Thursday, 26 January 2017

Outfit: caped crusader

It's quite tricky finding a cape that will suit you if you're petite all over... it's fairly easy to look like you're wearing something hilariously oversized and not at all stylish. I had a feeling the key was finding one that was a shorter length and I think I might have been right! Let's introduce you to my first ever cape...

I swooped this cape in last year's Collectif sale, so apologies in advance that it's not available now. (unless you're a size 8-10 like me, as I found one!). They often pop up in re-sale groups, so worth keeping an eye on those if you're keen. I always feel a bit sad about it when I see one get sold on, though, quite often with a note to say it's never been worn. It's such an unusual piece - I get that it takes a bit more thinking to style it and it's not something you're going to reach for every day, but it is rather fun to have around and I can't picture giving mine up. There's something very glamourous about cloaking oneself in one of these - I guess because they're so little seen in modern fashion that they do instantly hark back to thoughts of well-dressed days of past.

And yeah, the baby pink pattern might not be for everyone, but to be honest it's not usually for me either. I can't think of a single other item I own in this colour. When it's baby pink on a winter coat though, it's doesn't feel as sickly sweet. Especially not when paired with the dark tones of winter accessories.

If there wasn't enough to love about it already, it makes for some pretty dramatic photos too...

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Ugg touch screen leather fur gloves

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit

Collectif Eglentine pink check cape outfit
Beret: Primark (old)
Cape: Collectif (last season - an XS/S here)
Gloves: Ugg (still available in dark brown)
Skirt: Peacocks (old)
Tights: Primark
Boots: Miss L Fire (last year's)


What's that, I've got through a whole post without mentioning the w word? Yes, I'm still dragging myself through the wedding to do list and it seems to be bigger every time I look at it, but we finally got the invitations out this week so that's a weight off my mind! Maybe it will actually be possible to get everything on there done after all :D Back to the venue this weekend to discuss more logistics, it's hard to believe we're now 4.5 months away!



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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Outfit: warming up winter

So, this side of Christmas is pretty rubbish for all of us stuck in winter, isn't it? I forget, every year, how much hard work it is keeping up outfit posts when it's cold outside. Yeah, yeah, first world problems - but seriously it's about this time every year I throw a total wobble about giving it up. This year, said wobble happened while trying to get these pictures.

It was zero degrees this day and there was a fair wind on too. The first location we went to proved to be too windy to shoot at, so we spent half an hour driving round our village trying to find any kind of spot to take the pictures in. We even ended up on the grounds of the local school (it was the weekend) only to find two families had decided to trespass at the same time for no apparent reason (it's not like they had pictures to get or anything, geez.). I really didn't think we'd get any shots this day, which would have been a real shame because I loved this outfit.

Long, whingey story short we got there in the end and I wasn't even scowling in all of the photos :D Mustard is still one of my favourite colours for the colder months and there's nothing much more fun than mustard tights to wear. Especially looking down and seeing them with houndstooth shoes... I'll take my kicks where I can get them in January. My top and skirt are pretty basic but they're really solid basics, in fact. The top is another slash neck from Vivien of Holloway (and seems to be a better fit than my grey one, oddly - not complaining), and the skirt is the Jasmine from Collectif. I am begging Collectif to keep making this style in all the colours because it's my perfect puffy swing skirt - just the right length and barely needs a petticoat. And you know what, Spring/Summer is nearly here so we'll find out soon enough if they heard me ;)

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes

Ascot scarf and beret

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Ascot scarf

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top with Collectif Jasmine skirt and Lindy Bop houndstooth shoes
Hat: ASOS
Belt: Marks & Spencer (old)
Skirt: Collectif
Tights: Primark (old)
Shoes: Lindy Bop


Oh in case anyone was worried (*thinks highly of self*), I don't think I'm quitting quite yet... It would have been a shame because very shortly this blog turns five years old! I have been pondering doing something for this, but the anniversary is clashing horribly with the throes of wedding prep, so in all honestly trying to coordinate something special might push me over the edge. Just this fortnight I've got to get the invites printed and packaged, my first dress fitting, do some video training (long story), a craft project (shudder) around the table name holders and more work on the images for the 17 A1 picture frames we need to fill in our reception venue. I knew weddings were a lot of work, but seriously, you don't understand it until you get there. 

My mum made me laugh because she said when the wedding was over I'd need a project to fill the void it leaves... I can genuinely say, hand on heart, I am quite happy to focus all of my attention back on this blog when that day comes. While I seem to be a born events organiser, I sure wasn't born to organise events...



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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater - book review

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

So, I do have a bit of a thing for this kind of book - the coffee table types that tackle different aspects of vintage style. I’m always hoping I’ll learn something I didn’t know, while enjoying some pretty pictures along the way. So really, what I want from this kind of book is just that: interesting facts presented really well. And that is precisely what this book does! At this point, having read up on vintage style for a number of years, clearly there's going to be overlap in what a book can tell me vs what I already know, but actually I was pleasantly surprised at how much was new to me.

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

I have to start by saying that I especially loved that the author began the book by mentioning how a joy of living today is being able to pick and choose and mix eras of vintage style in your look and how her aim was to give tips and tricks to do this. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a book on vintage acknowledge the perks of mixing eras and it’s something I wholeheartedly support so big tick for that - and I was totally up for some tricks to factor into my current beauty routine.

I then became completely engrossed by the explanation of Westmore’s (a Hollywood makeup guru) Seven Face Shapes theory that appears early on in the book. We’ve all heard of the different face shapes (heart, square, round etc) and how you should and shouldn’t apply makeup to them, but this theory of ‘Ovalesence’ being the key to facial beauty was particularly intriguing - especially as the book includes a supporting diagram! The tips around how to apply make-up to flatter certain face-shapes and make them appear more like the oval ideal were really interesting - particularly as it was the first time I’d seen advice for applying blusher to the top of the cheek-bones of my heart-shaped face (something I’ve long thought suits me best but no guide ever agreed with - they always say it should go in the hollows instead!). However, I perhaps wasn’t so thrilled to realise my large, wonky nose and pointy chin meant I had a lot of work to do with the warpaint…! Anyway, this kind of thing in books really pleases the nerd in me - in fact, it was probably my favourite part.

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

You’ll go on from this section to read lots of tips for your make-up bag and ways to perfect your beauty routine, many of them from the horses’ mouths of the Hollywood starlets. Some of them made me recoil in horror, such as the idea of Ginger Rogers regularly smearing egg whites on her face to tighten her skin! And I had to laugh at Elizabeth Taylor’s theory that doing all her hair and makeup and then getting into a hot bath straight afterwards before a date gave her an irresistible ‘inner glow’ - I think that’s called sweat, Liz. But I do genuinely find this kind of thing fascinating and it all flows really nicely, so I ate it up. It also seems completely in the ethos of what you’d expect from a Hollywood beauty book.

So, all of the information and facts about cosmetics and how the stars applied them were a big part of what I loved about this book. I wasn’t, however, quite so keen on the pages of very detailed information about recreating exact looks today. Generally, a) I’m not going to recreate a famous lady’s exact look because it wouldn’t look as great on me (I'll leave Jean Harlow's half moon eyebrows, thanks) and b) it felt a bit against the ethos that the author set out - aren’t we supposed to be taking tips away to build our own make-up routines, rather than trying to look like a clone of Audrey Hepburn? Plus there’s a lot of tutorials out there in the world doing just that (I’ve even written some myself on this blog back in the day!). But even more weirdly, the book concludes as it starts by saying that no one can carbon copy someone else’s look and be as good as the original, so you have to be your own form of beautiful… But hang on, you’ve just spent pages telling me how to look like Brigitte Bardot!

Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater book review

There’s also quite a lot of information about hair and how to get certain starlets’ hairstyles etc, which I was a bit surprised to find in a beauty book actually. I’ve got so many books on vintage hair that it did make me glaze over a bit and again I’m not sure why so many instructions about how to look exactly like someone else… If you want two in one advice though you'll be more of a fan.

Anyway, these are minor gripes about a very informative and enjoyable book and as I say, I’m very glad I read it for the first part alone. If you haven’t read up on hairstyles as much as I have and do want to copy Marilyn’s make-up, even better! Now, if you excuse me while I try to make my face look like a perfect oval with a bit of well-placed blusher...


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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Outfit: winter blue

Notice I didn't call this post 'winter blues'? Er, partly it's because I think I called a post this before (guilty), but also because this year I haven't felt as down about the cold as usual. I think it's because I don't have time to dwell on it as much and generally speaking, it's not been too bad here this winter either - thanks, global warming.

So, let's show you another Hell Bunny dress from this season, because they can do no wrong at the moment! I loved this plaid print the minute I saw it because it combines two of the easiest colours to style (and wear in the winter), black and navy. I was actually looking out for it in a swing style dress I saw in their catalogue, but that one doesn't seem to have made production as sometimes happens. No matter, it certainly doesn't hurt to have another great wiggle dress that's also work appropriate in my wardrobe!

I love the details on this one - the cute double peter pan colour and the little puff sleeves, not to mention the darts at the bust. The dress was a pretty good fit in my usual XS (I find Hell Bunny's sizing consistent usually), but I added the belt because my short proportions nearly always mean a fitted wiggle gaps a bit in the back. There's so many ways to style black and navy, but I was itching for an excuse to wear my £10 Lindy Bop shoe bargains, even though they're peep toes.

Peep toes and tights - that's probably a divisive one, right? I happen to think it can look cute sometimes. Which is partly because my slim feet mean I always get on better with this style because I can size down, so I want it to look cute :D Plus, you know, I'm not done matching this sparkly silver bag with absolutely everything yet.

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny with Tippi silver bag


Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny with Tippi silver bag

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny with Tippi silver bag

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny

Hamilton wiggle dress by Hell Bunny with Tippi silver bag
Beret: ASOS
Belt: old
Bag: c/o Hell Bunny (use cicim20!% for 20% off)
Shoes: Lindy Bop


A note to say that this dress was courtesy of Blue Banana, who sell on a number of styles from repro brands like Hell Bunny, Voodoo Vixen and Banned and seem to have very affordable shipping options available internationally. Definitely one worth watching if you buy repro.


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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Outfit: cheeky Cheyenne (and how to take photos in the rain)

I'm getting right in there and starting the year with an outfit post! I thought about it, but actually I don't really have the headspace for resolutions right now. Not now the wedding is just over five months away. Five months!! That is, quite frankly, terrifying.

And yet, it's only one day of my life. Albeit it should be a great one, but I still have to, you know, dress myself in order to function as a sane human being, so the outfits aren't going anywhere. Apparently, I don't even spend less on them when I should be saving any penny I earn, so my financial chaos is your blog-reading gain, my friends...

Let's start things off with another one from my casual collection, featuring this charming checked Cheyenne jacket from Collectif. I've been looking for a short, vintage style jacket for a long time for those days I'm not as dressed up (which is more than you probably think) and this one is just the ticket because it's so comfy. It's not structured, so don't buy it if that's what you're after, it's kind of more of a 'blouson' style when done up. On me, it's not that fitted, but I quite like wearing it open as I have here mostly (although one photo does show you what I mean when it's done up). The only thing that makes me sad about this jacket is that I'm a bit too petite for it. If you've got short arms like me, you're going to find those sleeves ever so long too. I can get away with it because the cuffs are fitted, but it doesn't look like it should. Short girl problems.

Otherwise though, it's in two of my favourite colours so what's not to love?? It wasn't exactly difficult for me to style it, because I could basically fill an entire wardrobe with just items in blue and red :D I'm looking forward to getting some more wear out of it in the spring months! Oh and special mention for Porcelina's husband for these awesome boots. When I went to stay last year, he told me about how he thrifts shoes he sees just if he really likes them, even if they won't fit either him or Porcelina. Madness, I thought! And then I went home with a pair of red cowboy boots, something I've wanted for ages. Not so mad after all... 

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Thrifted red cowboy boots

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans

Red hairscarf and gold hoop earrings

Collectif Cheyenne jacket for a cute 50s style casual look with high-waisted jeans
Headscarf: eBay
Earrings: Bow & Crossbones
Jacket: c/o Collectif (get it half price today with FESTIVE50)
Jumper: Collectif (last season's)
Boots: vintage (via Porcelina's husband, the expert thrifter!)
Bag: eBay

Ok, so we've done the clothes, now to show you my top tip for taking photos outside in the rain... I had a narrow window of opportunity to get these shots this particular weekend, thanks to yet more wedding admin (the suit fitting this time), so when it started to drizzle as we left the house I had a bit of a strop. And then I continued to strop at our destination because I had visions of my hair being a fluff ball in approximately 1 minute standing around in it.

But never fear, B had the solution! Well, actually, first of all B had the rubbish solution of: let's stand you under a tree, the foliage will protect you! Yeah, that would have been great and everything but it's the middle of winter and not a single tree has any leaves left, genius. Top marks for trying and everything, but... no not really, it was just a dumb idea (sorry, B, but you know it was!). We went and stood under a tree that at least had a few more branches than most, this big ol' willow tree. Yeah, also a stupid idea, it made absolutely no difference... until...

B hung his umbrella upside down off of a low-hanging branch! And if don't believe me (because I'm such a genius airbrusher I've removed it from all of the above photos), here's the proof...


So now you know - all you need to do is find a tree to hang an umbrella off. I mean, it helps that I was short enough to fit under this one and B was tall enough to reach to hang it up... So some times being a short girl can actually be a help rather than a problem :D


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