Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Very Brideshead Weekend: Part Two

And by night, we dine. A loose Morrocan theme from the decorative lamps and bunting to the delicious food from a family friend, local friends inject a real touch of the East with authentic Moroccan fabrics and shoes. Well, if colour pop is the Autumn must have I’d say Morocco has it covered. So rich and colourful, the clothes emulate the saffron and spices of the African markets even in an overcast field in Ludlow.

We, on the other hand, opted for a far more English rose approach.  Quite the Grecian Goddess in River Island aqua, little miss hostess, Catherine is a vision on the lawn.
I’d decided to embrace the Cobalt trend, combined with flowing pleats. An ASOS treat, I have never owned something with so much fabric! I’m also a terrible amateur at long elegant gowns but needs must at an event for someone close. Needless to say, I was prancing around the lawn all night long.

For the gentlemen of the manor, checks were the print du jour appearing on at least 4 from casual jeans to check on check suit jackets accompanied by a charming straw boater that happened to be doing the rounds from the country walk. And taking note from Chris, a Brideshead boy through and through, a simple vintage cravat adds a timeless hint of decadence to what would soon descend into our typical madness.


Images: Krystyna Sloneczny

A Very Brideshead Weekend: Part One

"Just the place to bury a crock of gold. I should like to bury something precious, in every place I've been happy. And then when I was old, and ugly and miserable, I could come back, and dig it up, and remember."
-Sebastien Flyte, Brideshead Revisted

There comes a time in any summer when everything must be put on hold, regardless of money, work or timings, and that time came for me, and the majority of my friendship group, this past weekend when our navigation systems were set to Ludlow, Shropshire. An oddly rural location for many who barely recognise a world outside of student life in Leeds, we set off in search and celebration of our dear friend Catherine who was throwing a countryside reunion for us all (masquerading as a 21st to keep the elders content with 26 strangers descending upon their family home).
London has its perks, theres no denying that many live for the metropolis and are eager to take advantage of every nook and cranny the city holds. However, there is something so distinct and elegant about the countryside. Coming from the middle of nowhere myself, I’m already familiar with the concept of a market town but Ludlow delivered like no other. The isolated, local-stone house acted as fashion inspiration from the word go, as we knew it would it seems as I am immediately embraced by my friend Chris who has dressed as man of the house in his gentlemanly checks and olive green chinos accompanied by a smile that screamed ‘Look at us! Look where we are!’.  Upon arrival a cup of tea was waiting for each of us in a beautiful country kitchen, Bella the Lurcher embracing us all individually in her own little way as she grew excited over the new smells and sheer number of us all.  As numbers steadily increased with stragglers making their way from the local station and weary travellers parking their cars in the field, the Hostess Catherine wasted no time before offering glasses all round and retiring us to the Drawing Room. Needless to say drawing was set aside in favour of prosecco, smokes and a childish game of ‘Ashtray or Heirloom?’.  The ochre walls and gold frame and faux-Hogarth surroundings were enough to make me wish I’d packed a fur stole and beaded headdress to accompany the smokey haze.   However, the bulmers bottles and piggy backs from socially starved literature students returned me from my Brideshead imagination – and why not, there’d be plenty of time for all that.

A walk through the local forest with a selection of friends as poorly dressed for the setting as I (‘woodland nymph’ I assume was to mock me? For shame, that is what I was aiming for!)  started Saturday’s proceedings following a night of drinks in the drawing room until 1am.  Inhaling the fresh air, we continued on in our little convoy to get to the town. Although Boris tries his best, an 85 pence park and ride return ticket is enough to make most locations blush.

The town was something of a postcard or painting, the castle and market stalls filled with brick a brack and hand sewn wraps. As we took it in, Northumbrian pipes filled our ears as the little old man on the corner played on. The place screamed country romance, the myths hung in the air as Catherine informed us that King Arthur’s heart lay buried in the Castle Grounds.

I was in love with the air, the very spirit of the place.

Images courtesy of my darlings, Milla (Instagram) and Maya.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Let's Hear It For The Boy.

Images: Dolce & Gabbana A/W 2011 Campaign via Grazia

From the myriad of androgynous models who strutted on the A/W 2011 runways to the infamous Andrej Pejic ranking 98th on FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World Poll, the general public were just about ready for a gender switch-up. This season, the time has finally come for girls to be boys as we brace ourselves for braces and seek out our wardrobe’s male counterparts. Gone are the flowing florals as pinstripes, crisp white shirts and pegged trousers leave even the most girly amongst us suited and booted for autumn.

However, despite male occasion wear adorning the catwalks of Jason Wu. Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren in all its masculine glory, the full on business suit just isn’t for all of us. For those would like to remind the world of your femininity, take a hint from Moschino where mannish monochrome was broken up with flourishes of ornate sequins and delicate lace. Alternatively, you don’t have to look much further than the Blazer, a versatile wardrobe staple that, when teamed with leather leggings or high waisted trousers, will pack a manly punch to effortlessly carry you through the trend. My sharp, black padded shoulder blazer is making an appearance for my interview on Wednesday (Hello Net-A-Porter!) with a gorgeous cream pussy bow shirt courtesy of my mother's (frankly rather incredible) vintage wardrobe, leather leggings (they really are a staple) and my trusty black heeled boots. However, I'm quite torn between whether dark statement vampy lips or feminine natural nude/orangey lips are the way to go but one never can tell until the moment arrives. Watch this space.

Monochrome Shirt: New look £ 14.99
Black Satin Collarless Crop Jacket: Topshop £58.00
Anglomania Pluto Pinstripe Trousers: Vivienne Westwood £290.00
Pink Blazer: Topshop £65.00
Leather Georgia Briefcase: AS0S £85.00
Patent Lace Up Shoes: ASOS £50.00

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Autumn Mustard Haves

Image: Acne A/W 2011 Collection via tailoress
Back in March, the wheels were already being set in motion at London Fashion Week as to what we will be draping ourselves in come the winter months. A little premature it may seem but the fashion houses know what they want and more importantly, know what we want - and this year we want mustard. Adorning our fair limbs this autumn will be splashes of ochre and burnt yellows as we bid farewell to the summer sun and embrace the September jaundice. Fallen leaves will act as complimentary confetti as we emulate the amber hues splashed across the catwalk. From Herm
és neutral and uncomplicated palette with an occasional pop of gentle yellow to Acne and Jaeger’s elegant and rich colonial-inspired mustard explosion, it’s one of the must have colours this season. The fresh-faced girls of Jaeger too could be seen carrying bags that had elements of the antique, recalling this strong ‘British Empire’ theme, that can easily be replicated through the continuation of S/S 11’s it-bag satchel (mine will probably never leave my side).

Image: Little Myth Blog

I have always carried a flame for classically autumnal colours, much inspired by my own mother who has long been an advocate for ‘off’ shades due to her slightly olive complexion. Luckily for me, even the English roses amongst us are in luck as this shade tends to warm the skin rather than leave us looking a little peaky. I have already been on the hunt for some time for a few mustard additions to my wardrobe, already acquiring a rather garish leopard print jumper way back in January (Pictured: Urban Outfitters). However after a fund related shopping detox, a new gem is in my possession in the form of this simple rich mustard shirt courtesy of New Look (Pictured: £19.99). Strong collared and straight cut, it will be teaming it with my wet look leather leggings accompanied, by day with my trusted (and recently re-heeled – hurrah!) brown Chelsea boots, and night classic black heeled boots. Yet, to think that is enough would be foolish. My eye is already straying to other items such as the River Island blazer below and the, as yet merely a figment of my dreams, the perfect pair of burnt yellow chinos or trousers that don’t look so horrendously baggy around the behind (ASOS is looking exceptionally promising).

Dark Yellow Blazer: River Island £35.00 Yellow Peter Pan Collar Top: Rare £28.00
Mustard Contrast Top: Topshop £28.00
Cream and Yellow Dress: Topshop £55.00
Yellow Tassel Brogues: Topshop £30.00
Yellow Gold Drop Feather Earrings: Dorothy Perkins £8.50
Leather Tucklock Briefcase: £85.00
Leather Panel Leggings: Misguided £10.99 (available at

Thursday, 4 August 2011

"Vanity is the healthiest thing in life" - K. Lagerfeld : The Relaunch of MeMeMe

As my social media outlets revealed every 10 minutes, I spent this July gracing London’s Shaftesbury Avenue with my graduate presence as part of the More! Magazine beauty team. A first-rung-on-the-ladder Intern I may have been but that didn’t stop me from adapting to office life and making sure I was in the thick of goings on: days holed away in the beauty cupboard? I think not. With the daily routine of calling in samples and requests, you soon get to know the often excitable voices on the other end of the phone (working in PR seems to require a personality dipped in sunshine, not that I’m complaining.) One young lady in particular was known by the department’s resident Beauty Intern, the darling Heidi at MeMeMe cosmetics, and as it turns out she’s a girl after my own heart.
A typical Tuesday for me involved an afternoon invitation to the MeMeMe prelaunch at London’s Hemel Hotel. Although being readily available for some time now, the past 12 months has been a sufficient period for cosmetic mastermind and owner Sandra Sheals to revamp the brand, taking a few leaves out of Benefit and Bobbi Brown’s ever-so-chic branding books:

“We acquired the MeMeMe brand last year with the idea of bridging the gap between high street and premium cosmetics. Every girl deserves to have access to premium make up with an affordable price tag.”

“Hear Hear!” come the cries of females long overdue for a makeup palette that boasts quality without the fashionista price tag stamped all over its fair and resourcefully made matte packaging. And a squeal of sheer delight can be heard from my direction as I sip on my exquisitely made Pimms (Don’t mind if I do.) and browse Heidi and fellow PR pariah Becky’s wares. From the trios of eye shadows and illuminators to gift sets I’ll be sure to be hankering after in a few months, it seems that Sheals has been doing her research. In a fashion similar to Benefit, the range includes some familiar decorative blush boxes and a tastefully minimal array of low sheen blacks and greys. Top marks for presentation. Described as a boutique brand that mixes the classic with fresh trends, it seems to me like the selection is living up to the criteria. Every detail has been thoughtfully conceived from scent to texture to the very name that graces the exterior. As I previously featured, the MeMeMe lipsticks each hold the name of a female Greek Deity. A little cheesy perhaps but you can’t fault the thought behind it. As dear Heidi told sagas to me of the long last foundation she was sporting to the canary yellow nails on her fingertips, I too am going to provide a few of my favourites for your consideration.

Seventh Heaven Moisturising Face Base

Enriched with Shea Butter, Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene to rejuvenate, nourish and hydrate the skin, this citrus scented moisturiser really does at least smell quite heavenly. Not one to really go without my trusted foundation (Clinique Super Balanced in 04 Crème Chamois since you ask), I’ve been using as a lightweight base for makeup. Advised as a makeup primer, it’s not too shabby a purchase, or in this case freebie. It holds up well and hydrates sufficiently but by god, the divine smell is enough to make me throw my pennies at it. Heaven is an accurately placed moniker.

RRP: £15.00

Long Stay Lips – Up to 12 Hour Wear

A limited availability colour wise in just reds and a nude beige, I opted for the latter as an addition to my continuous search for the holy grail of neutral lips. After so many dud pearly pinks masquerading as nude making their way into my humble makeup bag, had I finally found the answer? Well, almost. When the colour is initially applied, a slight dryness occurs whether that be the consistency of the liquid or a haggard natural state of an English girls weather beaten lips I’m not sure. However, swooping to its compatriot’s aid is the secret weapon for long lasting lip wear: the gloss. Swirling the beige around like a water colour soon disguises any dryness but the sheen is a tad tiresome for me personally. Nothing that a pat dry with a tissue cannot fix though.

RRP: £6.99

Classic Nail Collection Long Lasting Gloss

Here are my personal picks for the coming months. Continuing its reign as my colour of the summer is this garish orange (64 Spirited). After adorning my nails at my recent graduation in marvellous union with my now favourite chucky orange Topshop heels, I’m looking to keep this shade around to brighten up the soon-to-be overcast days. Another colour I’m tipping for autumn is the classic forest green, seen in this rather Biba-esque 87 Defiant shade. Whether in large or small doses I’m pitching this to join the ranks of cobalt blue and plum to be one of the season’s most coveted hues. And finally, my version of the minx nail in 57 Elegant. You will soon learn from this blog that I have a penchant for the garish and aesthetically obscene, and since my bank balance is still recovering from the student dream, this is the closest I’m getting to minx nails any time soon. However, as the sun sets for time being, it’s well worth perusing the muted violets, greys and pearls. I’m getting a little bogged down in colour so I’ll also inform you that the brush is perfect for the clumsy amongst you, fanning out rather precisely to the shape of your nail. You may notice these are all names we’d probably all like to associate with our fair selves – well played, MeMeMe, well played.

RRP: £4.50

Special mention: Blush me! Blush boxes (RRP: £8.50)

Available at Superdrug stores nationwide and

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ethereal Revisited.


Images courtesy of LOVE

After slowly releasing the images of Hollywood’s brightest child stars Chloe Moretz, Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld, their other five compatriot cover stars have now joined them for the anticipated release of LOVE’s 6th issue. Sitting pretty for Mert Alas and Marcus Piggottoo are fellow newcomers Lara Stone, Mariacarla Boscono, Kristen McMenamy, Nyasha Matonhodze and Daphne Groeneveld all sporting a similarly melancholy expression for the magazine's ‘Supernatural’ edition. LOVE editor Katie Grand explains her tearful spread through her fascination with that “lack of inhibition and the power that freedom from self-consciousness can bring [....] Their faces untouched except for their own tears, following the Romantics' belief that beauty is truth and truth, beauty."

Quite frankly, I am in love. Inspired by the romance and fragility of this innocence, the styling in these shots is a dream. I for one will be taking great inspiration from this for the end of the summer/early autumn. The time of year is now approaching when the sun has a beautiful, eerie quality whereby at 5pm, every person and object is lit by the most haunting natural glow. Everything takes on an other-worldly romance; the most grotesque building is warmed. I used to experience this feeling every September as I walked through Hyde Park in Leeds , returning home from lectures. Particularly looking at Hailee Steinfeld’s cover, the light falls in a similar way to how I wish I looked on such evenings (but inevitably do not). However, even if the light isn't as forgiving as I would hope, the styling achieved here through the combination of earthly nudes with delicate lace and untouched florals creates the most celestial of looks that I am beyond envious of and destined to be trying. Flowing cream skirts and rose stained lips will most definitely be on the agenda for me. However, there is no ignoring the ‘Heritage’ tag being thrown around regarding this A/W trends so perhaps I’ll be cracking out the tweed and my trusty brown riding ankle boots to accompany my nymph like pleats and return me to earth somewhat.

Taking inspiration from Danish ELLE 's May 2011 editorial (Background images:Signe Vilstrup) , below are some pieces to get anyone well on their way from a simple autumnal floral print to the Comitma cream dress Iam currently coveting with all my heart. I also highly recommend MeMeMe lip colours - I recently attended their relaunch and some of their products are well worth the wait. I'll keep posted on them.

Nude Iris Print Tulip Dress: Topshop £55.00
Cream Lace Blouse: Miss Selfridge £35.00
Suede Slouch Satchel: ASOS £65.00
Lita Tan Kid Brogues: H by Hudson £95.00 (available at

Cream Dress: Comitma by Malene Birger £425.00 (available at
Lace Panel Dress: Topshop £60.00
Long wear Satin Lipstick in Eva: MeMeMe £8.50 (available at