Monday, 30 April 2012

Take Me to Funky Town

It may have been grey and damp outside, but last Thursday it was bright and sparkly inside Bolesworth Castle, venue for the evening's fashion delights. 'Bottega' lifestyle store, and 'Cleo B' brought a slice of Studio 54 glamour to Cheshire, with their 'Take Me to Funky Town' salon presentation. The event was to raise funds for 'Claire House' children's hospice, which needs £2.5m a year to cover its running costs.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to spend some time behind the scenes in the run up to the event. It was really interesting to see exactly what goes into organising such an event. The answer? A lot of style and an equal amount of hard work!

The fabulous goodie bags. Thanks to Selina Clark for the photo

Before the main event, all of the invited guests had the opportunity to peruse a selection of items from 'Bottega', 'Cleo B', 'Fancie's Vintage' and 'Rumpus Resport', all whilst sipping on raspberry mojitos. Although I had seen the run through, I was still excited to see the show for real. The presentation began with a few words from Abi from 'Claire House', who spoke about the work the hospice does, and who also thanked the guests for having already raised £750 by purchasing raffle tickets. We also heard from Sam from 'Bottega', who inspired serious jacket envy in me with her pink floral 'Elizabeth and James' Bruce blazer.

Love this blazer and its combination of bold print and neon colour

The first look of the evening was dedicated to Cleo B's 'Sucker MC' shoes, with their distinctive gold cassette heels. These are definitely a statement shoe, so they were perfect paired with a simple outfit of 'Des Petits Hauts' gold pleated skirts and bandeau tops. Funky but still feminine.

Next up was the poolside chic look. The simple block colour maxi dresses allowed the guests to focus on the footwear. My personal favourite was the 'Jam Master Jay' heel. I love a high heel (and these are VERY high!), but what really caught my eye was the great combination of fabrics (raffia; metallic leather and suede, in a combination of black, gold and nude tones. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a close up of the shoes during the presentation, but you can see them in the bottom right of the photo below.

The third look of the evening was "I'm in Miami, Girl". If the audience wasn't already in awe of the gorgeous models, then this section definitely gave us pause for thought. After wowing the audience with some gorgeous beach coverups from 'Rumpus Resort', they followed this by looking seriously hot in stylish swimwear, also from 'Rumpus Resort'. My personal favourites were the peacock print maxi from Vix, and the Missoni kaftans.

Perhaps my favourite look of the evening was "Le Freak, C'est Chic", and not just because I love that song, which was itself inspired by Studio 54. This might have had something to do with the fact that there was a large amount of 'Elizabeth and James' clothing in this section, and I absolutely love the label's latest collection. I love the combination of vibrant colours and striking prints.

If we weren't already in a disco frame of mind, then the "Saturday Night Fever" look certainly took us to the discotheque. My favourite looks were the red jeans and American Retro embellished blazer worn by Samio; Amy in the wide leg trousers and 'Elizabeth and James' pink blazer, and Janine in a silk top from 'Elizabeth and James', paired with 'One Teaspoon' palazzo pants.

The final look of the evening, was "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life". There were some great pieces in this section, but the pieces that really caught my eye (and the light) were the gorgeous 'Lorient' sequinned blazer from 'Antik Batik', and a vintage embellished tunic from 'Fancie's Vintage'.

Although there was a definite 1970s vibe throughout the presentation, and a number of vintage pieces were used on the night, all of the outfits managed to look really contemporary and wearable.

After the presentation had finished, we had the opportunity to get to take an even closer look at the pieces from the presentation, in one of the rooms adjacent to the show space. All of the ladies present couldn't wait to try on the pieces from the collection and to take a closer look at all of Cleo B's designs. There is such a lot of detail in Cleo's shoes, that I am going to devote a whole post to them later this week. Every single piece available got a fantastic reaction, which is testament to the fantastic edit that 'Bottega' offers. I don't think that the ladies present needed any encouragement to purchase, but if they did, then the fact that 10% of all sales on the night went to 'Claire House' was an added bonus.

If you like the look of the pieces in the presentation, then you will find them in 'Bottega' in Tarporley, Cheshire. But be quick! Judging by the number of ladies I saw ticking off items on their show programmes, the items in question might not be around for long! I am going to blog separately about my trip to 'Bottega' itself, and its fantastic 'The Birdcage' cafe, so watch this space!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Lost in Funky Town

Lost: 1 fashion and beauty blogger. Whereabouts: Last seen in Funky Town. Watch this space for further details.........

Monday, 23 April 2012

Lou Lou Chats with Alex Stedman, blogger ('The Frugality') & Junior Fashion Editor ('Red' magazine)

Today's 'Lou Lou Chats' is with Alex Stedman, whose blog 'The Frugality' is one of my favourite recent blog discoveries. Alex describes her blog as "not about shopping in Primark, or living off toast every night. I believe there are people out there like me: I live off every penny I earn. My wage goes towards my mortgage, bills, travel, food and (sadly) my credit card bill. But I don't set my sights low, I still want Eames chairs for my flat and the Mulberry Tillie handbag. I'm just sensible with money where I can be to afford the luxuries." In addition to writing a fabulous blog, Alex is also Junior Fashion Editor at 'Red' magazine, so has a great insight into what goes on in the fashion industry.Therefore I was delighted when she agreed to answer questions for my blog.


Describe your style in three words.

Boyish, preppy, contemporary.

Alex Stedman. I love this outfit that she is wearing - great combination of leopard print and neon!

Please tell us more about yourself.

I work on a magazine, live in South London, love fashion and am a workaholic.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I just thought there were too many blogs that look the same. They had pretty pictures but were all photos of them wearing shoes that cost £700. This is not normal. I wanted to show people the ‘real’ side of fashion. A Fashion Editor that does cook her own meals, rather than go to Shoreditch House every weekend.

This 'Theyskens Theory' bag inspired serious bag-envy in me!

Why did you decide to take the direction you have with your blog, as opposed to a ‘straight’ fashion blog?

Same as above really, everyone who I told about my idea said ‘I’d love to read that’, so that gave me the push I needed. I also wanted to do it before someone else did.

Has there been a particular highlight for you since starting up ‘The Frugality’?

Just seeing how many people click onto the site has been really gratifying. The amount of people who have found my blog just from browsing the web, or through recommendations has been overwhelming.

What has been your best bargain ever?

Oh god. Everything I buy from H&M is always a bargain. They are so on the pulse without the hefty price tag. I love my New Look studded brogues. I also have a pair of Balenciaga sandals that cost me £200 in the Matches sale 3 years ago, but they are STILL my favourite sandals of all time.

Studded brogues, £44.99 - New Look

What would be your top tips for hunting down a bargain?

With shops like H&M, Cos, Zara, the key is just to go in regularly, there is always new stock. With designer stores, make sure it’s only something you wanted full price but couldn’t afford.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing that you would buy?

Proenza Schouler PS1 bag….and a desk for my study

Do you think that there is a perceived divide between people working for the ‘traditional’ fashion media and bloggers?

I am turning to bloggers more and more for information hot off the press. Whenever I google a fashion news story, it’s always a blog I find it on first. I think it has made the ‘traditional’ magazines up their game in terms of fast, on the pulse information. However, I also think that magazines have more time to think about the reader and the articles, and hate it when I see ‘filler’ posts on blogs that haven’t got a specific purpose.

What advice would you give to people who are looking to get into a career as a stylist/fashion writer?
Sorry to say, work experience. It is invaluable: what you learn, the contacts you make, not just on the magazine but also the other side with PRs. Every paid position I ever got was through recommendations from work experience or making a contact somewhere. I was also a hard worker.
What would your ideal weekend be?
A lie-in. My weeks are so hectic I enjoy being in my flat on the weekend, watching films on the sofa, maybe a takeaway.
Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you in the fashion industry?
I have always loved the effortless style of Emmanuelle Alt. And people like Sarah Curran from my-wardrobe. The website is looking great these days.
Top Tip 
“Expect the worst. Hope for the best.” This is what the 75 year old twins in Angela Carter’s ‘Wise Children’ always said. I can’t even count how many times I have said it now, but it has got me through many a stressful moment!

You can find Alex on Twitter as @TheFrugality and can see her fashion styling in 'Red' magazine, which is on a newstand near you now!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Olivia Rubin for Dorothy Perkins - 'Postcards From'

I don't know if there is something in the fashion air at the moment, but there is yet another designer-high street collaboration in the offing. This time around, it is Olivia Rubin for Dorothy Perkins, with her 'Postcards From' collection.

Olivia Rubin (R) wearing one of her pieces from the 'Postcards From' collection

Olivia Rubin is a graduate of Central Saint Martin's College, and has been designing for seven years. She is best known for her graphic prints (e.g. her signature brick print) and simple silhouettes, and is a favourite with celebrities.

The 'Postcards From' collection includes a range of tops and dresses featuring shell and bird prints inspired by Olivia's memories of "summer fun and carefree holidays". The prints are a combination of neutral shades with pops of bright pink.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from the collection.

Will you be buying something from this collection? I would love to know which pieces have caught your eye.

If you like the look of this collection, then keep an eye out for the accessories and swimwear to follow later in the year.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lulu Guinness x Uniqlo

Hot on the heels of their collaborations with Laura Ashley and Orla Kiely, Uniqlo have pulled another fantastic collaboration out of the bag. Tomorrow morning sees the launch of the Lulu Guinness x Uniqlo collection. The collection is made up of 12 different t-shirts, all of which display that quirky vintage design that Lulu Guinness is known for. The t-shirts will retail for £14.90.

The Orla Kiely collection sold out within a few hours, so if you like the look of these, you better be quick!

Here are some of my favourites from the collection:

 I really liked the pictures that Lulu Guinness released on her Tumblr, of her staff wearing some of the designs.I love the slogans scrawled on the walls, including: "You can never have too many handbags." and "Don't forget your lipstick." Wise words!

Will you be buying one of Lulu's designs from the collection?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in 'Heat Wave'

At the moment, one of my favourite beauty looks is the 'bold lip' look. It is only in the last two years that I’ve started experimenting with stronger and brighter colours. I’m not really sure why, but slowly and surely, the stronger colours in my makeup collection are the ones that I find myself wearing. I love the way that a bold lip colour can transform a look, and it can act as an instant self-confidence booster, in one application. And they don't come much bolder than one of my most recent beauty purchases, NARS 'Heat Wave'. 

'Heat Wave' is a bold red, with orange undertones. Although the texture is semi-matte, I didn't find it too drying as some matte lipsticks can be. However, I do always make sure that my lips have been prepped by using a lip scrub and balm before applying this, just in case!

This is a highly-pigmented shade, which gives full coverage. I find that it lasts really well, and that I don't need to keep re-applying it to maintain the colour. I love this lipstick, and it has become my 'go to' lipstick of choice.

'Heat Wave' is available from all NARS counters, including John Lewis (where I got mine from) for £17.50.

Are you fan of a bold lip colour, or do you prefer more neutral shades?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bioderma Crealine H20 Micelle Solution

On my recent trip to Paris, I made sure I paid a visit to a Pharmacy, as French pharmacies are legendary for the high quality and range of beauty and skincare products that they stock. To help me in my search, I had printed off the list of products that Gwyneth Paltrow recommended on her blog, GOOP. Sadly I couldn't get hold of all of them, but I did manage to find two of them: Crealine H20 Micelle Solution and Avibon. I will wait a while to see the results of the Avibon Vitamin A cream, which is supposed to be great for smoothing the skin, getting rid of blemishes and keeping wrinkles at bay.

Today's blog post is about the Crealine H20 Micelle Solution, which is apparently a favourite of many an international makeup artist. After using it once, I understood straight away why so many people rave about this product. This unscented makeup remover is brilliant. It takes off all my makeup with a few gentle sweeps of the cotton pad, and is really gentle and soothing on the skin. It doesn't sting at all, and there is no need to rub your eyes hard to remove the makeup.

Sadly I didn't get a chance to go back to the pharmacy to stock up on more bottles of this, so I was really pleased to find out that I can now find it in the UK at Le Guide Sante . It is currently on sale for £9.58, for the 500ml size. I have no doubt that I will be purchasing this again. It is definitely the best and most effective makeup remover I have tried.

Are there any other French pharmacy products that you have tried and love?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lou Lou Chats with 'The Grit Doctor' a.k.a Ruth Field

Today's 'Lou Lou Chats' feature is slightly off-topic for my blog, but I really wanted to share it with my readers. I recently agreed to take part in the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge, to raise funds for a local children's hospice, Ty Hafan . The challenge involves climbing the three highest mountains in Wales in under 15 hours! It is fair to say that my fitness levels are not quite at their peak, therefore I knew that if I am going to complete the 3 Peaks, I am going to have to put in some serious fitness work beforehand. A number of my friends on Twitter had been raving about a book which had motivated them to get off their backsides and start running. I was intrigued, so decided to buy it. It was definitely a wise purchase on my part. The book in question? 'Run Fat Bitch Run' by Ruth Field. In the book, Ruth, and her alter-ego 'The Grit Doctor' provide no-nonsense advice that was just what I needed to get up off the sofa and start running. I have started running 3/4 times a week, and am really enjoying it. If you had told me a few months ago that I would be enjoying getting up an hour earlier to run 5k before work, I would not have believed you. I am definitely not a natural 'morning person' and running in public was not in my natural comfort zone. But I have surprised myself by how much I am enjoying it. As I have found the book really motivating, I was delighted when Ruth agreed to answer some questions for my blog.


Describe your attitude to fitness in three words. 

Essential.  Empowering. Invigorating.

Please tell us more about yourself.   

I'm a mother of twins who runs.

Why did you decide to write the book? 

My pregnancy hormones were raging and I was trying to persuade my husband to take up running and so the book was born!

How is the book different from other fitness books?  

It has a sense of humour.

Do you have any pet peeves about the fitness industry?   

It has become overly complicated and the emphasis is too much on spending money and looking to other people/trainers/classes which can take responsibility away from the individual trying to get fit.

Is running really for everyone? 

I think so - as generalisations go - but there are always going to be exceptions and there is no one perfect exercise.

What has running done for you? 

It really helps me live my life much more effectively.

What do you see as the main benefit of running? 

I'm convinced it makes me happier which is huge.

Have there been any particular highlights for you since the book was published? 

Getting requests like this, signing books, hearing inspiring stories from readers who have taken it all on.  The whole experience has been a pleasure and continues to be so, I just had an email saying I'm number 1 again in Ireland which has put an enormous smile on my face.

What has been your favourite review of the book?   

Oh that’s difficult to say, I have enjoyed them all.  I loved that Emma Thompson read it and approved as I've always really admired her and I really thought Helen Rumbelow did a brilliant job serialising it in The Times just before it came out.

Have you had any negative feedback to the book? What was your response?

Very little actually, I have been surprised as I thought more people would take offence to the title. Each time there has been some negative feedback I try to see it from their point of view, accept the criticism and then try to find some common ground.  Everyone is allowed to express their opinion and I welcome any debate.

You are always very active on Twitter, responding to your readers. Was this a conscious decision from the start, or just something that happened over time?   

My editor and the team at Little,Brown who are so professional were very encouraging about using social media, and taught me how to use it as I was hopeless, but to be honest I've just really enjoyed hearing from people and responding to them has been a joy and very inspiring for me.

Where is your favourite place to go running?  

Highgate Woods at the moment.

If you could run anywhere, where would it be?   

Barefoot on a beach at sunrise in South Africa's Nature's Valley.

What next for the ‘Grit Doctor’?   

Another book or two!

What is your top tip for motivation? 

Don’t think about motivation too much.  I rarely 'feel' like running.  Get into good habits and you no longer need motivating in order to practise them regularly.

What motivates you? 

Everything I get out of running. 

You can find Ruth on Twitter as @gritdoctor or on her blog .

Have you read the book? What did you think?


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