Monday, 30 April 2012

Puppy Love

My life is about to be turned upside down with the imminent  arrival of a puppy. It was by pure chance I fell in love with this little chaps, henceforth to be known as Patches. Petit garcon was determined to call him Patches although I will refer to him as Patch. He is a Parson Russell Terrier.

Just when the trend for doggie motifs on jumpers etc. has moved on I feel free to indulge in some puppy love.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Not the hoards, not even the diminished hoards as we all brace ourselves for recession but the handy bags to have as shoppers. Bags that save you carrying plastic branded bags. Bags that allow you to make that New Look purchase with no shame seeing as it was a toss up between sandals from Zara at 49.99 or New Look at £29.99 - recessionista choices are a coming! Above is the holy grail of a shopper the Anya Hindmarch Nevis leather shopper at £595 from Net A Porter!

You want one that is easy to carry will last you a number of years and get can that worn in look. Leather or canvas are the main options. , although there are brands that produce shoppers in other materials that are worth thinking about, like the Longchamp or Cath Kidston ones that fold up.

Your shopper is preferably a neutral colour and you need it to work on a shopping for all manner of things/weekend bag/holiday holdall. You also don't want it to break the bank and most importantly you need to love it. Loving the bag will make it last. Avoid obvious logo'd bags, aim for more avant garde nonchalance. If it weren't so rainy I recommend baskets too but what's the point we live in the UK not the Mediterranean!

This is your affordable friend and is a solid bit of shopper kit. It will wear well and be exceedingly useful. Leather or canvas are the main options for a shopper, although there are brands that produce shoppers in other materials that are worth thinking about, like the Longchamp or Cath Kidston ones that fold up.

Longchamp Le Pliage large shopper £72 Selfridges or other retailers - sorry about the small image!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Queen Bee...

  ....of the fashion industry is a close call for me. There are a few big contenders. Past notables are Coco Chanel and Diana Veerland. Present heavy weights are Miuccia Prada and Anna Wintour.

With the exception of Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino I am always drawn to the female players of the fashion industry, they seem to have all the drive and passion. I know fashion favourites come and go DVF is a good example of a career gone and back again. I admire Phoebe Philo tons and have a soft spot for Stella but Anna is my queen fashion bee.

Am I the only person to love the Devil Wears Prada for all the wrong reasons. As a caricature of Ms Wintour,the book only lead me to admire her more not least because she turned up years later for the film premier wearing Prada. My favourite moment in the September Issue is her meeting with Stefano Pilati and her concern over his collection 'it is a lot of black' and guess who has been proved right!

Such is her precision she steers away from being an obvious fashionista preferring her signature style of hair, dressing and shoes. Yes those Manolo Blahnik's! (Just to remind you Pearl)

I always view the shoe situation as Anna being a bit of a Make Do Style girl at heart. She knows the value of wearing comfy heels and not getting distracted by anything 'it' status.
Anyway I love Anna and so when I found out she had specifically requested this necklace for her after its inclusion in Vogue, I jumped for joy as I have one too!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bee Satisfied

Last week I had three different style advice requests off friends which were all very satisfying to address. My style file contained in my brain is the most amazing thing I possess. It works so quickly I feel I have style mega bytes contained inside. Yet when it comes to other matters my brain seems the most clumsy, stagnant thing ever, 'does not compute' seems to be a relevant mode of operation when it comes to remembering all teh school activities and other things.

I've made great progress over the years and don't seem as prone to losing all my possessions as I used to. Why my parents ever gave me responsibility of childhood toys, photos and other items is beyond me. Move by move I've managed to inadvertently lose or misplace or forget to collect all manner of items. This does actually make me sad but I'm just about making peace with myself for my vast incompetence in this area.

Whilst I'm not a hoarder I do need to smarten my act up on how to store items and keep them safe. I always need to declutter as I fail to sort out items even such as the post on a daily or weekly basis. You can come to me for style advice but don't think about life laundry matters! I finally managed to finish Girlynomics and this has freed me up to attend to the home. It really does need finishing off. We've only managed to properly decorate the living room and we have been here for 4 years. It is the age old issue of time and money.

Something that I've always tended to and put in some graft is the garden. Despite the old testament rainfall and flooding we've been having the garden is coming alive and can be attended to.The birds and bees plus a few snails are setting down roots at MDS gardens. I couldn't snap my little friend the Robin (he is too shy but he comes everyday and he has a favourite place for his food) nor the playful go getting Blue tits but they actually leave a lot of droppings as evidence! There is also another bird (don't know what it is) who loves our garden for worms. I'm finding a great deal of satisfaction in the wildlife activity and my growing plants.

  I had 3 bees buzzing around in the garden
 I had to avoid stepping on this snail & I called him Sarkosy in honour of the fact today was the French Presidential Elections. He was lucky my friend wasn't around as he is southern French and would have examined him to assess his edible potential.

 I picked a handful of mint to make mint tea which I love and in my garden it is free compared to £1.85 in Carluccios

As well as cooking Sunday lunch which was roast chicken followed by rhubarb crumble, the rhubarb was from the garden too, I oven roasted some tomatoes that no one was eating and left them to cool in the oven. I just ad herbs and olive oil and they are nearly the same as sun dried ones!

Having had an extremely satisfying weekend of pottering, I must take a deep breath and make the coming month of May my sort the house out month!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Petit Chocolate Style

It is not often you hear the phrase 'we had a fun day out with River Island' and rightly so because it would suggest we were a family of shopperholics. Back to River Island  - it was the Chelsea Girl of my youth, when it was the go to shop on the high street once you'd managed to wrangle your way out of M&S and C&A and Clarks shoes. Apart from the occasional outing to Fenwick to get a nice outfit I mainly hung around in jeans and t-shirts from Chelsea Girl, Gola trainers and an Adidas hoodie. It was all so simple then!

Now River Island is still delivering the goods for the younger market, although I still think River Island is always worth a look for shoes, and is also entering the field of kids wear. Hence why I and the petit garcon had a fun day out. It was choctastic heaven. The lovely PR team had invited the young models for the kidswear campaign and some press and bloggers children. I had just filed a piece on their swimwear and was pleased to meet the helpful team. I just love this River Island Pacha swimsuit.

Petit garcon and I lazed around in the morning before hot footing it into central London to River Island press offices. It was a cold miserable day but that was completely forgotten as the joy unfolded. I lost the garcon to a world of making chocolate, face painting and an entertainer with balloons. I actually did pig out a little on the chocolate handed round but tell me who can resist especially when it was all Green & Blacks!

 Lots of preparation before getting stuck in!

                                                                                             Petit garcon loved the flamingos used in the campaign shoot -a boy after his mothers heart

  A selection of the boys wear - petit garcon choose an 'outfit'


 Some great girls clothes too!

I was really impressed with the clothes, the design and the quality. For boys the items are a great addition to the high street in respect of choice and price. My favourite the boys yellow New York t-shirt retails at £6.00.  In London the children's clothes are at the River Island shops in Brent Cross and Westfield at Stratford. The range will be available at selected River Island's across the UK.

Finally the petit garcon received his spoils and happily modelled them straight away.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dear Germany (UK & US)

This blog is interrupted to promote my new day job. Well its one of my 3 day jobs, as a freelancer I think if push came to shove I would do anything. I have long recognised the value of earning and juggling work when you can get it. However when you have children this isn't as straightforward. It was fine when Mr MDS had a less demanding job and the petit garcon wasn't as school I worked pretty much as I'd always done except the production companies I worked for got really hit in 2008 and 2009 by the banking crisis. Adverts weren't recommissioned so quickly and music videos got more low budget than they already were. I still had some retail client but that has changed drastically and I no longer do any personal styling work except for the odd wardrobe.. I've always had an affinity with organising wardrobes seeing as the fashion cupboard was my first job.

Luckily I still get commissioned to write a few fashion pages for magazine otherwise I would have no funds. What I never knew about myself when I longed not to work and spend days lolling around reading books and watching films, was that I would loathe having nothing to do. I couldn't abide not to have a project or means of earning income. Even if I won the lottery big style I would have to do something, I would certainly do voluntary work.

Basically what I'm saying is if you or you know someone who lives in this country, the United States or Germany who would like to earn their own income by selling jewellery as an independent retailer (called independent stylist to sex it up!) then please contact me- my details are here

Essentially I am an independent Stella and Dot stylist and am building a team of people who like me need and want to earn their own income. It requires determination and effort but it is fun and more importantly it is jewellery - nobody gets hurt! I love the fact I can do as I please with no one to answer to other than myself but also grab some motivation if I need it. It is a joy to wear the jewellery and I like the social nature of it. I've never worked in sales but have always had to sell in stories, concepts or my services. The step change to selling products is fine.

Stella and Dot is poised to launch in Germany soon so it is an amazing opportunity to get in early and set up your own low cost business with immediate returns.

Friday, 13 April 2012

High St Pick of the Week

Just because I'm going through a black phase doesn't mean I'm giving up my two other great style loves stripes and sequins. In my world one can never have too much of either.

And it seems I'm not alone in the sequin department as the UK goes crazy, yes crazy (and rightly so) for the sequin jacket. I sadly missed not one but two invites to see the collection (people my diary is full a month in advance). The disappointment in not going to the first and actually seeing Twiggy in the flesh was enormous. Cynic that I am over model/designer collaborations, I, to borrow a phrase, luff this 11/10.

Twiggy is styled impeccably. Women of  a certain age take note, do not, I repeat, do not miss this opportunity to embrace style. Drop the floral dresses and the Per Una offerings - sorry M&S but nothing will ever convince me that range should be allowed - and get with the Twiggy collection.

At £79, the sequin jacket is a bold choice but is versatile enough to wear day or night. By day put on a stripy with jeans and flats, then move it up a gear at night changing the stripy tee for a block colour top, add a statement necklace or earrings, push the sleeves up and add high heels.

This image doesn't really do the jacket justice, as it makes it loo too rigid whereas Twiggy wears it in a more fluid fashion, but nip to M&S to take a peek or look at it online.  Enjoy the images of Twiggy and the collection although I do think avoid the animal and big daisy print dress and tops like the plague, they are veering into Per Una territory.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Style Steal

I love the aesthetics of Jil Sander, Marni and Prada. Away from the main collection they show at fashion weeks they have an array of staples which give you that sharp pulled together stylish look. However in the words of Take Me Out 'no lighty'. Of course I love their dresses and much more, but I can't put or keep my light on since I do not have the funds for such sculptural treasures.

But thank goodness for COS which can always be relied upon to create a dress of structural significance that gives you that Prada black dress look without the funds.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Back to Black 1.

After my last post proclaiming my parring down and style shift to black, the sorting out has begun. As per usual I've listed on eBay and will be dropping off other stuff to a local dress agency. I decluttered the rest to friends and a local man who buys textiles by the kilo. My wardrobe is a leaner machine. It isn't entirely black as there are some things I cannot bear to part with or I wear them a lot. It is mostly devoid of pattern and colour though.

My good work on this paid off last night when Mr MDS surprised me with a night out. Our first of the year. We have been so good and apart from taking the petit garcon to see JLS at the O2 Sports Relief concert and treating him to Giraffe, we've not spent a penny. I was quite pleased as it meant I could give my new sandals an airing despite it tipping down with rain. We decided to drive and park outside the place saving us money on public transport and drink. Parking was free and the only potential obstacle was Fulham v Chelsea but as it was Putney was fine to drive through and we finished our meal before the end of the match so got back through Putney before the crowds poured into the streets.

My sandal purchase was due to a style steal post I did back in February. I made the classic mistake of not getting something I thought really ticked my personal preference box at a great price right at that moment. Again I was being good and not spending money I didn't have. My ebay sales suddenly realised some funds and I tried in vain to get the sandals in London. But thanks to the power of twitter combined with the fact @marksandspencer is a really well managed twitter account I engaged in a very productive tweetathon which resulted in a couple of calls to M&S stores in Bath and Bristol as we were there for the Easter weekend.

At first a complete blank was drawn and both Bath and the Bristol Broadmead store advised me that they didn't have a pair. I completely appreciated the fact the system doesn't always reflect the actual on the floor stock usually due to 48 hours delays. I pushed my failed last ditched attempt to the back of my mind and thanked @marksandspencer for their help despite the outcome. Then halfway down the M4 I got a call from the Broadmead store to say they'd found a pair and they were put by for me. On Easter Monday on the way home I ran into the branch whilst Mr MDS waited in the car to get the £39.50 sandals. Now who says Twitter is just a social network in cyber space hey?! At the orders desk a lady was ordering some items so I waited patiently for probably only 5 mins and conscious of Mr MDS waiting piped up would someone be able to serve me as we were on the way back to London. Well the lady who was ordering (who I thought was a customer) said to me 'is it the sandals?' of course I replied somewhat taken aback 'yes'. Well a lovely conversation then ensued with me and Margaret (her name) because she had found them for me. She told me how busy they had been and she been given the message and the first person she'd sent out on the floor hadn't found them but she knew they were in the store so went and looked. Not only that she was genuinely pleased to met me and see the person who'd wanted the goods. It was truly delightful, of course the other staff were slightly bemused by our conversation but all I can say is that Margaret is a truly wonderful person who works at M&S in Bristol. I also know what bedding she was ordering too. All thanks to the power of Twitter!

 The M&S sandal haul en route back up the M4

Anyway I wore the sandals with an all black outfit for our diner date and as per Mrs Fabs and Too Many Shoes request to show my all black outfits I hastily snapped what I was wearing (badly of course!)

 The look - black jacket, black satin trousers, black top - actually all H&M, the tux jacket I have had for 7 years now, the trousers were from the Conscious Collection and the top is just a run of the mill number with a cowl neck

 The sandals

 The top and trousers

And I thought Faux Fuchsia would appreciate this simple flower arrangement on the table. Sorry for sharing my olive stones!