Psyche – Perfect Pitstop for Summer

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It’s nearly summer, well alright how about I rephrase that, its time for the new season! The weather might not be reliable but that doesn’t mean we can’t invest in some cheerful and bright clothes to put a spring in our step. I do love a good shop, both online and in person depending on what mood I am in, but it can be time consuming trailing around different shops and many department stores are a mish-mash of things which aren’t any one style. This is where specialist fashion store Psyche comes in, online or in real life (should you be near Cleveland) it is a designer life style store with the scale of a department store. With 30 years in the business Psyche stands out from the crowd as it retains a boutique atmosphere of carefully selected brands and merchandise, making shopping a thing of ease. I really like the way they cater for every budget without scrimping on quality, prices range from an average of┬á ┬ú50-┬ú200. This is really clever because it appeals to the way most of us shop these days, saving up for one statement, key item and hunting out lower priced pieces to top-up our look.

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I thought I would pick out some pieces which I would like to be wearing this season. The first piece is this stunning jacket by Maison Scotch as ┬ú248.99 it is what I call affordably expensive – something you would save up for, an investment item. I’ve paired it here with an on trend summer look, but it would work just as well with a skirt and blouse for work or over a summer maxi-dress. Prints were all over the runways again, mix them or match them, so long as you cover yourself in them! These Paul by Paul Smith trousers and shirt are perfect for wearing together or alone. You know I am a shoe girl and I am in love with these glittery Ted Baker heels, too stunning to save just for parties, rock them with your summer dresses and even jeans. You can’t go wrong with a clutch bag, this Ted Baker in Peptobismol pink is the colour of the season, such a great pop of colour. Don’t forget your summertime chic with a pair of designer shades like these from Marc Jacobs. The easiest way to update your look is some new sparkly jewellery. I really like to layer up necklaces so these White Leaf designs are perfect for that, with their purse friendly prices you can afford to buy more than one (┬ú19.99-┬ú29.99).

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Not forgetting the guys, here are some top spring buys which will see you into summer. My statement item of choice would be this Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply shirt ┬ú118.99, the patches make the print clashing trend easy. Baseball jackets have been high on the fashion radar for a while now and show no sign of going away so this Lacoste logo bomber is going to be a key piece well into next year. The simple shape means it will work with sweats as well as a shirt and pants. A nice pair of cargo trousers like these again from Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply are nice change to denim. Keeping with the smart-casual theme these Original Penguin boots have a Herringbone inlay which hones in on the Country Heritage trend. The Aviator is by far the most versatile style of shades, these Gucci ones don’t come cheap but are a great investment as they will never go out of fashion. I think accessories are made to have some fun with, this quirky Paul Smith tablet case is really sleek, whilst the Union Jack Barbour print holdall is practical and stylish. For a colour pop this Nixon watch is a subtle way of approaching colour and at ┬ú53.99 it is a great price.

What wardrobe update do you have your eye on for then new season?

Wearing a Red Dress to a Wedding

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Red is one of my favourite colours, in fact my red dress is one of my absolute favourite pieces. However when I mentioned to a friend that I was going to wear it to a wedding I was met with a gasp of outrage! Besides wearing white – obviously a big no, no, it seems red and black are somewhat frowned upon for wedding guests. Red seen as too sexy, black too morbid. I can’t agree with this at all, I think red is such a cheerful colour and there isn’t a happier occasion than a wedding. The trick is to make the colour more friendly with the right accessories, I wouldn’t say wear a little red dress with back seem stockings and black stilettos for the occasion. Rather I would ‘pretty it up’ using so summery and laid back pieces. To illustrate I chose this stunning red dress from Zac Posen it has such a beautiful cut with a fitted bodice and full skirt. The Calvin Klein Collection shoes instantly give it a more day time and summery look, the colours breaking up the block of red. Adding a bold statement necklace takes eyes away from the cleavage and ads another colour contrast, this one is from Rosantica. I chose a simple and classic black and white clutch from Lena Erziak which ties in with the shoes. As I am not really one for a facinator and up-do, I thought this unique ear cuff from Husamel Odeh would look amazing, shown off with hair tucked behind the ear. The jacket was an easy choice for me, I don’t think you can beat a biker for throwing on with absolutely anything, yes even evening dresses. This luxe Wunderkind snake print makes the perfect update. Very wearable red indeed!

All images Avenue32.com *Commissioned post

Spring Wish List

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Spring is in the air, all be it amongst the snow, but that doesn’t stop us lusting after warmer climates and lovely new things to wear. I have a stash of bright 80’s vintage dresses which are my summer staples. I can dress them up for work with a blazer or down with a leather jacket but I do like some nice new baubles to make them feel fresh each year. I think my key piece would be a watch, a nice big, statement watch. Definitely influence by Victoria Beckham who always has a beautiful chunky metal strap watch. This Chronograph watch from Swatch caught my eye with it’s lovely brushed gold finish and crystal studded face. It is nice that the fun brand of my youth now offers some seriously grown up stylish pieces. Did you have a Pop-Swatch? For the uninitiated they were a 90’s trend where the watch face popped out so you could swap it with your friends or remove the strap and clip it onto your school jumper, so cool!

I found the watch on the John Lewis website and was surprised at how much they had to offer. I admit it is more of a shop I go to for kitchen utensils but they have some amazing things on offer. Most notably is their vintage jewellery section which draws together collections from Susan Caplan, Eclectica and Alice Joseph to offer designer costume jewellery from the 50s-90s. It isn’t cheap, the stunning Eclectica 80s necklace above is ┬ú395 and the Alice Joseph 90s Valentino earrings ┬ú126.50, however you are guaranteed authenticity and mint condition. I really want to start investing more in my jewellery collection, I self confess a love for cheap tat, so it would be nice to have some classic pieces.

My other key items are heels and a clutch bag, there is nothing easier for me to pull an outfit together. As you know I don’t do flats unless absolutely forced so my summer sandals would be heels too. These Vera Wang ‘Hinda’ tick all the boxes, nice high but manageable heel and whilst a neutral the tan, white and black mix keep it interesting. They would also be just as fabulous with trousers as with dresses, maybe even shorts if we get super lucky with the weather.┬á You can’t beat Lulu Guinness for a quirky bag and this ‘Dial M for Murder’ clutch is perfect for a bit of fun.

Finally no new season look is complete for me without some new make-up. I am still loving Bobbi Brown and picked up lots of tips backstage during London fashion week – more of that to come soon. What did prove popular were the new Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks, super easy to use as an eye liner or smudge up for a smokey eye.

What’s on your Spring / Summer wish list?

Commissioned post

Boxing Day Sales Buys & a Mini Rant

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Look 1: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label ‘Loden Dangerous Animal jumper’; VW GL ‘Gablel Union Jack trousers’; VW vintage elevated court shoes

Look 2: VW GL ‘Fur Bolero’; VW GL ‘Money vest’ top; VW GL kilt, VW GL ‘Sack’ boots – with attractive bruised knees from ice skating

I snapped these photos just after getting back from the sales with my swag. I only took them to show some friends on facebook since they were heckling me (love you guys) and wasn’t going to put the outfits up on the blog until I had time to go outside and take some decent photos. Then I got a bit annoyed with the pressure bloggers are being put under lately, pressure to produce photos which are magazine quality. I started this blog with a pocket camera, taking self portraits in the bathroom mirror at work so I’m pretty sure my photo quality wasn’t the main selling point. Sure I love having time to create gorgeous outfits with lovely back drops, but I don’t write this blog full time, I have a job to do, on top of being sick a lot of the time and don’t always have time to set up photos, let alone find someone to help me do it. So I am flipping the V at the blog snobs because it goes against the fundamental purpose of blogs – the freedom to post whatever the hell you like!

I found the sales a bit rubbish this year – good on one hand since I don’t need the temptation but not particularly exciting. I’d had a few things from Vivienne Westwood on my wish list and was surprised to see them go to 50% right away. Since it was such a big discount I picked up the things I really wanted rather than wait until the final mark downs. My favourite thing by far are the union jack print trousers, they are just so wearable and of course I had to have something in the money print – the ‘vest’ is actually a long sleeve hi-low top. On the practical side (cough, cough) I got the ‘Animal’ jumper – always need more jumpers, and the bolero which is going to be perfect over sleeveless dresses. I have been swooning over the LOVE necklace all summer and was delighted to get this, the crystals are a very pale green which is a nice touch. Huge kiss to my mum for aiding and abetting the VW addiction- she is just as bad as me I swear!

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Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and so treats in the sale!

Trends: How to Stand Out this Party Season

I am starting to get excited about all the parties for Christmas and New Year’s now. But ever year there is the same problem, how do you make your party outfit stand out from the sea of little black dresses and sequins? One trend this season is to highlight the back, giving interest to your outfit without taking away from your dazzling smile. Stella McCartney has mastered this technique, subtly with the cut out detail ‘Exter Miracle’ dress and dramatically with the full tassel backed ‘George’ dress. Both striking yet classic LBD’s which you could dress up or down as you pleased. If you already have your perfect party dress, then you might want to brighten it up, the Alexander McQueen chiffon capes are a fabulous way to add impact to your outfit and also work as a light cover up. Shown here worn with blouse and trousers, they are also very versatile. There are plenty of jewel coloured shoes around, ruby, amethyst, emerald all perfect with black and gold dresses. If you fancy something different however, why not try a white shoe? With Spring / Summer collections becoming available even earlier this year you can buy now and wear well into spring. The Stella sling-blacks above would make equally fabulous party shoes as they would with a light dress in the summer.

Accessories are the simplest way to dress up an outfit and also easy to use when creating a day-to-night look for after work parties. A small clutch or bright bauble you can stash in your office draw. There are a multitude of power packing clutch bags on the scene right now, here from Alexander McQueen and Diane von Furstenburg. You could play out your own Cinderella fantasy with this charming clock face bag. Don’t be afraid to be bold with the jewels either, a nice gob-stopper cocktail ring or chandelier earring. This sweet bee from Delfina Delettrez is something a little more unusual to the average giant gem. Wearing a large necklace or layering up many thinner ones can create a cool feature and is as perfect for dressing up a party frock as it is an old t-shirt.

All items available from Matches Fashion

How will you be tackling the party season? Fancy any of these in your stocking?

My love of Panache Lingere

Is it just me or do all party dresses seem to create a problem for underwear? Why do they all seem to have these crazy straps and fabrics that make your regular bra super visible! Carrie Bradshaw might have been able to pull of the bra on show look but it isn’t for me, so I have the festive joy of having to find a bra to match my dress. I hate shopping for undies, hate it. I find it so boring and so annoying trying things on, so what I usually do is once I know the size I need from a brand I just stock up online. My fancy pants come from Agent Provocateur but my every day brand is Panache. The Moulded T-shirt bra is my favourite bra ever, it is so comfy and you can wear it under pretty much everything without having to worry about it. It comes in standard black, white and beige, what more could a girl need. Well going back to the party dress bra situation I can’t tell you how made up I was to discover the Panache porcelain bra range has been extended. There is now a Strapless bra and a Plunge bra in the collection. With the addition of the Viva to offer the bra in a different fabric and with more colour options. This has made me very happy indeed. I have been taking a look around their website and discovered they also do this fun range called the Cleo which you can see here – as much as I am partial to a plain bra they don’t make for an exciting blog post! The Cleo range however comes in all sorts of colours and styles, I really liked the cute candy shoot. What I noticed even about the fancier ranges is that they all have the same classic fit, designed for comfort. I am feeling tempted to stray from my basics. Whether I can cope with the pressure of having to match my undies every day is anther story.

Do you wear Panache? What’s you favourite lingerie brand?

Brand Focus: Deadly Ponies


Things that I like: Bags, dogs, old photos, funny animals, nature, New Zealand (well I like my friend Aimee and she is from there, never been myself), jewellery.
Things which Deadly Ponies are made of: Bags, dogs riding bikes, old photos, funny animals, nature, New Zealand, jewellery.

The first I saw of accessories brand Deadly Ponies was their gorgeous handbags, big ones, little ones, squishy ones, zippered ones, framed ones, ones for boys, ones for girls, coloured ones, bright ones, dark ones, all with an air of luxury. The jewellery is something special too, all inspired by nature, silver bone rings, bronze hawks claws, twisted rope knots, foxes wearing dicky bows… always a touch of playfulness to contrast the stark wilderness.
The deadly ponies website is like a Cabinet of Curiosities full of Victoriana. Designer Liam Bowden wanted to create a fairytale, an enchanted forest world where Deadly Ponies lived. A place where childhood dreams come together with sculptural arts and crafts.
Each piece is designed and made in New Zealand. Each piece is entirely hand made. Each piece is unique.

For the current collection Bowden cites influence from “Nature’s carnage… We were drawn to the idea of random objects being discovered in the strangest places – quilt’s in hedges, rug’s in trees – you get the drift.” You can read the full Deadly Ponies interview on EverMe, to find out what their favourite design is, how they decide on colour ways and what they carry around in their handbags.┬á A full list of stockist can be found on www.deadlyponies.com.

Lovely New Slippers

EMU ‘Jolie‘ Slippers

I’m ill again, or still ill I suppose. It is frustrating not being able to share outfit photos – believe me it’s not pretty right now, so I have been getting creative over the last week. It has actually been nice to get to write some different types of posts, but don’t worry I will bring out some extra special outfits to make up for it. After the hacking cough I’ve now lost my voice so I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I guess it must be winter then and with it the fun games you get to play on the commute to work… wrestling with people over who want the window open, using your scarf as a gas-mask as yet another person sneezes without a tissue, blerg. On the plus side I really do like winter fashion, I like coats, scarves, gloves and jumpers. But for the most part I prefer winter viewed from my window, whilst I’m wrapped up warm inside. Last year I got myself a pair of EMU sheepskin slippers and wore them pretty much every day since, they even survived two rounds in the washer. After doing the decorating in them, they started to look a bit sorry for themselves so I treated myself to a new pair. I have to say they are such high quality, I’d usually get through about six pairs of regular slippers over a year so they are good cost-per-wear too. I don’t just wear my slipper in the house either I end up running around the garden in them after the dogs and putting washing out and stuff so having a really sturdy pair has become essential. The sheepskin makes them so snug and warm, I don’t know what I would do if I had to go back to plain old slippers now. The only warning I need to give – make sure you don’t get too comfortable and go out without your shoes on, oh yeah I got half way down the path before realising I still had my slippers on once!

Sirius’ New Bed

Alternatively entitled The Princess and the Pea! You might remember me moaning about my dog Sirius’ gross old bed which was making my newly redecorated bedroom look messy. I tried buying him a new one, granted it was a bit smaller but otherwise identical. He wouldn’t even sit in it. So I washed his old bed – which he had to scent mark to make up for the fresh Lenor scent. I gave up and took to giving it a sly squirt of Febreeze every time I walked past it, much to the dogs annoyance.

┬áWhen Bags of Love asked if I wanted to review one of their products I initially thought I would go for a canvas print. I have had them made before and think they are perfect to brighten up any room. Taking a look around the website however I discovered they offered a huge choice of personalised products including handbags, make-up cases, silk scarves, soft furnishings, iPhone cases and trinket boxes. In fact I couldn’t think of anything they didn’t sell, which will be perfect for Christmas presents. Especially as I have become a photography geek!

But when I spotted the personalised dog beds I couldn’t resist. They are available in a range of sizes from small to XL so no reason you couldn’t have one for cats too. All you do is upload your photograph, choose the size and select a choice of trim for the edges, I chose the colour Coal with the Paw print design. Just a couple of days later the bed arrived in a snazzy silver parcel – so perfect for gifts. The fabric is wipe-clean, fully washable and hard wearing, the bed itself very soft and comfortable – I know this because I had to lay on it whilst all the dogs bounced all over me.

The bed looks really nice in my bedroom, much more stylish than a regular dog bed. Sirius’ really likes it too, he jumped right onto it, dragging his favourite ‘baby’ with him. On the first night I was woken up by some mysterious kerfuffle in the middle of the night. I looked down from the bed to see Sirius asleep on the floor, mysterious… and there was Simba (the big baby who will only sleep right next to me in my bed) all curled up with a bone in Sirius’ new bed ha ha! It definitely has the Pomeranian seal of approval and I can’t fault the excellent service and easy to use website, so I can really recommend the gorgeous gifts from Bags of Love.

Something to woof about!

Have you ever had a photograph made into a gift?

All About Vivienne Westwood World’s End

Who:

World’s End is a tiny crooked looking shop on the Kings Road, Chelsea, London. Set amongst the High Street stores, bars and coffee shops it could be quite unassuming if it weren’t for the huge clock on the front, with the hands going backwards – time never stands still in World’s End. Climb the crooked steps, ring the bell – no riff-raff please and enter through the crooked door.

Why all so crooked? Vivienne designed the shop to look like a Pirate ship, the floor is slanted just like the galley of a ship.

Why like a Pirate ship? Early on in Vivienne’s career whilst she was collaborating with Malcolm McLaren they first moved into 430 Kings Road when it was called Paradise Garage in 1970, they just rented the back room in those days selling Rock and Roll records. It was so successful they soon took over the entire shop selling Teddy boy clothing, the shop was fitted out to resemble a suburban Ted’s front room and in 1971 they changed the shop’s name to Let it Rock. Soon the duo bored of the Teddy boy fashion and became interested in Rock, the clothes became all about leather, zippers and studs. With the new fashion came another name for the shop Too Fast Too live Too Young Too Die, after James Dean. In 1974 another new look for the shop and the clothes being sold, SEX brought fetish gear into the main stream. It was in 1977 however when the shop became Seditionaries that brought about the fashion which most people know Westwood and McLaren for… Punk. Yet it was not until 1980 that the shop took the name World’s End. The galleon design came about with the Pirate collection, influenced by pirates of the high seas. This was the last collection Vivienne worked together with Malcolm on and since she liked the design so much the shop remained that way ever since.

What:

Isn’t it just the same as the other Vivienne Westwood shops? Nope, it’s not just the name and look of the shop that is different but the entire philosophy: ‘Timeless Fashion, Recycling and the Best Price’

World’s End issues their classic designs and accessories, therefore they don’t have to add the cost of months of design and development work into the retail price of the garment.

  • “Sell direct, which cuts out extra mark-up.
  • Use our left-over fabrics; these were originally more expensive.
  • Extract a new design out of the Gold Label collection and sell direct through WE.
  • Samples, toiles, show jewellery and accessories.
  • Political badges and artwork.
  • Special WE designs, D.I.Y. items, boxers, towels, and hats.
  • Never have a sale: Buy less ÔÇô Choose well ÔÇô Make it last! ”

– Vivienne Westwood

Cowboy hat £145, badge set £15 for 6, jewellery pin set £28 for 6, Liberty heart & key pin £5, babygrow £20, Belts £65 narrow /£86 wide

Why:

Well if all that doesn’t make World’s End sound special enough here are a few more reasons you might want to take a trip down there, if only just to visit such a historical shop! Vivienne herself personally chooses her favourite pieces for the shop, one design she particularly likes is the ‘Shirtwaister dress‘. This dress design was originally a piece from the Gold Label collection and would have come with the price tag of around┬ú1,000 but at World’s End you can purchase it for ┬ú295. I know this is still expensive but it is a piece that will last you a lifetime and it’s special cut is the most flattering fit for any body shape, trust me it is worth every penny. There are other classic items which don’t have a big price tag at all such as the brooches and t-shirts, even a pin for ┬ú5, there is something for every budget- how many designers can say the same? Vivienne’s aim is to make it possible for everyone to come to the shop and find something they can take home to treasure. Most of the clothes on the World’s End label are made in England, at the London studio so you are also supporting the British economy and it is hard to find clothes produced over here these days, it really does make it more special.

Classic print World’s End t-shirts ┬ú35 each

Lisa

As if you even needed another reason to visit but here you go, you get to meet Lisa the store manager who keeps the place buzzing. She is also one of the coolest people I know and always happy to help you should you need a mail order – world wide available, help with stock and sizes or just style inspiration. Lisa is always head to toe in Westwood and is just generally fabulous!

Awesome World’s End looks

World’s End also stocks an edit of Gold Label, Lee Denim and Anglomania to compliment the WE pieces. There are probably many more things I could say about World’s End but this is already a super long post, so anything else can be saved for another day. I have to dedicate this post to my friend Danny for sitting all night tweeting me reminding to finish this post and stop wondering off getting distracted, I know I promised it ages ago.

Vivienne Westwood and Agyness Deyn on the counter at World’s End

Visit the World’s End Blog

Read my friend Jason’s blog post about World’s End he has some fab photo’s

(First image my own, rest courtesy of Vivienne Westwood World’s End)