Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

One of the things I love most about Christmas is wrapping the presents, although I absolutely hate novelty Christmas wrapping paper so I usually have a theme for myself each year. The presents below are for my boyfriend and as you can see, I've given it a gold theme! The paper is from IKEA and the gold glitter ribbon is from eBay.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Small Feet and a Little Bit of Patience.

I had come across some beautiful Miss Selfridge boots about 2 months ago and adored them!... but at £70/$113, it was too much!! So, I had a sulk, put them at the back of my mind and eventually forgot about them. However, on Friday, I was browsing some of the sales in London's Oxford Street and was in Debenhams when I went to have a quick peek at their small, but big enough, Miss Selfridge concession...and saw the boots! Not only that, but they had a huge discount and was only £30/$48!So, I had found the boots but out of the three pairs left, I didn't think it was likely that my size, which is a UK3/US5.5, would be amongst them. The first two pairs were too big (of course), but the last pair were just perfect! I tried them on which further clarified that I had to get them! Sometimes having small feet is a nightmare as a lot of stores don't stock many pairs in my size, so, they either sell out very quickly, or don't sell at all...but I think I had just been lucky about being in Debenhams at the right time as their target customer is about a decade older than the Miss Selfridge customer!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Little Fox.

TheLittleFox is (in her own words) a "picture crafter, imagination enthusiast, and bedtime stories fabricator."... and you can really see this when you take a look at her work. I love collecting art as some of you may know, but a lot of art isn't available in smaller, affordable sizes and I don't really like asking - I just assume that if one doesn't offer it, then one won't!
I remember coming across TheLittleFox on Etsy many many months ago, maybe even a year, and loved her art but smaller sizes were not offered, until I recently came across her again! She had this 'Little Prisons' postcard pack which was just delightful!
When I received them, they just looked so adorable together and I can't wait to finish off my postcard album so I can add my art collection to it.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Spookychandelier.

I've been looking for some earrings that I can wear pretty much everyday, but I was also being quite specific which made it difficult to find them!
I wanted some vintage-looking studs, with a beautiful stone, but they also had to be sterling silver or better, due to allergies. It was really hard because a lot of the vintage-esque jewellery I came across was made with plated gold or silver...until I came across spookychandelier on Etsy. Spookychandelier offered beautiful glass gems which were set in a gunmetal casing but... with sterling silver posts!I couldn't believe I never thought of that and wondered how many other places I had skipped without reading the information properly! Nevertheless, I was still slightly hesitant about the casing having an effect on my ears but as the price was very good, I went ahead and got them!
I've worn them several times now and my earlobes are absolutely fine, the sterling silver post is such a good idea and I hope to purchase some of the other colours in the future!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

"Just customize it".

"Just customize it"...I am always saying this and I feel like it's slowly turning into my own little phrase! I never spend money on something that isn't as special as it should be for the price, so I usually buy a cheaper version of it or at a discounted price, then I would 'customize it'! I just find it to be an enjoyable way of making something unique with hardly any extra cost.

So, when my 13 year old sister desperately needed a winter coat - well, she didn't really, she has coats, she just wanted a new one - I took her shopping and she absolutely loved a parka from River Island that was all ruched and full of loveliness, but also had a very high price. I think it's OK to spend a bit more money on coats, shoes and accessories as long as you get a lot of use out of them...but I know my sister would eventually tire of the parka so I took her to look at cheaper brands. We browsed Debenhams, a British department store and came across a concession called Red Herring and the perfect parka! Red Herring isn't very known, but often produces really lovely items such as these studded gladiator sandals I got back in July.The khaki parka jacket had great details and was on sale from £50/$80 down to £25/$40! My sister tried it on and it looked so cute...she really liked it but said she wished it had something more special about it, which is where I come in! We paid for the coat with my promise of studding it for her! I got all my studs out when we got home and my sister decided to go for only bronze studs, which I also agreed with, but I also added in some gold ones so it looked a bit more 'perky'.I initially wanted to put blocks of studding along the front of the coat, but decided to utilise the style-lines that were already there, and studded around them. I think I'll add a couple of more rows at a later date.
So, I guess my conclusion is that people should do more customization! It is really easy once you start doing it and even easier once you build up a collection of embellishments and trims that you can use.

Monday, 7 December 2009

New Look Spring/Summer 2010 - Sneak Preview.

I was very kindly invited to the New Look S/S10 Press Day which gave me a sneak preview of what we might find in their stores in 2010. I also got a glimpse of their new London Head Office which I must say was quite snazzy!
On entering the showroom, I see the first (and eventually my most favourite) collection which is perfectly called Blush. It comprises of a beautiful colour palette of nudes, taupes, greys and blues. However, I was very disappointed at the lower table that was placed parallel to it which was filled with shoes and accessories in a colour palette that was the complete opposite to Blush. They were nice but in the wrong place! It was like putting a dirty, weeded pond in the middle of a beautiful field filled with the most beautiful flowers! Anyway, on a better note, the Blush collection had a strong vintage aesthetic in primary regards to their embellishments and prints which was just stunning!!
I saw an abundance of garments from this collection that I just 'must-have' such as this embellished taupe corselette (I mentioned my love for corselette's in my Sonia Rykiel for H&M blog entry) and I loved how it was styled with this cropped melange cardigan.
I also adored this blouse with a very vintage-looking embellishment of chains and rhinestones. It was just so elegant and as if it was straight out of a fairytale!...and of course, my favourite collection would also contain the sweetest shoes for Spring/Summer. These wedge, front lace-ups in a nude colour are the shoes I will be waiting to get next year!There were many collections that I browsed but I thought I'd only pick out the most interesting elements, otherwise this blog entry would go on forever! I came across their Idol range which is a collection that they always have running, which is of course updated for each season and has a rock-chick aesthetic.On looking at the dressed mannequins, I wasn't overly impressed or excited about the collection. However, after carefully browsing through the rail, I noticed a lot of things I actually quite liked! This included a lot of slashing and knotting in t-shirts that were embellished with rings which looked newer than using studs, although having said that, there was still plenty of studding!This punctured jersey maxi dress surprisingly caught my attention. I don't think I've ever worn a maxi dress, even though I've always wanted to. I think that when it comes to maxi dresses, I always envision a triple tiered one that would just swamp my petite frame...so there was something about this Idol maxi dress that I really admired.After Idol, I came across Sicilian Siren which looked slightly out of place in the showroom due to its dark colour palette of red and black with ivory accents. However, I think I am being biased as I don't really like red and black together. This collection also looked quite old to what I envision from New Look. As I looked through, I actually started to like what I was seeing. There was a plethora of lace which I always love and that I had not initially spotted because it was all so dark. There was a lace biker jacket which was really very lovely and a lot of corset detailing...I almost gasped out loud when I pulled out this (yes, another!) corselette, although I suppose it's more of a 'bralette' as it isn't as structured as a corset would be. The floral print was delightful and the lace was so delicate... I actually would've liked to see much more of the print instead of the red. So, to conclude, each piece was very nice, but not together in this collection.Overall, I was genuinely impressed with the New Look S/S10 collection so far (I'm sure a lot of it will change by the time we reach next year!) and have my eye on a lot of the pieces. Admittedly, I never really went into New Look that much, I only ever did if I was looking for something that I could not find elsewhere, it was almost like a 'last-resort' place for me, and I was never let-down! However, I will definitely be having a peek much more often.
As I was leaving the showroom, I was kindly handed a beautiful lace print bag and a £100 /$165 voucher to spend in store! Luckily the expiry date is March 2010 so I might just be able to get some of the pieces I saw which I will definitely blog about!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sonia Rykiel for H&M and V.I.P Day.

V.I.P Day in London stands for 'Very Important Pedestrian' which is when they clear Oxford Street of all vehicles. I wanted to go to the first one last year but had missed it so was quite keen on seeing what it was like this year (yesterday), especially as it coincided with the release of Sonia Rykiel's lingerie collection for H&M.
I thought it would be easier to navigate through Oxford Street without vehicles taking up half the street, but this time there were triple the amount of pedestrians also taking advantage of the day! There was such a strange calm while walking along the street and I hadn't realised just how noisy all the cars and buses actually were when they were there!!! There were also dancers in the street, people on stilts and a medieval-esque fair... it was quite surreal!!
Anyway, when I reached H&M, I was surprised at the amount of stock still left, I had expected everything to have gone as I had left home later than anticipated. There weren't many browsers either so I was able to get quite a clear shot of the main display. It was right at the entrance to the store with a small colour palette (which is always important for a small collection) of hot pink, black, dark nude and dusky pink. I was also surprised at how fair the prices were, which were not very different to the general H&M pieces. I went to try a corselette on a.k.a longline bra (my new fascination!) but I didn't notice the silly security tag that was fastened right on the hook and eyes until I was already in the changing room. I don't have patience with these sort of things at all so didn't end up buying anything. However, I found the corselette on the H&M website (1st image) so thought I would show how lovely it was anyway... and with matching high-waisted knickers - my dream lingerie pieces! Nevertheless, there will be a clothing range by Sonia Rykiel for H&M again in February 2010 which I look forward to seeing.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Pepperminte.

I hadn't bought any art in absolutely ages and yearned to add to My Art Collection, so I started having a browse through my favourites and the Art category over on Etsy to see if there were any new artists around or anything I'd missed...and I came across Pepperminte.
I had seen her work a while ago but her art wasn't offered in smaller sizes, so I purchased from people who already did, just to make my life easy! However, this time, she was offering sets of her art in postcard sizes, which is the only size I now buy. The price was so good I couldn't resist buying a couple of sets, as you can see!They reached me very quickly and they were just incredibly beautiful. The detail was extraordinary such as a little heart tattoo on an arm, the perfect shade of red on lips and the perfect print on a perfect dress. I was in such awe!I mentioned the set of Christmas cards I purchased from Topshop last month featuring Fifi Lapin's illustrations, and I can most definitely see Pepperminte's illustrations going the same direction, and appearing in mainstream Fashion - if that is the direction she wants to take of course. Anyway, I have also been enjoying her blog which shows a lot of her new work which really is lovely to see. I can't wait to get some more of her art in the future, as there are so many more pieces I'd love!

Friday, 27 November 2009

CovertCandy.

CovertCandy is an exciting website where you can exchange clothing so you can refresh your wardrobe without spending a fortune and other wonderful things! However, I wanted to mention my most favourite part of their site, which is the shop that contains vintage clothes.It is super easy to navigate and presentation is crisp. Pricing is also fantastic which is rare for vintage clothing nowadays due to the rise in popularity... but the pieces here are very much affordable.
I got this 'oversized' peach cardigan with the sweetest embroidery and embellishment which I would throw over a bodycon dress or something fitted and slimline. I also plan on working into the embellishment a bit more...and as I typed that last sentence I got a sudden rush of déjà vu! I have so many unfinished projects, but I do plan on finishing them at least this year before they pile up even more!!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Suede and Leather.

I've always wanted a suede jacket and a leather jacket but I've never come across those 'perfect' ones, that look and feel great when worn...until I came across (and got) this dusky pink suede jacket and black leather jacket from Select.The slightly cropped sleeve makes them easier and more comfortable to wear, and as I feel that they look better worn 'open', I could easily layer it over a sweater dress when it's cold, or wear it as it is when it's warm.The jacket has been very well designed into, which is especially important for a pink jacket! I specifically love the zip inserted into the collar and the double top stitching which helps turn the jacket into a biker style.The suede one also comes in a rich red (it was hard choosing which one I wanted!) and the leather one also comes in a stunning green. Also, as I seem to have the inability to leave things how they are, I do plan on studding or embellishing the pink suede jacket and possibly attaching a salt and pepper sheepskin fur collar to the leather one... I hope to show the results sometime soon!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Film Review: The Twilight Saga - New Moon

First of all, the film was brilliant! However I strongly feel that the film would come across extremely different depending on whether you have read the Twilight Saga or not... and I believe that those who have read the Saga would have a much better viewing. In my review for Twilight, I was frustrated at the amount of important scenes in the book, that was left out in the film... but with New Moon, I didn't notice this. This might be because the books are not as fresh in my head as they were when I watched Twilight last year, but I truly believe that New Moon had done a good job with following the book.

The story for New Moon starts with Bella cutting her finger while opening her birthday present while at the Cullen's which provokes Jackson to kill her. Edward, being the mind reader, obviously knows what is about to happen and saves Bella in time. Nevertheless, Edward feels that Bella will always be in danger if she is with him, so him and his family leave Forks. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were extremely good with this scene, it was very much as I had pictured it and I'm sure I could hear the odd sniffle from some audience members. Bella then becomes depressed and reckless, when she realises that she can see and hear Edward whenever she is in danger, so she embarks on riding motorbikes and cliff jumping! There are many revelations throughout the film which gives the viewer enough reason to follow the rest of the Saga.
One scene that I found quite memorable is when Bella goes to the cinema with Mike and Jacob. Both vying for her affections and wanting to hold her hand... to which she entertainingly ignores! I found Mike (Bella's high school friend) very irritating in Twilight although I think he's supposed to be anyway. In New Moon, his character started to grow on me and I started to feel that the interpretation of Mike from the book was well done.

Another important part of the second book was that it was more about Bella and Jacob, rather than Bella and Edward, who is only prominent in the beginning and end of the book... and due to high female adoration of the character based on the first film, I was worried that the second film might force the presence of Edward for public appeal... but it did not!

Kristen Stewart still had that awkwardness which I had always found endearing and suited the character of Bella very well... Overall, I felt that everyone was actually very consistent with their acting. Despite the higher budget for New Moon, I could still see Kristen Stewart's contacts! I know it is such a small detail, but surely there is good enough technology around to eliminate this! I also noticed that she was 'prettier'. I'd always found her beautiful, but she was even more so in this second installment.In fact, everyone just generally looked better, and so much more in tune with the story. When comparing the promotional photo for the Cullen Family for Twilight (which was truly terribly), to the one for New Moon, the difference is striking. While on the subject of looks, Jacob Black's hair was supposed to be 'crooked', as he cuts it himself... but after it was cut short (when he realises he is a werewolf), it looked more like the work of a professional hairdresser!... obviously this was to appeal to the female fans which was slightly annoying! I just hope that the next couple of films will be a bit more gritty! There is also a scene where Bella falls off her motorbike and cuts her head... Jacob Black then (unnecessarily) takes off his shirt to dab the wound, which stirred up a lot of noise from the females in the audience!... What happened to just ripping a bit of fabric from the sleeve? Anyway, I can't remember what exactly had happened in the book, so I can't criticise it too much!

The werewolves were represented quite well and the way each person transformed into them was exactly how Stephenie Meyer described it in her book. Although my friend asked me why they were always topless (when human) - because their clothes would rip when they transformed and they would usually tie their trousers to their legs to put on afterwards - but of course she didn't know this, so maybe this should have been addressed in the film. Again, an example of why it would be better to read the Twilight Saga beforehand.

When time is passing in films, they usually black the screen out and have the date shown at the bottom, or they state how much time has passed, i.e. 3 years later etc... so, I was quite impressed at how 'time passing' was done in New Moon when Edward leaves Bella and she sinks into a depression. It simply showed Bella looking through her bedroom window, and the camera going around her...each time it reached the back of her head which enabled the viewer to also see out the window, it would show the month, which was visual in both text and season... I really liked this!!During the run up of New Moon, I didn't really pay attention to new cast, so when I saw Michael Sheen on a promotional poster for New Moon on a bus, I knew he would play his part well! Michael Sheen's presence in New Moon suddenly gave the film panache and the authenticity that other cult, vampire films sometimes lack. However, I am probably being completely biased as he was in one of my most favourite vampire films, Underworld. Casting Michael Sheen as Aro in New Moon has to be one of the best decisions for that film!!! Nevertheless, I hated the casting of the other Volturi members who looked like boys from High School Musical with red contacts... they didn't speak or do much, so I can worry about them in the next film.The casting of Dakota Fanning as Jane was surprisingly good! She was better than I thought as I had always found her characters annoying and could not imagine her as a devious vampire...but she did a good job.I really disliked the actress who played Victoria in Twilight, and I still did in New Moon. She is nothing like the Victoria I imagine in the book and quite frankly, I can’t wait until she is killed off in Eclipse. She can't act at all, even if she's just standing there not having to say anything! However, on a better note, at least she was actually a redhead this time (like she was always supposed to be) and not a strawberry blonde with brown roots in Twilight.
So just to finish off my extremely long blog entry, New Moon was wonderful and was worth having to queue for a very long time and watching a 22:30 performance because the earlier times were fully booked! I don't remember having so much trouble for Twilight! I am sure the next one, Eclipse, will be even better with a lot more action, which is what the film is slightly lacking. It is just a bit too soppy at the moment! Those who don't know what happens next will definitely be in for a surprise, and I look very forward to how they are going to achieve the look of the next, extremely important character that will be introduced in Eclipse.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Book Review: Helen of Troy.

I’d always loved Greek mythology and had a particular interest in the Gods and Goddesses as a child. I was forever watching repeats of Hercules and Xena: The Warrior Princess…along with cheesy, but great films with humorous special effects such as Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad. Then of course, big budget ‘epic’ films such as Gladiator, The Last Samurai, King Arthur, Troy and 300 further peeked my interest in historical events in both film and novels.

After watching the film Troy (2004), I became quite curious about Helen, who was known as ‘the most beautiful woman’ and perceived as being the cause of the Trojan War. I highly doubt this is how it happened, but I do like how the story has been romanticised to make us believe that she was – which in turn makes her seem more interesting. If you don’t know the story of the Trojan War, you can read this Wikipedia article.My impression of Helen has always been indifferent even though I’ve watched the character in several television dramas and in 'Troy', to which I was incredibly disappointed with Diane Kruger’s performance. I personally don't even imagine Helen as being blonde, I like to think of her as a pale skinned, freckled redhead... I feel that the 'most beautiful woman' should have an eye-catching look and distinctive features. Helen has just always been…boring.

Anyway, when I had noticed Amazon recommending me a novel about her, by Margaret George, I seized the chance to possibly learn a bit more about her in a different format. I thought it’d take me forever to finish the book as it’s twice the size of other books I read, but it was so brilliantly written, I skimmed right through it. I was so much more enlightened about Helen after finishing it, and she finally had a personality to her name. I saw her as quite spoilt, and slightly annoying. Although at times, she came across as almost… heroic. There were times when I liked her and times when I didn’t, which is probably why I finished it quite quickly as I was constantly reaching out for the parts where I would like her.I particularly enjoyed reading about her life as a child and finding out the story of her birth which was actually something I didn’t know! Her mother Leda was impregnated by Zeus, who was disguised as a swan…Leda then had an egg, to which Helen came out of. I think stories like these are just the things that make me enjoy reading mythology so much more!!!
I would recommend this book, but not just to learn more about Helen, but also because other key characters are exposed to the reader, making you want to learn about them too. I also really liked Margaret George's style of writing which was clear and concise... I'd definitely look into buying her other novels.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

True Blood.

I had started watching True Blood when it premiered in the UK on FX, around August 09 and had managed to watch four fantastic episodes of it before I had to start unplugging everything for the house move. However, it started last month on terrestrial TV so I was able to resume watching the series! The program was so much better than I initially thought as other vampire programs that I expected to be good, were not.For example, Blade:The Series. When it premiered in the UK years ago, I was so excited to watch it as I adored all the films. However, I remember that after 10 minutes, I turned it off. I was unimpressed with the actor who played 'Blade' (so unimpressed that I haven't bothered to even see who he is), but maybe because I loved the films so much, I could not imagine anyone else but Wesley Snipes playing the character. The last vampire series that truly worked were Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it's spin-off, Angel.

The main character in True Blood is Sookie Stackhouse who is telepathic and played by Anna Paquin. I think her presence in the program made it further appealing to me as I had always liked her as Rogue in the X-Men films. Unlike Blade:The Series, the first 10 minutes of True Blood confirmed that I would be watching all of it!It had a very comical opening which didn't even involve the main characters. You were very quickly introduced to a vampire, who had the most hilarious line, which was made funnier with his accent...however, it is just too rude to repeat on my blog so you would just need to watch it! This character reveals himself as being a vampire by flashing his 'fangs' which come out like spikes in the ground of a trap... and I loved the fact they were not typically in place of the canines, but instead in place of the incisors.

True Blood is simply about humans and vampires co-existing and details like vampires being able to purchase bottled blood in pubs and stores was almost...endearing! I also quickly noticed a similarity between True Blood and Twilight and wondered which was first - after some quick Googling, it seems like True Blood was first!

The more I watch this, the more I love it, each episode has been fresh and I can't imagine ever getting bored of it!!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Fifi Lapin.

I first came across Fifi Lapin via her Etsy shop almost 2 years ago where she was selling original sketches. I remember thinking how smart it was to draw catwalk outfits onto bunny-girls. Simple but extremely effective, and cute! I wanted to buy some of her art in postcard format and as reproductions (I don't mind reproductions as I can get more for less money) but as she was only selling originals and at a larger size, I thought I'd wait and see if she would sell them in the future. I found images of her originals in her Sold items and it's so lovely to see how much her drawings have evolved. From quick, coloured sketches to detailed drawings.
Anyway, months later, when I started doing work placements in Fashion Design and eventually getting a full-time job, I kept hearing her name (as if she'd just been discovered!) when I had seen her work years before!!...from this sudden recognition, I knew that Fifi Lapin would be extremely popular in the up-and-coming months.So, when I was recently in Oxford Street's Topshop and spotted a pack of 8 Christmas cards by Fifi Lapin in Topshop outfits (of course!) for only £4/$7, I snapped them up right away! I'd always guessed that Topshop would get some of her art in their stores, same with other fashion brands. They are the sweetest cards and I instantly knew that I wouldn't be using them as I'd want to keep them for myself!... however, as there are two in each design, I may succumb to using one of each...Also, something I'd always found amusing with Fifi Lapin is that the artist has literally become 'Fifi Lapin'. In her Etsy shop years earlier, I remember seeing a t-shirt for sale, I don't think it had any of her drawings on it, but she had modelled it herself while holding a cutout card bunny-head against her own head, I found it funny and very memorable. Her profile description is also hilarious."Hi, I'm Fifi. . . Fifi Lapin . . . . . . . . . . I was born one of 257 brothers and sisters but sadly there was an outbreak of myxomatosis when I was just one year old... I was the only one that survived. My parents are therefore incredibly protective of me and spoil me rotten. I'm an hare-ss to my fathers fortune which he made playing fast and loose with carrot and lettuce shares on the international stock market. There are a lot of rabbits out there eating carrots and lettuce so I guess he just struck gold (or orange you might say). . . . . . . . Some people think I’m just a socialite but I think there is more to me than just an extremely stylish clotheshorse!"

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Dior.

While my family and I were packing for our house move back around August, I came across some vintage-looking Christian Dior belts that I'd never seen before, and I instantly adored them. They were both adjustable and funnily enough, I had been looking to buy some nice, skinny belts to wear but could never find any I had liked.I quickly went to my mother to tell her of my find... her face was a hilarious ‘oh you’ve found them’ expression! She had bought them when she was a teenager and kept them boxed up for the last two decades or so! What a waste! After some pleading, she let me ‘borrow’ them, but I know it was more of a ‘fine you can have them’! I think they’re my favourite belts now, especially as they’re vintage. Also, when I had worn one of them to work, a colleague commented on having the same belt, given by her mother!