Old BookCase Shoe Storage Display

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I am still midway with the renovations and awaiting a few more shelves for my walk-in – yep I do have more shoes than I thought. In my bedroom I decided to swap my old chest of draws for a taller styles so was left with a space. I debated having another Billy bookcase but didn’t want to make the room cramped. Instead I decided to evict all the books from this bookcase we had in the hall and bring it in to my bedroom. Since it has glass doors I thought it would be great to display more more ornate shoes whilst keeping them safe from dust. The bookcase was inherited from my Granddad, it still has his cigarette┬á burn on the top. I remember as a child my mum telling him off as he would often leave his cigarette balanced on the top whilst he went off doing things. It doesn’t really match the otherwise white room but I really quite like how it looks, or perhaps that’s just because I like the bookcase, either way I’m happy with it. I am still putting off re-varnishing the wood floors, it wasn’t a fun job the first time I did it.

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The ‘before’ shot

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Cigarette burn and a cup mark

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I also picked up these fun storage boxes from Dunelm, I use my Lush hatboxes to hide away bits and bobs but had filled them up so these will be great for hiding messy make-up and toiletries. I know it will be worth it in the end, but I’d just like to be able to find a pair of socks without having to rummage through ten bin bags first! Hopefully by next week it should be finished, just one last trip to Ikea.

Autumn / Winter 2013 Wish List!

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Rick Owens runway via Style.com, Rick Owens tunic, Michale Kors leggings, Eugina Kim bobble hat – all from Net-a-Porter.com, Sheepskin boots from UGG Australia.

Like most people I tend to have to ‘versions’ of my wardrobe, the going out fancy and they staying at home scruffy. Because of my dogs I go for comfort when I’m at home, slouchy sweaters, plaid shirts, leggings and Ugg boots. Up North we are starting to feel the chill in the air during the evenings signaling autumn will be here soon, all the new season stock is starting to arrive in the shops too. I won’t go on about how ridiculous the retail fashion cycle is but as I am sure you know finding winter clothes when you actually need them is never easy, you always need to be one step ahead. For me there are always two winter essentials, new boots and a new coat. Last years Cardi UGG Australia boots took a bit of a hammering so this year I really wanted something more sturdy, but still soft and flexible enough to be comfortable wearing around the house. I chose these pale grey Baily Button Triplet from UGG Australia which will go well with my winter staple colours of black and grey. In my mind I look like I just stomped off a Rick Owens runway, in reality I look like I forgot to get dressed, but hey at least I will be warm as I sit hidden under an oversized hoodie.

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As for my respectable-adult-leaving-the-house-look you all know I have to be drooling over the new season Vivienne Westwood. I haven’t seen much of the new collections in store yet but this Gold Label runway look basically sums up how I want my AW13 to be, torn silk skirts, oversized knit sweaters, clompy boots and capes. For the office the smart new Harris coat in baby pink is calling to me, as is this incredible printed pencil skirt. I love a good statement necklace and this chunky collar with semi-precious stones is divine. My current tartan everyday bag is starting to look a bit abused so I also have my eye on a nice roomy new one, this embossed tartan tote is rather lust worthy.

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All images / products Vivienne Westwood.co.uk

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Whatcha got, whatcha got, lemme see, lemme see, sniff, sniff, sniff!!! Han approves of new shoes so long as he gets to jump around in the tissue paper.

Project Walk-In Wardrobe

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After weeks, long weeks which seem like years I’m coming closer to finally have my walk-in wardrobe finished. I can’t wait to show you the finished thing including my dream shoe wall! Here are some shots of the whole process: starting with my crazy mess, the first stage of construction was the wooden frame, this was then covered with plaster board and skimmed over. Next went in the Billy bookcases and some shelves, followed by a paint job. The electrics need finishing and the whole room repainting then we are good to go. Hopefully the last few bits won’t take too long and I can spend many happy hours filling it!

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I couldn’t resist trying out just one pair of shoes on my lovely shelves. These are SS13 Vivienne Westwood ankle boots but I think they will be really great for AW too. I particularly like an ankle boot with a calf length skirt, I think awkward proportions really compliment each other. These are a sample but if you are on the look out for something similar these Lollipop Papas boots would be fabulous I also have my eye on these incredible Love Moschino wedges – both of these boots have a tiny heart detail in the design which I think is adorable.

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What To Wear on a Night out In a Casino

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I blame Sharon Stone. You really couldn’t convince me that anyone instilled the glamour of casinos more than she alongside DeNero┬á in the Hollywood blockbuster Casino. Whether she was blowing on dice, counting her bling. shimmering past the slots or plotting to bring down the mob she did it in pure, unadulterated glam. Which brings me back to the point, if you are going to go out to a casino, you better be dressed to give Sharon a run for her money – or chips! You don’t just find the high tables in Las Vegas these days with most big cities hosting super casinos. They are more like high class entertainment centres with wonderful cabaret and cocktail bars, the opportunity to take a flutter no longer the sole focus. Her character Ginger is all about full on fabulous, to rock the look you need to think full length gowns, sequins, faux-fur and the shiniest jewels. Hair should be swept up in a chic up-do and make up smouldering.

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The only other actress who comes close is Eva Green as she seduces her way around the gaming table alongside Daniel Craig in Casino Royal. This is one of my favourite Bond films and Eva is perfect as Vesper Lynd. Eva’s character is more subtle than Sharon’s but still incredibly chic and all about the glamour. Try this look if you aren’t a sequin kinda girl, just keep the dress long and elegant, hair soft and make up sultry. Net-a-Porter is the place to go for a dramatic statement gown, and check out Swarovski for the most eye catching crystal jewellery – unless you win big that is and can splash the cash on Chopard diamonds! The only manicure you need for the occasion is OPI’s The Man with the Golden Gun.

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Of course if living up the high life isn’t really your thing you can still take part in the fun without having to resort to bingo with your nan. With the advent of online casinos like JackpotCity.co.uk/mobile-casino you can chill out at home with your friends, make it a girly night in and wear whatever the heck you like -just like onesie poster girl Cara Delevigne! Hey you can even use cupcakes instead of chips – although that might be too high a stake to gamble!

(Images from: wiki-cinie.com, britmovie.co.uk, yahoo.co.uk)

Making Shoe Art – Some of My Vintage Boots

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Whilst I’ve been emptying my bedroom I had to confront the pile of old boots lurking at the bottom of my wardrobe. I can’t remember the last time most of these saw the light of day but you never know when things will come back into fashion! I haven’t quite decided what to do with these old pairs, I can’t even bring myself to wear the two fur trim ones as I am so against wearing fur – yet they were given to me and I love the design, so I feel bad that they would go to waste too. Sigh, emotional turmoil. The cowboy boots brought me many summers of boho as did the black and grey leather ones in the winter, its nice to have reminders of those memories when I don’t have any photos of the outfits. It’s funny as I’ve always loved cowboy boots, even if they aren’t as on-trend these days. I have fallen for these Johnny boots by Sendra, wow they are incredible! The over-the-knee pair I have a feeling I might get back into wearing, I think they are always going to be a bit of a classic. This pair is by Bronx who don’t do this exact style any more but the Niatu is a very similar design in a lower height. Bronx were my favourite shoe brand for years and always remind me of my uni days. I will always have a soft spot for my orange suede ‘Stevie Nicks’ boots. They made me feel very 70s, Cow Vintage always has some good original boots in if you are looking for some this winter.┬á I took these photos on the frame for the new separating wall to my walk-in, it was that perfect time of day where shadows are cast dramatically. I figured it would be nice to have some great shots of my old boots, that way if I do decide to part with them I can still enjoy them every once in a while.

Do you have any hard to part with oldies?

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Outfit: High Street Hotties

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Wearing: French Connection Popcorn jumper*, TK Maxx skirt, Vivienne Westwood tartan bag, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania + Melissa Lady Dragon shoes, Jon Richard Mood black and gold pleated necklace*, vintage long jewel necklace.

Oh my gosh an outfit post without the use of Instagram photos! I know, I know, I admit I am pretty proud of myself for managing this too. I crawled under the rails amongst boxes and bin bags to pull out a reasonably appropriate outfit for leaving the house yesterday. Of course the renovations which have now progressed to my bedroom are going to take much longer than originally planned so once again I am left without access to my clothes. My brother is now regretting the offer of storing some of my stuff for me since he can’t get out of his own bed without tripping over boxes of my shoes. It’s funny because so many of my friends have gladly offered to look after my shoes for me…

Anyway I am hoping to have my bedroom back at least in some shape by next week, the rest of the house could go on until Christmas at this rate. My awesome builder/interior designer has gone from constructing me an Ikea Billy bookcase for my shoes to building an entire walk-in wardrobe so it will be worth it in the end. The shoes will finally get to come out of their boxes!

Amidst the chaos my rummaging managed to unearth this outfit for the ever changing weather we are having this week, fully prepared for hot, cold and wet all at the same time. This pink pleated TK Maxx skirt has been a favourite since I first wore it to London Fashion Week way back in Sept 2011 (that photo makes me cringe hated that hair cut and haven’t a cut since). It ended up being quite a nice day but the strong wind – as you will see below where I try and look serious and fail, made it a bit chilly so I took the chance to try out this new French Connection ‘Popcorn’ jumper. I’ve been on the look out for a new cable knit jumper since I got a lot of wear out of my old one last year, I really liked the little side splits on this one giving it a bit more detail. The shoes had their first outing too, pretty but reminded me why I’d gone off wearing Lady Dragon’s, they do pinch a bit. Melissa shoes are great for the rain though as they are waterproof. I feel a bit Minnie Mouse in these with the huge bows, so cute. Paired with these sweet anchor print socks, you know I love socks.

I’ve really had to think a lot about my wardrobe these last couple of weeks, since I had to empty my bedroom I was forced to look at every single item of clothing I owned – no more stuffing things into draws, no more denial about quite how much I have. I guess I can write a full post about that alone, but one thing that came to mind whilst writing this post is that is doesn’t matter where your clothes come from, or how much they cost, there is never any indicator until an item is in your life, just how much – or not, you will wear it.

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LOVE SHOES? Take Part in a Shoe Study Focus Group, Northampton Museum 21st August 2013

This is part of an exciting project I am working on and I am so excited to be able to share this opportunity, please spread the word to anyone else you think would be interested –

Shoe Galleries, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery :

Cinderella Syndrome Focus Group Volunteer Invitation

We are looking for volunteers to participate in our focus groups experience

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At Northampton Museum & Gallery we are always asking questions about how shoes are displayed – not just in our own museum, but also everywhere around us. The Cinderella Syndrome is a major exhibition and research project, created by NMAG and taking place at the National TrustÔÇÖs Canons Ashby near Daventry, at Westfield shopping centre and at the Royal Exchange, London. WeÔÇÖre researching the challenges of displaying shoes in an engaging and exciting way and reactions to the stories shoes tell about the people who wore them.

Could you contribute to our research and be part of this innovative project? We are hosting a day of discussions about the shoes on display at the museum and we would like to have your views. To thank you for your time we are offering volunteers a private tour of the shoe stores, which is open only on selected occasions and for which there is usually a charge. We hope that tea and cake may also entice you to join us for a couple of hours

When:  21 Aug 2013: either morning or afternoon session (please state if you have a preference)

What: Hour long session including a tour of the Shoe Galleries at NMAG, followed by a round table discussion with other volunteers. You will be allocated either the morning or afternoon session.

Where: Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, 4-6 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP

Who: We are interested in your views regardless of your age, gender, education, a regular visitor to NMAG, a frequent one or first time attender. We want you to be a key part of our project

WhatÔÇÖs in it for me? A chance to be a part of this a ground breaking project, meet other people and museum staff, a private tour of the shoe stores*, plus tea and cake ÔÇô a jolly good day out we think.

How: Interested? Email Shaun Carrington at [email protected] ┬áor phone 01604 838111 with your name, address, email, telephone and register your interest. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. You are welcome to bring a friend but please include also their contact details, as you will need to be counted individually.

Please note: we apologise but this event does not cater for children and babies. Volunteers must be over the age of 12 years. If 12-16 years parental / guardian consent must be provided.

  *NB, please note there is limited disabled access in the shoe store, (5 mins walk from museum plus 13 stairs with no lift), please enquire for full details and to discuss any concerns you might have and we will do our best to accommodate.

Northampton museum is a short 10 minute walk from Northampton train station, the train journey is approximately 45 mins from London Euston and 2 hours from Manchester Piccadilly.

Incredible TK Maxx Buys – Maison Martin Margiela & Givenchy

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I’ve not really bought much recently, I’ve not really been in the mood. Even the summer sales didn’t really tempt me. Sure if someone said here’s one million dollars I’d say pass me the look books but I’ve not really felt that needy desire. Part having new projects on the go leaving me with less daydreaming time, part undergoing renovations has pretty much beat joy of shopping out of me. As much as the reno’s are driving me crazy, I can’t wait to see the house when it is all done, especially as I decided last week to take the plunge and have a walk-in wardrobe built. I’m sure I will be insanely excited one it is finished but at the moment it just means I have no access to my clothes and shoes for could be the best part of a fortnight, urgh. I am now seeing the flaw in my coping strategy of throwing a few pairs of underwear and three t-shirts in a carrier bag to see me though. Since I can’t work from home at least 2 days this week I will have to go crawl around bin bags and boxes in attempts at constructing an outfit, wish me luck!

In the midst of all this I found myself with a spare half an hour in town and decided to cut through TK Maxx. Without even intending on shopping I inadvertently stumbled upon two amazing finds (isn’t that they way it always goes). The first thing to catch my eye was the Givenchy panther and iris print t-shirt. I’ve been liking Givenchy’s take on prints for the last few seasons, they are quite fun from what I usually see as such a serious brand. Since my Christopher Kane monkey t-shirt is still a firm favourite years later I’ve been looking out for something in a similar vein. Much as I admired the Givenchy panther & iris t-shirts, beautiful with the silky front panel I didn’t want one enough to stump up ┬ú300-400 for one. I couldn’t believe my luck finding one in TK Maxx especially so soon after they were released.

The next thing to catch my eye was this wonderful fuzzy sweater, I loved how soft it was. It looked rather Margiela to me all oversized with deconstructed sleeves. The tag threw me a little as I knew MMM used blank tags but I had only seen them with the four characteristic corner stitches, never the safety pin. After consulting with a few friends and doing a little research I discovered that the four stitches were a more recent move to work as a trademark – MMM had originally set out to be none-branded, the idea of the blank tag was so that you could remove it and thus wear your clothes without being a brand whore. But of course brands sell and so the four stitches, whilst still discrete became the brands trademark. As it has the Staff International manufacturer tag which began production of MMM in 1991 it dates the jumper to 1991-1997, 1997 was when the characteristic numbered tags to distinguish between all the MMM lines came into being. I can’t at the moment say if it is Artisanal ‘D├®fil├® ‘ or Line 1 but I would edge towards Line 1 as it looks more of a RTW piece to me. I hope to find out more about MMM, if you do too here is a great reference. For ┬ú70 and ┬ú30 respectively I really am made up with these finds, beautiful pieces that will stand the test of time.

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Is there a cost to being beautiful?

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The unloved pile including – Dior,Chanel, YSL, The Body Shop, Benefit, Topshop, Clinique, Butter, Cargo, Illamasqua, Bobbi Brown

I hold my hands up and admit I am a total beauty junkie. I can’t resist a shiny new nail polish or the perfect lipstick to update my look each season and also as a little treat. Even designer make-up products don’t come with the eye watering price tag as a pair of shoes from the same brand so I never feel guilty about it and I never really see it as a big purchase. You can buy a lipstick and┬áyou hardly notice the money going out. In fact I always protest I hardly have any make up, in truth I should really say I hardly use any make up. It wasn’t until clearing out my dresser this week, when I emptied out all my make up stash onto my bed and saw it all there in one huge pile that I realised how much I really had, and how much it must have all cost! Granted the majority of things are in current use, I tend to use things up before I buy new but I do like to have a good selection. What I did find annoying was the pile of unloved products, ones I’ve bought and been disappointed with or simply didn’t suit me. The slippery and smudgy YSL lipstick, the crumbly Bobbi Brown eye shadow, the gritty Dior lip gloss, the pore settling Illamasqua highlighter…┬á it all adds up to a fair amount. I’ve since learnt that one of my favourite brands Bobbi Brown will actually exchange unsuitable products, putting them even higher up on my hits list but I don’t know any other brand that does that. So even though I know all these products won’t get used, because they were so expensive I can’t bring myself to throw them away.

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My life in lipstick!  Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Tom Ford, YSL

On the other hand there are all the products I absolutely love! Above you can see my rather predictable choice in lipsticks, the majority Chanel for their incredible colours, 2x Bobbi Brown which are my everyday essentials, 2x YSL my summer brights, 2x Tom Ford for special occasions. I don’t know what I would do without my red lippie!

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Empties! Much loved products from past and present

Before lipsticks I was a gloss girl through and through, this Clinique Cherry Spritzer was my absolute favourite and must be about ten years old, the Dior pretty pink and Chanel shimmery bronze also much loved all nearly empty but still hoarded. The Benefit Rush Hour, Chanel concealer, The Body Shop lip line fixer (please restock this) and Hemp lip balm are all empties that I really loved – why keep them empty tubes I ‘ve no idea!

I’ve now managed to bin the empties and those which are well past sell by date, apart from the few mistake buys I have to say that yes beauty comes with a cost, but a girls make up bag is about far more than buying beauty. Its that extra bit of confidence a dab of concealer can bring, that pop of colour a bright lippy gives an outfit, those carefully manicured nails polish off your look, sexily flicked eye liner, super fun nail art. There are many things that money can’t buy, but a little cheerful make up treat is always worth every penny to me!

Are you a make up hoarder?

Street Style Manchester: Nikes vs Chucks

Dzastina and Lucy 17 Essex ASOS

Dzastina & Lucy both 17 from Essex, favourite shop ASOS

James Manchester Versace

James, Manchester, favourite shop Versace

Claire 27 Manchester, Cow

Claire, 27, Manchester, favourite shop Cow Vintage

┬áTrainers have long been a fashion item outside of the gym, however this summer they have really made an impact from Nike’s to All Stars or ‘Chuck’s’ as the cool kids now call them. If you like it loud and proud go for bright Nikes such as these neon Elastico. Or if you like a more laid back cool Converse might be for you, these star printed All Stars are a fabulous update on the classic. How do you wear yours?

Thea 15 Manchester Cow

Thea, 15, Manchester, favourite shop Cow Vintage

Jodie 21 Wirrel Topshop

Jodie, 21, Wirrel, favourite shop Topshop

Sam 15 Manchester Topshop

Sam, 15, Manchester, favourite shop Topshop

Bren 58 Phillipines Selfridges

Bren, 58, Philippines, favourite shop Selfridges