Street Style: Sunshine

There are some people who just brighten your day. Holly of ‘The Fashion Turd‘ is one of them, she always wears something totally incredible that I end up staring at her trying to take in every little detail. On this day I’d been chatting to her for a while when I suddenly noticed her bauble earring! No one else on earth would think of that! The chap in purple, whose name I didn’t catch, was a absolute sweet heart. He and Holly are definitely on the same fashion wave-length, all bright colours and a serious dose of fun. You all know Florrie by now, who caused a paparazzi storm in her Sweet Lolita inspired outfit. These guys are just the dose of sunshine I would like everyday.

Again apologies for the slow posts this week. I am still mid decorating, it is taking 3-4 coats of paint to cover the old colour which is a bit of a nightmare. I’m half way there though so normal service should resume soon. My Blackberry is covered in paint too, as Ive been snapping every stage. Can’t wait to show you the finished room. Once it’s done though, I am going to have a serious wardrobe clear out, which will come in handy for the TK Maxx ‘Give up Clothes for Good’ campaign. If you are in the Manchester area they are hosting a clothes swapping event #thefashionexchange on the 26th April at The Birdcage. You can find out more info and buy tickets for ┬ú5 in the Manchester store. I will post up more info as soon as I have it but you can see the flyer here on Twitter┬á or tweet @natmacs Natalie from TK Maxx who is organising the event.

Outfit: Summer Staple

Wearing: Zara tousers and clutch, LK Bennett shoes and All Saints sunglasses both from TK Maxx, vintage Burberry trench, old jumper, vintage necklace, Primark socks, Chanel Nouvelle vague nail colour.

Showing off more of my recent Zara haul these trousers and going to be my summer staple. Lawrence took these photo’s for me whilst we were lurking around in a stinky old alley like really pro bloggers! Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments on my last post, that really means a lot to me. You will be glad to know the hives have calmed down and I hope to get my decorating going this weekend. So far I have white-washed my pine bookcase and chest of draws, parted with my huge desk and moved around my bed. Small things which have made a huge difference. I have also had a major clear out. I dropped off some stuff at Cancer Research and as I was there a rather large transit van turned up filled to the roof with donations from TK Maxx’s ‘Give up Clothes for Good‘ campaign, I am made up it is going so well. There are quite a few different charity shops in the next town to me so I always divvy up my wares to each of them. They don’t just need donations but volunteers too, I have my behind the scenes at Oxfam to share with you soon. I am really enjoying sprucing up my bedroom but I have to say my favourite thing is my new clothes rail, simple pleasures I know! Once everything is back in place maybe I can give you a tour of my closet.

Be Cool

Wearing: Vintage Chanel blazer, River Island t-shirt – (you know that perfect, soft, nubbly material well that), New Look earrings, All Saints sunglasses from TK Maxx and my hair up in a bun fancy that!

As you all know I don’t often post in real-time. I usually have a weeks worth of post’s stacked up as I don’t always have time to post daily.┬á You also know that I have health problems, namely Rheumatoid Arthritis, but you probably don’t know I also suffer from a few other conditions. One of those is constant migraine. I didn’t have a post scheduled today, because I have used up my back-ups and seem to be sat staring vacantly at a few half done ones I can’t seem to finish. I have taken a turn for the worst last week which I haven’t recovered from yet. I’m not sure what is going on with my immune system, to quote my rheumatologist it is ‘frazzled’. Right now I am on a large dose of steroids so I am not getting so much of the usual joint pain. This feels rather odd, because I get the warning signs of a bad flare up – it feels a bit like getting the flu but without the sniffles. But then I didn’t get the curl up and die joint pain. It is a very strange sensation. Possibly because I didn’t realise how much of a bad flare up I was in, I didn’t fee too bad on Saturday so I decided to start redecorating my bedroom. I delve right in hauling out junk from under my bed and the loft cupboard. Then I start to feel itchy and sniffly. I ignore it and carry on. Then I get really itchy and tired. I look down at my arm, then my legs, then my tummy. Every part of my body is covered in hives, I look like Ive got the chicken-pox! It turns out that not only are people with auto-immune diseases prone to allergies, their bodies are also prone to overreacting to what would be minor allergies in most people. On top of that some medication can effect how the body responds to allergies. That pretty much sums up the infrequency of my posts this last week and the delay in replying to emails.

Besides the illnesses I am also considering some pretty big changes in my life right now – even bigger than redecorating my bedroom! The redecorating is a massive deal to me, it must be about five years since it was last done. But it got to breaking point where I just couldn’t cope with the clutter any more, so a huge clear out and redesign is happening. I will share with you once it’s complete, I am really excited about it. I want to be able to see all my clothes and be able to find what I am looking for! I want to display some of my beloved treasures!

Anyway, I am going off the point of this post. Which was to highlight two seemingly totally different post by two of my fellow bloggers and good friends.┬á The first is on a fun, cheerful note by Lawrence ‘Celine Sunglasses‘. I’ve never been a sunglasses person. It always seemed too much effort to carry them around if a peep of sun dare shine in gloomy Manchester. Even after trying on every single pair in my beloved Chanel I never did succumb to their allure. I had an old pair I would whip out when abroad but that was about it. Lately, however due to my increasing migraines I have become very sensitive to bright light. It doesn’t even have to be sunny, just bright, including artificial lights. So always the one to put a positive spin on things I decided the only way to deal with this is to ramp up on the fashion. Oh yes, my love of sunglasses now knows no bounds, I can’t get enough of them! I haven’t taken a trip to Chanel just yet but I have certainly been getting my designer fix. I know I am always harping on about TK Maxx but seriously if you haven’t done so already go check out their sunglasses!! Bargains galore from so many designers and brands. I will have to take some photo’s of my collection (once the decorating is done and I can find them), but Lawrence tells all in his post about our latest find. I cannot tell you how excited we were to find not just one, but a pair each of the revered Celine ‘Original’ sunglasses! Cerulean for him and ocher red for me!! Not the ┬ú250 they are in Harvey Nicks, oh no just 50 of your British pounds!

The second post I wanted to share is by Florrie ‘Speech, Expression and Migraines‘. Florrie and I became friends well before we discovered we both suffered with chronic pain conditions. Yet I believe in fate and I do wonder if the cosmos threw us together to support each other. We share tales of horrendous drug trials and can understand what a sever attack can feel like. In her post Florrie puts into words something I have never been able to. My reaction to pain is most often anger.┬á To suddenly be crippled by pain, be it migraine or RA, is indescribable. It is also very hard to communicate to someone how you are feeling when you can’t even bare to open your eyes, let alone your mouth. By now my close friends and family understand when I go quite all of a sudden. Or can seem snappy with no reason. Put simply I am in pain.

So there we have it, a pretty mixed bag of a post. I chose this photo because it shows of my current favourite sunglasses, black cat-eyes by All Saints, a bargainous ┬ú14.99 from TK Maxx. They also have tons of nice pairs on the TK Maxx website in case you hadn’t seen, I keep checking everyday – honestly I’m obsessed!

Street Style: Easter Bunny

Not quite the Easter Bunny, but since it is Easter and well it is a bunny! The bunny and the rest of the outfit belong to Lawrence, who is wearing Zara trousers – and bunny umbrella case, Luelle shoes and vintage Biba trench. I took this photo of him on a very windy day last week.

I have total shoe envy over his achingly cool smart shoes, I really do like a pointy toe. The ‘Dave‘ by Brett & Sons offers a similar style in a gloss black patent, or the ‘Gauwyn‘ with an embroidered toe detail.

Happy Easter!

Outfit: A Splash of Colour and a Jump into Something New

Wearing: Jumper, Skirt, Shoes all Zara, vintage clutch, Jade bracelet, Chanel nail varnish in Nouvelle Vague.

Other than Vivienne Westwood and occasionally Chanel, I don’t like to wear head to toe from one designer or brand. I prefer creating my own look rather than buying into something created by someone else. On the other hand I can’t get enough of designer look-books. I just find it fascinating how this dream world of perfect outfits is created. Sometimes, just sometimes I want to buy into it. Zara tends to be the one that always hooks me in. I think their design concept is second to none. Did you know the layout is created in their HQ in Spain and then recreated exactly the same in every store. Lawrence and I have been stalking Zara this last week for some reason we just can’t get enough of it! My usual summer wardrobe revolves around vintage dresses and designer heels, simple and unique. But this time I really fancied something a bit different. I fancied trying a really different look. I am now the owner of two long flowing skirts and here is the first. Whilst the concept of a maxi skirt is a new one to me, I had to wear it with a huge baggy jumper, I always like a casual edge. I am still not 100% convinced on an outfit which hides my waist – the usual part I highlight. But it is always good to push your comfort zone.

What do you think, are you liking the maxi??

Outfit: Pastels and Soft Grey

Wearing: Vintage blouse, Vivienne Westwood skirt, Dune clutch, Christian Dior boots from TK Maxx, Chanel heart ring, H! by Henry Holland skull ring.

This is the third post in my ‘How to Wear Pastels’ series, this time I opted for a less summery look. Why? Because pastels are for life not just spring/summer! That’s right pastels were seen all over the runways flaunting next seasons collections. Bora Aksu chose soft greys to pair with pink which is where I took influence from. I’ve had this vintage blouse for ages in my closet but it is one of those buys that needed to sit and simmer until the right time.┬á I belted it over a pencil skirt to give it a peplum look. Everything else you have seen before except for these killer boot! An insanely lucky find in TK Maxx. I know right DIOR!! I had planned to wear these over London fashion week but rushing to pack I forgot them, I know, I know,┬á I couldn’t believe it either, I even considered having them couriered to my hotel but decided that was a bit diva! They are surprising comfortable thanks to their platform and beautiful foot shape.

I really like this skull ring from H! by Henry Holland, I bought it from his first collection. But whatever it is made from does not like my skin it gives me a rash. I  heard coating it in clear nail polish might help, anyone tried that trick?

I hope you have enjoyed my 3 days of pastels, I am sure I will be wearing much more of the summer so watch this space! Do you have a favourite way to wear pastels?

Outfit: Pastels, Neon, Metallic!

For my second post on how I will be wearing pastels I went totally in the opposite direction! In fact I would forgive you for noticing I was wearing pastels at all and that is my point. A really easy way into the trend is to just wear something as simple as a t-shirt, just exchange one of your usual items – in my case a classic white tee, for a pastel version.

I am also wearing one of this seasons key items, the Bomber jacket! I really like the shape of bombers but wasn’t sure if the Baseball style was quite my thing so I ran around the shop screaming when I found this perforated silver leather one!!! Which is very much my thing!

Wearing: Armarni jacket, D&G sunglasses, pink top all from TK Maxx; Vivienne Westwood skirt; Chanel shoes; D&G clutch. Make-up Chanel June nailvarnish and Rouge Allure lipstick in Delicieuse.

My pink top also has a bit of a story behind it. A couple of weeks ago I joined TK Maxx and some of my favorite fashion bloggers for a lovely evening at the Paramount. We weren’t just there for a party, although we did have a marvelous time, we were all there to support their campaign to help Cancer Research through their Give Up Clothes for Good initiative. The deal is you fill up a big bag of clothes or even just choose one item, whatever you can, then take it along to your local TK Maxx store where they will pass it onto Cancer Research to sell in their shops! All they ask is that you donate something as you would expect to receive it, clean and in new or excellent condition.

Then if you are anything like me, you can go about rewarding yourself for that good deed by picking up something to fill that gap in your wardrobe at TK Maxx, namely a pink metallic top! In the video below all the bloggers talk about what they donated to the cause and what they would replace it with this summer. I have bags of stuff to donate but that night I talked about one special piece. I donated a pretty cotton dress which I bought whilst at my first ever conference in Lanzarotti. The weather was awful so outside of work I spent a lot of time in the local craft shops. The lady who owned the clothes shop handmade everything using local and vintage fabrics. It is a beautiful dress in black and green with a four leaf clover print – like the tattoo on my wrist. So keep your eyes out for it whilst shopping at your local Cancer Research shop!

Enjoy the video’s although you will have to excuse the seriously bad angle I am at as I look and sound horrendous!

Natalie Hartley Gives Up Clothes for Good

Fashion Bloggers Give Up Clothes for Good

You can watch more clips from all the celebs on the YouTube channel Love TKMaxx

Outfit: Pastel’s and a Bit of Shimmer

Wearing: Vintage dress, River Island necklace, Vintage sequin jacket, Vintage clutch, Primark socks and earrings, LK Bennett shoes and All Saints sunglasses both from TK Maxx.

After the popularity of my post ‘Trends: Some Ideas on How To Wear Pastels‘ I decided to practice what I preach and put together a series of outfits wearing pastels. I have to admit embracing pastels has really got me in the mood for summer, they feel really fresh and exciting to wear after months of dark winter colours. For the first look I went full on with the pastels in this look but rather than add more pastel colours I choose white and cream with metallic shoes. You get the same look but without having to worry about matching / clashing colours. For me it was also an easier way to get the look without having to go out and buy more clothes, since pastels don’t feature much in my wardrobe. If you wanted to dive in with more pastels it would be easy to go for a complimentary pastel shade bag and shoes. Sorbet pinks and mints would be ideal with baby blue.

I really love this dress I found it in the midst of winter at Cow vintage, my jacket is from there too, I think my frock was ┬ú6 a real bargain! In fact my whole outfit is bargainous my jacket was around ┬ú30 a year or so ago. My necklace is new season River Island on the pricey side at ┬ú28 but I have worn it so many times already since buying it in February. My clutch was only a few pounds from Retro Rehab vintage and my socks ┬ú1.50 from Primark – they do the best socks! My LK Bennett shoes I am sure you are sick of seeing by now but they are so comfy for a pointed heel. Another cut price bargain from my beloved TK Maxx ┬ú50 with the RRP around ┬ú200. The cat-eye sunglasses also from TK Maxx and a snip at ┬ú15.

As I am sat here writing this we have snow forecast tonight and it is blowing a gale, a far cry from the sunshine last week! Might have to put the summer clothes on hold.

Outfit: Metallic and Floral An Interesting Union

Vila Printed trousers, Vero Moda metallic knit jumper, Clare Shoes, crystal necklace all Fashion Union, clutch bag vintage, assorted bracelets.

As you know I don’t really like shopping on the High Street. Why? Well I often find the quality poor and over priced. Lately however my head has been turned back in that direction. Not fast fashion, but genuine good quality clothes without the hefty designer price tag. I am also a bit of a shopping snob, I admit it! I can’t stand going into a store with people pushing and shoving, queuing to use a fitting room with chewing gum stuck all over the curtain and dust on the floor. I won’t name and shame such stores but I am sure you know what I mean. I love hunting out a bargain as much as the next girl but I want to enjoy that experience not come out of the shop empty handed and in a hot mess.

Shop online then, that is surely the answer right? Well yes, in a way but so many online shops are hard to navigate, don’t have accurate photos blah, blah, blah. Then you can never find a full outfit on one site, plus who wants to be head to toe in one brand, you end up with ten pages open trying to compare stuff… So when I was asked by Fashion Union if I would like to check out their wares I was intrigued. An online store packed with the latest trends from a number of brands and the promise to keep prices low so you have change for cocktails – it sounded right up my street!

I had a good look around the site, well stocked but not with too much choice that it is overwhelming. If you follow me on Twitter (@pearlwestwood) you will know this season I am all about the metallic’s┬á and printed trousers to add to my faithful staples heels and a statement necklace. I found tons of things I liked and it was nice to see different takes on the trends than what you would see in the shops. The prices ranged from the seriously cheap to the mid-range, the jumper I am wearing was ┬ú42, trousers ┬ú35, necklace ┬ú15 and the shoes just ┬ú12 on sale from ┬ú20! I really didn’t know what to expect so was seriously excited to rip open the parcel. What is my favorite thing? I can’t decide LOL! I don’t say this often but I was blown away with the quality of the necklace and jumper. The necklace is heavy crystal beads entwined with velvet ribbon, as you can see it catches the light and sparkles beautifully. The jumper is a cotton mix with a painted effect silver coating so it looks a bit like chain mail. It is so soft and comfortable to wear I haven’t had it off my back since I got it, worn with skirts and jeans a real versatile piece. The trousers too are really nice, a good weight fabric which doesn’t cling like some satin-like materials can. The print is unusual, I haven’t seen anything similar elsewhere and I think it is one which will easily transits into next season, they also come in blue. The shoes I will be honest about. For ┬ú20 I wasn’t expecting a pair of Louboutin’s, I was expecting something cheap and fun which is exactly what I got. The elastic front is as good as any higher priced comparison and the backs are faux leather. That said for the price they are a great pair of shoes, I will happily wear them during the summer, for cheap shoes they are comfy too with soft soles and a stretchy front which moulds to your foot. All in all everything I ordered was exactly as expected and in some cases even better! The sizes were all spot on – something of a miracle these days ordering online.

Discovering new websites and being able to share them with honest reviews really makes me realise what a fantastic position I am in sometimes.┬á I don’t often do reviews like this but I really feel I have found a gem in Fashion Union! I already have my eye on this cheerful sunshine yellow heels and cool maroon faux-fur coat – don’t laugh we just got snow warnings for next week up North!

I would love to know what you think of the pieces and if you have shopped with Fashion Union yourself?