Tuesday, 31 May 2011

SHOPPING - On My May Wishlist

1. Whistling Cow collection swimsuit
Cowshed and Whistles have joined forces for a collaboration that sees products being cross sold in each other's stores. A print has been created that's part heart, part polka dot, part cow hoof - you decide - and you'll find the print on bikinis, head scarves and a range of Cowshed's best selling pampering products. I'm currently trying out the shower gel which is lovely, but it was that fab orange swimsuit that I really had my eye on. What do you reckon? Suitable chic for the beach?

2. Coca Cola 125th Anniversary book
I was invited along to celebrate 125 years of Coca Cola at the Design Museum recently. I am more than a fan of Diet Coke, I'm an addict, so anything Coca Cola related is right up my street. We watched vintage adverts, created our own Coca Cola caligraphy and viewed the special design installation outside the museum too. But what I was left wanting was ASSOULINE’s newest book title, Coca Cola. I flicked through the pages at the event to discover all sorts of iconic images that are said to 'have shaped our culture throughout history'. A great coffee table book and conversation starter.

3. Dazzling white teeth
To be fair, this item is always on my wish list and I'm already taking steps to achieve my goal. I've said before how much I love Beverly Hills Formula toothpaste - I'm a toothpaste and mouthwash snob, self-confessed and told by others. So I ws pleased to find out last week that they've relaunched the brand with lovely new packaging, a new ad campaign and a new product (Gum Protection toothpaste) that's exclusive to Superdrug from July. Watch out for the ads featuring retro fifties style shots of women with a dazzling smile and slogans like: "Oh dear, I seem to have slept with your husband" The smile's fake, the whiteness isn't. I love the whole tongue-in-cheek thing.

4. The Camrin Laser Cut Faux Leather Jacket by Yumi 
I spotted this super cute jacket at the Yumi press day which means unfortunately it isn't out just yet. I'll have to wait until the AW11 collection hits down. There were loads of other lovely things there too, I'll post some photos soon but Alas I only had my phone camera to play with so they won't be great.

5. Tailoring by Corrie Nielsen  
Another press day I went to recently was for PR company Flax who now represent Corrie Nielsen. During fashion week I didn't quite 'get' why so many people were citing it as the absolute highlight. That said I was still excited to see the pieces in the flesh which is what I got to do. There were a couple of items that I would love to own, mainly the fitted jackets and skirt suits. The voluminous shapes can stay on the catwalk, everything else is welcome in my wardrobe any time! Remind yourself of the show below...


EVENT - Hitting The Contour Ball With Wonderbra

The Contour Fashion Ball 2011
Dessert at The Savoy!

Last Thursday evening I got all glammed up to go to The Countour Fashion Ball with the lovely girls from Wonderbra. I'm a real fan of the brand, I own 3 Ultimate Strapless bras and a Full Effect bra too and all perform just as well as they claim to - a rare but admirable trait!

The Contour Fashion Ball is a chance for the lingerie industry to raise money for some charities close to their hearts. On the evening they raised in excess of £50,000 for the FCTC and Retail Trust through a fun photo booth, auction, silent auction and raffles. The Chairwoman of the ball committee this year was Sharon Webb who heads up lingerie buying and design at Debenhams. She's a lovely lady who couldn't be more committed to the industry, it showed on the night too as she did a heart-felt speech reminding us of the charities we were there to help.

The Contour Fashion Ball 
Sharon is presented with a bunch of flowers for her hard work.

I had no idea what to wear and, although I love fashion, I love comfort so I hit Debenhams one lunchtime and picked out a flattering red cocktail dress that skimmed rather than clung over my curves and had a pretty sheer draped neckline. I teamed it with a black angora shrug (if it's good enough for Kate Middleton!) and my trusty dancing shoes. I had a bit of fun with my jewellery from EB by erickson Beamon at Debenhams. I wore the pieces pictured above - the irregular gem bracelet, pearl and crystal cluster ring and faceted bead drop earrings. Underneath it all was my Ultimate Strapless bra as the straps were sheer and I didn't want any nasty straps showing - not with all those lingerie experts around!

My partner in crime for the evening was the gorgeous Gem of Gem Fatale's Style Blog and we managed to have a sneak around the Savoy checking out the museum, lobby and toilets (you always have to check the toilets!). The refurb has certainly been fabulously done. Gem and I couldn't resist being silly for charity in the photobooth... check it out.


The Contour Fashion Ball 
Gem knocks 'em dead in tassels.
On the way out yet another exciting thing happened, we stumbled upon a film set. At the front of the Savoy a scene was being set up for 2012 movie Gambit sarring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz - we saw Alan Rickman waiting for action! Try as hard as we could, they weren't really up for letting us stay and ogle the movie stars so after the excitement had worn off we headed for our taxi. What a night... thanks Wonderbra!

The Contour Fashion Ball 2011
The interior of The Savoy.

The Contour Fashion Ball 2011
The film crew!

Earlier in the day I'd braved the rain to pop by the Lisa Shepherd salon on Mortimer Street. I've been there a few times now and love the people not to mention the fact the stylists are fab at what they do. Tom helped me out by curling my hair and pinning it into a lovely loose, tousled bun at the back of my head. My fringe was also revived and made extra glossy so I could walk into The Savoy in style. Shame that the rain tried hard as it might to ruin my new do - but luckily I won in the end. My stylist even tried to hail a cab for me to save his handywork - now that's service! It's so difficult to look and feel super-glam when you've been at work all day but having a fab hairdressers just along the road from my office definitely helps.

If you want to give the Lisa Shepherd salon a go they are currently offering a discount for new customers. Colouring is their speciality so go crazy! I had my undertoning done there and had loads of compliments. Say you read about them here and I'm sure they'll look after you.

The Contour Fashion Ball 2011
I even loved my curled hair at the end of the evening when I took my hair down.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

STYLE - WeightWatchers Teams up With Louise Roe

 Louise Roe Weight Watchers event

I was recently invited along to meet Louise Roe, as part of her work with WeightWatchers. She's joined the well known weight-loss brand as their style consultant and she's there to give WeightWatchers members the inspiration to dress their body as it changes shape throughout their weight loss journey.

To demonstrate how important confidence and personal styling is to those who've lost weight, Louise was joined at the event by Kelly May who had dropped from a size 18/20 to 12/14. Instead of covering up with shapeless and oversized garments Louise has plenty of tips on showing your best bits, so for Kelly May it was all about a figure-hugging style that nipped in at the waist to flaunt her hourglass shape. She looked absolutely  amazing as you can see from the picture I took above.

The WOW campaign

You may have heard that WeightWatchers changed its points system not too long ago. The new ProPoints plan has helped members lose an astonishing 3,917,270 already - that's about the same as 23,000 average sized people or 160 double decker buses. Wow!

And WeightWatchers could have guessed I'd say wow, it's what we often think when we see someone whose lost a lot of weight. Following research from WeightWatchers, it's been shown that losing weight is one of the biggest 'wow' feelings a woman can have (24%), followed by having happy kids (18%) or great friends (8%). I'd have to agree. Looking better is also about feeling better and most of us have a 'happy weight', I just need to get back to mine. Maybe I'll head along to a WeightWatchers meeting soon, a friend of mine has lost loads of eight on the plan.

Win with Weight Watchers...

As part of this exciting new activity, WeightWatchers have also launched a competition. There are a total of 5 makeovers and styling sessions up for grabs via Facebook. Become a fan of the Weight Watchers Facebook page and be sure to enter by June 27th to be in with a chance of winning. You'll need to upload before and after weight loss photos and tell WeightWatchers why you deserve to have a WOW makeover.

What makes you feel wow? Whether you're losing weight, gaining weight or staying the same, Louise Roe's hints and tips are very handy. Take a look at the video below (or the others on the WW Youtube page) for some style inspiration...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

NEWS - Sudocrem Skincare Cream & Bagology

Sudocrem isn't just about treating nappy rash anymore... the brand is moving into general skin care after more and more people were using the cream to keep their skin looking fresh and clear. Have you ever used it in this way? I remember it always being in the cupboard growing up, sort of a miracle cream to solve any problem skin issues. I might have to make it a staple of my beauty cupboard now... if it's good enough for Cheryl Cole then I'll, at the very least, give it a go.

To celebrate the launch of the new skin care cream and their Facebook page, Sudocream teamed up with a leading bagologist (that's someone who can tell you about your personality based on the contents of your bag). I decided to take part in the readings and here's what Debbie the handbag expert had to say about the sack full of stuff I lug about every day.

Debbie says...

The first observation I'll make is about your practical and down to earth nature. You seem to be very reliable and will do what you say you will do! Your bag is saying that you are very hands on and pragmatic too. I am sure these are qualities that you expect and look for from others. There is a strong sense coming from your bag and its contents that you can be very persistent. If I were to pick a sport for you it would be long distance running or endurance riding! Simply because if you say you'll do something you will and you seem to be able to endure and overcome obstacles. There is a hint in your bag that you may need to find some balance at the moment, in life. As well as keeping balanced, make sure you have a source of inspiration close at hand. It could be the source of that illusive balance!

You seem to be someone who can be calm and grounded. You like life to work out in a fair way and transparency and honesty will be important to you. You are someone who can gain a lot by drawing from the past - and past experiences and really applying those lessons to the current day and future. You can also afford to be a little more expressive - It is as if your bag's contents are saying you should do something practical, with your hands, that is a vehicle for your expression and will be a source of pride for you. (Sounds very exciting). Keep your eye out too for people or opportunities that fill you with a sense of vitality and optimism. You will enjoy projects or avenues that have the potential to grow! Overall, a really exciting bag and I hope a reading that makes sense to you.

So to those of you who know me, would you say that's accurate? I definitely think she got the practical aspect right and I'm always struggling to find balance in my life.

I actually surprised myself when looking at my handbag contents, I thought it all looked very dull and necessary rather than the bag contents of a budget fashionista which I consider myself to be. I'll have to try harder on that front... however, if what Debbie says is right, there's plenty of opportunites coming my way. We'll have to wait and see about that.

Let me know if you've tried the new Sudocrem in a tube. I've got some on its way to review so will be sure to report back my findings.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

SHOES - Break The Rules With Black & Brown

Wearing black and brown together is one of those old 'fashion rules' that I think can be broken. The classic example of a way that it works is with footwear. Black shoes with brown or wooden heels for example really keeps options open for accessorising. Wear black and brown footwear and you can easily coordinate a black dress with a brown belt or bag. I wear my favourite black mac with brown shoes and satchel quite often. Even darker shades of brown worn with black aren't a flat no-no anymore just like navy and black have become much more en-vogue.

To demonstrate some footwear styles that work in bringing together two shades from this dark colour palatte, see my picks below from Spartoo.

I love a wedge and the strap design on these shoes is pretty cool too. Rather than the wedge heel being entirely wooden, it's been sectioned off and covered in leather to give that subtle colour-blocked effect. Wear it with a little black dress or your fave dark denim jeans. Plus look at the price... BARGAIN!

This sturdy shoe has great appeal for everyday, or for the office if you've got a fairly relaxed dress code. The chunky buckles make it quite casual, but still cool. Heels with a slightly coned effect are still prertty popular too. I prefer to go for shoes with a chunkier heel as you don't have to keep forking out for re-heeling. Plus you don't make that 'clack, clacking' noise which seems to echo as you walk down the street when wearing stiletto styles.

Mixing wood with black leather and patent leather, plus studs and a pale pink strap, this shoe seems a bit of a mixed personality. Is it girly and pretty or edgy and tough? I think it's carrying off a little bit of both looks and this is my fave of the three pairs. It seems my selections have got pricer as I've been writing this post too, will have to start saving some pennies.

What's your verdict on brown and black shoes and which pair is most 'your style'?

All shoes featured available at Spartoo while stocks last.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

ACCESSORIES - Hat's On For The Races

How beautiful is this model... totally Audrey Hepburn!? With Ascot coming up in June and Royal Wedding hats featured in just about every publication, hats are a hot topic. These definitely make a statement.

All designs from the William Chambers Hat Shop are bespoke, handmade to order and range from £140-£450. You can buy online if your budget will stretch. Designs have been worn by Kelis, Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters and Roisin Murphy, some rather cool ladies indeed.

Which of the above is your fave? I love the straw design at the bottom right best.

Tips on wearing a fascinator...
  • Wear tilted on the left of the head
  • If giving air kisses, lean for the other person's right cheek
  • Limit to simple stud earrings rather than dangly earrings if wearing a statement headpiece

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

CELEBRITY - Penelope Does Red on The Red Carpet

Penelope switches white (as seen in Vogue) for show-stopping red at the Premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” in Munich, Germany. Her figure-hugging dress is a custom Giorgio Armani Privé, red organza fitted gown. I featured the collection in my colour blocking post in January but this dress fits Penelope like a glove for the full red carpet treatment.

What do you think? Is this a red, red carpet winner?

FASHION - Press Day Highlights: Rare & Paprika

Autumn/Winter may be a while away but I still get excited about getting a sneak preview of what's to come. Last week I headed to Soho for the Rare & Paprika press day and I've picked out a few of my favourite pieces to whet your appetite for next season's fashion...

Rare & Paprika press day

Paprika teal tassel dress - I laid eyes on this and immediately fell in love. It has a slightly twenties vibe about it and I love the super-chic colour. I can see it with black tights and killer heels for the desk to dancefloor season. (I'd be wearing flats during the day of course). Some of the Rare Opulence dresses also fit this colour story with teal and black party dresses with statement detailing.

Rare & Paprika press day

The gorgeous knitwear from Paprika also caught my eye especially this waffle effect knit complete with velvet bow. Lots of fur-trims too, perfect for cosying up in during the winter months.

Rare & Paprika press day

I loved the oversize plait detailing on this blouse as part of the higher end Opulence collection. The colour palette was still quite seventies too.

Rare & Paprika press day

And who can resist a bit of sparkle. This dress features in the Rare press book and is one for those who like to stand out.

For Summer, Rare has plenty to offer too. Dresses really are the main selling point for me, although I've tried out jackets and tops in the past too. I'm loving this coin embellished white dress - very 'Indian Princess'. Paprika has some great little holiday essentials from sundresses to maxis. One thing to mention is that I do find the sizing to be quite small, but if you're a curvier lady just keep that in mind and don't feel bad if you need to go up a size.

BOUTIQUE - Sugarlesque Lingerie

Sugarlesque Boutique event

Last week I was invited along to a fabulous little boutique in London called Sugarlesque. Their store is in Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street and stocks a wonder of beautiful lingerie, accessories and art much of it with a burlesque twist. The ladies that run the store are super friendly, experienced and make a mean rum punch - always a good skill to have if you ask me.

They stock some of their own products as well as popular brands like What Katie Did. Take a look at my pics and make sure you pop down for a peek if you're nearby. You can also browse and shop online at www.sugarlesque.com

Sugarlesque Boutique event
Sugarlesque Boutique event
Sugarlesque Boutique event
Sugarlesque Boutique event
Sugarlesque Boutique event

They are also involved in Dr Sketchy's a life drawing session with a burlesque twist plus the boutique will be holding events with several exciting ones lined up for the next month or so.

Monday, 16 May 2011

WEBSITE - QRated Fashion Site Coming Soon

I've been given the heads up that there's a brand new fashion website on the horizon. QRated promises 'one fashion find a day' and you'll need to sign up to become a member and see what they've got in store. Membership is free but limited, just like the fashion finds they'll be showing off. It all feels quite exclusive so far and so I'll be keen to see how it all works once things kick off.

The good news is that each fashion find will include details on the designer, background info on the product and some handy styling suggestions. It's just another way to find web inspiration for your next look.

Anyone who pre-registers via Facebook can enter a sweepstake to win an iPad 2 or you can register your email address at www.qrated.com and you'll be notified when the site launches. QRated have already launched a QRated blog so pop back there for a few potential sneak peeks at what's to come.

The shots in this post will give you a feel for what the site will look like when it goes live... I have to admit, I'm liking what I see so far. What about you? It seems to be taking a little bit of Polyvore, mixed with a boutique feel and a social edge.

CELEBRITY - Britney Spears' Harper's Bazaar Transformation

Britney Spears is featured in the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar US. Looking like a blonde bombshell on the cover she talks in the issue about the album that is getting the best reviews of her career. I have to admit, I've bought a few tracks from it. I think I appreciate Britney far more for creating dance tunes rather than trying to be a credible vocal artist. I also don't see her as a style icon. In fact, far from it... I can't remember an outfit of hers that I've truely coveted.

To make up your mind for yourself view more pictures and the full article here.

 Photo credit: Alexi Lubomirski for Harper’s Bazaar.

The difference between the Harper's Bazaar shoot and Britney's Twitter pics is vast though. Looking quite closely at this pic below I don't see a cover girl, I see a young mum who could literally be anyone. Amazing what make-up and a bit of retouching can do... but you have to respect her for not being afraid to show people that she's just like the rest of us.

SHOES - Crazy Colourful Shoes From ProdigyRed

I couldn't miss these crazy brights when they hit my inbox today! I love each and every pair and even better they are bargainous. None of the statement pairs is over £31.99. I think I quite fancy the pair of bright green wedges. I could play it safe in all-black outfits so long as these bright bad boys are on my feet. I wonder how easy those colour blocked platforms would be to walk in...

What would you wear them with? Are you daring enough for these hues? Shop shoes at ProdigyRed

Another range of shoes that caught my eye this week was Cath Kidston's fun printed espadrilles. The espadrille is definitely even more on-trend this season than it has been in the past but I find many styles very boring. These are far from it with their quirky and colourful patterns.

Shop Cath Kidston shoes

CELEBRITY - Penelope Cruz Shows How to Wear White

Penelope Cruz wears white for a spread in the June issue of Vogue and she wears it so very well. The medditeranean tan obviously helps and the white just serves to make her look even more bronzed and beautiful. Starring in the latest Pirates of the Carribean movies means she's been hitting the red carpet recently. I never really had her down as one of my fashion faves but more recently I've been impressed with her choices.

You can take a look at Penelope's red carpet outfits and style evolution over at the Vogue website.


If you love the look but aren't sure how to wear, shop the white trend at Debenhams or view the white fashion feature with ideas on how to incorporate white into your wardrobe this season. With two weeks of sunshine predicted from this weekend we all might be a little bit more bronzed and able to carry off white - hurrah!

EVENT - Qype Event at Hoxton Salon

My new fringe...

On Thursday I was invited to a Qype event at Hoxton Salon near London's Hoxton Square to take a look at what they had to offer and give some of their services a try. The owners of the salon were so welcoming and friendly, not only that but they laid on a delicious spread of food which they made themselves.

I was in need of a fringe trim anyway so I opted to have that done. The hairstylist was so helpful and listened carefully to what I liked to make sure she got the cut spot-on. I was also given a mini manicure using Jessica products but I wasn't able to sit still long enough to let it dry and smudged it - rubbish.

Their ethos is very much to use natural and organic products and the decor is quite industrial, minimal and cool. They keep the fridge stocked with champers and I can definitely recommend it to a friend, only thing standing in the way is the price tag but you do get what you pay for and this team is of the highest standard.

Hoxton Salon Qype event
Hoxton Salon Qype event
Hoxton Salon Qype event

Saturday, 14 May 2011

REVIEW - The Simply Be Website

Simply Be is a brand offering a range of looks and brands for the fuller figure, whether it's lingerie, clothing or footwear. I still don't think there are enough companies offering really good fashion options for larger women but Simply Be aims to show women how to dress to fit their shape while also still being able to work the season's hottest trends.

The sizes offered are from 14 to 32 for clothing, bras up to a k cup and wider calf fittings for boots are available.  Many of us may be in pursuit of a slimmer silhouette but not everyone was made to be a size 8. For those who are naturally bigger, there should be a way to shop with confidence knowing that there is clothing that will fit and flatter.

Current trends being promoted by Simply Be include...

Tribal safari - Animal prints alongside a supporting palette of khaki and stone creates a look that anyone can wear. It's a great look for holidays and casual summer dressing.

Romantic florals - Floral patterns have been big on the catwalks and it's filtered straight to the high street as it's such a commercial and easy-to-wear look. It's beautifully summery too, ideal for garden parties and weddings this season.

Another highlight on the site is Gok Wan's control lingerie including shapewear, basques, boosting bras and shaping slips. Getting the best out of your figure starts with what you wear underneath your clothes. The underwear should support your assets and enhance your best bits not make you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. They are also newly stocking shapewear from Triumph.

The website also features a video section and blog for more inspiration plus regular offers and for a limited time get free delivery too. Check out Simply Be womens fashion and take a look for yourself.

FASHION - Diane Kruger in Calvin Klein

 IMAGE CREDIT: © 2011 Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Diane Kruger looked absolutely stunning in a a custom Calvin Klein Collection gold beaded dress, designed by Francisco Costa for the premiere of the film Sleeping Beauty at the 64th annual Cannes Film Festival.  . She is currently featured in the global print and television advertising campaign for Calvin Klein BEAUTY and it's easy to see why they picked her. She has enviable bone structure, a killer body and poses perfectly. Girl crush anyone?

CELEBRITY - As Seen on Celebrities this Spring

I get a lot of emails arriving in my inbox about items that celebrities have been seen wearing so every now and again I like to pull out a few favourites of the A-Z listers. Maybe you don't care about celebrity style? Not everyone does, but usually they (or their stylists) have a habit of pulling out a must-have for the season. Especially when they've got their hands on it first compliments of the brand's PR team.

New LA brand TAVIK has recently launched in the UK at Urban Outfitters with a swimwear collection inspired by the street culture and crystal-clear waters of the Mexican Riviera. The Ombre Palms bikini was recently worn by Eliza Doolittle at Mulberry's pool party at Coachella.

Check out Nicki Minaj in a shockingly tame and pretty tasteful outfit. Didn't think she had it in her. What next Gaga in a trouser suit? She was wearing several jewellery pieces from Lia Sophia which as far as I can gather is an American brand that sells jewellery through parties in people's homes. Hmmmm, interesting association for Ms Minaj? The cuff bracelets stacked up her arm, edgy Cluster and Concentric Square Rings do look pretty cool though.
Una Healy from The Saturday's was spotted at the premiere for Pirates of the Carribean 4 clutching this gorgeous Beatnik bag from Mimco, now £112.50 from £150.

Another fan of Mimco it seems, Jessie J performed at Canne wearing this stunning Medusa ring (£69) which I really want! Slightly more than I can afford right now for costume jewellery though. 

The ruched maternity midi dress by Isabella Oliver has been spotted on Ali Larter and this week a heavily pregnant Selma Blair was also spotted in it.

Several A-Listers were wearing Calvin Klein for the Honor Women in International Film event. From top to bottom: Rosario Dawson,  Vanessa Hudgens, Clémence Poésy, Lara Stone (face of calvin Klein), Natalia Vodianova (face of Calvin Klein Euphoria) and Uma Thurman. All of them look pretty chic in simple CK shapes. 

Charlotte Church was spotted out in Cardiff this week wearing this Lumberjack hooded top by Superdry - yours for £64.99. I hear she's also a fan of Trilogy beauty products saying: “Trilogy products are absolutely fantastic. The Sensitive Moisturising Cream is the best moisturiser ever, I use it every day and it makes a huge difference to my skin. When I stopped using it for a few days my skin really suffered as a result.” I've not tried the brand myself - have you?