A combination of watching Moonrise Kingdom one too many times and being completely in love with Orla Kiely’s entire SS14 collection (well being in love with everything Orla Kiely in general) has resulted in my own outfit homage which I can only really describe as ‘Seventies Safari’. I’m very lucky in not only having a mum and aunt who can sew but who also both have wardrobes full of handmade vintage lovelies that they let me raid. This dress was originally my mum’s which I permanently ‘borrowed’ a few years back and has been a summer staple ever since. I love the pattern (and amazing pattern matching), the blue accents of the fabric and the slightly OTT collar plus the combination of cotton and a full skirt makes it perfect for keeping cool in the current heat wave.
My life seems to be one long endless search for the perfect summer shoe and I’ve been wearing these off-white lovelies from Clarks pretty much non-stop since I bought them a few months back. Granted, you might question the wisdom of 1) buying shoes with cut out bits when you live in rainy Manchester and 2) buying shoes of such a light colour when you live in rainy Manchester but so far my feet have (for the most part) avoided being drenched and any grubby bits have generally been seen off with protector spray and a bit of a wipe with a damp cloth. Plus they’re possibly the most comfortable shoes I own to the point where I’ve already bought a second pair in the sales for when I eventually end up wrecking these a few years down the line and I’m currently busy eyeing up Clarks’ AW14 offerings…
I’m one of those people who will happily stalk items over many, many months until they eventually end up in the sale at a fraction of the original price. I spied this box bag from & Other Stories in a magazine at the start of the year and really loved its colour and utilitarian shape but couldn’t justify spending nearly £100 on it so I patiently waited until it ended up at 50% off in their summer sale and finally became mine.
Finally to complete my safari theme, I’ve added a vintage belt (Must. Remember. To. Replace. Slightly. Grubby. Elastic.) with a gold tiger clasp that I picked up in a charity shop back when I was a student which mirrors both the gold hardware of the bag and the off-white of the shoes.
Whether or not I’ll stumble across any wildlife that exotic whilst lazing in the park is debatable but should the need to safari suddenly occur, I’m all prepared! Now, where did I put my binoculars…
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder What you’re at!’
Two things that I’ve always felt go hand in hand are books and tea. For me, there’s nothing better than losing an afternoon curled up with a good book and a mug of Yorkshire’s finest and so anything that can combine the two is definitely up my street. Whittard’s Alice In Wonderland range which features John Tenniel’s iconic illustrations has been around for a little while but they’ve recently added some new designs as well as an amazing teapot which depicts the Mad Hatter’s tea party in all its crazed glory.
Despite trying my hardest, the new mug designs and teapot were just too pretty not to add to my ‘Alice’ collection (although it has raised the question ‘how many mugs is too many mugs?’) but I’m now fully equipped should any unexpected visitors drop by in need of a mad tea party of their own…
‘Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
I’m not sure if it’s a rebellion against the dullness of January but I can’t seem to get enough of pastels at the moment (I’m also partly blaming Miu Miu’s S/S 14 campaign…). I picked up this turquoise (or ‘petrol’ as the website called it) leather pencil skirt and fluffy knit jumper from Topshop back in October and have been wearing them to death ever since! I always find Topshop very inconsistent when it comes to sizing, which is a shame as they had some really brilliant pieces for A/W 13, so I almost never tried on the skirt as I assumed, like previous Topshop pencil skirts I’d tried, that it would fit very oddly. Reader, it fitted like a glove (or at least a glove that gives you enough movement to walk and sit down in) and I’ve since bought an identical one in black.
I’ve teamed the skirt and jumper with my trusty Dune brogues, Essie nail polish in Parka Perfect and my Katie Mullally peg necklace. I love this necklace as it’s so unusual and it always picks up compliments whenever I wear it! I’m busy debating whether to invest in some New Balance trainers at the moment (another fashion ‘trend’ I was rockin’ at least 10 years ago along with dip dyed/ pink hair) and I think this pair from ASOS would go perfectly.
December seems to have flown by and I can’t quite believe we’re only five days away from Christmas! I’ve barely had time to catch my breath over the last few weeks and as well as a fantastic trip to London to see the Meadham Kirchhoff V&A Fashion In Motion show, most of my time has revolved around hitting the big 3-0. Now that I’ve almost recovered from an epic birthday weekend which included a go on a helter skelter (because that’s what grown ups do isn’t it?!), I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous presents I was given.
After blogging about it way back in June, I finally got my hands on an a-england ‘Rose With Thorn’ necklace in rose gold. It’s so beautiful and delicate in real life and definitely a piece I will treasure forever. A grown up birthday also demands a slightly more grown up wallet than my current Liberty Print Hello Kitty one so this Biba leather wallet is perfect!
Once a Manic Street Preachers fan, always a Manic Street Preachers fan so this Babycham gift set from one of my oldest friends (who’s also in the ultracool band Pris) really reminds me of my misspent youth. Coupled with an amazing mix CD (including a cover sleeve feature some of my more dubious outfit choices), this was the perfect nostalgia present.
It’s always lovely receiving presents on my ‘a bit too indulgent to justify treating myself to’ wish list so I felt like a very lucky girl this year. I’m a sucker for a good red lippy with MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ being my go to shade (nothing like a strong lip to distract from you looking like death, a trick I employed over the days spent recovering from my birthday!) so I was glad to receive a new one to replace the rapidly running out tube in my handbag. I was also given the slightly darker matte red shade ‘Ruby Woo’ which I always debate buying when the weather turns autumnal but can never decide between it and ‘Russian Red’. I’m glad my sister took the dithering out of my hands and picked this shade on my behalf as it makes me feel very glamorous which is just how you should feel on your birthday!
Another brand I have trouble with is Jo Malone – there’s just too much choice! My friend who really knows her way around the range got me a bottle of the gorgeous smelling ‘Earl Grey & Cucumber’ cologne and my heart leapt at the sight of the little black and white box tied with their distinctive ribbon.
I’m not sure when owls became my thing (although I possibly kicked it off after buying a fantastic Lea Stein Buba Owl Brooch on eBay) but now most birthdays seem to feature them. For my 30th I was given this cute silver owl necklace from the shop at Manchester Art Gallery which matches a ring I have. I love a good art gallery or museum gift shop and my new necklace proves what amazing treasures you can find!
Completing the glam theme is this stunning Karen Mabon silk scarf. Again this is a brand I’ve previously blogged about and I utterly love Karen’s quirky designs. I’ve now got my fingers crossed that the Midnight Feast scarf from her winter collection is waiting for me under the Christmas tree…
I think it’s fitting that my final gift combines both my love of literature and, er, hot men… Pulp! The Classics is a new imprint which gives classic novels retro looking pulp fiction covers with a twist. Whether you like your Pride And Prejudice with a side order of Colin Firth’s ‘Darcy’ or, like me, the eternal youth of Gosling as Dorian Gray, the eight novels in the collection will not only brighten up any bookshelf but are also guaranteed to raise a smile from fellow commuters during the rush hour slog!
One day I will show restraint when it comes to jewellery (especially with a significant birthday AND Christmas coming up) but when I set eyes on this fantastic Katie Mullally Peg Charm necklace I couldn’t wait to add it to my collection! I’ve actually been lusting over it for the best part of a year since seeing it on Fashion For Lunch’s ever stylish blog so I’m thrilled it’s finally mine.
Although the size of my collection may suggest otherwise, I’m actually very picky when it comes to jewellery and if I’m going to spend money on a piece, I want something that not only looks amazing but is also going to last. Whilst it was the quirkiness of the designs which first attracted me to Katie’s work (the Peg Charm has ‘cult status’ written all over it, move over Alex Monroe’s Bumblebee!) there’s also a clear commitment for British made quality and craftsmanship.
Katie started out working in her grandmother’s antiques business and it was there that she found her passion for silver and hallmarking. Thanks to being from Sheffield (which is one of the four remaining Assay Offices in the UK) and having watched countless episodes of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on Sunday afternoons at my granny’s, I’ve always been aware of the importance of hallmarking precious metals as it not only helps to tell the history of a piece but it also gives an assurance as to the quality of the item. Even though legally silver only needs hallmarking if it weighs over 7.78g, all of Katie’s quirky sterling silver charms are fully hallmarked (complete with her own individual ‘KMM’ Sponsor’s Mark) which I think makes the pieces that little bit extra special.
All of Katie’s charms come in sterling silver or 22.5 carat gold-plate and can be worn individually or with several at once depending on your mood. Although my silver peg is flying solo at the moment, I’ve got my eye on these Ammonite and Whistle charms so hopefully it won’t be that way for long! I’m also tempted to get in the festive mood with this limited edition Christmas Wreath but I’d should probably save my pennies and start my Christmas shopping for other people…
I do realise I’ve been a shockingly lazy blogger over the last few weeks. I’m blaming a combination of a very busy period at work and weather so chilly that all I want to do when I get home is curl up on the sofa in PJs and a blanket with a stack of magazines. Bliss! When the weather starts turning wintery I have a habit of doing very little but laze on weekends which means on weeknights I try to cram in as much as possible. Whilst late night shopping has long been a feature of our lives, those wanting cultural rather than retail evening pursuits generally only had theatre, film or gigs to choose between. Thankfully several art galleries and museums have noticed this gap in the cultural market and have started offering later opening hours to catch those of us who work all week and don’t fancy facing the crowds at weekends or rush round exhibitions during lunch breaks.
Manchester’s Art Gallery runs a ‘Thursday Lates’ scheme with the gallery staying open until 9pm and giving you the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, explore the exhibits and catch one of the talks or live music performances which are often a feature of the evenings. The Art Gallery is currently exhibiting Grayson Perry’s series of tapestries The Vanity Of Small Differences and I headed there a couple of Thursdays ago to view them.
‘The Vanity Of Small Differences’ comprises of six tapestries which are loosely based on A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth and were inspired by Grayson’s Channel 4 documentary In The Best Possible Taste which focused on class and British life. I’ve been an admirer of Grayson’s work for a long time as I love the way he takes traditional forms of art such as pottery or tapestry and subverts them to offer social commentary. The grotesque humour often found in his pieces juxtaposes brilliantly with their delicate intricacy and to see them up close is visually stunning. The exhibition is part of a wider national tour supported by The Art Fund and I’m so glad I didn’t have to trek to London to see them! The full tour dates are below and I definitely recommend checking them out!
◾ 14 February – 11 May 2014: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
◾ May – August 2014: Walker Art Gallery
◾ 1 August – 1 October 2014: Leeds City Art Gallery
When the lovely people at oNecklace asked if I’d like to review one of their products I jumped at the chance. Although Juliet might ask ‘What’s in a name?’ during the famous balcony scene in Romeo And Juliet, I’ve always loved a bit of personalisation when it comes to fashion so I was thrilled to add another trinket to the stash of items bearing my name.
When it comes to name necklaces, I’ve never been a massive fan of the Carrie Bradshaw font style as I find it a bit too ‘girly’ but thankfully with oNecklace there’s plenty of choice for those who want something with a slightly tougher edge with ‘Bold Print’, ‘Elephant’ and ‘Block Letters’ being amongst my favourites. Plus if silver isn’t your thing, they also offer a variety of finishes including 24K Gold Plated, 14K Gold and 14K White Gold as well as a myriad of other goodies just waiting to be personalised. In the end I opted for the ‘Italic’ style in sterling silver as I loved the slightly 80s neon lettering vibe it had going on (unless that’s just me?!?). Delivery was free and it arrived stupidly quickly, despite being custom made, in a beautiful presentation box.
With Christmas just around the corner I’m tempted to invest in a few more of these for family and friends (although if they read this blog, that’s the surprise ruined – whoops sorry!) although narrowing down the endless combinations of fonts and finishes might take me until Christmas 2014…
*The necklace was provided by oNecklace free of charge as a review sample but all opinions expressed and photos taken are my own (not that my photos would ever pass as ‘professional’ – thank goodness for Instagram!).*