DISCLAIMER- blog: standard student behaviour. woops. please humour me, by forgiving me for occasionally projecting the (generally inane/mundane) ponderings from my brain into a pretty font. it's just that blogging's quite relaxing. like sudoku, but with letters.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Furry friend

Snap, crackle, pop- it's the sound of my autumn. Snapping back to reality- it's half way through term and apparently that essay isn't going to write itself. The crackle of jumping in dry leaf drifts, as my inner Fresher entertains herself on the walk to campus. And popping on the heating...because wearing a scarf and three pairs of socks to bed is never a good look.

But, in case you're wondering, here's a more stylish way to stay snug:

A few cold-banishing classics I'd like to be keeping me cosy with Autumn. There's a few dream pieces there that only a spot of lottery winning will allow, but my faux fur favourite is just about on the right side of affordable. So pop to the shops, crack out the debit card and snap it up while you can...

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Where to find 'em:
Shirt- Reiss
Jeans- Rag and Bone
Coat- Topshop
Earrings- All House of Harlow

Friday, October 21, 2011

The X Factor- the style stakes are high...

They’re going to make you famous. To prove it, they’ll dress you up as a caricature of yourself, surround you with scantily clad backing dancers and announce your name in a comically booming voice. On the nations favourite talent show, contestants are poked and prodded, groomed and glossed until their mentors decide they’re larger than life enough to stand up to the spotlights. Then it’s time to face the music…but how many of the contestants are ready?

One of the first casualties of the season was a Miss Amelia Lily- only sixteen, but rocking the crowds in short, tight leather and her blonde-turned-bubblegum hair. Sent home after the first live show, Amelia must return to her pre-X Factor life, with little more than fading pink locks and slight Miami sunburn.

Gary’s new favourite toy, Frankie Cocozza, has had no expense spared (except a haircut. And a wash.) in marketing him to the country’s teenage girls, not that he needs any help. As Mr Barlow relives his youth through the tattooed charmer, Frankie knows fame will bring him even more attention from the ladies. With over 60 conquests under his belt no-one could call him shy, but is he prepared for the scrutiny and criticism that comes alongside showbiz? Upon recently returning to his hometown Brighton, Frankie was greeted by crowds screaming “Everybody hates you”. Beneath his trademark tousled mop, his confidence must be shaken.

Finally, the shyest member of the finalists, Janet Devlin. She might have what it takes to succeed vocally, but with all the pressure and paparazzi, what’s to stop the Irish wallflower from drowning in the floodlights?

They've got their serious faces on and there's fire in the background- so you know they mean business.
But it’s not all doom, gloom and rehab predictions- this year’s new judges are a welcome change. Gary may be a little smug like Simon, but seems sincerely interested in his group of competitors. Seeing dollar signs light up Mr Cowell’s eyes when he spotted a potentially lucrative act confirmed his reputation as cold and calculating. Kelly Rowland has replaced Cheryl as the women of Britain’s dream best friend, and it’s easy to imagine Tulisa making a night out one to remember- getting the drinks in, dancing on tables, and perhaps getting a bit cheeky with the bouncers. Louis remains, seemingly bumbling but undeniably successful, to keep light-hearted comedy in the competition.

Like many career choices, becoming a pop star requires hard work, commitment and determination. However, not so many jobs include sexing yourself up into a media-savvy brand, and potentially completely transforming yourself and the way you look. But then how many accountants get to have thousands of fans screaming their name? It’s not without its glamour, but the fame game is a dangerous one, and I’m not sure all of the contestants are ready to play.

It'll take more than a cuppa to prepare Janet for the pressure to come...
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All photos sourced from Google Images. This was published today in my university newspaper, and I posted it up here for those of you not around to pick one up :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Icing on the cake

How are the latest LV collection and cupcakes linked? Read on to find out... 
Doing filing while the excitable world outside my window is off to do shots is somewhat deflating. All work and no play makes this club-lover just a little bit mardy. But with library books and reading lists building a barrier impossible to break without extensive guilt and awkward seminar silences, I'm going to have to embrace the sensible side of fun. Let's get back to basics, and into the kitchen cupboard. Although, much as I love getting my bake on, a cookbooks place is more 11.30am, not 11.30pm. I should be squabbling with a taxi driver over the fare to Broad Street in a little dress and big heels round about now, but if anything can solve my growing-up predicament, and take me back to the land before deadlines, it's cupcakes.

Little-girly, pastel, fairy princess tea-party cupcakes.

This is what I came up with.

Marshmallow Vanilla Cupcakes- Hummingbird Bakery cookbook

Made for the birthday party of a glamorous housemate, I hope she enjoyed nibbling them in the rented hot tub as much as I enjoyed baking them...

Just in case the oven was too hot...
The party was Hawaiian themed, so I felt it was only fair that the cupcakes got into the holiday mood with some teeny tiny beach parasols...can't have the pudding feeling left out now, can we.

My sweet-tooth tendencies didn't stop at the obvious. Oh yes, I kept on tracking the sugar trail until I was sure I had my fix, or who knows what could happen; found by a concerned friend, leaning listlessly against any speaker with a vague baseline, or unconsciously buying out every last elasticated thread of body-con on Asos- I had to be sure I had found a true alternative to the dancefloor I so craved. So you can imagine my hand-clapping delight when I found Mr Marc over at Louis Vuitton had just the thing to keep me at a safe distance from my killer heels...

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 Collection 

Marc Jacobs has brought a happily-ever-after to fashion that looks good enough to eat...the colours, the feathery-light textures- even the odd tiara- make this crucial for dissertation motivation. Regressing back to my five-year-old self's love of the carousel pony to reign myself in from the Sambuca- why didn't I think of this before?

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Friday, October 7, 2011

What's the hold-up with the chowdown?

(This article is currently in my University paper, but for those of you that can't see it, I thought I'd pop it up here...)
One of many...Carbonara pizza in Sicily

How can a nation be famous for both indulgent food and world-class catwalks? Pizza, pasta, pastry and ice-cream- they’re the kind of tasty treats that the fashion industry doesn’t always appreciate as much as the rest of us. I know the Mediterranean lifestyle is meant to keep you spritely and bafflingly energetic well into retirement, but with that much dough involved, I simply couldn’t see the logic. So when I arrived in Padova, Italy, for my year abroad, I was suspicious of how the local ladies managed to live in streets lined with bakeries and still look slinky in their skinny jeans. But after a few weeks of careful observation, I discovered their secret.

I admit I arrived in the sunny boot of Europe with plenty of pre-conceptions of our European neighbours- I was sure there would be lots of passionate hand gesturing (true), impassioned accordion players providing the soundtrack to bustling street cafĂ©’s (true), and was on my guard for slick-haired Casanova’s prowling the piazzas (pleasingly not true). What took me by surprise was one particular mentality, woven as deftly and naturally through the culture as a Vespa through cobbled side-streets: moderation.

Just one won't hurt...Cream and Raspberry Tart, Sicily
Alright, so it isn’t the most dramatic revelation, but it’s a concept that sets the bar classily high for many other countries- particularly for Britain, often depicted as a country of excess. As many statistics remind us, we love a good takeaway (recent surveys show that 45% of Brits enjoy indulging in fast food too much to give it up, followed closely by 44% of Americans), we love a drink, or three, even more and, when it comes to letting off steam, it goes without saying that Saturday night indulgence shouldn’t end until it’s well into Sunday morning- in the UK, binge drinking accounts for 40% of all drinking occasions by men, and 22% for women. When it comes to food and drink, we can’t seem to get enough of a good thing.

All the while, it seems Italians are almost supernaturally resistant to the chocolate-to-face-shovelling and wine swigging that some of us (or, at least, me and a few of my friends) are powerless to resist. For example, whilst in Italy one of my two housemates carefully cut a doughnut into four pieces, kindly offered me a segment, and when each girl had savoured her piece, the last quarter was wrapped in foil and left in the fridge. For three days. This, apparently, was normal. Alien as this concept of...wait, what's it called again..."saving chocolate for later" was to me, I have to say I respected it. I’m quite sure that even if I tried adopting such a sensible attitude towards confectionary, it’s likely that I would end up cheating outrageously by finding loopholes, such as alleged "sleep eating", or similar excuses.

Sugar-coated... Treats at the Chocolate Market, Padova
The Italian powers of self-control also apply into alcohol- it’s one of the few places where people claim they’re just going out for one drink, and actually mean it. That’s not to say Italians don’t know how to enjoy themselves- they throw a mean carnival, and their food markets never fail to excite and delight. Perhaps it’s just that “fun” doesn’t translate directly between our two nations- each with our different ways of using eating and drinking to make ourselves feel good.

Has the Italian influence affected me? Well, next time I find myself with a family-size bag of Maltesers and some spare time on my hands, I suppose I’ll find out…

Goodies- Out for hot chocolate with Tiger in Padova
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Like a Sunday morning

An ideal Sunday activity? Long chats over cafe cake.

Lyrically famed for its ease. Officially proclaimed The Day of Chillax. It has even been fondly awarded a seperate newspaper to the rest of the week on the assumption that, as you'll be looking to leisure out on the sofa/park grass/bed/beach all day, you'll probably need something to do while you're down there. Glossy supplements a-plenty slink from the broadsheets, soothing 9-to-5-ed eyes with the bright and the beautiful. Sunday might be the weeks last, but least it is not- from inside our snuggest hoodies, we can saunter through arts, fashion, literature and photography from across the globe, without padding further than the newsagents. Culture as easy as one, two, cuppa-tea.

But... it's Monday tomorrow... for many a day synonymous with clock-watching, uniform, railway platforms...  morning streets a drifting panorama of umbrella domes and parapets, weary pinstripes and pencil skirts housed beneath.
These artists take the edge off the commute by keeping it weekender all day every day...why save easy-access culture for Sunday best?

Carmen Chang- Before I Die
(have a nosey at her website here. The photos below are from her website.)

It's one simple question with an endless flurry of answers. Carman Chang transformed a street corner in New Orleans into a real turning point (see what she did there...). Leaving chalk for passersby to fill in the gaps, she conjured a charming harmony of the quirky, the cliché, the random and the romantic from what could have been just another walk-on-by.

(see more gorgeous wire designs here. The photos below are from their website.)

The Dutch design house Demakersvan rejects the idea that basics should be... basic. Under their steely touch, the humble fence becomes capable of so much more than simply splitting apart A and B. It might even distract from the destinations it divides, unfurling and flowering into a sight-to-see in it's own right.

Iepe & The Anonymous Crew
(have a looksy here for more on the film they made...)

Adding a little colour to the commute at an intersection in Berlin, Iepe and his team of guerilla painting cyclists tipped rainbow puddles onto the road, which were spread and stretched onto previously joyless grey concrete by over 2000 vehicles. It was all water-based and environmentally friendly, so hopefully no-one got cross, and there was nothing left to do but enjoy driving through what looked like a giant's paint-ball fight.

Here's hoping your weekend is worth the wait, and Sunday is the relax-a-thon it should be... :)  

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You've been a very naughty girl, go to my room...

Kasia triangle bra and Kasia big knickers

I'm pretty lucky, in that quite a few things make me genuinely happy. You know, that eye-creasing, smile cracking hopping-from-foot-to-foot that somehow makes you feel like you're fizzing and glowing at once. Of course, there's all sorts that make me the more common-or-garden sort of perky, like the obvious sunlight through the curtains in the morning, or a tinny car radio piping pop, and steering-wheel-tapping pleasure, into a drawn out journey, or particular varieties of pic-n-mix. But then there's the rare stuff, the gold label of happiness that only appears from time to time, but that makes you frantically want to ring your mum and tell her all about it, very fast and even more high-pitched, when it does.

At the risk of sounding vaguely smug, I've had some very merry moments across the board lately. And up there with the best of them has to be the offer of an internship with luxury lingerie brand Lascivious. In contrast to the cool factor of this opportunity, my reaction was flailing myself around the kitchen like a puppet on manically jangling strings, until setting fire to my tasselled poncho on the hob, while simultaneously pasta-cooking and animatedly enthusing to a housemate. I can confirm, however, that I am in my final few days of the six week placement, and have not yet set myself, or anyone else in the studio, alight. Thank God for microwaves.

One of the reasons why I applied to Lascivious was because of the striking yet classic femininity they show through their brand (as well as being all sorts of sexy), and the Autumn/Winter collection, released on July 27th, demonstrates this perfectly...

Kasia waistcoat, with Suki bodysuit

Kasia waistcoat, with Suki bodysuit

The Lascivious Autumn/Winter collection struts effortlessly ahead of the competition. The Kasia set is on-trend with fringing- boldly framing here and coyly concealing there, it's a true weapon of seduction- as are the Suki pieces, a crisp, slick interpretation of the fetish looks that are whipping the season's catwalks into shape.

The Josefine basque's lace curves smooth the body into its chicest form- with an air of Parisian glamour, you'll just have to get the silky boudoir and tall-dark-and-handsome to match.

Josefine basque and briefs

If I had to choose a favourite, it would be the Niki set, if not purely because it solves that most basic of bedroom problems, since the dawn of the brassiere- a zip instead of a bra clasp. It's the latest in boyfriend-friendly technology.

My six week stay with the genuinely lovely Lascivious ladies has flown by, and I would like to thank them very much for having me, and for being so eager for me to learn from and enjoy my time with them- I hope I've been handy! I will be sad not to see you all next Monday morning, but I hope we can stay in touch.

I suppose all that remains for me to say is I'm going to be adding a piece or two of this brilliantly naughty lingerie to my Christmas list- because Santa, I've been a very, very bad girl all year, I promise...

Visit Lascivious here and see for yourself!

Photos from Lascivious website and Asos.com.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Skin deep

Cymbeline- 2011

Good things come to those who wait. But what's glamorous about waiting? What self-respecting starlet would stand for being scribbled on the waiting list; drum their manicured fingers while humming to "please hold" music; peer over superior shoulders, hovering at the wrong end of the queue?

The waiting game? They just won't stand for it. But there'd be a standing ovation for these... Because these looks don't leave a girl hanging; taking 'brand' eerily literally, for these designers fabric is just the beginning, scrawling their signatures straight onto your bones. Flesh and fashion meld until each complexion sweats with pattern, and colour-steeped pores glow to show a style so strong, it'll creep right under your skin...

Picked from a few recent seasons, it's some of the best ways to be at one with your garment...but be careful what you wish for. Take care to check now and then that it's you wearing the dress, not (quite) the other way around. Flaunt these show-stoppers a little too long, and under the heat of paparrazi flash you might not feel the cold glitter start to steel through your veins, or the lace gracefully unfurling across your throat...

Maybe beauty is better left safe in its seams, resting tame and muted inside carefully defined sartorial lines. How close is too close? Perhaps these models found out...

Wandering motifs at Marchesa

Marchesa- Fall 2010

 Marchesa- Fall 2010
Marchesa- Fall 2010

Gilded limbs at Michael Van Der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham, Spring 2010
Michael Van Der Ham, Spring 2010

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(All photos are from the respective designers websites.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's the little things

Keeping cosy by the fire...it won't make the headlines, but it'll make you happy

"Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie.

So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget. 
~ Estelle White, Autumn Days

The last one. Shit. Knew I should have seen this coming.

I mutter and furrow my soapy brow at my only remaining hair-tie sprawled on the bathroom tiles. Its spring has sprung right out of it, along with its usefulness, purpose and raison d'etre. I'd worn it out, putting it to work with a flippant twist, morning after morning after morning after- oh. And suddenly, it just... wasn't, any more.

What if it hadn't been a spindly old hairband that had snapped into uselessness in an unexpected instant? (...can you see where I'm going with this yet?). What if it had been something else round, ancient and pretty darn essential? Tenuous link, I know, but go with it...what if Mr Harold Camping, of Family Radio, had actually been onto something with reckoning the End-of-the-World-as-we-know-it would happen around dinner-time last Saturday? What if he had seen us stop sniggering as he and his followers floated up to the Big Guy in the Sky, as the chaos began below? And what would you have thought when the streets started to rumble forbodingly beneath your feet?

What memories would have flickered behind your frozen gaze, before the lamplight cracked and was lost to the thundering shadows? 

As the "Autumn Days" assembly hymn used to teach our primary school selves, it's not just the big deals that make our world what it is. Thing's don't have to be rare to be special. So I wanted to make sure I remembered what makes my day, every day.
Yeah, this sounds cheesily twee now, but I'll bet many a dinosaur wished they'd taken time to savour their favourite watering hole/tufty gress/Stegasaurus-steak house, as they spied a meteor suddenly casting its mercilessly speeding shadow over the plains...

It's those lazy morning breakfasts...

...and watching the evenings drawing in
Kicking off the sandals for sunbathing...
...but sloshing through the slush too
Hours well spent celebrating with friends...
...or just keeping a book company.
Eating (pizza)  in...
...or eating (pizza) out.
In fact, there's a lot to love about Italia
...like the view from my room
...and my fly (definitely legally obtained) ride, for spinning about town...
There's always the canal-crossed paradise a train-ride away
But the homeland will always be where the heart is...
...with beautiful views of its own.
Knowing that family, and its furry friends, are important, every day.
I've let the pictures do the talking for me, but to summerise: there's a lot that I have to love. And a lot to look forward to. When the lights go out, I'll know what I've been lucky enough to live.

What will you remember?

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