Saturday, 31 July 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Back to basics. Having road tested this product and compared it to the competition, I'd say this cardigan is a winner. Slightly old school but extremely useful, go for black or pink this season and work it a la Mad Men (yes I know I'm obsessed). There does seem to be a dark grey and a reddy orange version too but not on tinternet.

Friday, 30 July 2010

What I learnt about shoes

Truly a good pair of shoes maketh an outfit. If there are two things you should 'invest' in - a good pair of shoes and a coat. These two items will dress up everything else. I still need a good coat.

Yesterday I wore a M&S black cardigan and a Ted Baker black dress, neither were anything special although the Ted Baker dress is a lovely style and the cardigan felt v. luxe. It was the Prada shoes that made the outfit. I refrained from a photo. It was a funeral after all. Even a blogger wouldn't go that far.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

It makes me mad......

...that I won't be able to watch the new series of Mad Men until it comes to UK shores. I'm a good girl I don't do illegal downloads or any such nonsense so patience will have to be my middle name. Though really I wish it was January as even the French are doffing their je ne sais quoi in the direction of Mad Men and begrudgingly liking the style

Don't those of you who'll be watching come over all gloating now!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

And the difference is

Following on from my post yesterday and the comments received about Stella McCartney, of which the funniest and actually turns out the most insightful was one from Pearl of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom - who actually stated "cut the crap Stella they are the same as shoes from New Look, I have ordered and returned a couple of pairs of Stella shoes as they really aren't well made IMO."

Here we have a New Look shoe and a Stella McCartney shoe. I'm not going to make you guess which is which. The fact of the matter is Stella is £365 and New Look is £25. It depends how much you are prepared to pay for label/aesthetics etc. I have to say I'm rather taken with the New Look ones although I probably couldn't walk in either.
Net-A-Porter Stella McCartney Lace Covered Pumps £365

New Look Lace Peeptoe Heel £25

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Flexible Vegan

Our potato crop was very disappointing to say the least. The return on our investment of bags, soil and starter potatoes was a deficit! Still we had some very tasty small potatoes for our Sunday evening al fresco dining. The fresh from garden runner beans were extremely delicious and due to the bountiful supply of these, peas, spinach, rocket and lettuce the garden has provided plenty. Everything is late this year due to the long cold winter.

Since growing produce I've been driven more and more to think about what I put in my mouth. When I ran a couple of posts earlier this year comments by fellow bloggers led me to investigate this matter further. The reading material they suggested led me to two books. Both pretty hardcore.
1. The China Study: T. Colin Campbell

2. Can we live 150 years? : Mikhail Tombak

What I don't understand is how I can be completely blown away by nutritional books. I read them because I couldn't read a novel after so many academic books. Even reading Grazia proved a chore. Anything other than pictures made my brain switch off. Yet these two books engrossed me.

The net result is I've turned into a freak. Well what I would consider a freak. I am now a flexible vegan! Feel free to titter! My friends and family are guffawing with abandonment. In fairness I've showed much reluctance to all things 'alternative' and 'sustainable' most of my life. I've been a robust recyler, I buy fairtrade products and cycle a lot but ethical fashion has passed me by. I try to be good on this matter but I'm still not completely convinced although I grew more appreciative of this from my time at LCF. Where all manner of projects concerning textile development, ergonomics and sustainability takes place. I also got to meet some Fashion and the Environment MA graduates so I promise to take more of a real interest in this area from now on.
Evolving Textiles at London College of Fashion

Also, I do fall in to 'the not paying that for Stella McCartney shoes because they're not leather' gang. Opps.

But Stella would be proud of me now as I convert to a predominately vegan diet. The China Study did it for me, all those diagrams and empirical data swung it. The reason I'm flexible is due to the 0- 10% ratio of acceptability on the eating of animal produce. I'm not going to choose to eat animal produce but if I'm in a situation where it is included I'll put up and shut up. I couldn't bare to be one of those people who attend a dinner party and say I'm vegan and then pick at only salad and mushrooms. I have never been a big meat eater but I do like dairy produce so I do miss it a bit but I'm surprised at how little it has bothered me. I think this is due to growing things in the garden - there is a supply of produce to eat and it is only fruit and vegetables. Mind be harder come the winter months.

I'll still cook meat but we've agreed only on weekends and when people come round but I won't eat it at home. Being flexible prevents me being a convert bore and I don't want to impose my choices on everyone else. It does mean I'll have to take Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D in the winter but that is it. Sharpening up my nutritional intake hasn't resulted in any deprivation, it isn't a diet of counting calories. It is really simple. I like simple, shame I can't reduce my fashion fixes with such ease. This always requires enormous will power and focus. How about you, can you give up certain things with ease but not fashion? And how bonkers am I - on a scale of 0 to 10? Okay don't answer that one...

Monday, 26 July 2010

A weekend of I, Claudius, dry cleaning and shopping

The historical fiction 'I, Claudius' by Robert Graves is a work of literary genius. However, my friend Louise and mines decision to have a Facebook fiction week does not fall into the same category. Despite being fortunate enough to count a member of the wonderful Graves family as a real friend and my Facebook friend, nothing Louise and I print on our status this week will be worthy of a top 100 place within literature, but it will amuse us.You know how it goes, a few drinks and a few conversations about Facebook stalkers and we came up with fantasy status week. A week where everyday you completely make up your status. Feel free to join in. In the same way that Graves pushed his interpretation of historical accuracy so we will do on our status. Come on what would you rather ' a heap of ironing' or 'off on a Caribbean cruise'?

Talking of ironing, Louise has the best laundry room resplendent with a Miele washing machine and dryer. Moi, envious, hardly! Well, not when I have a wonderful dry cleaner. Yes, my local dry cleaner has saved my Moschino dress. It took him 15 minutes with a very careful light touch to remove the stain. We both concluded this meant it was Coca Cola. Whilst I'm slightly relieved to not have sat in a mad person's urine, I'm really cross someone split coke on seat. I've added Coca Cola to my banned list which currently includes only chewing gum.

The reprieved dress. The material is slightly changed, but in terms of a posterior view from a far, all is restored.

After a splendid Saturday, Sunday was for shopping. As a stylist I avoid shopping unless really necessary. Unfortunately necessity hit. Mr MDS's Nanna died last week at the grand old age of 97 and we both needed funeral attire. I did that thing when I looked in my wardrobe and realised I had nothing to wear. I have 5 black dresses, a Victor & Rolf one which was entirely unsuitable on the grounds of being silk and stylish. A vintage velvet dress that was my mothers, a Zara very heavy wool dress, a Warehouse cotton maxi dress and a really old Oasis dress that is very short. Mr MDS said no to all of them. Unlike my bohemian, liberal, artistic family, he is of good Daily Telegraph and golfing stock.

I am now the proud owner of a lovely Ted Baker suit type dress and a good old M&S cardigan. I felt it was nicely understated Mad Men and would work well with the Prada shoes.

I did however slip off the wagon with a spontaneous purchase. I can't remember the last time I made a spontaneous purchase. All my purchases are planned, thought about and analysed. I found it in M&S (ssssh). It was in a random place and at £15 it seemed a useful bargain. It was the beautiful cobalt blue colour and the pockets that sold it to me. Not sure about the ruffle detail but I'll work it.

It will look perfect on my Caribbean Cruise! And be easy to iron.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Fashion Intern or slave?

The Guardian had a thought provoking and invaluable article concerning the use of intern-ships in the fashion industry this weekend.

Now not all intern work is bad and some companies have a wonderful system and structure. And it is not just the fashion industry that has an enormous pool of 'free' labour. The TV and film industries have exploited this for years.

The problem is it is completely unregulated and experiences are varied. Equally an intern-ship is no guarantee of a job nor does it constitute valid experience particularly when everyone else has done it.

When I was a 'yuff' it was called work experience or blagging yourself a gig. Disneyrollergirl ran a very useful post on how to break into the industry but again it is no guarantee of a job!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Okay yes I did splash the cash with the Prada shoes but that means poor man's substitutes on the clothes front. Whilst I love Dame Viv and her Anglomania collection it doesn't always work on me. Proportions are everything to me so if something is too voluminous in bad way I can't wear it. This is a good point to remember when you covert or buy clothes. Both my youngest sister and I find Marc by Marc Jacobs a winner for our genetic structure. Ditto me ref See by Chloe. Which is Warehouse comes in...a wonderful revamp has hit Warehouse and the design team are turning out great numbers amongst the not so great which works for many a body shape and size.

Last year a wonderful tartan dress hit their stores but it was a bit pricey at £120. This year there is a little cousin and it is far more reasonably priced at £70. It will be a wild card for A/W which will pay dividends.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Zandra does TK Maxx

If you were wondering what I was doing on Wednesday night well wonder no more. I joined lots of fab peeps at the TK Maxx new store opening on Charing Cross Road. Now I love a TK Maxx and this proved no exception. The store opening was a glam affair with canapes, champers and celebs. The store is getting super organised with a new way of merchandising stock. The Modbox are is an eclectic mix of young trendy fashion items. My personal favourite is the gold area, designer fashion. You would have caught me drooling over Stella, Pucci, Valentino and more. Hanging out with me was Dan from The Feeling (well we were rummaging together). I confessed to him that Mr MDS and I pretend to be Kate Middleton and Prince William when Fill My Little World comes on in the car. For a few minutes we are crazy Sloanes letting it all go wild! Luckily Dan thought this was hilarious and he is an absolute dear. My new bf of the night was Zandra Rhodes, she was having a good old shop and looking as wonderful as ever.

Lots of fashion bloggers were there and in one of the photos below I snapped Tor of Fabfrocks by chance in a crowd shot. Once again I forgot my camera and had to rely on blackberry.

Nice Suit, one to take home

The Dancers dressed up were fabulous

Dancers, Crowd shot and where's Tor!

Zandra puts best foot forward

How wonderful are her shoes!

Pam Hogg chatting with friend

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Have Mortar Go Pose

On a personal note I continue to need your votes in this last 24 hours of voting for my short film.
And I couldn't resist a good old pose in my gown last Friday. Sometimes the stylist likes to take centre stage. I promise you some good old fashioned fashion stuff and budget blah will be back soon!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Come on peeps....

My short film is in the midst of voting wars. It seems the wider you can publicise and draw upon your network the more votes you can get. I'm languishing in the top 25. I NEED to be in the TOP 10.

Around the world you can vote for me with SMS or via Facebook. Get those fingers dialling Make Do Style needs your votes. This is the link to view my short film and vote for me!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


This is the link to view my short film and vote for me!

Vote via Facebook or if in UK text K6NF8T to 07589 955555 (standard text charge I'm afraid) Voting is global mainly US based so I need you votes and if you can support my film via your blog, twitter or facebook that would be wonderful!!

Diary of a Graduation day

Friday July 16th was a momentous day. It was the culmination of 18 months of academic slogging. I was awarded a Masters in Fashion and Film with Distinction from the London College of Fashion. the same day Emma Hope was made an Honorary Fellow of LCF and Margaret Howell was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. Both are wonderful fashion icons in their own area. I was thrilled to share the stage with them. Emma Hope actually examined every ones shoes as they went past her, it was brilliant! As was her accepting speech which ended with 'as my Uncle Tom used to say "it's not everyday you get to see a woman become a fellow".'

7:30am dressed and ready to go

7:31 still dressed and ready to go, needing to pace

8:45 in Le Pain opposite Royal Festival Hall consuming cappuccino to steady nerves
I stare a lot in to the bowl, it reveals nothing to me

9:20am being dressed in gown

10:00 am pre sitting in seats pose with fellow MA course friend Allison

11:40 ish accepting the Rector's handshake on the stage after my name is read out and people applause including Emma Hope and Margaret Howell (they clapped for nearly everyone!)

Monday, 19 July 2010

My new house guests

During my malfunction week - which thankfully is all resolved, although awaiting dry cleaning verdict on dress - I gained some new house guests. I found them in the great yellow house upon Oxford Street. They loved me too. They gladly accepted a lift home and have come to stay.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Multiple Malfunctions

The idea that things happen in three doesn't apply to three things in a row. When I suffered a bodily wound (trolley to back of ankle), a wardrobe malfunction (jumpsuit zip) and computer malfunction (power cable blowing) I smugly and was roundly assured 'things happen in threes'.

Yes three of each! Two minor stab wounds (pins and scissors )to hand later and my body has had its three. The computer cable has a three part drama too. Blowing, half an order and a part on its way. With this drama playing out in 3 parts, I have only had my most prolific need to be on email, the internet and all manner of technological issues. I have to borrow access to a laptop and have no picture load capability. Hence wordy post. Shame blogger doesn't have a crayon function.

But it is the wardrobe malfunction element that is the most disturbing. After the jumpsuit moment, I had the graduation gown matter. When you choose the size of the gown you get two options, up to a 52" chest or over a 52" chest. I was actually drowned by gown. If I wasn't of above average height then ridiculous would not cover the visuals. I loved wearing my gown and I was particularly pleased that a Masters gown has sleeves and hand warmer arrangement. This amused me no end. But why oh why can't gowns and therefore the hoods be made to fit women too. I spend all my time pining and repining with really big safety pins and falling down to one side if the gown slipped.

There are photos and I promise I'll share. As a stylist I couldn't resist a few posed shots!

Then wardrobe number 3 happened. There was I on the way home after a splendid graduation lunch at Skylon, sitting on the bus, whilst Mr MDS drove to the Cotswolds for a stag do, happily sated and sat in splendid Moschino dress. It was a hot day and as I stood up I thought the back of my dress feels a bit damp. Then I thought, the damp doesn't feel like tube/bus heat perspiration and find my dress was sodden on the posterior. How I groaned. It appears I had sat on a wet seat. Now if I were to further inform you that near to my bus stop is the last remaining few blocks of the London & Surrey mental health provision which cares for long term patients; I knew that either someone had spilt a drink or I'd sat in some mad person's wee!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Make Tavi choose me

On Tuesday I will be providing you with a link to view my recent short film. The link will be part of competition being run by Talenthouse for you to vote for your favourite submission. I will be needing your votes but only if you truly enjoy the film!

Meanwhile I'm still in computer malfunction mode due to spare parts on route. Thank you for your comments and BIG apologies for not being able to visit and comment back. Normal service resumes very soon - fingers crossed.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


On Tuesday at my final style event I had a wardrobe malfunction, my jumpsuit zip decided to go! The day before I'd had a trolley dash malfunction and have a cut on ankle to prove it. And yesterday my computer had a malfunction - well the power cable to be precise. I've managed to use another computer to advice of the malfunction issues but that is it...

Please hold, I'll be up and running again shortly xx

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Take a Peek

When you've got a moment click on the Prada website and view their new collection. The trailer and visuals of the collection are wonderful. Makes me miss Mad Men though.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Shop, Style, Bloggers

On my Manchester trip I popped into Selfridges, good fun to check out the bite size version of the London store. And can I say how friendly the staff are. I was in shock. Not only were they friendly, a couple of them asked me where I'd got my jumpsuit from. It is a great store with well presented merchandise and a wonderful mural alongside the escalators. The mural is a celebration of all things Manchester including Morrisey!

Apres my sojourn around the city centre it was back to the hotel for the style event and a lovely evening it was too. I got to meet two Northern bloggers Pearl of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom and Mrs Bossa

We did the shoe pose as we had a riot of colour on our feet. Pearl and I were in Chanel nail varnish wars. I had Riviera on and Pearl was sporting Nouvelle Vague.

Great blogger posing, we have no shame! I loved both Mrs Bossa's and Pearl's outfits and loved meeting them. Nice to have friendly faces in an audience.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hot weather solution

Now the tubes and trains of London town might be chiming to the blurb of travel with water bottle, don't get on train/tube if you feel unwell, get off at next station if you feel unwell etc. There are a fair few bodies fainting or wilting at various stations and actually on the streets of London. Mainly tourists unused to the fact we do not have air conditioning on public transport.
Being hard core I perspire but keep going. Pimms is a key ingredient in this wonderful British tradition of summer highs and lows. Where better to drink some but in a dark dingy London pub, which is cool on the basis it never gets the sun and has nice cold stone floor. And who better to drink with than fellow bloggers.

Once a year WendyB comes to town and this is a must do occasion. Not only do I get to try her rings on but I met other peeps and have jolly good old natter. If I was asked why I blog now as opposed to 3 years ago; I would say friendship and community. Three years ago it would have been about self promotion, not a bad thing but not enough ultimately in an ocean of fashion bloggers. It has been the engagement with people via the blogosphere and also in real life that keeps the spirit of my early pioneering blogging going.

Without blogging I wouldn't have known about Wendy's wonderful jewellery. I love that I know her, her creative inspiration and her dedication to being a professional business woman. So much so I've prioritised a Marie Antoinette ring over a Chanel 2.55 handbag in my savings account.
In my haste to get to the boozer (public house) I forgot my camera and only have this image from Wendy so it is minus her. Which is very remiss of me but I would like to point out we have all adopted the WendyB full on smile!

L to R the lovely Liz of Miss Peelpants, moi, the marvellous Margaret of Penny Dreadful Vintage and the wonderful Winnie of Diamond Canopy

Saturday, 10 July 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

A first feature for Peacocks the rival to Primark for fashion at low prices. They have a lovely collection in store and on-line by Pearl Lowe. Yes I know I'm no lover of 'celeb' designed collections, but I've always had a soft spot for Ms Lowe's personal style and for 5 mins I could float around in this and be a reformed Primrose Hill set person

Friday, 9 July 2010

Mad for it

Where else but Manchester. The final leg of my tour. It was pure rock 'n' roll ending with a glass of champagne with Mr Hudson and discussing Valentino red, but then it went downhill as we departed the luxury of the Malmaison for the Premier Inn (don't ask). Worse still it was near a 24 hr McDonalds and I'd like to be clear I only went there to escort the person who was hungry. They insisted on getting me something. I did sip and it was hideous. One moment you up there the next......

This is the confession post, I'll do a proper Manchester resume soon.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Canal of Shoes

I was too slow to snap someone moving home by boat through the canals of Venice. Partly because I was concerned for the very nice large LCD TV laying on top of neatly packed boxes. The canals are a hive of activity and not just for the gondolas.

The canals, coupled with the squares or piazzas, create much intricacy to an outsider. However, for the Venetians despite the avalanche of tourism it is life as usual. I found one such business tucked away near the Rialto bridge in the San Polo district. Serafino is a small cobblers. It's owner has run his business for 50 years.

Bearing in mind he speaks not a word of English and my Italian is consistently at improving beginner, we chatted for ages although I really didn't get his name. Name aside, I do know the weight of the mushroom he found in the 1970s. I also know that he repairs a lot of shoes and many for Ferragamo including a pair for Marilyn Monroe. He has some wonderful eclectic pairs as part of his display and in the tiny shop.

I could have spent all day in there but alas, he had to wander off to drop off shoes, leaving shop unattended with no worries and I really couldn't tend the store. I did find time to safe guard his reputation as a man who can appreciate mushrooms as well as shoes, and explained to him the need to beware of people who try to 'acquire' shoes. Safely tucked in a draw is his beware notice. Probably as crudely put as this warning poster at the quayside regarding bags.