Sunday, 30 March 2008

Spring in to new look!

Don't forget today is last day of style makeover competition.

My feet are being made giddy by a choice of shoes both from
Do I go with the flats by Rupert Sanderson or the 3inch heels by Mr Jacobs - oh decisions, decisions........

Friday, 28 March 2008

Little tonics of the alcohol free variety

Busy, busy week and much fretting about book sales makes me retreat into tracksuits and driving round in my car - ah no that's just Britney. I start cleaning and obsessing about future career direction, that's being a nobody for you!

But then a email arrives and I actually look at it for a change and a new The Intersection video (LA) is posted to take my mind of all mundane issues and back firmly in the land of indulgence - the Paris ones are a dream check out glamorous professor on le velo and her line about porte le sac!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Style Makeover Competition

The Prize:
A style advice and shopping session at the location of your choice. The prize is worth in excess of £500 (this factors in the cost of shopping session, style advice and travel expenses)
To Enter:
Click here Competition Link to purchase one copy of Make Do & Mend. Send copy of Amazon receipt to and you'll be enterted into the Style Makeover Comp.
Please add contact details and anything about yourself on why you'd love a style makeover. The winner will be selected by a third party.
Closing date for competition is March 31st 2008.

What's in it for you/me!?
You get great style advice from an extremely experienced personal stylist. I'd love to direct you to my website but it is undergoing a change and I've only got this dear old blog at the moment.
You set your budget and it can be as little as £150 to whatever!

I need to push my book sales and I'm not supported by a big publishing team so I have to undertake all my own marketing. Sales on Amazon help keep my profile up and gives me an opportunity to make it on best sellers list - the book has appeared twice on such a list at number 50 and 99! You can see the customer reviews and I hope you will invest in my book and be a competition winner!
Good luck

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Spend it at savings rates

If the current cold weather and forecast of snow this weekend is making you reach for thermals or hiding under the duvet with Easter eggs, rather than getting your spring/summer wardrobe - then hang on!

Wait until Friday April 11th and have fun at the DWS womenswear April sale. Save your pennies now and you'll be in the mood to pick up some bargins, See by Chloe, Prada, London fashion week designers such as Daniel Blake and the lovely Ann Louise Roswald will be some of the brands on offer.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Free Spirit

There is nothing quite like running to burn off calories, keep you fit and apart from a decent pair of trainers, it costs nowt. Well, ok maybe a few bandages at times and some painkillers.

Most of all it gives you a killer pair of pins to put into some Manolo Blahniks'. And it was in Bath yesterday that I ran the Bath Half Marathon - the now home of Mr Blahnik and much like his shoes it is a fine city to run around if you could block out the cold, wind and rain that was the weather we were treated to.

Bath's Georgian splendour is well preserved and the city retains its tourist crown due to the architecture and setting. My trusty trainers did their job, no blisters or pain to my feet and that is what a good pair of shoes does too. I'm happy to save on all manner of things but shoes - no shoes have to be well crafted and my silver Manolo's are just perfect. I know I could have slipped them on my feet after my run and not suffered a bit.

And believe me after a hearty steak frite and glass of champagne in Cafe Rouge, Bath I wish I had been wearing them. As we were leaving a very handsome and tall David James (Portsmouth & England goalkeeper) was walking in. Instead of being greeted at chest level (by a gawping open mouthed person -that was just my husband) a pair of high heels would have given stature. Oh well, I hobbled out draggin' hubbie and thought Cheryl Cole was definitely fighting for the wrong bloke!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Purse wisdom for skin

To look good within budget, or to pay off credit card debts, one has to be clever when it comes to all manner of things. This year my bread making and preparing of allotment for future produce has netted me some lovely savings. Of which I splurged on a pair of sunnies as detailed in he who dares wins.

Now I may have saved myself £59 on that purchase but my savings aren't great and my credit card debt is still too high. Once my S/S 08 wardobe is sorted for work and self satisfaction I will be attempting to clear it all by the end of the summer.

Always on the look out to keep the household budget on track, plus incorporate my beauty needs into it, I've made a lot of compromises along the way. My birthday and Christmas list is with out fail Laura Mercier's almond coconut body range and Chanel (no need to narrow the potential). When it comes to products I love Environ, I save dollars and always make someone on a US tripmget me Kiehl's Creme de Corps. When I go to France, it's straight to the pharmacy for Embryolisse and Bioderma Crealine H2O.

So when Emma Cook reviewed SPF moisturisers in the Guardian Weekend, I was captivated by the review for Skin Wisdom's Reverse ultimate lift day cream SPF 15, £8.47, by Bharti Vyas for Tesco, 0800 505555.

Price aside, Bharti Vyas is an amazing facialist. Her recipe for acne which off the top of my head incorporates tumeric, honey and salt - don't rely on me for this one - all combined has saved many a young person from the torment of acne within a month!

Monday morning I hot footed it to Tesco - only to have been beaten either by Janet Street Porter or the Guardian reading population of South London/Surrey. Instead I purchased a detox facial mask for 69p, the energising facial scrub and the creamy facial wash. I'd just run out face cleansers. Across the aisle I was tempted by the bnatural body products, so opted for the conditioning salt scrub and intensive body cream. Having lost the receipt I'm guessing I spent at max £12 for all 5 items.

What do I think? The energising facial scrub is delightful - this is from the person who adores Chanel's Gommage microperle eclat. It delivers the same gentle feel and gives your skin radience. It is March and I've been looking like someone in need of the sun for the last 12 weeks. Perfect start to the day, the lemongrass does the trick. The creamy facial wash is nice and I like the ease of use. But bear in mind, I struggle to find the perfect end of day wash - I've done it all from Eve Lom to Liz Earle. Anything that scrubs me up at the end of the day without a muslin cloth and isn't a wipe, suits me. It doesn't seem to strip the skin and so far so good. I'm saving the mask until the weekend!

As for the body stuff, well the scrub is nearly on a par with Elemis! It is really good! The intensive cream is very thick and is good for knees and elbows but probably not absorbant or nice enough for rest of body - a good staple alongside Vaseline intensive when money is tight.

I'll be fighting you for the day cream....

Image supplied by BMA Communications

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

How to make a style shift – part 2

The final entry in the trilogy that runs part 1, pre part 1 and now part 2 – yep no logic here. Had I anticipated the comments I got I would have done un, deux, trios!

This is all about shopping and how to make it successful for you. Once you've cleared out your wardrobe make a list of all your clothing and break them down into their uses – they should be hung and folded in their relevant categories i.e. work, going out casual, going out clubbing, going out formal/v dressy.

Check what you've got against your basic list i.e. white shirt etc.

Then pull together your wish list based on your lookbook/ideas in your head/cut outs from magazines. From your wish list write down shopping lists which means you can spread your shopping over a few weeks – don't go out to get everything in one go. One trip might be basics, one for shoes and accessories and another form jeans and tops.

When you go shopping, take your list, any magazine pics, product details – sales assistants are variable when it comes to stock knowledge. Some shops have information points most don't. Have a bag that's easy to wear and messenger style is easiest for keeping both hands free. Take a bottle of water and if you really want to, then plan your route.

Try everything on and really appraise how the item looks. Think cut, colour and fabric. Always try the size of garment you normally get and one either side. You are looking to get the fit right not worry about what the label says. When it comes to labels do check the washing instructions. It's no good getting home and finding everything you've got is hand wash only!

Also take a few risks – try some items you wouldn't pick out – one person I know does random grabbing when she feels she needs a shake up.

After you've re-stocked your wardrobe and it might only take a few new key items to make it look and feel different then keep to your good habits. Always check what you need and don't leave home without a list.

Being organised saves you money and from always taking things back. You can then have random, indulgent shops when you're flush or just want to indulge.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A little aside....

Prompted by Mrs Fashion to consider my Lenten failings I was reminded of a news item yesterday on a senior Vatican official who has drawn up seven modern mortal sins to be avoided by the faithful.

Luckily for me I'm currently not guilty of any of them - now it is just the old fashion lust and covetousness of handbags I need to conquer.

Monday, 10 March 2008

He who dares wins

This posting interupts the 'How to make a Style shift' trilogy. Actually my weekend away did me in for posting, but least said about that the better.
Suffice it to say I succombed to temptation in Sunglass Hut in Gatwick Airport. In fact, I had left my usual Chanel sunnies at home for saftey reasons and was sporting a £2 pair from Primark.
I have to say that after 30mins of wearing the cheapies, my head was hurting and I had marks on the bridge of my nose. Excuses over, I sauntered into Sunglass Hut and nearly walked out again as the usual array of Prada, Bulgari, Versace, Chanel etc were on display and I really had my heart set on some Tom Ford's or Linda Farrow Vintage this season as recommended by Flashy Shades
Anyway I briefly asked the shop assistant did she have any Tom Ford sunnies and they actually had arrived in that day. In fact Sunglass Hut has only just started stocking the Tom Ford range.
The Whitney style didn't suit me and I was drawn to a beige pair which happened to be Raquel and a fabulous vintage style they are. Gorgeously lightweight and they put my £2 ones to complete shame.
Due to the advantage of duty free they were coming in at £152 rather than £182 and then with a fortunate 20% reduction - they were display ones (by now firmly wrapped round my face) - I only parted with a mere £123.
I like to think I got the 20% discount for making the assistant laugh. Giddy with the excitement of my weekend away I was struck by the fact Mr Ford had no idea that Del Boy's wife was called Raquel when he named these little beauties. So I acted the scenario out of being Del Boy and alerting Rodney to the fact Raquel had had some sunnies named after her.
Ok you'd have to have been there and seen us both laughing so irreverently but as Del Boy so rightly says - he who dares wins!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

How to make a style shift – pre part 1!

Lanvin A/W 08

The hardest thing for anyone to do is evaluating their own look and the clothes they currently have. The barriers to making a change are pretty common,

  • Haven't got any money
  • Will people notice and think I look stupid
  • How can I justify changing my wardrobe when I've got all these clothes

The trouble is we've all got more clothes than ever before and because of this we don't wear them out. In the past people had fewer items and wore what they had until (after a few darns & repairs) they were worn out. If you were wealthy you had them stored but you still had a few basics with seasonal extras. Now, with collections, cruise, pre cruise and items for Red/Breast Cancer, looks last for a nano second.

It is a bold decision not to be constantly seduced by the latest look and take an overall style view. Sometimes inspiration strikes and sometimes you have to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask is it working? Do I want to project this image? What would I like to see in my wardrobe of a morning?

I've been very 1930's/1940's for an absolute age, all modern takes not a recreation exactly on a daily basis. The 1970s look is an extension of this time in both cut and layering. But, suddenly I knew I had to make a leap of faith and cut a new direction. I don't know exactly how to define my new look is it left bank/artisan intellectual/Marni – who knows. It is pared down and more utilitarian – out with colour and in with more muted tones – a base of grey, black, white and navy with injections of colour by lipstick, costume jewellery, the odd item of clothing and perhaps shoes.

It is all in its infancy so it will be interesting to develop. All I've done is take out the frills and girlie stuff leaving me with a framework to add to. I'm not going out tomorrow and spending a fortune – I can't. But bit by bit I'll add an item and make all my future purchase decisions on my new style direction. I've already got my wide leg jeans from Uniqlo and although they only cost £24.99, I'll wear them this summer and get some new trousers in the autumn when some kind retailer will pay homage to both Balenciaga and Lanvin.

Be creative – compile a lookbook in, I've just added a new one entitled Style Epiphany.

If I lost all my clothes tomorrow I know what my basic requirements are:- White shirt, White t-shirt, Black Dress, Skirt, Pair of jeans, Black trousers, Good leather belt, Pair of high heels, Knee high leather boots, Plimsolls – think white lace ups or converse, Cashmere round neck jumper, Necklace, Black Dinner Jacket.

You can decide your own basics list and base your wardrobe clearout on it and then add bit by bit your new look items. Don't forget any old things can be useful for gym, holiday/vacation clothes, walking, cleaning in the house.

Be brave.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

How to make a style shift...part 1 clear your wardrobe

If you suddenly decided to change your style or you need to re-evaluate your look then the first place to make to make this change is your closet/wardrobe and cupboard drawers.

Decide what colours you are going to have as your main palette and which colours will be accent ones for some items and your accessories.

Separate your items into work, going out casual, going out formal and have a black bin liner to hand. Some things can be for holiday or the gym – worn items can be cut up for dusters and the rest must go!

This includes shoes, bags, scarves, costume jewellery the lot. This is something you need to do anyway come the end of the season and good quality item i.e. designer/unusual/ loved can be stored away in a storage box. I recommend these by John Lewis and you must insert a moth repellent such as this one by Lakeland!1779

Once your ship shape and have your remaining items, hang them in their category and try to hang them as outfits. Find one item that is your inspiration to build you new look around. I didn't expect to have a radical rethink but one item did contribute and inspire me towards my rethink because it a high street offering that is Marni-esque in its simplicity - a £15 Freedom necklace by Topshop of which I can't find a piccie of yet!