Tips: Getting Ready for Holidays

Holidays in the Sun: Top Tips for Packing Light

More and more travellers are becoming tempted by travelling light nowadays, with airlines charging for luggage by the kilo and baggage restrictions becoming more and more strict. The problem is, when youÔÇÖre heading abroad for some well-deserved time in the sun, travelling light can be easier said than done. After all, you need enough dresses and outfits to last you and you have to account for daytime and evening activities too; not to mention the toiletries and added extras that youÔÇÖre reluctant to leave home without!

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If youÔÇÖd like to try and keep the weight of your case down this year though, here are some super tips and advice that can help you.

ÔÇó If youÔÇÖre travelling with your other half, try and narrow down your items so that you can both share a suitcase. ItÔÇÖs entirely doable and means you will only have to check in one suitcase, rather than two.
ÔÇó Make a list and stick to it. Be ruthless, you probably wonÔÇÖt need half of your wardrobe if youÔÇÖre savvy about your outfit choices!
ÔÇó Stick to a colour scheme, so that you can mix and match the items that you take, and reduce the number of chunkier items such as shoes to the ones that go with all the outfits.
ÔÇó Opt for clothing that can double up as daytime and eveningwear. Take a look at the George dresses for example, and pack a few accessories so that the day dresses you take can also be glammed up for the evenings.
ÔÇó Think about what you use at home. Chances are, if you donÔÇÖt use it at home, you wonÔÇÖt use it abroad, so donÔÇÖt bother taking it!
ÔÇó Consider buying items there. If youÔÇÖre a bit of a shopaholic, chances are youÔÇÖll pick up a few bits when youÔÇÖre in the resort, so you donÔÇÖt have to worry about overpacking.
ÔÇó Take miniature toiletries. Do you really need a full-size tube of toothpaste, or your clunky hairdryer? Probably not. Check whether the hotel youÔÇÖre staying in has a hairdryer in the room already, and use travel-size toiletries to save on space.
ÔÇó If youÔÇÖre going away for a while, and you know you will have access to a vacuum cleaner when youÔÇÖre there, you could use vacuum packs so that the clothes you take occupy very little space. Obviously, this wouldnÔÇÖt be very helpful if you canÔÇÖt access a vacuum cleaner for the return journey!
ÔÇó Rolling up your items can take up less space than otherwise, depending on the clothes you are taking.
ÔÇó Take laundry detergent (or better still, buy some there!) and hand wash your clothes rather than taking too many outfits. If youÔÇÖre travelling to a hot climate, they will dry in no time and thereÔÇÖs no reason why you canÔÇÖt re-use items rather than wearing something completely different seven days in a row.
ÔÇó Think about what youÔÇÖre going to be doing with your time. If your plans revolve around lazy days on the beach, youÔÇÖre not going to need daytime outfits for every single day and, luckily, swimwear takes up very little space!

Travelling light doesnÔÇÖt mean leaving essential bits and pieces at home; it just requires a little extra thought. If youÔÇÖre super-savvy, youÔÇÖd be able to get it all into your carry-on luggage ÔÇô one step at a time though, eh! For even more packing tips check out the Queen of packing Style at Every Age blog.

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Virgin Start Up – Help Setting up Small Businesses

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It’s never been easy to take the plunge and set up your own business, even with the best ideas and sound business knowledge the biggest hurdle for most is the financial side of it. With so many struggling to even get on the property ladder, saving up to kick start a new business idea can seem far from your grasp. For budding designers creating a startup is a whole lot of hard work, even when you make a name for yourself it is no guarantee your business will thrive without a sound business plan. Virgin Startup is a not for profit organisation set up to help over 18s in England not only with funding but with resources and advice in setting up their own businesses.

For many years I have campaigned for more focus on small business and start ups as the way to get growth in the economy and to create more jobs. This needs to be backed by more bank lending and start up loans for entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson

As someone who has had a few business ventures over the years I cannot tell you how valuable the service Virgin Startup is offering would have been to me back then. Its not all about getting the funds but knowing what to do once you have them. Whiles the scheme offers help applying for funding there is also help in developing your business plan, help with marketing and how to create financial projections. The help doesn’t stop there, if funding is granted for a startup loan support is continued with training, workshops, master classes, peer-to-peer networking and one-to-one mentoring. The mentoring really appealed to me as not everyone has someone to turn to for advise, as much as friends can provide support having someone independent and expert in the field is priceless in giving you the hard truth as well as rallying along those fabulous ideas. There is even help on tax and insurance, yes the boring side but absolutely necessary in a financial plan. How about business and staffing laws? Nope not a topic I know much about either but the easy to use online Toolkit has introductions on all the aspects you will need to consider. If you want to find out more there are also some around the country ‘Houthouse’ tours which you can book onto, a great place to take those first steps.

Check out the video to see the bright sparks Virgin Startup is already helping including stylists and designers – could this be you?

What to Wear on a First Date, with the Help of Vogue

 

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Lindsay Wixon ‘The doll house’ Vogue Italia

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Kate Moss ‘Couture’ Vogue US

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┬á‘In the mode’ Vogue Australia

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‘The sweetest thing’ Vogue Australia

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‘Brief encounter’ Vogue UK

I always enjoy getting emails from readers, getting to chat with you all and helping where I can. Sometimes however I admit I am a bit mystified by some requests, but never wanting to let anyone down I give all questions my best shot. Tracking down vintage Chanel check, authenticating Westwood boots check, offering tips on dressing for petites check. Giving advise on what to wear for dates, um fail! I hold my hands up I really have no idea, I would say my own dress sense is well on the man-repelling side so I am not sure I’m qualified to answer this one. Never a quitter I turned to the two places that never let me down, Vogue and the internet! These are a selection of Vogue editorials which I think offer up a pretty nice selection of ┬ádate worthy outfits, pretty pastel, frills and florals with a little bit of quirky thrown in. Now you see the bit of quirky is where you might be going wrong date-wize but well I did say I couldn’t be trusted with these matters, however I think big clompy glitter Miu Miu boots are the perfect accompaniment to a candy cotton dress. After consulting the interwebs apparetnly there is a simple formula for finding your perfect first date, oh alright its a bit tongue in cheek but fun all the same. I discovered that my ideal date would like to eat fish and chips whilst bowling, works for me and with all that going on I’m sure I can get away with a crazy outfit, right?! Okay, okay if you came here looking for some sensible tips then you can’t go wrong with these five rules – keeping comfy and being yourself sounds good to me. Now smooch proof lipstick, that is something I do know about…

(Images via Trendhunter.com, thegroundmag.com, uptowntwirl.com)

Discover eBay Collections- Sponsored article

As you all know I am a huge fan of eBay, I’m obsessed with it! I have some searches which I have to check every single day for updates, those long lost designer shoes, that never forgotten vintage jacket, kitsch paraphernalia you name it. So us eBay obsessives can share this crazy behaviour with you all, they created ‘eBay collections’ which is a bit like Pinterest but on eBay. You can create boards with all of your favourite things on the site, themed in any way you like by colour, by size, by object… absolutely anything.

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This is a screen shot of some of  my Fashion Pearls of Wisdom blog eBay collections

Things I am hunting out and watching for spring / summer. I adore colourful vintage handbags, the quirkier the better and if it can feature a nice bit of parrot embroidery well then its a winner. My staple for this spring is a gorgeous pastel coat in candy pink, blue, mint and lemon. They are all over the high street but can be pricey so I have been prowling eBay for a cheaper option. Something I am always looking for is a new piece of jewellery, currently vintage brooches and strands of pearls are my favourite. That’s one of my other eBay-loves, the fact you can easily hunt vintage without having to trawl the shops, you can just search directly for what you want be it 50s dress or striped t-shirts. You can also find high end designer pieces at bargain prices on eBay so I use it to keep track of my favourite designers, half my wardrobe must have come from the site I am sure.

The collections are easy to use, all you have to do is sign up to eBay, if you don’t already have an account then start creating by clicking the ‘add to collections’ button on an item page you wish to add. This can be found just below the ‘watch item’ button. You then get the option to choose a title for the collection and you can describe a little about it, why you are ┬áinspired by it, what you are collecting etc. You can also add a description to each item. It is super fun, especially for those of us with ‘Watched’ lists longer than our arms!

It’s also fun to share the hunt with others, you can follow friends and like minded people’s collections too. I am enjoying finding fellow vintage fans. I would love to follow all your collections so do send me your links either in the comments below, via Twitter or Facebook, can’t wait to see what you all create!

eBay have got many famous faces such as Dannii Minogue and Kelly Hoppen to create collections too, explore and see who you can find sharing your obsessions. 

Sponsored Post: In partnership with eBay

Size & Style Mega Guide – New Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Shoes

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Top shelf, left – right: Sack boots black, Tracey trainers black, Seditionary boots red, Bondage boots natural, Animal toe courts gold and silver

Middle shelf, left – right: Slave Rocking Horse shoes white, black red; Ballerina Rocking Horse shoes white and black; Golf Rocking Horse shoes white, black and white, black

Bottom shelf, left – right: Clomper Slaves tea garden and brown/brown squiggle; Roman 3-Strap red leather (limited edition), grey suede, black; Clomer Slave mock croc, Regent sandals mock crock

Where do I start? After mentioning the new Gold Label Vivienne Westwood shoes now available at Worlds End, I got a bijillion emails about them. So I figured I best try and make a post with all the info that I have – of course you can call Lisa and the girls at the store for specifics.

New Materials/Colours:

Squiggle printed leather – Brown / brown squiggle; White/ red squiggle; Brown/ navy squiggle

Canvas – Grey, Khaki, Red, Green, Black

Special Prints – Green Mock Croc, Tea Garden

Patent – Black, Red

Kid Leather – Black, Red, Brown, (specials Gold, Silver, White)

Pirate Leather – Brown, Black, Yellow, Red Brick, Grey Suede

Suede – Black, Red, Grey, Brown

All straps will now be ‘aged brown leather’ instead of natural leather

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New* & Classic Styles:

*Clomper – Pirate boot – choice of

*Clomper – Slave sandal – choice of Mock croc, Tea garden (limited edition blue floral print), Squiggle, Canvas

Rocking Horse Shoes – Slave – Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Rocking Horse Shoes – Ballerina – Kid leathers + White,

Rocking Horse Shoes -Boots – Kid leathers + White

Rocking Horse Shoes -Golf – Kid leathers + White; Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Roman 3 Strap – Pirate Leather, Canvas

*Pirate Sling Back – Pirate Leather, Canvas, Patent

Pirate Boots – Pirate Leather, Squiggle

Seditionary Boots – Canvas with black leather; *plus special edition green canvas with tan leather

Bondage Boots – Canvas

*Elevated Bondage Boots – Squiggle

Elevated Court shoes – Suede, Patent, Squiggle, Special

*Elevated Regent Slave Sandals – Patent, Squiggle, Special

Bag Boots – Suede

Tracey Trainers – Black / Black patent trim; Natural / multi; *Gold/ Silver

Animal Toe Courts – Suede, Patent, Gold, Silver

*Animal Toe 3 Strap – Canvas

Low 3 Strap – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

T-Bar – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Mary-Jane – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Wave bye-bye to – Sack boots, Piped courts, Sunny shoes, Animal Toe Mules, Elevated Gillie, Baby Rocking Horse and all navy blue leather

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Size & Fit

This can obviously only be my personal opinion, but most people I’ve spoken too seem to agree on this. If you can get to the shop then you are best to go try them for yourself, but I know many of you can’t so here you go. I am a UK 5.5 / 38.5 I usually find it hard to get shoes which fit, as most places don’t make half sizes, I also have a wide fitting foot. I am such a fan of Westwood shoes as I find they fit me perfectly in both width and length, as I’m a half size I find the shoes fit me perfectly so those of you who are a standard size may find they run a little big. With that I can tell you I take a 5 in all Gold Label shoes and low / flat boots except the Animal toe boots i.e Bondage boots and Bag boots. I go up to a size 6 and wear a padded insole in the high heel boots as I find the toe separations rub one of my toes, this doesn’t happen in my Animal toe court shoes so I take a 5 in those – I know this doesn’t make any sense since they are in effect the same style but that’s just what I find best! I also take a 5 in pirate boots, I find they fit generously however they can be a little tight where the stitching is around the foot until you break them in, leathers break easier than suede.

The Clomper boots and sandals I find a small fit, they are a nice wide fit due to the Clomper shaped sole however the part where you put you foot in (the vamp) is low down so there isn’t much room to move your foot. In these I go up to a size 6 which fits perfectly.

The Elevated courts are also a small fit, they have a narrow foot but are regular in length. Unfortunately for me this means I can’t wear them, the 5 is painfully tight and they 6 flops off my foot. The problem with court shoes is that you can’t do anything to keep them on your foot, they need to fit perfectly, the Gillie or boots would be better in my case as you can tighten the laces.

Clomper Pirate boots Brown/ Brown

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Mock Croc Clomper Slave Sandals & ElevatedCourts

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The sandals I am trying here are size 7 and the courts size 6, I think you can see that they are both far too big. In the courts I could get my finger down the back of my heel they were so big!

Strap Colour Evolution

Something really interesting is that the straps will now be darker. Usually the straps on Pirate boots and Bondage boots are left natural so they are a pale nude-pink. Over time natural leather will darken and take on a lovely honey coloured patina. Most of you I know are far too impatient to wait for this to happen naturally and want to speed things along, well it seems like Westwood have obliged and are now darkening the leather.

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Here you can see the pale pink of the natural leather straps compared with the new straps on my Pirate Clompers. On the right are straps from fresh natural leather, new version of the straps and two worn in straps one of around 18 months the other a few years.

Anything else you want to know, just ask

Christmas Gifts Made Easy

I have to say I am pretty much a last minute shopper. Unless I see something which would make the absolute perfect gift, I find myself sat a week before Christmas without any gifts, no cards wrote out and I haven’t even began to think about food. So here I am with presents still needed and a whole lack of desire to head out into town whilst it’s so busy. I bring to you the cheats guide to Christmas:

1. GiftGen – This is a cool little website which lets you enter gift requirements such as age, sex, price range and interests. Then it generates a list of suitable gifts. I think it is brilliant, especially when you have people you don’t know all that well such as distant relatives or partners family to buy for.

2. Christmas Shopping List app – There are tons of fun and useful Xmas apps to entertain yourself with such as the Santa Photo Booth. But one really useful app is the simple shopping list, which lets you keep score of who you have to buy for and your budget. Yes you could use a pen and paper or your memo but I’ve borrowed my mums iPad and I’m enjoying the novelty!

3. Gift Wrapping Services – Personally I really quite like wrapping gifts, but after the 5th pair of slippers it can become monotonous. So many stores these days from M&S to Amazon offer free gift wrapping which you may as well take advantage of to save you time and money.

4. Delivery – One thing I always fail on are the Xmas postage dates. Every year I totally forget and the people I won’t be seeing in person end up with their gift sometime in the new year. We don’t even have a post office in our town any more which is beyond inconvenient! Fear not Parcelforce is here to help. You can book online delivery where they even come and pick the parcels up from your house. Absolute lifesaver!!!

There you have it, easy peasy, leaving you more time for merry making.

Do you have any tips to share?

Pearl goes Back to School: Useful Photography Courses for Bloggers

A few weeks ago I decided to put to use a Groupon voucher I had. After stalking Groupon for a while, obsessively checking for new deals each day I thought the best thing to go for would be something that saved me the most money and also take the chance to do something I wouldn’t usually be able to. I toyed with a few offers but when a photography course came up I knew I had to go for it. I’ve never had any professional photography lessons and I hold my hands up, I was struggling to get to grips with my new DSLR. So on a quite Sunday the week before London Fashion Week I found myself in Piccadilly, Manchester at Manchester Photographic (who don’t just have studios in Manchester by the way).

The one day beginners course was just ┬ú29 with Groupon instead of the regular ┬ú90 – suddenly making something out of most peoples price range very affordable. The day was not just educational, but really fun too. I can’t believe how much I learnt. The tutor was very approachable and took time to make sure everyone got some one-on-one time. I had always been a bit suspicious about Groupon, I wondered if you would get a lesser service since you were saving so much money but I would have been happy to pay the full price the course was so good. Manchester Photographic hold lots of other courses and as a blogger I really think it is worth the investment. The courses I think would really benefit bloggers are below but do check out the website to see the full range. Most people on the course I attended were there just to have fun so anyone can go along be it for professional or amateur purposes. If you want to use your skills for blogging or just for getting better holiday snaps.

  • Beginners and Intermediate levels – no point having that fancy camera if you can’t make the most of it!
  • Photoshop – so you can get to grips with post shoot editing and effects
  • Street Safari – all the tricks of shooting street style photography and also a great first step into something that can be rather intimidating
  • Fashion Intro – from creating glamourous images to tackling client briefs, everything to get you started in fashion photography

As for Groupon, it was so easy to use, you just buy the offer you want and they send you a voucher to redeem with the company holding the offer. Ive signed up to receive emails for deals in my area so I don’t have to scour the site everyday, I can just scan an email and see if anything takes my fancy. All sorts of things crops up from weekend breaks, beauty products, eating out and cooking utensils, it is a real mix.

Here are some of the photo’s I took on the course. As you can see just playing around with simple things such as composition and focus make s huge difference to the quality of your photos. For me learning about Aperture and Shutter speed has made the most difference to my photos – creating that beautiful dreamy background effect and capturing action shots without the blur. Also understanding the rules of composition I now understand why some photos work better than others. Getting to put all my new skills to work the next week at LFW was the best part, I’m sure you will agree that my street style and runway shots from this season are so much better, so much so that many have been used for professional purposes outside my blog – keep your eye on my Featured In page!

Have you ever used Groupon? Have you taken a Photography Course?

Would you like a post on photography tips?