Wednesday, 27 February 2013

TREND spring/summer 2013: Black vs White

I really loved writing my trend summaries for last season so I thought as spring is fast approaching I'd start again for Spring Summer 2013! This season's biggest trend is easily monochrome. It was everywhere on the catwalks... and there are no rules with it either; it can be worn pretty much any way; striped, checked, spotted or blocked....

Kazimir Malevich: Black Circle (1915) and Black Square (1915) - two paintings by the founder of Suprematism.
Paul Smith: This dress displays another Spring Summer trend; a split skirt. It also utilises colour blocking beautifully.
Sportsmax: Thin striped slouchy modern suit type outfit... Sportmax were one of the best collections to use monochrome: other pieces feature a variety of different prints on various fabrics from sheer to shiny.
Balmain: The black and white diamond print here was apparently inspired by floor tiles in Cuba and the intricate white shoulders by wicker chairs there.
Michael Kors: This collection as described as 'geometric glamour' and featured an abundance of stripes, this little suit has a hint of sixties style to it.
Dolce and Gabbana: They are known for taking inspiration from their Sicilian roots but this year they shed the opulent religious themes and went all together more homely and kitsch - the understated black and white striped pieces complementing the bright and citrusy painting style prints.

What are your favourite trends next season? How will you be wearing this one?


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

cow vintage birmingham.

cow vintage birmingham sign
cow vintage birmingham

So last week I told you about my visit to Birmingham I mentioned visiting Digbeth and the wonderful Cow vintage store. Housed in an old warehouse, Cow doesn't give you the most typical shopping experience. Its swinging rails and outfits hung by chains makes it feel almost industrial but the abundance of colour, pattern and texture is vibrant enough to juxtapose this. This post is pretty picture heavy but it was all so pretty! 

cow vintage birmingham inside shop
patterned shirts
vintage sequin clothes
reworked 90s crop tops
retro floral dresses
tie-dye t-shirts on a rack
reworked customised shirt dresses bleach
blue grey knitted jumpers
rainbow sweatshirts

There are up and down points to Cow. One of my pet-hates is 'vintage' stores that sell average second-hand clothes that you could get in a charity shop but for an extortionate price. That saying, most of the items you would be pleased to find in a thrift store and they are much much more appealingly organised. In addition the 'rework' items are great. There were bright logo t-shirts changed into loads of different 90s style crops, tie-dye in abundance and my favourite items: shirts made in to dresses with bleach detail. You can see loads of their products online or visit their shops in Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester or Nottingham. Have you been to any cool shops lately?


Sunday, 24 February 2013

one hundred heroines! #2 nellie bly

Some of you may know that I study journalism at university. Today in my one hundred heroines series I am going to talk about a woman who changed the industry forever. 

As with the majority of professions, journalism has always been male dominated and aside from working as secretaries and in supporting roles, 'real journalism' was a career deemed suitable for educated men and thought of as too dangerous for women. As a result female journalists didn't really appear until the late 1800's. One of the most notable of these was the American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane who wrote under the pen name Nellie Bly. Bly obtained her first job as a reporter in 1882 through unconventional means; motivated by a particularly misogynistic column at her local paper the 'Pittsburgh Dispatch” she wrote a letter of complaint to the editor. The editor was impressed and wrote back offering Bly a job, though she had to write under a pseudonym “as it was quite improper for a woman to write for a newspaper and make her identity known to the public”.
Nellie Bly suffered from the stereotypes of conventional roles for women within a newspaper and was often consigned to writing 'fluff' or women's pieces on fashion and society. Bly was not content with this; she wanted to write hard-hitting journalistic pieces

For her first, and possibly most, controversial story she went undercover and got herself admitted to a lunatic asylum to expose the horrendous conditions there and ultimately improve them.
"It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there are in the world. "
This was the non-intentional inception of the 'stunt movement' in the late 1800s where, in order to get into the challenging and sexist profession of journalism, women would risk their reputation and their lives doing dangerous things in order to try and obtain a news story and hopefully subsequently a job. Nellie Bly was a pioneer for women in the world of journalism, she helped to allow them to break into the press industry and made the idea of a female reporter less radical.

Another stunt Bly pulled helped her to become a pioneer in the field of travel as well. In 1889, armed with just some toiletries and several changes of underwear, Bly decided to turn the fictional novel 'around the world in 80 days' in to a reality for the first time and travelled the 24,899 miles in a record-breaking seventy-two days! She is a truly adventurous, charitable and inspiring woman!


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

project: Floral Crown

When I was in Birmingham I finally got round to doing a D.I.Y I've been meaning to for a whole year.
Thanks to Lana Del Rey floral crowns were everywhere last year and I expect they'll be everywhere this summer too, they can be done in loads of different ways and are so pretty. 

All my materials for this came from Poundland and the whole thing (modelled by my lovely friend Jess) cost me £2... with materials left over for next time. I decided not to go for the traditional rose and instead used this flower with a more wintry wine colour as well. It was super duper easy to make and I'm really pleased with the result.  If anyone is interested I'll put up a tutorial! I've got loads of different ideas for the next one I will make, I haven't made anything since I made a couple of Christmas gifts so its good to get back in to a bit of d.i.y. If anyone knows where you can get cheap fake flowers online, I'd love to know!

If you're not the crafty type there are loads of places online where you can purchase floral crowns. My favourite are: Daisies for Charlie, Rock and Rose, Roses & Clementines & Crown and Glory.


the creatives: Robyn Makings

Finally got back to featuring artists in my creatives series! Today it's illustrator Robyn Makings! I noticed Robyn's quirky illustrations on several of my favourite blogs so I thought I would contact her to find out some more :)

Who are you?
I'm Robyn Makings, 19 years old and currently in my first year of studying Graphic Design at Teesside University. If I'm not at university or sat at my desk with my sketchbook, I'm more than likely asleep. 

When & why did you start illustrating?
I pretty much grew up with a pen in my hand and would draw on anything I could get my hands on: newspapers, scrap paper, walls - you name it, I drew on it. My earliest memories of my drawings being acknowledged was at primary school where I had pieces of art displayed in assemblies and one of my Christmas card designs was chosen to be the school's Christmas card, and from there I knew I wanted to put all my effort into art and design. I took GCSE Art and Graphic Design at school and followed onto college to study A Level Graphic Design, but it's only within the last six months that I've gotten back into illustrating properly; I figured if I wanted to develop my own skills and style, I might as well start producing my own work alongside what I'd be creating at uni.

Why draw bloggers?
I've always had a preference for drawing people - I just find I get on much better with drawing humans than animals - so I started illustrating some of my favourite artists such as Marina and the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding and uploaded them to my tumblr blog, where eventually Ashleigh at ASHLLYD approached me asking if I'd be happy to illustrate for her, and that's where it all started! Since then I've had a flow of people that've also been interested in me illustrating for them, so I've been happy to produce work and further develop my style through illustrating for bloggers. Another plus side to illustrating for bloggers is the incredible feeling I get when I see my work being used on someone's blog; it's nice to know that people like what I'm producing! 

What's special about your illustrations?
I don't particularly think there's anything 'special' about my illustrations and that's why I'm always so chuffed to hear that people like my work. I'm not the greatest illustrator in the world, but I try to make the most of all the tools available to me to try and achieve a look that I think may be somewhat unique to me; my watercolours and my graphics tablet are my best friends at the moment, although if I have the patience I also like to work with collage! I've never really considered my 'style' before, I wouldn't really say I had a particular one, but I know that when working in a more cartoon style I like to try and work a bit of whimsy into my pieces. I just love illustrators such as Amy Husband and Sally Cotterill who both work completely differently but still manage to fill you with awe because their work is just so lovely; I was always told 'lovely' was an empty adjective, but I really, really disagree. For me, if something's lovely, it's brilliant, and I suppose that's what I'd like people to feel when they look at my work. 

You can find Robyn's blog at where you can keep up with all her creative projects. If you are an illustrator, a designer, an artist, a photographer or you just generally have an exciting project please get in touch at!


Monday, 18 February 2013

weekend away in birmingham.

St Pauls Church Birmingham
Gold Cambridge Satchel Selfridges Birmingham
Cow Vintage Shop Digbeth Birmingham
Urban Village Vintage Retro Shop Custard Factory Birmingham
Sculpture Custard Factory Birmingham
Custard Factory Digbeth Birmingham
Custard Factory Digbeth Birmingham
Custard Factory Digbeth Birmingham
Mr Birds Emporium
Oldest Pub in Birmingham
Healthy Vegetarian Food Sweet Potato Wedges

As promised here are a few snaps of my weekend in Birmingham visiting my friend Jess. On Saturday we had a little mooch around town and went down to Digbeth to have a look around the shops. We went to Cow vintage first, but I've got a full post about that to show you later. Then we wandered down to the Custard Factory, Birmingham's 'Arts and Media' quarter, which was full of really cool stores as well as art installations. Urban Village was one of my favourites, it stocked retro and modern clothing but all with a sixties twist, the shop front looked very mod but the staff were dressed in hippie gear and looked amazing. After that we wandered down to Mr Birds Emporium, it was Saturday so the 'Custard Cream' was on which meant that as well as the normal traders there were loads of different stalls in the shop as well as an in-house DJ! The range of wares was really impressive; handmade accessories, 'up-cycled' vintage, illustrated designs and you could even get your nails done!

For the rest of the weekend I chilled, made a headdress (I'll show you it properly later), pretended to write my essay, ate really good food (sweet potato wedges are our speciality now!) and had a little boogie on Saturday night. And this weekend I'm off again, to Edinburgh with my mummy!! Did any of you do anything fun this weekend? Have you been to any cool shops lately?


Sunday, 17 February 2013

sweet stuff sunday #4 cat edition.

Cat Themed Fashion Style Wishlist

Back to sweet stuff sunday which I've been neglecting a bit recently! This is week is a special, wonderful, cat themed one! I love cats, I love every kind of cat, and I've really been missing mine (Florence, Luna and Stella) while I've been at uni so I thought I would compile a few of my favourite feline finds for you this weekend.

number one: Above! A little cat themed wishlist because everybody wants to be a cat... a cats the only cat who knows where its at. I love the Topshop hairband and the earrings from Etsy especially. I also included my favourite eyeliner at the moment so you can purrfect your cat style flicks.

number two: You may have realised I am quite a fan of Valentine's Day so when the day arrived and my friend had made me this absolutely splendid card I was very pleased.

number three: Grumpy Cat. If you don't know this cutie, who are you!? Please google.

number four: Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is soon to be London's first cat cafe! I want to go so much!

In other news, unrelated to cats, I've just got back from a weekend in Birmingham with my friend Jessica so I've got a few pictures to show you next week :) Also I've added a new about page and jiggled the layout around a bit, I'd love to know what you think!


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

valentine's wishlist & lulu guinness love ♥

Here is a little Valentine's Day outfit wish list for IFB Project #82.

This dress is so sweet, I've got one quite similar with a collar already, but I've worn it to death so I think this tea dress would be a lovely replacement! Also from Topshop is this adorable 1950s inspired underwear set, which includes a bralet and matching high waisted knickers in a soft pink. To continue the spotty theme I paired this with some sheer tights from Gerbe... there are similar pair of hold-ups available too.

For accessories I chose this add this floral crown from Dolly Bow Bow and a very Valentine's inspired arrow bracelet from Uncovet (I discovered them the other day and they have some lovely understated jewellery, check them out).

The statement piece in this outfit is definitely the dusky pink Lulu Guinness clutch. Her lips clutches are iconic and have a huge celebrity following from Dita Von Teese to Paloma Faith. When designing her famous bags Lulu was inspired by Pop Art and Surrealism and this new perspex take is the freshest incarnation of a classic accessory. I think its futuristic style contrasts but compliments this vintage-y outfit well. You can get the lips clutch in loads of styles but if you don't fancy being so bold you could just go for a Lulu Guinness lips keyring (below left) from Jules B for a nod towards the trend. Another way to wear the style subtly is with this bag in powder pink which incorporates the characteristic lips motif into its quilting. Alternatively you could go more outrageous; this rose gold lips clutch is my favourite from the whole collection and fits perfectly with this spring's metallic trend. Finally this shocking pink envelope clutch from Jules B is a little more practical but still has the playful design elements Lulu is famous for.
lulu guiness set
To be honest I'm probably just going to be chilling in my onesie as per usual this Valentine's Day... What are you going to be wearing?


valentine's day d.i.y gift ideas ♥

All around me everyone seems to be hating on Valentine's Day:

"We love each other so what's the point in being extra romantic on one day..."
"Worst day ever for singletons... Going to drown myself in tears and Ben & Jerry's..."
"Its all about consumerism and buying Hallmark cards..."

... Are some of the sentiments being expressed by my friends... And yes while I do agree we should celebrate love every day, why not use Valentine's day to show everyone a bit of extra romance whether you're loved-up or not!? Its also an excuse for all things cute and heart-shaped and you definitely don't have to spend loads (or any) money showing that you care!

number one: Origami hearts are the cutest thing! Bloomize has loads of different ways to make them. You could use them to decorate cards, sprinkle them around a dinner table or maybe use some thread and make them into bunting.

number two: Food has got to be the way to most people's hearts and there are loads of great (and easy) Valentine's Day themed recipes out there. These heart shaped rice krispie bites on milk bubble tea look super scrummy.

number three: Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about your other half or your crush, this  easy to make art project on A Beautiful Mess show's you how to make a funky canvas for your best friend... you're not limited to that though... you could make it for your mum, your dad, your gran, your cat or generally just your favourite person. 
number four: Lovely homemade valentine's teabag tutorial on Cupcakes and Cashmere could accompany breakfast in bed for the one you love... or just as a little treat for yourself. If you are making a romantic breakfast there is a really cute free printable 'breakfast kit' on Design is Yay.

Hope you enjoyed this post!  If you haven't already check out some of the blogs that I've featured here, they are great reads. To see a load more great Valentine's Day themed posts check out the IFB Project #82: The Season of Love.

Or to see the little D.I.Y I made for my boyfriend at the time last year look here: 52 things I love about you.

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