Friday, 28 December 2012



This has got to be one of the sparkliest outfits I've ever worn! In fact I was wearing my glitter tights with it, but that was just way too much. Being dressed as tinsel was fitting, then, for my annual Christmas Eve trip to the fine establishment of Wetherspoons in my home town. We branched out this year with a drink in the rock pub next door; they had a DJ on and with it being way after midnight at that point I even had a wobble around on the dance floor.

Christmas Day was fantastic, a really lovely time with my family and Chris too, who for the first time in our relationship spent the day with the Harradines. He had more presents to open than the rest of us put together.. spoilt brat (though I can hardly complain about the quality and quantity of my own gifts). Unfortunately my dad was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day and put onto a ward with a load of old ladies, but was released today. Hooray! It does make you grateful to those who give up their Christmas to work in essential services, and appreciate just how lucky you are to spend time with family and friends over the holidays.

These thoughts kept me going through the past two days working on the front line of the January sale battlefield. I've been working in retail for about a million years now and I can honestly say these past few days have been the busiest I've seen; and where manners go at sale times is beyond me. I've tried my best to smile my way through it but I was grateful for a day off today - spent in bed with my cat, reading. I finished High Fidelity, and read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in its entirety. Both come highly recommended from Dotty's Book Club!

I'm wearing:
Vintage Frank Usher dress
Jeffrey Campbell Suebee shoes (tan colourway here)
Topshop bag & jacket
H&M necklace

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012



Today is the birthday of one of the internet's greatest, Sheree of Glitz & Grime!

Sheree is one of my favourite bloggers - no-nonsense outfits, worn for living in, not posing; full of vintage, Topshop, and designer. There's usually a sequin or two involved, plus a statement jacket and a somewhat ridiculous heel. Sheree was Grazia's blogger of the year in 2012, was nominated for a Cosmo blog award (she woz robbed in the Established Blogger category) and my mum is a big fan of hers, which has to be the best accolade of all. Her life has also progressed in leaps and bounds this year... so I wish her another amazing year of cracking outfits.

Here's a few of my favourite Sheree looks. I hope you find them as inspirational as I do!

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Who are your favourite bloggers? And why do you love them so much?

Friday, 21 December 2012



The rain thrashed down upon us during our time in Grasmere, and after a hectic few weeks of university and work I had come down with a cold. Despite all of this, we still tried to make the most of our time in the Lake District, and after a filling breakfast at our hotel headed out into the deluge.

A word on our B&B, by the way, should you ever wish to stay in Grasmere: Forest Side Hotel is a self-awarded two star hotel, but almost certainly deserves to be three star (apparently the hoops you have to jump though for official classification are just not worth it for a small business). If you're a fan of old country houses, rolling estates, and making up your own chilling ghost stories, then this is the place for you. It felt Brontë-esque to us, especially in the bleak weather, and Chris & I loved it.

Our first port of call was Dove Cottage, the "inspirational home of William Wordsworth". Just how inspirational can a cottage be, I asked myself? Well, I was pleasantly surprised, more by our charismatic guide than the house itself, though it appears the Wordsworths lived a very comfortable and enjoyable 19th century life. Poets, authors and artists all came to visit and ended up staying for years, taking jolly walks around the area, and lolling around the various lakes. During this time Wordsworth wrote arguably his most famous poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils..
Wordsworth was awarded Poet Laureate in 1843, but never felt inspired enough to actually produce any poetry. Sorry boss, can't do any work for you today.. I just don't feel inspired. What inspired me in Grasmere, more than scenery or cottages or the fresh country air, was Sarah Nelson's gingerbread. Sold in a tiny shop (one of the smallest in the world!) your choice is simply between packs of six or twelve gingerbread slices. It's a popular concept as the two of us were jammed in the shop with a host of others. I don't like gingerbread normally - too doughy, too sweet - but this gingerbread really is something else. Properly ginger-y, properly bread-y - I don't know how else to describe it! We've already scoffed our six pack and my mum and dad started on their twelve yesterday.

Put simply, this was a day of poetry & gingerbread.. a day which required the restorative effects of a piece of the latter and a cup of tea in a big, fluffy, marshmallow of a bed. Just lovely.

There's that darned curtain again! Coordinates nicely with this look though. I'm wearing:
H&M via charity shop coat (similar)
Dad's trilby (similar)
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Click to enter my giveaway to win £50 to spend at Miinto!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


I'm wearing:
Topshop bag
Jeffrey Campbell shoes

A fashion blogger walks into a room.. and immediately scopes out the best spot for outfit snaps. Am I right, or am I right? I was pretty pleased to find that the bed & breakfast I stayed in over the weekend in Grasmere put these curtains up precisely for photographic purposes. They're so kind! But I really would've preferred something that coordinated with my outfit a little better. Maybe pink and white stripes. Or holographic silver. Or galaxy print...

I was in Cumbria for the wedding of one of Chris's university friends (it was a blast - especially with Ceilidh band Thistle playing), which meant it was finally time to debut my Minkpink Stolen Moment dress. This dress fills me with such joy - especially the colour, which is as rich and sumptuous as it looks in the photos. My only issue is that it shows up lumps and bumps, so underwear has to be chosen carefully; this is unusual considering it's thick velvet but is a small price to pay for such a beautiful dress!

I bought my dress from Urban Outfitters but have recently discovered Miinto, where this dress is also available. Miinto pull together the best of indespendent stores across the UK (including those very local to me, like Eternal Envy), meaning you can shop boutique brands right from your sofa. Miinto have given a proper miint £50 to spend on the site for one of my lucky readers - if I were you I'd put it towards a piece of Wildfox or snap up a cute Gentle Fawn kimono.

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance. The giveaway runs until midnight on January 2nd - so if Santa didn't quite bring what you were hankering after, you can treat yourself in the New Year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, 17 December 2012



Honestly, I am fully aware that my hands are not my best feature. From my outdoorsy childhood, to my freaky genetics making them larger than your average females', it's safe to say I will never be a hand model. I marvel when above-knuckle rings seem to fit on everybody else's index fingers when they turn even the end of my pinky blue.

So why would I be pointing out my biggest flaw to you (because, as we all know, nobody ever notices them until you go on about it)? Simply to show off my new Bohemian Collective ring. I'm fairly certain it was made to be a normal ring but it sits comfortably above the knuckle of my middle finger without cutting any circulation off. There's something quietly, gently aesthetically pleasing about it; which rings true about all of The Bohemian Collective's pieces.

This was exactly what I wanted to find at the Clothes Show. Not the £5 mass-Chinese-produced-dresses stall or the goody-bag-of-make-up-that-we-struggle-normally-to-sell stall. I wanted to find new, inspiring indepedents, hand-made goodies, and stall owners who were enthusiastic about their goods; The Bohemian Collective fit the brief perfectly. The girls on the stand were patient and sweet, despite the swarming crowds, and were happy to show me their one-off pieces.. including a delicate topaz ring that was the first ring ever that stirred feelings within me that it could be the ring for you-know-what. Weird as I never really believed in that before.

The Bohemian Collective's (or rather Faye's, owner, designer and creator) pieces are constantly progressing, thanks to their constant product development and time spent with a silversmith in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. Their one-off pieces are beautiful (see final image from their Facebook) and I can't wait to see what Faye comes up with next.

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Friday, 14 December 2012



One of my big degree projects this year was to design a stand to promote The Manchester College at Birmingham's Clothes Show Live. The project actually began before summer, when I composed a presentation forecasting trends for next year. After looking at next year's film releases - namely Star Trek, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the baddie (hello!) - and also events - after years of little space exploration there are a handful of space missions in 2013 - I went with the theme of sci-fi. My trend was chosen and I was pretty overjoyed to see sci-fi references trickling through in the spring/summer 2013 shows. Score!

It seemed like we were working on the live project forever but on Tuesday I went to the show to check out our finished stand. The entire class contributed elements of the stand, whether it was the initial trend research and moodboards, or 1/5 scale 3D development, and it was interesting to see how the college technicians and my tutor Valerie (she painted all of the galaxies, bless her) interpreted the final ideas. We also ran an activity to increase the length of time Clothes Show visitors spent on the stand; at one point we had about ten people around our activity table wanting to make mini dresses out of recycled material - sadly the activity had to be cancelled by about 2pm as we ran out of scraps!

The best bit of the entire Clothes Show was the Diet Coke Image catwalk, which was for graduates, university and college students. I might be biased but I thought the college segment was by far the most interesting and creative: another good reason to check out colleges for degrees (as well as the low course fees, small class sizes, yada yada.. I said those things way too many times that day). The Manchester College's garments were created by the Fashion Design degree students from polyester made of recycled bottles, sticking with the sci-fi theme, using colours lifted from Pantone's predicted 2013 scheme.

Of course, as well as manning the stand and being totes profesh, there was a bit of silliness with Harry Styles, studiousness with Caryn Franklin, and quite a lot of shopping. I was so proud to see my pals Paris In Cuffs and Bottle Green Vintage at the show, and it was great to chat to some of my favourite indie brands, including The Bohemian Collective. The last time I went to the Clothes Show was about five years ago, and admittedly it was underwhelming.. apart from seeing The Saturdays in the fashion theatre. Ha. This year I was totally overwhelmed by the crowds and the amount of stuff to see.. maybe I am just getting old but there was too much to see in one day!

Did you go to the Clothes Show? I'd love to know what you thought of The Manchester College's stand if you saw it.

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(def chose the wrong t-shirt to photograph.. but this is a super cute baby pink & pale yellow ombré Paris In Cuffs tee)
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012



Last week I had my BEST DAY EVER. Well, not quite the best ever. Maybe the best day of that week. BUT STILL it was pretty excellent: after much mithering my mum found the furby my friends had clubbed together and bought for my 13th birthday (cheers Stigga, Stubbsy, Walshy, Ozza, Bozza, Tozza*.. etc) (*fictional names. Most of them anyway) and I was also informed I won a Self Service UK competition for some Wildfox Twiggy sunnies. WHAT. There may have been some dancing around the living room involved but I was definitely very excited.

They arrived on Friday and they are everything I dreamed of and more. In typical Wildfox style no detail has been spared, right down to the heart shaped box - neat 90s Nirvana reference there - and WF-branded dust cloth. Despite my expensive tastes I've never owned a pair of designer sunnies; my previous sunglasses have all met the same untimely end (drunkenly left in someone's garden, drunkenly broken on holiday, stolen from my head at a festival whilst drunk) so normally I am not to be trusted. But these.. these I'm going to guard like they were my own child. Though I can't promise I won't be drunk in charge.

I'm wearing:
Wildfox tee
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