Monthly Archives: April 2013

Gift Owl: hand-picked surprises

Gift Owl package tied up with string

Surprises – you either love them or hate them. Personally I can’t get behind the haters – to me there is nothing more exciting than planning a surprise or being on the receiving end of one, from Christmas presents to birthday treasure hunts and unexpected adventures.

So it was with delight that I was handed an envelope before Valentine’s Day this year which was a surprise in itself, as Mr Ship-Shape and I don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s in this house. I excitedly opened it to find an owl waiting for me.

Gift Owl is a gift-finding service with a twist – instead of picking out what you want, Gift Owl will put together a personalised package, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string, full of products picked for you, based on how you fill out their quirky questionnaire.

Gift Owl goodies

After describing my perfect day and listing my favourite colour/book/film etc, I sent the questionnaire back and waited. This is an additional bonus of the service – due to the custom selection of gifts, packages can take around 30 days to arrive, so by the time a parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string arrived, I’d completely forgotten about it!

Based on my responses, I unwrapped an illustration of a violin (my childhood instrument) printed on sheet music, a set of Mac & Ninny cupcake bookplates (for loaning out recipe books) and my favourite surprise gift, a Quote Tote that Gift Owl picked for me to ‘put your camera in for your next walk around Bristol’. The bag comes with a printed quote that can be stitched over, which is also a nod to the fact that I enjoy handsewn embroidery.

If you’re stuck for gift ideas for a friend or know someone who goes ga-ga for surprises then Gift Owl is worth checking out. They have three different price options, starting from £12.99, so they’re an affordable and quirky option.

P.S. This isn’t a sponsored post – I just really love this company’s concept!

Gift Owl Quote Tote

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Rock The Week 28/04/13

  • Lady Boys. On Tuesday evening I accompanied Hayley to see the Lady Boys of Bangkok in Castle Park, which was an eye-opening and entertaining evening with singing, dancing and a whole lot of sequins. The performers rock up in Bristol every year and I’d always wondered what was going inside the colourful tent so now I need to ponder no longer. Their run has finished in Bristol but keep a lookout for their tour across the country.
  • Girly nights. This weekend has been a girl-fest, with some of my favourite ladies coming to town yesterday for a Girls Night Out. These don’t happen very often and it was great to spend time gossiping, getting ready together and dancing to cheesy music in even cheesier clubs and bars. My head is a little foggy today but it was a great night and I feel lucky to have such lovely friends, even if they do insist on Jägerbombs being an acceptable evening beverage!
  • Toast. What with Lady Boys and girly weekends, blogging has fallen by the wayside this week, but I did find time to post about this gorgeous Toast outfit and the recent Bath in Fashion Toast event. I can’t wait to wear this look during summer and given that April is nearly over I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long 🙂

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below…

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Bath in Fashion: T is for Toast

Toast Eva top and plimsoles

Last week I was invited to attend an event at Toast, following the S/S13 Bath in Fashion catwalk show. Situated on one of my favourite streets in Bath (Bartlett Street) Toast is close to the Fashion Museum, Yen Sushi and some fantastic boutiques.

We don’t have a Toast in Bristol, so it’s a brand I’ve only browsed online and in their beautifully designed matte paper catalogues. Thursday’s event was to celebrate Bath in Fashion and showcase the brand’s S/S13 trends, and it provided an opportunity to catch up with some of the BiF Bloggers over mini macaroons and fruit tarts. Unfortunately my camera died before I got to the shop, so I don’t have any photos of the evening – complete with thoughtful staff and beautiful yellow posies of flowers for each customer, which can be seen in Roisin’s post.

Fortunately I was lucky enough to take away some goodies which can be seen here. I fell in love with the square neck Eva top, with its pale blue poplin fabric and buttoned up back, and this pair of classic white plimsoles. The weekend saw just enough sunshine to make the most of this outfit before it started raining again yesterday – I’m looking forward to wearing this outfit without having to carry an umbrella coat/galoshes ‘just in case’!

Have you shopped at Toast before? And are there any outfits you’re saving at the back of your wardrobe for when spring eventually arrives?

Eva top – c/o Toast / Paper bag waist skirt – H&M / White plimsoles – c/o Toast

Toast Eva topToast cataloguesToast Eva buttoned back topToast bagToast top and H&M paperbag waist skirt

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Rock The Week 21/04/13

  • This week has been a busy one! On Monday I attended the opening of Mouvements de Femmes, the Norman Parkinson exhibition curated by designer Rolad Mouret. I wish I’d been alive when Parkinson was producing images and fashion stories for the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as the combination of fashion and the way he showcased it was so exciting.
  • Running. It’s hardly the London Marathon, but this week I’ve started running again. It’s shocking how quickly fitness can disappear – half marathons seem like a decent memory – but I’m starting slow and hoping to get back into shape for summer.
  • On Thursday I went to Bath for the Bath in Fashion S/S13 catwalk show and Blogger Awards, and although I didn’t win it was a fun afternoon, and I’m so grateful for everyone who voted for me! Bath has been my second home recently, as on Friday I went back to the city with Hayley for a talk by Liberty London Girl at the Guildhall. LLG was fascinating and she’s inspired several post ideas that I can’t wait to get started on.

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below…

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Bath in Fashion: S/S13 catwalk show and BIF Blogger Awards

Bath in Fashion S/S13 Catwalk Show

On Thursday I jumped on a bus and spent the afternoon in Bath, to attend the Bath in Fashion S/S13 catwalk show, and find out who had been crowned Bath in Fashions’ Blogger of the Year.

♥ If you were following the #BIFBloggers hashtag on Twitter you’ll know by now that I didn’t win (that accolade went to Lorna of Raindrops of Sapphire) but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me. I was chuffed just to be shortlisted, and I’m grateful for the tweets, Facebook messages and your comments on this blog showing your support – normal, non-‘vote for me’ service shall now resume! 

The sun was shining and it was a lovely day, so before the show I did a spot of window shopping and soaked up the sun next the impressive Bath Abbey, before arriving at the Assembly Rooms where the show was taking place. It was all a bit of a rush when I arrived – that’s the buzz of fashion shows for you – but I managed to meet Roisin and see Gabrielle, who I meet on Monday at the Mouvements de Femmes exhibition, before we took our places on the FROW.

Uttam Boutique at Bath in Fashion

Sat between Megan and Steph, I waited eagerly for the show to start, only to discover that I’d accidentally turned my camera on earlier in the day, so my battery was drained and cut out half way through the show. #bloggerfail

Luckily I managed to capture the first half, with each scene representing one of the four fashion capitals of the world. Brands included a mix of high street, designer and local independent labels, all styled by the lovely Rebekah Roy, who also selected the shortlist for the BIF Blogger Award.

I enjoyed the show but it ended quite abruptly, so I didn’t get a chance to congratulate Lorna or meet the rest of the shortlisted bloggers, which was a shame. It felt like the award section of the show was a bit of an afterthought, which is surprising, given how detailed the rest of the Bath in Fashion programme has been.

It would have been great to spend a bit more time getting to chat to everyone either before or after the show, but with another show to prep for I guess the turn around needed to be quite quick. Fortunately we were invited to a post-show event at Toast, where I met George and was able to have a proper natter with her.

Thanks to Bath in Fashion for a fun afternoon, and again to everyone who voted for me! Have you made it to any of the Bath in Fashion events yet?

L K Bennett at Bath in FahionUttam Boutique at Bath in Fashion WeekBanana Republic at Bath in Fashion

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Mouvements de Femmes: Norman Parkinson by Roland Mouret

Norman Parkinson for Vogue

Last night I journeyed to Milsom Place in Bath to attend the private view of Mouvements de Femmes, the Norman Parkinson exhibition curated by Roland Mouret.

Of all of Bath in Fashion’s events, this exhibition was the one I was most looking forward to. Fashion photographer Parkinson’s images were pioneering back in the 50s and 60s, and a collection of his photographs featured in An Eye for Fashion at Bristol’s M Shed last year. Cliché as it may sound, Parkinson had a unique way of capturing his models on film, which included Jean Shrimpton, Nena von Schlebrügge and Grace Coddington, Creative Director of US Vogue.

For Mouvements de Femmes, the twist was the involvement of designer Roland Mouret. Mouret, perhaps best well known for bringing the world the Galaxy dress, picked the venue (the striking Octagon in Milsom Place) combed through thousands of images – some never displayed publicly before – and created an exhibition to capture ‘how women move’, above and beyond what they were wearing at the time. Mouret made several visits to Bath ahead of the exhibition and even had the venue repainted to fit in with his vision.

Norman Parkinson Bath shoot for VogueNorman Parkinson

The exhibition showcases fashion stories and covers from Vogue, Queen magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, and Mouret chose each image ‘not so much because [they are] fashionable, instead more for how the women moved within them’. Hence the selection of models draped over fighter planes, driving fast cars and playing in a way that hadn’t been seen in fashion magazines before.

Parkinson used Bath as a backdrop for several of his shoots, one of which from ‘A Spring Hat and the City of Bath’, above, featured the grandeur of the city’s elegant architecture and raised pavements.

The Octagon provided the perfect setting for each meticulously chosen photograph and was buzzing with life last night as the city’s finest came to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, which marks the centenary of Parkinson’s birth. Prosecco and a string quartet added to the atmosphere, and the hum of classical music matched the hum of guests, murmuring compliments and leaving the present day for just a moment, to delve into Parkinson’s world.

If you’re visiting Bath in the next few weeks I recommend adding this exhibition to your to-do list. It shows a fascinating cross-section of Parkinson’s work, from the view point of one of fashion’s most prominent designers. If you were there last night or made it to the exhibition over the weekend, let me know what you thought of it!

Mouvements de Femmes runs at The Octagon, Milsom Place, until 12th May. Entry is free and the venue is open Tuesdays –Sundays from 10am – 5.30pm for more information click here.

Milsom Place, BathChampagne at Milsom PlaceNorman Parkinson nudeRoses at Octagon Milsom PlaceOctagon at Milsom PlaceNorman Parkinson shoot in Bath

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted for a Bath in Fashion Blogger of the Year award! Please vote for me here. Voting is easy and requires no personal details or fiddly bits like that, so please pick up those laptops, phones and tablets and get voting! 

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Rock The Week 14/04/13

  • Family. Last Sunday my parents and Grandma Ship-Shape came up to Bristol for the day. It was the first time GSS had seen the house and also the first time we’d cooked a roast dinner for the the family. Fortunately our abode (and the roast) got the seal of approval!
  • Harvey Nics. On the blog this week I wrote about the idea of vintage correspondence as well as the fashion and beauty blogger event at Harvey Nichols, plus all the pampering we received. I felt very spoilt indeed, and I can only describe it as being like a blogger school trip 🙂
  • Cornwall. Finally, this RTW post is a little later than usual as I’ve been in Cornwall for the weekend. I celebrated my birthday this week and on Thursday I was whisked away on a surprise trip to Mousehole, near Penzance. We ate, walked, took lots of photographs and had our ice creams pinched by seagulls. It went by so fast but I had so much fun – pictures to follow soon!

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below…

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted for a Bath in Fashion Blogger of the Year award! Please vote for me here. Voting is easy and requires no personal details or fiddly bits like that, so please pick up those laptops, phones and tablets and get voting! 

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Harvey Nichols Blogger Event pt. 2

Harvey Nichols goodie bag | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

On Thursday I posted about the first half of the Harvey Nichols fashion and beauty blogger event that I went to on Saturday, and today I wanted to write about the beauty hall, where the 12 of us were spoiled rotten with pampering mini treatments.

After our presentation of key spring/summer trends we were let loose  on the ground floor. Walking in a gaggle past perfume counters and make-up stations, it felt like a very fashionable school field trip, with Press & Marketing Manager Nada having organised a fantastic programme of events for everyone.

I was treated to a hand and arm massage at Jo Malone, a mini makeover from Space.NK. and a shape and polish at the Nails Inc Champagne Bar.

Although I’m familiar with the latter two, the Jo Malone experience – a guided tour of each fragrance, customising scents by mixing two together – was totally new. Each cologne (all the scents are unisex) sings with rich notes, from Earl Grey and Cucumber to Orange Blossom, Wild Bluebell and Red Rose.

A lovely Jo Malone representative guided me through the scents before picking out a hand wash, moisturiser  and cologne that would complement each other, before massaging my hands and arms. I left feeling supremely relaxed and am sorely tempted to treat myself to a cologne – if only I could narrow my favourite scent down to just one!

Jo Malone cologne | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Next up was Space.NK. where Fiona guided me through a myriad of skincare and make-up products to help my dry, sensitive skin. As a make-up artist she was friendly, calming and full of knowledge and enthusiasm. She introduced me to Nude, Kevyn Aucoin and the Nars lip pencils I’d been eyeing up on my last Space.NK. visit.

After Fiona had worked her magic, the finished result – a light base and brick red lips – was perfect for me as it wasn’t too heavy but it toned down my red skin. As if a massage and mini makeover weren’t enough, I was also treated to a shape and polish at Nails Inc, and I plumped for a teal green shade.

Unfortunately the photos below, taken after the event, are the only bits of evidence I have of said manicure, as it only took a few hours before I’d chipped half of it off!

At the risk of gushing because I won a prize, below, and walked away with a bulging goody bag, thanks to Nada for organising the event and all the Harvey Nichols staff who spent time with us on the day. It was great to learn more about the individual brands that Harvey Nichols Bristol stocks and I look forward to my next visit.

Maroon maxi skirt and leather jacketNails Inc manicureHarvey Nichols blogger prize

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted for a Bath in Fashion Blogger of the Year award! Please vote for me here. Voting is easy and requires no personal details or fiddly bits like that, so please pick up those laptops, phones and tablets and get voting! 

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Harvey Nichols Blogger Event pt. 1

HN Bristol clashing prints | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Harvey Nichols is a brand that can strike fear into the hearts of thrifty fashion hunters. It stocks designers and premium brands that I dream of owning one day; Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem – swoon! – but although the clothes might be out of my reach, I’m a frequent visitor to the ground floor, which stocks make-up, skincare, accessories and plays home to a Nails Inc Champagne Bar and Strip Wax Bar.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to the fashion and beauty blogger event at Bristol’s very own Harvey Nichols, and along with 11 other bloggers, I enjoyed a very pampering morning.

The Quakers Friars store is much smaller than its London counterpart and as a result the brands it stocks have been tailored to fit West Country folk. After taking a seat with the other bloggers in the Personal Shopping area we were treated to a presentation on the latest S/S13 trends by Daniel Pollock, head of Womenswear at the Bristol store.

My favourite trend was the OTT prints, closely followed by the colour pop look, but I think my skin is a little too pale for neon yellow right now!

Harvey Nichols Bristol | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionHarvey Nichols Bristol | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionMary Katrantzou S/S13 dress | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionDaniel Pollock Harvey Nichols Bristol | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion
Having come from a position at Selfridges in London, I was eager to hear Daniel’s opinions on fashion in the South West, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Which S/S13 trends do you think will prove most popular with Bristol customers?

Colour Pop is the easiest trend to buy into this season – I say that as it can be as easy as carrying a hot neon pink clutch bag with your normal denim look, It also translates to all demographics as it is as easy to find something on the high street that is bang on trend as it is to buy into the higher end pieces such as Stella McCartney.

Print pants are also going to be one of the favourites this season, as most brands have done their own version, whether it be printed floral denim, or all over print elastic bottom hareem style pants – it’s the obvious way of saying ‘Im buying into all-over print this season!’

What brands are most popular with Bristol customers?

My most popular brand is Helmut Lang – easy relaxed pieces that are intricately cut in the best fabrics, appealing to ladies of all ages and styles. Christian Louboutin are by far the most desired shoe brand in store and we continue to have waiting lists for key styles of the season.

Various different areas around the country are known for having a particular ‘look’- London residents particular are known for having a strong sense of style – how do you think Bristol compares to that?

Bristol, like most cities outside of London, is slower to adopt the key trends and new designers, normally 12-18 months behind what is happening in London. Having said that, with more people travelling socially and with work, as well as greater access to online shopping and style information, the Bristol lady is becoming far more fashion savvy and closing that gap more and more.

Thanks Daniel! The day didn’t end with fashion – pop back tomorrow to read about the second half of the day, and why I heart Space.NK….

S/S13 trends at Harvey Nichols | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted for a Bath in Fashion Blogger of the Year award! Please vote for me here. Voting is easy and requires no personal details or fiddly bits like that, so please pick up those laptops, phones and tablets and get voting! 

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The Art of Vintage Correspondence

Paperchase letter set | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Vintage is ‘in’, this much we all know. Second-hand clothing is a thrifty option, charity shops are turning into boutique destinations and retro homewares are a must for descerning tastemakers. But one element of pop culture that isn’t experiencing a throwback to the 50s is the way we communicate.

Facebook, What’sApp, Twitter, texting, BBM, Skype and even the humble email – which looks positively caveman-like compared to the rest of this list – are all moving forwards with increasing velocity. The way we talk to each other and share information has changed beyond belief in my lifetime and I can only imagine what the next 20 something years will hold.

I could start getting all Charlie Brooker/Black Mirror on you, but instead I wanted to talk about vintage communication; letter writing.

Despite all the tools we have at our disposal, it isn’t always easy to catch up with friends and loved ones and, personally, I frequently find myself forgetting to text friends back or never quite arranging to meet up with someone I really should. Life gets in the way and a tweet can hardly convey everything you want to say to someone you haven’t seen in months.

Paperchase letter sets with stamps | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

That’s why I’ve started writing letters and sending notes to some of my nearest and dearest. It started when a friend moved to Berlin for work and after a few missed Skype dates, she wrote me a letter. In return I headed to Paperchase on Clifton Triangle and treated myself to a letter set, complete with address labels, colourful envelopes and stickers and illustrated paper. I’m something of a stationary geek and Paperchase is on my list of fantasy Supermarket Sweep shops (damn you, Dale Winton) – I could happily spend a fortune on their quirky cards, wall art-worthy wrapping paper, colourful notepads and photo frames.

Writing has become a relaxing way to stay in touch with those people in my life that I don’t get to see every day. Taking the time to sit down and write is therapeutic in itself, as it allows one to take stock of life, think about what it is you want to say and, often, what to doodle.

I get so excited when I see a letter or package on the doorstep that isn’t a bill/bank statement/polling card, and I love knowing that my friends will feel the same rush of excitement when they look down and see a brightly coloured envelope waiting for them to open. I hope it’s something I continue to keep up, no matter where technology and social media takes us next.

Do you like to send cards and letters to your loved ones? Or are you strictly an electronic kind of girl?

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted for a Bath in Fashion Blogger of the Year award! Please vote for me here. Voting is easy and requires no personal details or fiddly bits like that, so please pick up those laptops, phones and tablets and get voting! 

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