Friday, 31 December 2010

How could I deKlein

I had no intention of spending a penny and we are not talking incontinence pants here. I was busy being out in the fresh air, walking and thinking of other matters and then I remembered I needed to get one of my sisters a photo frame.

I popped into TK Maxx and despite my best endeavours as I walked past the clothes to the furnishing section, my beady little eye spied in amongst the total afternoon mess a lovely black dress by Calvin Klein. Perfect. As it was allowed under my style challenge I thought I would try it on.

The photo doesn't show very well the pleated waist detail which creates a lovely silhouette

Then I suddenly had an urge to look at knitwear, where upon I found lots of Pringle jumpers. I grabbed a bright acid yellow one and ran to the changing rooms not daring to look at another garment.

Of course my bad luck (not wishing to spend anything) continued as both items fitted and were such bargains they had to come home with me. Of course I haven't veered off my style challenge and I have two lovely quality items at a fraction of their price. However it is strange how once you get used to not buying things you are reluctant to part with folding.

Bright & cheery plus v on trend for S/S 2011

Thursday, 30 December 2010

My worst buys of 2010

Topshop faux leather trouser things!

Some years ago this list would have been different and longer. After much progress on the making do front over the years I have spent less on whimsical of the moment stuff of the a) I'm worth it category or b) I could just imagine myself ... both options are of the stupid money wasting vacuous nonsense I loved so much!

Of course I still love a bit of vacuous nonsense after all...but being determined to live within my means and only buy things I truly love means I've cut down on wastage. My style challenge I set in November is already a winner. To date I have bought a Valentino skirt from the Outnet for £136 and pre ordered at a considerable discount some quality S/S 11 items from Isabella Oliver 365. I have a wish list of 4 items - this is unheard of. Usually my wish lists can go on and on. However I really want to pay off the last of my debts (post grad ones) this year as well as write.

But I made two enormous buying mistakes this year. The first was under category b). I imagined myself in some rock chic ease of tee plus leather trousers heaven. Not having the leather pant budget I decided to experiment with Topshop faux leather ones. What a waste of £32. I bought size 10 and I am on the porky side of UK10 at the moment. They kept falling down. Not just down a little bit but right to my knees.

I tried wearing big knickers over the top of them but still the movement was southward. Lesson learnt, when one imagined oneself in specific items a)only buy top quality and b)make sure only buy when honed and toned.

For those of nervous dispositions look away now - I pinched these photos from WaceyStyle as we were getting ready to go out and trying all manner of style solutions to rubbish trouser things.

Big rollers in, faux leather legging trussed up with big knickers, a wrong look!

These faux leather things are coming to get you!

My next worst buy falls into the mad bag lady category. Ages ago I grabbed what I thought were panty liners during a supermarket shop. In my defence I thought the black and pink packaging looked nice and really didn't look beyond the trusty brand name. Upon unpacking I realised to my horror I'd bought bladder control things. Not women's period solution numbers but wetting knickers issues. After my initial horror, then the giggles I realised I could take them back. An easy mistake to make and I don't look old enough to need them. I completely forgot to do this and given I was totally disorganised used said things during a monthly emergency!

I was relieved that I hadn't got them from Tesco as their data collection and profile building when it comes to shopping habits are second to none. They can even anticipate what you need. What did I do? Well I only went and bought them again. Same scenario, supermarket slap dash shop. Now this means I am officially on a computer somewhere as a knicker wetting old dear! Great hey.

My New Year resolution is quite simple. Stay away from black and pink packaging

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Bedside Book Bonanza

The benefit of getting presents is the additions to one's bedside reading. I'm currently reading Rona Jaffe's The Best of Everything which I love. Christmas yielded 3 more to my ever growing pile of which the bottom 3 are old favourites I like to browse a lot. Proust will gather dust for yet another year I'm afraid.

What luck I got Jump - when all is dull and gloomy in January a bit of Jilly will go down a treat!

Monday, 27 December 2010

The new beginning

It's been a hard year. After achieving the dizzy heights of a distinction in my Masters from the London College of Fashion it has been a long haul to get to the end of 2010. In the March I completed a bid for script funding from the now defunct UK Film Council. I didn't get any funding but the writing was already on the wall for all sorts of Arts funding and most definitely film funding.

It was back to styling for me and this felt like going through the motions. Even when I started to get some exciting bits of work I kept feeling highs and lows almost simultaneously. Then the petit garcon started school and I realised that relying on public transport and paying an arm and a leg in child care was not what I wanted to do.

Then one night I was watching Ugly Betty and I had an epiphany! There was a hilarious scene when Amanda tried to become a designer but failed.

Mark had to explain to her that it takes years of training to be a designer. But Amanda pointed out she wanted to do something creative and she had just helped Betty and an up and coming designer to style a successful debut show.

So, Mark suggests she becomes a stylist. Amanda whines about not wanting to go to college and Mark says all you have to do is say 'I'm a stylist'. Amanda repeats after him , 'I'm a stylist' and there are high fives all round.

I was laughing so much because the comedic undertone was spot on. I started as a junior fashion assistant years ago at Elle magazine and then went on to work on a few publications producing the style sections. A stint on radio and then a proper career in the creative department for Orange gave me the much needed financial boost I need that working in fashion couldn't give me. Then I returned to my first love, job and passion and have earned a living for the last six years as a freelance stylist.

A recent review with my many contracts brought home the reality of day rates, planned productions and projected business revenues and in fashion the hard times are getting harder. I know full well things are cyclical and if I want to throw myself into things I could. But here is a little whisper, when you are being under cut by 'bloggers turned stylists' who do the work for free then you know things aren't great.

However, the reality is I don't feel the need or drive to once again rise phoenix like as a thrusting stylist . The main reason is the petit garcon. I know I can never have the time back with him ever. My best bit of 'work' this month which was entirely voluntary was building Santa's grotto at his school for the Christmas Bazaar. I loved creating a set that was magical and the kids loved it. My fake snow and cotton wool did cause all manner of nuisance combined with wet boots but I cleared up well.
The petit garcon & his buddy visit Santa in the grotto!

I love writing more than anything, I can whip up an outfit for an ad or create a fashion shoot look blindfold. But writing amuses and pushes me. I love creating stories and I can combine my visual creativity with words. I am going to take a year out to write, write, write and nothing but write. This means I can keep going with my blog and still interact and learn from all of your wonderful blogs, lives and thoughts. I had some invaluable feedback from Sister Wolf on my film script as she was a script reader for many years. I have done nothing with it now for 6 months because every thing else gets in the way. In my very large box of writing I have 3 unfinished novels, one television drama, a non fiction book and a film script plus numerous short stories and ideas. I know I am wasting my talent. It was really brought home to me when I was invited to write part of a chapter for an academic book and after the research I didn't have the time or head space to deliver!

2011 will be my year to succeed and focus on my writing. I have a few styling contracts I have to fulfil but at the end of March I will be a free of all obligations.By not working I will save myself untold money on travel and childcare. I can if I want live all day in a dressing gown save the school run but that would be quite hideous and uninspiring. However I won't need to buy items for things and intend to make do with my wardrobe and stick to my style challenge (still only bought the Valentino skirt and I will do a 5 ways to wear it post very soon).

I've always been a working girl and like to contribute to the running of the household, I really couldn't abide to abdicate such responsibility and am mindful I am being very selfish in some respects. I'm sure Mr MDS would love a year long golf sabbatical - which is completely out of the question! Therefore I've set up shop with my Make Do Style Health & Beauty online store for Arbonne productsThey are very lovely and I was introduce to them by a famous ex popstar's wife when I was styling him for UK television during a stint on the West End a few years ago. She works for them! It is funny in my job I see all sorts of people at their height, their lows and then when they are sorted.

I have 3 sample sets to give away to 3 readers in return for a small review either on their blog or for mine. Email me and I will send them out. If you do need anything and would like the convenience of ordering online for some very lovely product then please do! Currently the only criticism I would have is the postage is too high in the UK but that is being sorted. It is fine in the US, Canada and Australia. Until it is resolved then I'm happy to refund postage because I'm so confident you'll love the products. I will promote my site in order to earn something, but probably no more than once a fortnight in my posts but let me know if it annoys you after all I like feedback!

What hopes and desires do you have for 2011? What would be your dream come true?

Run fat girl run in style!

The sad facts are the after a month of snow and freezing conditions followed by a good old Christmas nosh and drink fest, Mrs MDS needs to get trim and shed the winter (fat) layer that is threatening to take over.

Of course I will be making do and wearing quite old stuff but if you fancy glamming up your sports wear then now is the time to grab a few bargains.

Adidas by Stella McCartney run satin-jersey top now £
25 at Net-A-Porter

Adidas by Stella McCartney studio lace insert leggings now £35 at Net-A-Porter

Next dig out your sturdy trainers start walking for 30 minutes a day, add in a swim and a dvd to do at home and by April you'll be ready for pedicure, fake tan and a nice summer frock. Anyone else care to join me!!

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Christmas Miracle

Dearest Alex of Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks sent me a Christmas Pom Pom necklace. In the midst of snow and no deliveries; whilst people couldn't fly anywhere or travel even a mile without hardship, a pom pom necklace that was posted from Liverpool on one day arrived the next day in South London.

A quick photo was all I could manage due to the unending cold!

Then on Christmas Eve morning, a gorgeous parcel arrived from Queen Marie of Kingdom of Style, again I was given much Christmas cheer. A fabulous Christmas necklace and an addition for my tree. I also had my lovely belated birthday pressies but I'm keeping those to myself.

How wonderful is the blogosphere. It defies modernity in its old fashioned values of correspondence and yet it is in its very essence of now. Receiving my lovely gifts was pure Dickens and Austen brought alive in the 21st century. All hail blogging and have a wonderful festive time whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Happy Christmas...

...and a Prosperous New Year. What with snow, school, filming and last minute holiday things to sort out, I will spare you the pain of pointless posts from now until Christmas Day!

It leaves me only to say that Make Do Style thanks one and all, for all your comments and contributions, during 2010. Please place an order with WendyB by Dec 25th to help Sister Wolf.
Then things hot up in the MDS world after Christmas with lots of news and changes a foot.

Meanwhile I leave you with a 3 wise women photo of sorts, all 3 are absorbed in their own thoughts raise a glass, clear your head and look forward to the new year and new beginnings, ... after all a woman's work is never done! Stay stylish xxx

Sunday, 19 December 2010


When the snow has fallen and the idea of stepping outside fills you with dread instead of that bracing bravery then what is a girl to do other than pick Spring Summer 11 items. Suddenly my grey world is about to ping with yellow, orange, bright green and azure blue - yippee (if only it were so...)

Miu Miu polka dot silk crepe de Chine scarf £150

In case you feel tempted by those Prada banana earrings at £300...I'm coming to your rescue. Voice of reason £300 on banana earrings is not a good idea. It is ..well...quite frankly...bananas!
Choose Miu Miu instead with these Swarovski crystal heart earrings at £100 if you must flaunt your designer mast on your ears.

Bag this bit of sunshine now!

But don't wear any of the above with this perfect orange dress! It will keep you cheery from now until April.

Michael Kors Boucle wool-blend shift dress £910

And keep your fingers crossed these blue babies are in the sale or hot foot it over to the Outnet.
Ah feel better about the grey skies and white snow I'm surrounded by already.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

A last minute present, or life saver is on offer this week. I would like to give you sequins, fun and laughter but it appears it is batten down the hatches, stoke up the fires and hope the blizzard misses you.

If you've already got the wellies to cope with our snow that quickly turns to slush, but need the warmth then your best bet is a pair of Hunter's socks for inside your wellies to keep toes warm.

My insiders tip is a good old ebay seller Country Attire, after all ebay is practically high street these days. Of course the downside is the fact the snow plus Christmas will preclude a swift delivery but you plan ahead for future cold times or country walks.

I'm fully appreciative that welly socks are hardly the most exciting wardrobe item but due to snow I would have to say this is the one December I've not even bothered to peep in store. I nipped into Harrods for some last minute items and a Chanel nail polish on Thursday but that is it.

Update the 12 noon scenes around me 14 miles south of Central London to give it some perspective. You'll note how handy welly socks are and I did get mine from Country Attire on eBay. The picture quality is pants as it is my 3 year old blackberry which I must upgrade!

You can tell it was a blizzard due to how the snow has covered the tree trunks

Genuine snow covered door wreath

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Christmas Spirit arrives

It came in the form of a Little Donkey (otherwise known as the petit garcon)

The day WendyB took over the blogosphere and raised the roof!

As you may know there has been a concerted effort globally to help Sister Wolf, the real deliverer behind the hype is Wendy Brandes so over to Wendy ....

'I’m still selling three jewelry designs to benefit gorgeous blogger Sister Wolf. So far, your purchases of the Little Woolf necklace, the swear rings and the OMG rings have raised $1,180 of the $4,000 she needs to fix her broke-down roof! I know you need (a) holiday gifts for loved ones and (b) gifts for yourselves to make up for the disappointing ones that your loved ones give you. So start shopping! I’m donating $35 of every Little Woolf purchase and $200 of every swear/OMG ring set purchase through December 25.

Click the images to purchase.

Four-ring swear set.

Three-ring OMG set.

As I was writing the words above, I started thinking about you peeps who (a) need to do holiday shopping and (b) want to help Sister Wolf but (c) want something besides the Woolf or the rings. Maybe some of you want earrings, for instance. So this is what I’m going to do. I’ll make some kind of donation to Sister Wolf’s roof fund for ANY purchase of ANY item on my site through December 25. The bigger the purchase, the bigger the donation. There are too many donation possibilities for me to list them here, but you can email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com to ask about the donation level for a specific piece. Be serious, though. Don’t be bugging me about the Luna ring unless you’re really able to buy a $15,000 ring!

If you buy this one, you'll singlehandedly make up the difference in the roof fund.

I have something for everyone. Here are just a few suggestions.

Little zebra studs for your friend who is too shy to wear an animal print dress.

Got a relative who is batshit crazy? This is the perfect gift!

How about cufflinks for the guy who watches "In Treatment"?

If she recognizes the line "Give a hoot, don't pollute," she'll appreciate this owl.

If you’re in the U.S. and order by Tuesday, I guarantee Christmas delivery.

NOTE TO CORDELIA WHO WANTS A WOOLF: Your email address doesn’t work. Contact me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com to arrange your purchase!'

This is the link to the real post

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Make Do Style Christmas Book List

Whilst Rome and London have been burning (figuratively ref political riots) I have still failed to turn a page on my bedside read of Proust. I've read magazines and newspapers in true Proust avoidance tactics.

I though it best to line up a few old favourites and a couple of new numbers to end 2010 on a reading high and begin 2011 with a book reading habit re-established. The first three are great reads, capturing an essence of the period they were written in.

1. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe

2. The Green Hat by Michael Arlen

3. The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
The next two are non fiction, one of which I choose due to a need to discover more about places Dickens uses in his novels. Fashionistable inspired me to discover more about Dickens locations when we took a photo of an American over from Washington outside the Old Curiosity Shop during a project. The lovely American lady also loved the fact you could find places from the pages.

4. Dickens England by David Nicholas Wilkinson

Then there is my continued fascination and interest in the live of Marilyn Monroe. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1954) is one of my all time favourite films. Both Marilyn and Jane Russell show to great effect their comedic timing and utter brilliance as actresses. I really cannot think of any two actresses paired together now that would deliver such wonderful performances. If you haven't seen the film then make a date with it over Christmas.

5. Marilyn Monroe: Fragments edited by Buchthal & Commet

All images from except Street Style photograph by Fashionistable

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Something I threw on...

..for Christmas day. You know the score, effort, things to do, want to keep warm, feel fat from office or friends mince pies and those damn Christmas drinks events plus you've got more food to eat. Suddenly that lovely Chrimbo dress, skirt or trousers are looking worryingly wrong. Never fear, put on trusty old comfy skirt/jeans or trousers and add this jumper for max effect. Brush your hair add some lippy and voila - turkey anyone?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Oh the feeling inside is merry

After the birthday bash which ran from Friday to Sunday for the petit garcon (he likes a party or two) the tree was bought and decked. The black and white theme has been a success although I do think I need to buy a few more black baubles to add to the tree.

Although I did put up some colourful items in the kitchen