Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Stylish Nights in Manchester

The article above (click to enlarge) is the result of an evening's running round town chatting to and taking pictures of fashionable strangers for Stylist magazine, which, in my opinion, is the best women's weekly currently available. I tried to prove that my city is just as stylish (I say even more so, but I'm biased) as London; I think we nailed it, Manchester.. don't you?!

Also click on the image below for my write-up of shops and bars to visit in the Northern Quarter, which is the area I concentrated on in my search for style, and a natty little video of me saying "lovely" and "awesome" a lot in a very camp way. A very accurate representation of me, even if I do say so myself!

Note to self: brush hair more often

For each shot, the new Canon's new IXUS 220 was used. It's a snazzy little camera, not much larger than a coin purse, but still great at shooting in dark places, like bars and clubs. In fact, Stylist are giving you an opportunity to win one - upload your best night-time outfit here to be in with a chance of snapping your way around the bars of the Northern Quarter.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tuesday Shoesday

Now, I'm going to let you into a little secret that not many people know about me:

I like shoes. Like, I really, really like shoes. I'm obsessed; the wackier, the more limited edition, the better.

A fraction of my collection, including my Miistas, Terry de Havilland sandals, the New Look/London College of Fashion wedges, and about four different pairs of H&M samples (I'm exactly sample shoe size - hoorah!)

What - you knew that already? And I thought I was hiding my addiction so well.

What I love more than wacky shoes is cheap shoes. I don't mean Primark cheap, although I do own a couple of pairs for "knocking about in" as my mum would say - I mean a real designer bargain. I was pretty pleased with my Surface To Air score the other week, but I think today's buy is the new winner..

Weird, boat-like, with a discrete nod to ankle braces, I'm in LOVE. These Acne shoes are my new Best Buy coming in at a measly £35 from Elite Dress Agency on King Street. I want to move into this lovely little store; currently in the window are Nicholas Kirkwood x Rodarte shoes (if you follow me on Twitter you will have heard me rant about these many a time - I'm just devastated they're size 3) plus inside is a current season Céline wool and leather tunic. Well worth a visit if you're in town, just be prepared to rummage and you're guaranteed a designer steal.

I've been ridiculously busy with university work so far this week, though that isn't a complaint - it's great to get stuck in, finally. I'll be posting whenever I get a breather from writing essays and presentations, but in the meantime make sure you pick up a copy of Stylist tomorrow (if you're not in a distribution area, check You may find yourself ogling a very familiar face..!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Manchester Bloggers' Meet

L-R Leanne of Little Babble, Sarah of Sequin This, Lizzy of Lizzy's Lips, Rebecca of Vintage Romance, Emma of Miss Pond, and Stacey of Style Speaks Louder Than Words. Also in attendance were Sara of Sara Luxe, Natalie of The U In Cute and Jen of Let's All Do Colouring In.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting up with a bevvy of fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers at the Manchester Bloggers' Meet.

We hit the Christmas markets..

.. I got myself a shoe stalker.. (but it's okay, I'm more than obsessed with Sara's super cool "SARA LUXE" tights!)

.. and after tasty pizza at Croma, we won some fab prizes from Clippy.

How tiki-tastic is Jen's flamingo-print dress?

I won (tied!) first prize in the quiz and got this large wash bag, which I'll actually be using as a clutch.

We chatted about blogging platforms, Search Engine Optimisation, and sponsored posts; as well as more important things like shoes, dresses, and pic 'n' mix.

If you were unable to attend this meeting keep an eye on Sarah's blog and the Twitter hashtag for details of a meet-up early next year.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

High Brow Entertainment

What do women want? This question is oft asked in women's magazines, and the answer is usually some amalgamation of the perfect man, the perfect career and a brood of perfect children.

What I really, really want is the perfect eyebrow. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.. And really, life is made up of lots of little victories, no?

Image from Tumblr

To me, Bambi Northwood-Blyth has the perfect eyebrow. Strong and ungroomed, they are youthful and frame her face perfectly. Sadly I'll never have such grand brows, due to overplucking as a teenager and even shaving them off at one point!

I'm always searching for a treatment or product that will give me the brows I truly desire, and my new purchase, Illamasqua eye brow cake and brush, I'm closer to perfection than ever before. Easy to apply, it's dramatic yet natural, and lasted from first thing in the morning right the way through to late night drinks.

See? Okay, okay, they may not look any different to you and they're certainly not in Bambi territory but I'm overjoyed! Also this is what I wore yesterday to Photoshop and fashion construction classes. Note my winter go-to piece, a leather shirt, and that I am wearing my Miistas. Again. I just can't help it - they're so comfy and cool.

Tomorrow is the Manchester Bloggers' Meet, which I am very excited about. I hope to see a few of you there!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lovely Latex

Attempting to do a bit of a "today I'm wearing" every day this week, or at least for a couple of days. Not a particularly special outfit today - all high street apart from my Miistas and Very leather shorts, and in fact mainly from the place-beginning-with-P-that-shall-not-be-mentioned. But I've been hankering after a pair of latex hold-ups for a while, except I wasn't so keen on the sweaty, sticky properties of the material, not to mention the intense care procedure, so my friend Dawn of Tokyo Royale (I'm in Afflecks Palace here, the home of the Japanese-inspired boutique) got me some latex-look stockings as a post-birthday present, which are much, much easier to wear! I'll be wearing these with big boots or flat brogues, and maybe a tea dress to create a contrast.

I've long been a lover of the aesthetics of latex clothing (though the feat of actually wearing it is a whole different matter..!). The more conventional the look seems at first, the better; the mixture of the usually overly sexualised material combined with prim daywear is the perfect juxtaposition. Plus, it's mega-fashionable at the moment, with Marc Jacobs using latex for entire garments at Louis Vuitton, and again using the rubber in his autumn/winter namesake collection for oversized pailettes.

Louis Vuitton & Marc Jacobs AW11 (both images courtesy of

I was handed a flyer for the William Wilde collection at Honour which is well worth checking out if you're a fan of fashion latex (rather than fetish style). By far my favourite is this orange column dress; reminiscent of Raf Simons' for Jil Sander spring/summer 2011 collection. Stick a skater skirt over the top as a peplum and you have a real fashion forward look.

If you're wanting something a little more theatrical, check out the new Femme-A-Licious collection at Westward Bound. This Libertine Latex Top is deep red, with statement collar and a pretty peplum. Wear with a high-waist pencil skirt, perfect for the Vuitton-led Night Porter trend.

I hope today's sojourn into sedition has provided you with a little inspiration; with a fetish finish, you can easily whip together an outfit that will make anyone hot under the collar.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Street Style at the Manchester Christmas Markets

To most Mancunians, this not-so-little guy, perched on top of the Town Hall, is a greater source of excitement than the Coca Cola, Marks & Spencers and John Lewis adverts all put together.

Soon after the Christmas lights are switched on, the German Markets descend. This marks an entire month of eating Nutella crepes, drinking mulled wine (or German beer, or Christmas punch, or Jager & orange..) then drunkenly buying hand-made goods,or cheese, in my case, that you neither want nor need, all because it's CHRISTMAS, and it's BRILLIANT.

I decided to do a little street style snapping, as I'm in need of some cold-weather inspiration. I'd love to be someone that looks amazing all layered up in woolly scarves and hats, but my style tends to peak around September, when you can get away with wearing one coat, rather than layering three cardigans underneath.

Firstly, I bumped into the lovely Shannon, of Tea and biscuits anyone?. See the subtle bits of blue and pink in her hair? Super sweet!

Cape + socks + sandals = the perfect foil to the chilly November weather we experienced last night. A boy pal in Docs carrying your bulging Topshop buys doesn't go amiss, either.

This cute group of friends look warm all bundled up in their snoods, faux furs and berry shades.

In need of an autumn/winter checklist? Fur coat, check. 1940s print dress, check. Awesome Office boots, check. LV speedy, check.. This girl doesn't put a leopard-clad foot wrong.

This brother-sister team are a little alternative, whilst remaining stylish. I love the animal print zip-up, and the chap's rockabilly-inspired get-up.

My favourite look of the night proves it doesn't have to be summer to look chic in a maxi skirt. The burgundy makes it perfect for this autumn/winter, and the cool leather warms the whole thing right up. The hot chocolate looks yum, too!

I look a little squiffy sporting my new Topshop crombie (or as they call it, "boyfriend coat"), but this is my first mulled wine, I promise. Hello to you, too, waving in the background!

The real excitement of the evening was caused by Fred the Weatherman, whose front-side I was to shy to take a picture of..

You may be reluctant to leave the house now the darker nights are drawing in, but I promise you'll be warmed right up by the festive atmosphere and warm alcoholic drinks at the Market. Don't dally - the last day to visit is the 21st December!

Versace for H&M. Well, almost..

This morning, as I am sure you are all aware, the Versace for H&M collection hit the shops. I fully intended to get out of bed early, go into town, and queue pre-store opening to make sure I got the pieces I wanted (scarf and leggings - the cheapest ones, natch).

Sadly, my body had other ideas, and I completely slept through my alarm. I got up JUST in time to get to work, and of course when I went post work there were just a few of the pricier dresses left. Darn my comfy bed.

Despite being grumpy about the situation, I took some pictures of the window display. Talk about clashing prints! It certainly catches the eye.

I even wore my most Versace-esque charity shop blouse, in honour of the collection dropping:

(This picture was taken by my friend John, who Knows Stuff About Cameras, and was playing with my Canon's settings. I say just bung the flash on and let it focus itself)

Never mind - just wait until Prada or Christopher Kane collaborate, then I'll be camping outside overnight!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Birthday Blog

The past year has been a big one for me. I applied to university, volunteered for the British Red Cross, then left my well-paid full-time role as a veterinary nurse to work for them for a year, interned at Rare, moved to Manchester with my boyfriend, got a kitten, started a new job with Oasis and began my degree studies. Whew - that's more events in a year than in my entire life! Seriously, I'm from a fairly small town where not a lot really happens. You're expected to go to school, then college, then get a job, and go to Wetherspoons every Friday for the rest of your life.

One day, I was mopping the waiting room at the veterinary practice where I worked, and I suddenly realised that it just wasn't enough for me anymore. I felt that life was too short to not do something you loved dearly every day, and that night I went home and started researching university courses. Soon after I started volunteering for the British Red Cross, which provided me with some amazing opportunities - I became employed full-time by the Society, managed to increase the Northwich shop's takings drastically, gave presentations about fashion and merchandising, and met some amazing people. In fact, it was the friends who made it, and I doubt I could have survived those months without them. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such an inspiring, hardworking people. Of course I can't forget about my boyfriend, who held my hand throughout that time and reassured me during weak moments that I really was doing the right thing.

Now, I'm in the first term of my International Fashion Marketing degree, about to hand in my first set of assignments. It's been a long journey with many tears and tantrums along the way, not all of them in private (oh, hello, Manchester Met open day..). Whenever I feel tired, homesick, or just plain fed up, I think of how hard I've worked to get where I am, which instantly puts whatever's bothering me into perspective.

That's why this birthday has been less about presents, and partying, and more about spending time with those I love and reflecting over the past year, seeing how far I've come.

However.. you'll be happy to hear I've not completely given up on materialistic possessions. What kind of birthday post would this be if it didn't feature at least a few goodies?!

Remember the post I did on Miista shoes a few weeks back? Well, my mum - an avid reader of my blog (hello, mum!) - saw it and got me the Luanne boots as a present! They're even more amazing in real life, and also really comfy. I spent the whole of today walking in them with no aches. My parents also got me the cosy red knit dress. The bobble details are so cute.

Notice the difference in picture quality to normal? My super duper boyfriend went halves with me on a Canon 1100D. I've been driving everyone crazy by taking pictures of anything and everything, but usually just extreme close-up pictures of peoples' faces (it captures pores really well, in case you were wondering).

I spent the weekend at home in Cheshire, and as a treat my parents took Chris and I to Dagfields, near Nantwich. I don't know how to explain this place other than an antiques emporium. There are various halls full of antiques, collectibles, oddities - and some absolute junk. I love it! You just don't know what you're going to find; I remember seeing a false leg there once.

Nothing that exciting today, but I practised my photography skills by snapping vintage clothing and accessories. I find it interesting how people creatively merchandise their wares without using any fixtures or fittings.

Best Christmas jumper I've ever seen..!

This was my favourite concession - so bang on the heritage trend for this season.

Speaking of heritage, I wasn't expecting to get any street-style pictures in the heart of rural Cheshire, but I loved this chap's look: a real mélange, yet well put together.

There's a huge second hand bookstore too, which you could easily get lost in. Love that there's a fashion section.

If you'd like to visit Dagfields, there are directions and a map here. I'd thoroughly recommend setting a day aside to go for a rummage through the wares.

I'm off to drink a cup of tea, and enjoy the rest of my birthday in true Fashion Dotty style... reading Vogue and doing uni work!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

And our winner is...

Thank you to all who entered the AX Paris competition, here and on Facebook! I would have had an extremely tough time choosing a winner had I been judging on your reasons - there were some lovely ones, from weight loss to engagement parties.

I have used RANDOM.ORG (which is a true random number generator.. as opposed to, y'know, a false one..?!) to generate a random number linked to one of your names, and our winner of an AX Paris dress is...


Congratulations, you've won the dress of your choice - the polka dot mesh sleeve dress. I'm super jealous, as this would've been my choice, too! I'll be emailing you for your size & address details to pass onto AX Paris.

I really wish you could have all won - I may have a little word with AX to see if we can sort out a little discount code for you. Stay tuned also for a behind-the-scenes special and more with the brand... 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mulberry & Stylist Party

A few evenings ago the Mulberry store in Spinningfields hosted a Stylist Magazine party. The gin cocktails flowed as we stuffed ourselves with mini fish & chips and goats' cheese tartlets - I felt like I was in the party pages of Grazia!

Singer & DJ Yasmin spun a mix of retro tunes, then treated us to a few acoustic tracks. I hadn't knowingly heard her before, but I'm now a fan - her voice is rich and soulful, and I love her quirky-chic style.

It must be difficult to perform with a giant fox staring down on you!

Some of the Stylist team were present - Fashion Director Alexandra Fullerton (right) is wearing top-to-toe Mulberry SS12. It's a very wearable easy-breezy look.

Bags, bags, and more bags - admittedly I'm not too hot on naming the Mulberry bags, though I know some people can reel them off easily. Is that an Alexa in the last picture..?!

Cool ceiling!

I'm wearing a Topshop t-shirt, Zara skirt, and Mulberry mask. I did get a balloon to take home but the wind cruelly stole it from me! If you find a gold Bayswater floating around Manchester, you know whose it is.

A few stores along, Kurt Geiger were also holding an event. There was champagne, a 20% discount, and the highlight.. a photobooth, complete with dressing up box!

Stephanie of The Wardrobe Angel and I

Along with the rest of the female population, I'm a lover of Kurt Geiger shoes, so I was interested in seeing what their accessories collection was like. They're well-designed staple pieces, like this soft oversized clutch. I love how well it matches the rest of my green outfit.

All-in-all, a super fun, fashion-filled evening - the Manchester equivalent of Fashion's Night Out, perhaps?!

PS. Don't forget, you have until Tuesday to enter my AX Paris dress giveaway!