average calf size of boots on the high street is 36cm. Wondering what the average calf size is? Well, it's bigger than that; mine was measured at 39 and I wouldn't say I've got abnormally large calves. As I chatted to the staff there they mentioned some good points, women might have a different size calf for all sorts of reasons, extra muscle definition or perhaps just blessed with shapely calves. Just like getting fitted for a bra, getting fitted for a boot should be the norm if you ask me. Why should anyone who isn't a high street sample size be forced to substitute the style they love because the sizing options are limited?
It works the other way though, some girls might find that boots always come up big on them and for those lucky gals there's a slimmer fitting too. Sizes at Duo go from 2-9(UK) and come in 21 calf widths! The only problem for me is that I'm also quite short so my calf doesn't necessarily end at the point that the 'average' woman's does. One of the reasons that I always find it hard to get a boot to fit is actually because my calves are shorter than the boots have been designed for and therefore I need the boot to be wider further down. Boots that finish just under the knee are no good either as I can't bend my leg in them when I go up and down stairs. Oh the drama!
With my previous troubles in the back of my mind, I never thought I'd walk into Duo and be able to confidently walk around in a pair of over-the-knee boots but that's just what happened. I'm rather excited now as I've ordered my pair of Elm tan leather boots with shearling effect lining. Very of-the-moment right?! I've never owned a pair of over-the-knee boots before and when I slipped these on I was amazed that they fit so well. It didn't matter that my leg was shorter and the calf width was spot on. I can't wait to get out and strut my stuff in these babies... In fact, I'm quite looking forward to winter now so I can work the camel trend in true style (and comfort).
I also tried on the Juniper style below which I loved, but they didn't give me that wow feeling like the Elm. I love the military, zip and buckle detailing.
There's one bad thing about blogger events though, sometimes someone else gets in there first and says exactly what you were itching to say. This time it was Emily from Fashion Fois Gras, although the fact we have similar taste makes me smile and she put it all so eloquently.
Take a look at the Duo website, which pair would you go for? Duo also has stores in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Bath so if you're nearby, be sure to check it out.
It's not particularly on trend, it's not Valentine's Day coming up, but who doesn't go a bit mushy for a pretty heart detailing! Here are some of my current faves to covet... you could say, they've stolen my heart, especially the dress from Joy which happens to be reasonably priced too.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
I'm later than I thought I would be posting the rest of my thoughts from Vintage at Godwood... turns out I've been a busy girl.
Some were quick to criticise aspects of the festival, even before they'd stepped foot there. Apparently they didn't give out enough press passes to bloggers - well I would have thought that bloggers would be one of the most obvious types they were trying to market to. I'm guessing they wanted the bloggers to buy their tickets and bring their friends. Makes business sense to me, and festivals of that size do tend to be sponsor-heavy and commercial.
It was exactly what I was expecting and I did enjoy it, although I don't think I could have spent the whole weekend there. There were some great quirky music acts, but not enough to keep me occupied for 3 days.
Organiser Wayne Heminway did a Q&A for the Debenhams blog, take a read over here. One regret I had was that I didn't make more effort with my outfit. I wore a vintage dress but didn't choose an era to emulate from top-to-toe... next time, I'm gonna be a fifties fashionista all the way. I loved the pop-up high street, the vintage marketplace and I thought there were quite a few reasonably priced food options around too which is good.
I made one little purchase while I was there, a jewelled headband by Pearl & Ivy. They create gorgeous feathered and jewelled headbands which you can tuck your hair up into making them a quick and effortless way to create an up-do.The stalls were really good, some well known names were there like 'What Katie Did' but there were also some gems I'd yet to hear of. Even if you weren't there to shop it was certainly the place for inspiration.
The girls from Frills 'n' Spills looking glam on our vintage bus ride.
The best festival wristbands ever!
Lil and Emma get their skates on at the roller disco. Loved the '70s tunes they were playing!
Michelle gets a dance lesson at the Tea Dance. I just enjoyed a gin and watched everyone else who had much better dancing skills than I did.
Red, PVC, floor-length with fur. More is more it seems.
Monday, 23 August 2010
I recently embarked upon my first ever spray tan at Relax BBC White City. I've not got a good track record with fake tanning at home so I wasn't expecting great things from my spray tan but I did make sure to book an exfoliation before hand to give it every chance of success.
The body scrub was great, really relaxing and the therapist used Mama Mio products which smelled delicious. The spas and surroundings were pretty good too, lovely and clean, perfect temperature and non obtrusive music in the background.
After my scrub it was time to go next door for the not so dignified part of standing like Bruce Forsyth on a zip wire while someone sprays cold fake tan onto your body all while wearing only a paper thong. This part I didn't find particularly enjoyable but at least it was quick and my therapist was really nice and friendly (her accent was just like Charlotte Church's).
I was given good advice afterwards and told to wash it off any time after 8/9 hours. My skin felt tacky for a while which was the norm but as the colour develops you really do start to feel a bit grubby. I had to get on a train later in the day but luckily the colour wasn't too ridiculous. They used Fake Bake which adapts to the colour your skin would naturally tan and after I washed it off the following morning I was really happy with the colour. It was even and looked as if it could have been natural.
Overall a good experience and I'd go back for tanning treatments in future. Hurrah for Wahanda vouchers that's all I can say as this would usually have cost £50 but I bagged it for just £15.
Sign up to Wahanda for great deals every day.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
If you're ever down the South Coast way and stumble into my Hometown of Hastings, you just have to check out Little Treasures. On my last trip home I was excited to discover that they had added homeware to the already fabulous vintage fashions.
The thing that entices you into this store is firstly the array of vintage dresses, clothing and accessories hanging outside the shop. Once inside, the space demands to be explored and when you get upstairs the homeware is set out in beautiful room set-ups. My idea of shopping heaven.
They have a fab website too - check it out.
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Beer... since I've been living in London I've rediscovered beer with the likes of Belgo offering a wealth of options not to mention tasting some new varieties at the Bitter Sweet event back in March. Many people don't like beers but aren't always aware of all the things you can do with it.
The BitterSweet Partnership sent me over some of their summer shandy packs to give me a few more ideas for beer. The concept behind their 'I heart shandy' campaign is giving us gals a few ideas for a fresh summery drink that won't leave us feeling horrendously hungover and if we discover a few more things we love about the '80s in the process then all the better.
Seeing as my sisters were coming to stay and knowing that neither of them are big beer fans I decided to see if I could convert them. The recipes up my sleeve were part of a link-up with Kanaloa - that's the bar that Sarah Harding's involved with and they've been serving them this month too.
I tried the Shandy Sour and the Shandy Blush and I've included the details on recreating them yourself below. My personal favourite was the shandy blush - adding the ginger ale is a cool twist on lemonade although I struggled finding fresh raspberry juice - anyone know where I can get some without having to messily make it myself? Raspberry and apple juice wasn't quite the same.
To make a Shandy Sour:
- 1 whole lime cut into 8ths (cubed)
- 25ml sugar syrup
- 140ml light premium lager
- 100ml lemonade
To make a Shandy Blush:
- 15ml Fresh Raspberry Juice
- 15ml lemon juice
- 15ml Sugar Syrup
- 165ml Kasteel Cru Rose
- 100ml Ginger Ale
There are a couple more shandy recipes you can try over on the BitterSweet Partnership website. So were my sisters converted? I think they, like me, preferred the Blush cocktail because the tase of the beer didn't over-power the fruitiness. The sour one is more for someone who is already a beer lover. I can't wait to give the cherry version a go though, I'm pretty sure that would be my ultimate shandy cocktail.
Here are some pics of my sisters and I channelling our inner '80s girl and playing cards in our rather lurid, plastic visors. Seriously, you'd think the fun never stopped at my place eh? No? Oh alright then maybe not, we enjoyed ourselves though. The fact that my nail polish matches my place mats is entirely coincidental by the way, I promise.
This week both my little sisters came to stay with me in London and the reason for their little adventure was one very exciting show, Sister Act with the one and only Whoopi Goldberg in.
Whoopi Goldberg apparently joked that she would take the role of Mother Superior after Sheila Hancock bowed out, it just so happened that the show's producers thought it would be a great idea. So Whoopi had to jump on a plane - something she isn't too keen on - to wow us all on the West End stage and I'm really glad she did.
The music is amazing, the new score was written by Oscar winner Alan Menken whose credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Enchanted - all awesome films in my opinion!
More amazing though is the stage set-up. It revolves, there are tracks and a central rising platform and even a walkway at the back of the stage too. The action is visible for all to see regardless of where you are in the theatre.
Whoopi of course was fabulous to watch, but the effect she had on the audience and overall atmosphere was greater than I could have even imagined. Her first words uttered on stage were drowned out for 5 minutes from applause and squeals of excitement from the crowds. Luckily, the noise died down so we could actually watch the show but it was standing ovations all round as the show ended.
For our performance the role of Delores was played by the understudy, and you wouldn't have known it, she was oozing with talent and very note was perfect. Simon Webb was also great and very funny too. All in all, an awesome show and one that I can thoroughly recommend. Whoopi's last performance is on 31 August so have a great time if you've got tickets to see her before then.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Introducing the AW10 collection of Les Queues de Sardines tights at Luna & Curious.
Les Queues de Sardines may be unconventional but I love the unique graphic designs. The definitely make your legs make a statement. Screen-printed by hand in limited quantities on a farm in rural France by Olivier and Marion they are only available in the UK from Luna & Curious. A couple of my favourites are Bonny (gun slung in a garter) and Cumulonimbus (weather symbols) and the graphic foliage tights in white.
You can look forward to these hitting down in September and prices start at £34. I'll have to save my pennies!
Sunday, 15 August 2010
A couple of weeks ago I headed along to Dermalogica in South Kensington to listen to Jane Wurwand's story about how she started Dermalogica and why it's been so successful.
Firstly I didn't realise quite how huge the Dermalogica name had become all around the world and this event wasn't just about talking to us about skincare, it was also about inspiring and empowering women, something that Jane knows plenty about.
Jane spoke a lot about her mother who was widowed at a young age with several children to take care of and forced to go back to work to support her family. She said that the training she had to fall back on was important in being resilient to what life threw at her, something that Jane always remembered. Jane trained as a skincare therapist for this very reason and when she moved to LA she saw an opening in the market.
In 1983, surprisingly there were no skincare centres in LA it was all about hair and beauty. The only places that offered skin treatments were owned by Europeans and Jane found that the reason for this was the training differences. To become a qualified skin therapist in the USA it took 4 months of training compared to 2 and a half years in the UK. American women just weren't up to the standard required. The approach of American skincare products was very different too, it was all about miracle claims and a promise of beauty - something that just didn't sit right with Jane's approach to skincare.
The first thing Jane did was to set up a school to train skincare therapists but it needed a product line that fit their teachings. Jane launched Dermalogica in 1986 along with her husband and their range of products were the first cosmaceutical ones in the USA and at their first tradeshow they smashed their targets setting up far more accounts than they ever anticipated. Dermalogica is now available in 51 countries, and has 75,000 therapists across 25,000 salons. They have never taken a loan, never taken outside investment and never done consumer advertising. When you think about it, that's just astounding!
Jane considers the chains or therapists to be the ones who sell the product and it's the chat and advice that people receive in the salons that end up selling the product and keep people coming back. Dermalogica always looks at solving a problem, for example they set up 20 minute microzone treatments for busy customers on the run (visit the new Dermaolgica counter in Westfield shopping centre if you fancy it) and they swear by skin mapping to make sure that we are all using the right products for our unique skin type, there's even an iPhone app for it.
The business ethos they have is all about skin health and wellbeing, not beauty. They place importance on bringing skin therapists out of the treatment room and interacting with us, the customer, and the whole idea helps turn women into entrepreneurs too by allowing them to set up a successful business of their own using Dermalogica products.
All in all a very savvy business woman with a very strong focus about what her company is and isn't. The result is a range of products that don't make fantastical claims, they just work at keeping skin healthy and looking its bes.
My skincare routine
I've been using Dermalogica for a little while now and I'm definitely noticing the difference. The thing I love about getting a face mapping done is that the therapists really listen to you and when I've said that I need a quick routine, they take note and recommend the quickest and easiest routine using just a small number of products. Now I use the UltraCalming cleanser, Daily microfoliant and Clean Start Welcome Matt moisturiser daily. I'm sticking with my Elemis night cream but once that runs out I'll switch it for the Dermalogica skin smoothing cream. Once or twice a week 'll add the Skin Prep Scrub to my routine and I'm also trying out some of the boosters here and there as needed.
My skin feels so much cleaner and fresher from sticking to these products. Luckily I didn't have any major skin concerns and my therapists said I had good texture and elasticity to my skin to begin with but now I'm 25, I'm thinking more about the long term and I'm confident that Dermalogica can help keep my skin looking good for years to come.
Tips to take away from the session
- When cleansing pay particular attention to the middle of your chin and sides of your nose, this is definitely where I get the most congestion
- When choosing a toner avoid anything with SD alcohol
- Don't just head for the pretty packaging, choose a skincare product that is designed for your unique skin type
- If you do one thing for your skin, spend more time cleansing