Thursday, 30 May 2013

Expose Those Toes

The winter boots have been packed away and I'm determined not to wear socks until at least 1st September - yes it's time to get an express pedi and expose those toes.

If you're not quite prepared to give up your favourite Converse hi tops for a pair of strappy gladiator sandals just yet then these shoes are just made for you.

No, your eyes don't deceive you - they're a classic pair of Converse with the toe cap chopped off and go faster stripe air holes! What's more, they even come in thong and flip flop versions. These have to be the perfect summer shoes.

Converse Gladiators, £42 Bank

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tie Dye For

Who'd have ever thought the hippie earth mother favourite that is tie dye could take you from boardroom to beach to bar? I certainly didn't - until now...

When I was at Sixth Form the Young Enterprise club came up with the idea of selling tie dye t-shirts in a bid to raise funds for the yearbook and prom - sadly I don't think they actually sold any (although feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). The thing is tie dye has always had a slightly bad rep, only really appealing to surf dudes and hippies, but with this whole 90s revival going on at the moment it's currently riding on the crest of a wave.

Celeb swimwear favourite, Vix have a tie dye bikini that will earn you serious style points on the beach this summer, whilst Boy by Band of Outsiders have taken the somewhat surprising step of unleashing tie dye on to tailoring - but somehow it works.

Of course the high street is flooded with more affordable options, and I love the ASOS Cold Shoulder dress, £28 (pictured above left). It also comes in Curve and Maternity styles, so it looks like there really could be a tie dye option for everyone.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Radioactive Belts Recalled

And the surprise news story of the day: ASOS have had to recall a batch of radioactive belts after they tested positive for traces of Cobalt-60.

49 of the studded belts have already been sold to ASOS customers in 14 different countries, but at least the online purchase method should make the buyers easy to track down, as the belts manufactured for ASOS by a supplier in India would prove a real health hazard to anyone who has been in contact with one for 500 hours or more.

What are the chances, ey? Well, apparently it could in fact be quite common! In the report from Project Purple Flower reprinted in The Guardian it reads; 'Unfortunately, this incident is quite common occurrence. India and the far east are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn contaminates the process and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy.' 

A spokesman from ASOS has said that; 'ASOS continues to work with the relevant authorities and is in dialogue with the supplier and the factory workers involved to ensure a satisfactory outcome.' But whilst that's all very well and good, we're still faced with the question how many other potentially dangerous products are out there that we don't know about? Once again we're seeing the importance of where our goods are sourced from. As high as the demand for fast fashion is, health and safety ranks far higher than getting a cheap product.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Kate Bosworth for Topshop

If you're still feeling a little bit deprived from the loss of Kate Moss for Topshop then you'll be pleased to hear that the high street favourite has recruited another boho babe by the name of Kate...

It has been revealed that 'friend of the brand' Kate Bosworth has offered her 'creative input' - if not design skills - on a summer festival project, which aims to combine the attitude and energy of British festivals with the image of the California girl in a 16 piece capsule collection. Kate was even snapped at Coachella wearing a scallop-edged top and shorts combo from the collection (pictured left with Michael Polish).

Speaking of the collaboration Bosworth said; 'The design team and I though a lot about the festival season, and, particularly with this collection, a lot of it was about the California girl... obviously the perfect place to wear it was Coachella.'

Kate's fiance Michael Polish has even been roped in to direct the promo film. Looks like we can expect plenty of plaid shirts, denim cut offs, embroidered waistcoats and, erm, angel wings.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Literary Gems

A bookworm to the very core, I'm delighted to see fashion designers starting to appreciate the beauty of vintage book covers - none more so than Olympia Le-Tan, whose book clutches are flying off the shelves fast despite the hefty £1035 price tag. Well, nothing screams collector's item quite like a quirky clutch bag!

Depicting literary classics, such as Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre as well as rarer editions like The Lure of Long Beach (pictured above), at least we can say they're still a whole lot cheaper than buying an actual first edition of the text - but there are more affordable options out there...

A quick search on etsy is all it takes to find literary gems transformed into clutch bags at prices ranging from £50 - £100.

Personally I love the idea of finding my favourite novel transformed into a bag, so I'll be on the lookout for a Pride & Prejudice one - but The Great Gatsby (pictured left) has to be one of the most sought after titles available, what with Baz Luhrmann's extravaganza of a film adaptation now on the big screen.

They make a great talking point - I just hope people will be inspired to read the stories behind the bags rather than using one to stash away their copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Power

100 years on since the first Chelsea Flower Show the annual horticultural event still has the power to pull in the crowds. It's even been suggested that this year's ticket sales have been given an extra boost thanks to Prince Harry. A show garden has been designed by the prince's charity, Sentebale - so a guest appearance is pretty much guaranteed girls! You might even spot a few more famous faces - or at very least their garden gnome alter ego...

Whilst floral fashions change over time there's one garden ornament that has always been banned from polluting the shades of Chelsea - that is until now. Yes, the humble garden gnome has been given a reprieve for one year only as part of the centenary celebrations. Some have even been given a celebrity makeover for the show (can you spot Elton John?) and will be auctioned off for charity at the end of the week. Go on, give a gnome a home. This coming from the girl who used to keep one on a bedroom bookshelf in case it should get damaged out in the garden! Well, flowers aren't just for flowerbeds.

Take the spirit of Chelsea with you wherever you go with floral footwear. I love the LK Bennett Vintage collection of floral print pumps, strappy sandals and kitten heels. Prices from £150.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Star Gazer

I've just finished reading the Richard & Judy recommended read, A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore. The supernatural tale of an 18th century star gazer and his adopted daughter is linked to the present day through a trail of family secrets and haunting dreams - but it's a mysterious necklace of seven stars set with diamonds that has the power to unlock the past and bring people together.

As soon as I saw this marcasite Star Gazer bracelet at Oliver Bonas (£34) it took me straight back to the pages of this enjoyable novel.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Alexander Wang After Dark

Don't big nights out always go wrong? You pop to the bar only to get pushed and shoved to the back of the queue - then when you've finally been served you've got to face walking round and round a dark club to find your friends again - none of whom ever seem to have a phone signal. Well all that could be at an end - just tell them to look for the girl with the glowing handbag!

Alexander Wang's white leather shoulder bag magically transforms into a glowing green beacon after dark - now that's a partypiece if ever there was one!

Alexander Wang Glow-in-the-Dark Bag, £748 Selfridges

Thursday, 16 May 2013

To The Max!

At 5'3 and a half I'd never really considered maxi dresses as an option - that is until my best friend Lucy changed my mind with her lovely drop-waisted floral number. On holiday in Abu Dhabi maxi dresses were a popular choice amongst the girls whether on the beach or at a fancy restaurant - satisfying the modest dress codes whilst still remaining cool (in both senses of the word). Tugging at the hem of a dress I'd managed to shrink in the wash, worrying that it was far too short, maxi dresses suddenly seemed to be the answer to effortless elegance. I'll just have to find one that doesn't drag along the floor or trip me up!

On my search to find the perfect maxi for me, I've managed to whittle it down to a shortlist of 5:

1. Border Print Maxi Dress, £55 Oasis

2. Binary Floral Maxi Dress, £56 Warehouse

3.Tribal Maxi Dress, £30 Dorothy Perkins

4. Cutaway Stripe Maxi Dress, £20 Matalan

5. Tile Print Maxi Dress, £50 Miss Selfridge

Saturday, 11 May 2013

All Eyes on Aspinal

A big fan of Aspinal of London arm candy I couldn't resist this pretty pink clutch bag - especially as it had been reduced from £110 - £39.99! From the soft leather and suede lining right down to the neat stitching, Aspinal bags just scream quality - and something tells me this is just going to be the start of a bigger collection.

High on every girl's handbag hit list has to be Aspinal's Marylebone tote. Loved by the likes of Mollie King and Millie Mackintosh, it has now been reinvented in a variety of summer colour combos. Now which to choose...

Prices starting from £895.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Charity Shop Buys

In a time of recession charity shops are a particularly popular way of getting your hands on cut price clothes - whilst making sure some of your hard earned cash goes to a good cause. But the rise of fast fashion has brought with it charity shops packed full of nothing but last season's Primark. A lot of people must now put anything of value up for grabs on ebay rather than donating their unwanted goods to charity shops, but there are still designer bargains and vintage gems to be found - you just have to be prepared to hunt around or be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

I've recently got hold of two great buys; a Barbara Hulanicki pussy bow blouse for £2 and a Roksanda Ilincic Edition cardigan for £5.99.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Chanel Sunnies

Hooray! The sun has finally come out - so slap on the suncream and light up the barbie. Aside from these two things, one more essential summer item is urgently called for... new designer shades.

I've completely fallen under the spell of these chic Chanel sunnies. Look closer and you'll just about see a row of 25 freshwater pearls poking up behind these peepers.

Looks like I'd better start saving the pennies - or there's always superglue for a quick DIY job?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Ben de Lisi Biker

The lovely people at Debenhams very kindly gave me a £50 voucher to spend in store - and after a good look around I finally settled on using it to buy this Principles by Ben de Lisi biker jacket (£65).

I love the colour contrast lapels - but zip it up and it goes back to black. Think this one's sure to become a staple. Thanks Debenhams!

Wedding Belle

Congratulations to Keira Knightley and James Righton who have got married in the south of France this weekend. Breaking the trend of flashy (and often trashy) showbiz weddings, the couple were keen to have a low-key ceremony and made their vows witnessed by just a hand full of close friends and family. And as for the all important dress...

The bride was spotted skipping out of Mazon town hall wearing a short tulle prom dress and Chanel jacket, accessorised with Ray Ban Wayfarers and a string of daisies in her hair. It's a very sweet look - but have we seen that dress before, Keira?

Keira's choice of wedding dress looks strikingly similar to a Rodarte number the Pride & Prejudice star wore to a pre-BAFTAS party back in 2008. Well so what if it is a recycled wedding dress. She looks beautiful - and hopefully this will send out a positive message to other brides-to-be.

See, you don't necessarily have to spend £1000s on a dress you'll only wear once. Far too often we hear about couples amounting massive debts so they can get married in a castle, have a horse and carriage, release turtle doves and who knows what else. I say well done Keira!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Dress One Direction

Whilst most cougars are more concerned about undressing the One Direction boys, new One Direction dress up apps are gaining popularity with fans. Yes, Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis and Zayn can be your very own fashion dolls - and that begs the question what you'd make them wear?

Personally, I'd ditch the onesies and get them decked out in suits.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Top Hats From Stephen Jones

Is the fascination with fascinators finally at an end? Ascot banned them from the Royal Enclosure last year and now Philip Treacy has branded them no more than 'headbands with feathers glued on', but with wedding season upon us once again it begs the question what headgear we'll be turning to now...

Whilst each year seems to bring an increase in wedding invitations, any excuse to buy a big hat is fine with me! Indeed, it's big, wide-brimmed hats and more substantial pillbox style fascinators that are replacing the 'feather on a headband'.

Stephen Jones, milliner to the stars, has been snapped up by Debenhams to design a fabulous range of hats - and fascinators. Here's a selection of the Top Hat collection...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Glamour May Beauty Giveaway

It's the 1st of May, the summer sunshine is here and Glamour's Beauty Giveaway is back!

Each day throughout May there are amazing beauty products up for grabs to give your make-up bag a much needed boost - starting with Bourjois nail polishes. With 31 chances to score some of the 21,255 treats, that's gotta be better odds than you get with a lottery ticket?!

All you have to do is answer a really easy question and enter your details to be in with a chance. Previous years I've always got a surprise bundle of beauty goodies in the post come June. Fingers crossed the same happens this time around...