Sunday, 30 December 2012

Outfit: shifty denim

It's Christmas, but in between all the lazing around and eating, there are places to go, people to see!

So tonight, off out I go - and I thought I'd share my outfit with you...

I needed something that was flattering and looked good, but in a kind of 'I rolled into this and it just happened to look fabulous' kind of way. (Ha, 'cause we all know that happens.) I settled on the idea of a casual dress I could glam up with precision hair and make-up and a nice pair of heels - but they had to be heels I could walk the ten minutes to my destination (a local pub) in!

Step up my new uber-comfortable Clarks and my new quite unusual Oasis denim shift dress - both purchased this month in the sales!

Denim dress is from Oasis, but I think they're now out of stock...

I'd never thought before about buying a denim dress, or knew such things were on sale, really! But I quite like this for being different - and I really like the large collar neckline which you can just about see here. Sort of vintage in the collar shape and the silhouette, but modern with the biker zip details and the material.

It's also a dress I don't feel bad about wearing a cardigan with - well, it is cold outside!

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Monday, 24 December 2012

Outfit: yellow shoes 'unexpectedly go with everything'

What women want, according to Caitlin Moran, is 'a pair of yellow shoes because they unexpectedly go with everything'...

To demonstrate this point, of which I am in full agreement, truly awful picture quality is coming up because I'm not at home (because it's CHRISTMAS!) and there are far fewer opportunities for good lighting at my parents' house!

Now I finally own some yellow 'all-rounder' shoes courtesy of Clarks Originals' Serin Sings (images thankfully courtesy of Clarks).

Now £39.99 (from £80) in the sale! How I love Christmas sales (you can't even really call them 'January sales' anymore since they all start mid December). And if you're not buying the yellow thing, they also have them in black and grey.

I do admire Clarks' efforts in reviving styles from the past, but I wish they'd offer more detail for each design of which era they've come from. Just to satisfy my inner nerd - mind you I'm probably the only one who cares. Originals styles are from the 1950s onwards and I suspect these may be 70s, but with the right styling they could look a little 40s/50s because of the ankle strap.

yellow ankle strap shoes vintage

The colour of these shoes, by the way, is definitely more like the first image than anything like in the ones I took.

They go with leopard print...

And ivory lace...

Perhaps they even go with the pink carpet I'm standing on... 

Lovely. Merry Christmas to me!

And to all of you, of course. Have a fabulous one x 

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Make-up: Nars Jungle Red vs Heat Wave

Sometimes when I buy a new shade of lipstick online, I like to know how it will compare to other colours, especially by the same brand. So this is a quick post to help anyone trying to decide which of the Nars semi-matte reds to purchase, or just trying to see how the colours differ. You can also read a full review of Nars Heat Wave to see more about the texture etc.

The Nars semi-mattes are my favourite lipsticks for colour and wear, you can't go too far wrong with one of these reds. But which one is the one for you..?


Heat Wave vs Jungle red tubes
L-R: Heat Wave & Jungle Red
As you can see, Jungle Red is slightly darker and is more blue-based than Heat Wave's orange.


Nars Heat Wave and Nars Jungle Red swatches
L-R: Swatches - Heat Wave & Jungle Red
In bright, natural light

Nars Jungle Red warm-toned skin
Jungle Red

Nars Heat Wave warm-toned skin
Heat Wave
Indoors, low-lighting

Nars Jungle Red warm-toned skin
Jungle Red

Nars Heat Wave warm-toned skin
Heat Wave

So, as you can see, these are fairly similar colours on, but Heat Wave is a touch brighter and on me it looks more of a brick red, whereas Jungle Red is pinker and darker. I have pale skin with warm undertones - if you are cool-toned you may want to try Jungle Red instead.

Or maybe buy both like I did ;)

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Vintage style: she wore green velvet

At this time of year the magazines love their party dress features - but, I don't know about you, most of the dresses are following the latest trends and flatter only about 1% of the population (the 16-18 year olds who can fit into size 6 in Topshop). I'm also always on the hunt for a dress that I can wear again one day in the future - which means it can't be so faddy you'd look like an idiot for it.

Nothing says winter party dress like velvet! Here's my pick of some classic styles in the shops at the moment. Stay tuned to see which one I went for at the end ;)

Prices in ascending order...

Motel Rocks Debbie Dress

Motel Debbie Dress, £38 (but they always have discount codes) dark green, navy or dark red

ASOS Structured Velvet Dress

ASOS Structured Dress in Velvet, £52.50 SALE PRICE, purple

Paisie Velvet Sweetheart Dress

Paisie (on Oasis) Velvet Sweetheart Dress, £60

Collectif Delilah Dress

Collectif Delilah Dress, £65, dark green or burgundy options

Tara Starlet Velvet Cheongsam Dress

Tara Starlet Velvet Cheongsam Dress, £95, green, red, navy, black options

And I chose...

The Motel dress! Because I'm poor after buying all those presents and I really wanted an emerald green dress. So Christmassy!

And because it's not too long and the material is relatively thin and flexible, add a pencil skirt and voila! You've got a whole new, slightly less dressy, outfit!

In case anyone wonders, the skirt is from Warehouse last year, but is just a stretchy tube skirt.

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Friday, 7 December 2012

For the love of craft: Christmas crafting

I know, I know... I promised you a series of festive craft posts about a month ago and I didn't keep my promise. (That's me all over - ask CiCi!)

But, I do have a few little snippets of what I've been up to in the crafting arena recently. I've been getting very busy with my screen printing kit, my sewing machine, and on ebay (200 used Christmas postage stamps for £2 - win!)

Here's a few of the craft projects I've been working on for Christmas.

Gifts for family and friends:

Padded place mats and coasters for my nan! Fabric from Hobbycraft
 I made these padded place mats for my Nan - not my finest creation due to none of them being the same size, despite me measuring each and every one of them before starting! Still, it's the thought that counts...
Hand printed 'doggy bag' for my mum
 Finally mastered how to use my printing screen and this doggy bag was the result! I added some ribbon and a velvet bow tie to make him look like he has a collar - I promise (!) I will upload a tutorial on this soon.
Cute mini gift idea for secret santa or to take to parties
I went to a friend's Christmas party at the weekend and took along a jam jar full of lindt and candy canes - finished off with some red and white bakers twine - so simple, so cute and, more importantly, so thrifty!

And guess what? I've even finished my wrapping! I like to have a wrapping theme each year - and this year I chose posted parcels. I found 200 used Christmas stamps on ebay for £2 (my first ebay win - I was beyond excited). They arrived on paper, so I trimmed around the edges with patterned scissors and glued them to my pressies wrapped in brown paper.

Then I stamped over them with French rubber postage stamps and got out the old baker's twine again.

What do you think?!

After all this crafting, I think I deserve a break, don't you?!

Oh go on then...

Marie ♥

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Outfit: date night

This post could also have been titled 'Can I turn everything in my life now into a blog post? Yes, yes I can.'

So, going on a date is probably the most taxing wardrobe exercise you can undertake... suddenly nothing that you thought looked good before looks quite as good as you remember it and you face the age old first-world dilemma: dress vs jeans. Dress can be too much, jeans can be too little.

Dress, I decided - I never feel that amazing in jeans.

But then which? Do you go for something that's hot stuff (i.e. hello cleavage!) or do you do cute?

Panicking, I shoved pictures of both outfits on Facebook and the decision was taken out of my useless hands as some of my lovely friends and readers voted... but as this is an outfit post, here's a few more and you'll have to read on to see which one took it!

Option 1: Hello boys!

Shocking camerawork as usual, this dress is actually dark green and navy check with a tie in the middle. It's a Tara Starlet dress - one of my absolute classic purchases I love as much as most people love LBDs. Housemate's boyfriend complimented how 'undoable' the dress was and seemed to think this worked hugely in my favour. Can't think why.

Option 2: a bit of flirty skirt

My usual style is fitted skirts so this was a borrow that just happens to fit really quite well. Quite flattering on the not-so-tiny behind. Housemate's boyfriend complimented dress 2's undoability too... did I do this on purpose?!

And then the public voted...

Apparently, sexy always wins. Two people commented I should lose the black tights (one being my mother, mother always knows) so lose them I did!

And now my dress looks black... it was the same dress, honest! This is what happens when you take photos on a bad camera with no natural daylight...

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bake: Christmas Ginger Creams

This is a really simple idea for a Christmas treat. Decorate the ginger creams with dipped white chocolate and icing writing holly leaves, pop in cute bags with Christmas ribbon and boom - Christmas treats, done.

What you will need:

For the biscuits:
50g (2 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
100g (4 oz) treacle
100ml (4 fl oz) water
250g (9 oz) sifted plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • For the icing:
  • 100g (4 oz) sifted icing sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons double cream

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Outfit: beret good

I am keen to expand my hat collection this winter - in fact I think this every winter but fail at ever getting round to doing anything about it.  But saying this, I have one hat type already covered - and it's a staple I think everyone should own if not because they are the warmest hat out there, but because they instantly make any outfit chic.  And my simple black felt beret was under £5 from Primark a few years ago... Couple a beret with red lips (Rockalily Hot Rod Red in this case) and suddenly the world is a little bit more glamorous...

Add in a cape, with *fur* and then you're really talking... (can you tell I really love my new cape?!)

retro beret outfit

This outfit made short work of the 9 degree weather outside!

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Outfit: cape time

It's getting pretty cold now... it's difficult enough dressing for the outside, but I'm finding I need a whole other wardrobe of clothes to help combat the freezing temperatures inside my old terrace house.  Yes, even with the heating on full whack.

Don't get me wrong, hoodies are great and yes even I wear them, but sometimes I just want something a little more stylish, but still warm.  Happily, I've found my answer in a darling new cape!

Fur trim cape, River Island

It doesn't do up, but the fur gives the material enough weight that it hangs really nicely - and you can always wear a belt...

CiCi x

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Vintage style: one pencil skirt, three ways

I'm somewhat amazed that in all my time writing this blog I've never once posted about the humble pencil skirt!  Doubly ironic considering I live in them 5 out of 7 days every single week.

Time to rectify this cruel oversight.  So, let's start with a simple skirt...

Tara Starlet Side Button Skirt, £50

I've chosen this skirt from Tara Starlet for its classic retro length and mine's in a neutral grey colour that literally goes with nearly everything, although I really like this tan version too.  Tara Starlet doesn't sell my grey one anymore but have it in other colours - I advise if you're between sizes you go for the bigger one.  However, if you don't want to spend this much money, just choose a similar length and shape from a cheaper store - easy!  My bargain favourites Tesco are currently offering some staple skirts in their Autumn/Winter range.

And here are three 'office' looks that could be kept as they are for dramatic styling or you could choose elements of if you're not comfortable with going all out or if you'd like to try a daytime look instead.  I've put in links where products are still available.

Look #1 - 40s

40s pencil skirt with blouse daywear

40s pencil skirt office look

A draped shirt smartens up this look and gives it some wartime chic.  The yellow t-bars are perhaps a bit funky for the 40s and could certainly be switched for something more demure. And if you prefer flats, why not add some brogues!

Greta shirt, Collectif
Seamed tights, Marks & Spencer
Yellow t-bars, Next

Winged liner and deep red lipstick (Mac Russian Red)

Two faux victory rolls in the front and a roll around the back using a stretched out bun roll from Boots.

Look #2 - 50s

50s pencil skirt officewear

50s look daywear

A nice preppy, pastel-coloured round-neck cardigan, court shoes with a thin curved mid-heel and ponytail bun give this a classic 50s twist. Catseye glasses are, of course, optional! This would be an easy one to dress down for casualwear with some pumps instead of heels and toning down the lipstick.

Coral cardigan, H&M (old, but this one is similar)
Black 'Damson Jam' courts, Clarks
Catseye glasses, Love 748 in brown tortoiseshell, Lensway

Classic winged liner and bright ruby red lips (Rockalily Hot Rod Red)

Simple ponytail bun with a small side roll in the front

Look #3 - 60s

mad men office wear office outfit

60s pencil skirt and blouse

This early 60s (think Mad Men) themed look is centred around a nice poofy 'do and a peter pan collar blouse. If I had a nude bag I would be matching it to my nude shoes to finish the outfit off.

Blue lace collar top, Topshop
Grey cardigan, H&M (similar)
Nude stilettos, Limited Collection, Marks & Spencer

Bouffy french twist in lower half, hair rolled under itself and pinned for height in upper half

Liner and peach lips (Revlon Super Lustrous Matte, 013 Smoked Peach)

There, three different looks with the same skirt!  Do you have a favourite?

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