Saturday, 29 December 2012

Smart plus size shopping

Whenever clients ask me about plus size shops I am limited to a few options in the UK. However due to blogging I realise more and more people are getting smarter and buying items from everywhere and widening their choice of online retailers to choose. City Chic is an online retailer who specialises in plus size clothes and at the moment it is the perfect time to shop Australian sales for your UK S/S13 wardrobe.

My top pick is this on trend monochrome striped dress at $69.95 in the sale.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Maxi maxi's

Australian brand Crossroads offers a whole range of different clothes, ranging from plus size dresses to jackets, denim, skirts and accessories. The plus size range is a good example of  a retailer being able offer a  collection from size 8 to 22. With the sales now on this is the perfect time to pick up maxi dresses whether it is for the Australian summer or for those of you in the UK who are hopeful of 2013 bring us a summer!

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Friday, 21 December 2012

Buon Natale

How has Christmas come upon us in such an unexpected fashion this year. One moment it was all about November and the next it seems like New Year is already here. Anyway that's my excuse for being too busy to post and I am sticking with it!

If you haven't got your sequin top or Sarah Lund jumper handily poised for Christmas Day then I suggest you don't worry, grab a glass of prosecco and dance along to this. Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

High St Pick of the Week

Having a lovely little sojourn with tweeter and blogger teawithonesugarplease on Thursday night in the freezing cold was not only delightful because at last we met (yes social media is truly social) but Ms.Tea had on the most becoming cossack hat.

There are a number of cossack hats around in M&S and other stores but even though the temperature has risen I can't be bothered to hotfoot it to any store. Lazy days and shopping is satisfied by ASOS and  the now reduced cossack hat from £16 to £12.

Do say Dr Zhivago, don't say Mariah Carey.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Owl Eyes

When I went to Hong Kong to do a presentation and judge an eyewear design competition one of my favourites, though not necessarily anyone else's was a pair of owl sunglasses. Designed by Kevin Ching of Wing Fung Optical the design range is called Big Horn Eyewear and the sunglasses are of course Owl.

It was wonderful to receive a sample of the metal sunglasses frame I loved and in a really gorgeous case as well. I thought the design might only work for a fashion shoot originally, but having revceived and tried on the modified sample from the original I saw back in September I think I will actually take the Owl sunglasses on a jaunt in the summer.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Stellar Sports look

Sports luxe has moved up a notch of late especially with the range for Adidas by Stella McCartney. It offers an alternative to formal dressing but yet somehow still looks put together rather than basically just casual.

Image: Net-A-Porter Lightweight shell hooded top Adidas by Stella McCartney

And it was these images I had in mind when thinking about a review of Katies Fashion. Conscious of Australian readers and of course the difference in seasons (what wouldn't I give to be down under right now for some sunshine) is a difficulty when taking of seasons.

However sports luxe cuts across continents, hemispheres and seasons. No matter where you are or what you do women's jackets are a must in your wardrobe. They add something to a look and at the same time offer a practical option. This lightweight cotton jacket from Katies Fashion's range of jackets  adds not only a bit of sports luxe but a northern hemisphere S/S catwalk hit colour in yellow.

Wear this jacket with shorts and beach bag on a cooler day or with straight jeans turned up with ballet flats. And I will be looking to wear the same come our spring and summer!

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Last ever ebay .... I cannot take anymore, ebay is officially a drain these days. However I do have a lot of items I need to sell as I declutter my life. The big clean out of my home will take place in January but I thought I would start early in December to get into the swing of it.

It is no secret that since completing my MA I have struggled to settle into a new career. Many of my fellow students from LCF have all found things difficult since graduating in 2010. The reasons are obvious given the economy and whilst it has been hard I have stuck to my dream of merely (or is it solely) being a writer. I am ending 2012 having finally got to the place where I wanted to be - a writer.

In January Girlynomics will be available to download from Amazon and I have recently won a couple of writing gigs (old school I know) and the blog is hosting a number of sponsored posts, something I've resisted but the bills need to be paid. Then in 2013 I start the new novel, because at last I am in a dedicated position to write fiction and finish the old film script. I do have a few styling obligations to honour but that is fine.

Along the way I have supported my ambition by dabbling in other ventures as I had to pay back my career development loan and contribute to the household coffers. Ebay and Stella & Dot were two sidelines (in addition to my styling work) that assisted my independence but thankfully now I can kiss it all goodbye!

Therefore....drum roll... I have made my final ever ebay listings of my jewellery samples and a few items of clothing that have been one off items (a vintage dress) and a couple of things I loved when I got but I have never been able to wear them. Isn't it madding when you really like something and that feeling doesn't dissipate when you try them on but somehow after that moment they never really work.

Anyway here is the link to my ebay page and the items for sale EBAY SALES LINK- take a peek, tell a friend and this truly is the last ever time I will be doing an ebay listing!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Shoulda Coulda Woulda?

In between writing for book and my usual copy deadlines I have found myself of late watching old episodes of Sex and the City. The clothes, the city and the dating, ah what fun. The old obsession with SATC started with the new Girls series on HBO which I have liked but not loved. Not loved in the way I loved every minute of SATC. When I had the opportunity to undertake a private project it was on SATC and more specifically the character of Carrie Bradshaw and the performance of the character.

My primary research found that the majority of women wanted to be the character Carrie Bradshaw. For the clothes, the shoes and either Mr Big or Aiden. Her walk in wardrobe had to be top of the list as well as her apartment in New York. Whilst I was watching the re runs I began to examine Sarah Jessica Parker's face. Recently I had gone to a Nigella Lawson book signing and Mrs Fab of Style at Every Age  had commented on how wrinkle free Nigella's face was. As I conversed with the 51 or was it 52 year old Nigella, she told me her age as we discussed her wonderful salmon fishcake recipe from a book published in 2001, I peered at her beautiful make up and skin. Nigella's eyebrows were perfection themselves alone! Back home I went through every cookbook of her I own, and bar one I have them all, and studied her face. Then I watch her on Nigellissima and concluded that Mrs FAb was right she MUST have had something done. The same is true of SJP, folks you do not get to be an American size 2 (UK 6) without it impacting on your face - we all know this.

Yet I can only speculate because I know nothing of the world of non surgical treatments and improvements. Folks I tell you I spent days pouring over my face, old photographs from 8 to 10 years ago and I needed to know - should I take the plunge? Could I get the natural look that SJP and Nigella have so obviously and effortless (apart from slashing the cash) achieved. Would it really be worth it and would it ruin my features. These questions came like a running tap you can't turn off.

The only place I knew where to start was the Cosmetic Skin Clinic in Stoke Pogis where I had recently had CoolSculpting treatment. The reason I choose to investigate the reality of anti ageing techniques at the Cosmetic Skin Clinic is because it just happens to be a female led medical practice. Dr Tracy Mountford is not only recognised as a leading expert in this field but her team is many decades worth of experience. It is also a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Harley Street. I have met lots of cosmetic practitioners over the years as a stylist and have had lots of clients who have obviously had work done. Only a few practitioners really deliver natural results. Tweaks to the face that no one notices and has to guess about, this is their forte.

Luckily they were happy to indulge my investigation in to the reality of anti ageing. The first thing that struck me upon my return was the fact I was right about the clinic it is an oasis of calm and they have really nice coffee. There are even biscuits but I am so focused on my interrogation, I mean interview I merely glance at them. I am guided through a process that all who enter will enjoy. A mix of form filling, a cosy chat about what you don't like and photographs of your face. No smiling is allowed. When I see the non smiling me, it isn't horrific but I felt a sadness of passing youth. The stark reality is you do really see the ageing process unfold in your forties. Clothes wise we can keep on trend, be stylish and enjoy fashion but the face isn't so easy to dress up.

My assessment with the nurse practitioner Tara was incredible. The practice is very clear about their ethos of only replenishing the face, achieving a natural look which is often underwhelming. They would rather be 10% under optimisation than 10% over. Tara patiently explains to my barrage of questions that it is really in our 5th decade that the skin gets thinner and out natural youthful fat pockets fall southwards without the firmness of the skin to keep them in place. I have a small face and this means I will be more prone to the skin sagging as a wider, larger face will keep the skin structure for longer. This small fact was like a lightbulb moment. I had often admired larger faced ladies and now I knew why. It isn't the bone structure it is the skin remaining firmer for longer. Or rather as the skin thins it stays put for longer due to the width of the face. As Samantha would knowing say in SATC 'width is everything'. Damn, my small head smugness was well and truly tipped on its head.

The advice I am given is I need a few areas treated to lift my face to basically prevent me look like a bitter old lady! The treatment in question would be Emervel hyaluronic acid fillers.  And if I really wanted the muscle relaxant Azzalure which is the purified protein derivative of the purified botulinum toxin. Don't say Botox which is a registered brand name do say botulinum toxin is what I have learnt.

Gosh this is the point where I almost feel physically sick. It is a mix of nerves and heady excitement. Apparently the majority of people at this juncture want the treatment straightaway. Having seen the before and after pictures of the many patients at the clinic I can see why. All that is staring back at me is fresh, natural looking faces. They just look good and normal. I actually bite my lip and say I will have the numbing cream applied because I want to know what it is like. But the next, coulda, woulda? I really don't know......

What would you do?!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More casual matters

Getting casual down to a tee is the new black. What has happened is a slight shift. Do as you were before and something isn't quite right. Fashion is funny like that, it suddenly moves on its axis and low and behold in a blink of a week or a month after years of inertia there is a style shift.

People if I knew the answer then you'd be paying handsomely for the information. The answer lies in the nuance, the fact how ever effortless the look looks, there is hard work and thought that has come into play to create it. Who you look to for style inspiration is probably getting tip top access to clothes, hair and makeup - not to mention PTs and dermatologists. The 'look' is a complete package.

It doesn't matter if you are a heels or flats gal, the opportunity to move your casual look into a new sphere is here.

Personally, keep it clean and fresh when it comes to casual. If you wear a bright colour or a pattern then  keep hair, make up and accessories unfussy. If you go plain jane with jeans and a top then you need to bling your eyes, hair, lips or accessories - obviously not all at ONCE!

The Daily Mail hated this SJP look at first but then went on to use it at least three more times in a positive manner! That is the thing with change it makes you react, look again and then embrace. I loved this look straightaway - it is casual and easy. It looks as if no effort has been made but the bright down coat with the restrained colour palette of the boots, printed jeans and jumper says this has been thought through. Note no jewellery, no make up, no up do. The emphasis here is on the garments and the main feature is the coat.

image: The Daily Mail

The more traditional casual look is epitomised by Olivia Palermo. This is the truly modern version of that Park Avenue Princess look of jeans, white shirt and jacket. 

images: The Daily Mail

It helps that Olivia has a great male accessory in her boyfriend but truly the detail is in her hair tied back without a hit of being brushed, some subtle pearl earrings and then the neutral palette of clothes and a splash of red in the shoes.

These folks are the new casual style stakes. Trying times indeed!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

High St Pick of the Week

In some respects unless you have presents to get or are in dire need of a new party outfit or the heel of a trusted pair of shoes have broken - do you really want to shop now? I never set foot in a clothes shop after November until the end of January if I can help it.

My biggest worry in December is my love of all that glitters and sparkle, the shops are stacked to the rafters in delightful little numbers. I just want it all, hence the avoid. Then when it comes to sales and January I prefer to stay at home with a book or watch a film. I really do hibernate in January.

But enough of me - who by the way has been ultra busy this week, hence neglected blog soz - and back to the pick of the high street. Given there is so much to choose from it is hard to have a pick that is fully reflected of the offerings.

I think you will thank me for this truly versatile little number as it is getting really cold and this could be a useful clothing tool in the fight with Jack Frost.

It is the lovely colour, that suits all, for this time of year. It is easy to wear on show or hidden under dresses, jumpers and tops to keep you toasty. Better still, wear it at home with some silk pjs on, the top of the pyjamas open and you sipping a mug of hot chocolate whilst watching television - now that is an indulgent all round perfect December night you don't want to miss out on.