Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Pretty Nostalgic gathering at Kingsweston House

Vintage embroidery by Teresa Dunne Willapark

What do you get if you add a vintage magazine, a stately home and some of the South West’s best vintage emporiums? That would be Saturday’s A Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Gathering at the beautiful Kingsweston House. Situated on the outskirts of Bristol, near Avonmouth, Kingsweston House was built in the 1700s and its grand ball rooms and lush green gardens were the perfect location for the event, which combined shopping, wedding planning and lots of vintage inspired activities and outfits.

Organised by Pretty Nostalgic magazine, the day included various talks, demonstrations – from the Lindy Hop to Jane Austen inspired dancing – and a bloggers networking hour, to which I was invited. There were also several stalls selling vintage inspired clothes, toys and homewares, my favourite being Teresa Dunne Willapark’s designs, above. The Cornwall-based artist uses vintage fabric and hand stitching to create her intricate wall hangings and greetings cards.

KingsWeston House, Bristol

After a rocky start trying to find a place to park, I arrived in time for a little browsing (and mandatory photograph taking) before the networking hour began at midday. Eli, Emily, Lily, Angela, LouisaLucy, Helen, Jo, Catherine and I settled down into the yurt opposite Kingsweston House and, after a slightly awkward AA style introduction where we went around in a circle introducing ourselves and our blogs, we settled in for a natter.

I was initially skeptical of an organised networking hour but it was refreshing to be able to chat about the kinds of things that friends without blogs don’t always understand, such as the merits of blog networks, which hosting company to go with (yep, that was my question) and Pinterest photography tips.

I didn’t get any photos of us networking but that’s not a problem since there were so many beautiful vintage-inspired treats for the eyes that are far better looking than us bloggers! Here are some photos from the day – big thank you to Pretty Nostalgic for inviting me.

Bristol Vintage crockery companyJane Austen dancers at Kingsweston HouseKingsWeston House chandelierOrnate mirror selfie at Pretty Nostalgic magazine eventVintage bikes decorated in flowersLK Bespoke Bridal corsetPretty Nostalgic blogger networking event

 

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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 Rocky Road

Spring forwards, Fall back

This is it. I’ve been in denial about the changing seasons for weeks now but as the clocks go back and the collective sigh from fashion bloggers can be heard across Twitter (goodbye, post-work outfit post photographs) I’ve finally acknowledged that it’s no longer summer. To combat the glumness, I’ve been filling my evenings with Scrabble, rugby matches – a rather soggy Gloucester vs Bath on Friday – and lots of comfort food.

#GBBO

This week the Great British Bake Off final aired and my friend Polly was in town from London, so we hunkered down on the sofa with some homemade rocky road to watch it. I was Team Kimberly and Polly was Team Frances – in case you haven’t seen it yet I won’t mention the winner, but will instead direct you to this article written by the other finalist, Ruby Tandoh. I first spotted it on Charlotte’s blog and it really struck a cord with me, not least because I found myself reading far too much into each contestant’s comments and expressions than was necessary.

Fitness + Fashion

On the blog this week, I wrote about what to wear when you don’t want to exercise. For me that means wearing something that’s comfortable, practical and that looks good – shameless as it sounds, it really does motivate me when I feel good about what I’m working out in. Fitness aside, I’m off to Berlin soon so if you have any travel tips for me don’t forget to leave them on this post!

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

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Fitness + Fashion: What to Wear When You Don’t Want to Exercise

New Balance trainers from Sportshoes.com

I’m a big believer in the ‘be pretty on rest days’ mantra sported by Bangs, but while I wouldn’t advocate wearing make-up to work out – a full face of make-up plus sweat is a breakout waiting to happen – I do believe that what you wear can have an impact on your exercise routine.

In the same way that dressing in a suit can make people feel more confident, business-like and in control, so too can the right outfit make you want to step outside on a cold, rainy day to go for a run, or go to the gym after work when you really want to go home to a bottle of wine and a Great British Bake Off omnibus.

I’m not suggesting that being dressed head to toe in Stella McCartney for adidas will shave seconds off your personal best, but wearing something you look good and feel comfortable in really can make a difference to your mindset. Last year’s London Olympics demonstrated the power of appearance with many female athletes showing their personality, and patriotism, through nail art and hairstyles – my personal favourite was Team GB’s Joanna Roswell, who routinely sports brightly painted nails on and off the cycling track.

Brands like Sweaty Betty, Nike and the aforementioned McCartney/adidas collaboration are focussed on using performance fabrics (sweat-wicking, breathable and temperature regulating) to make garments that look good but are also technically brilliant, too. When I go running I wear a mix of brands but if I’m struggling with motivation, I put on the technical t-shirt I gained after completing the Bristol Half Marathon last year – because even though I might not feel like it some days, it reminds me that I can do this, because I already have.

A recent addition to my kit are these New Balance running shoes, courtesy of sportshoes.com. I’ve never purchased running shoes online before but my current pair of Asics are on their way out and I wanted a colourful pair to inspire me throughout winter. These do the trick and unlike my Asics, they’re light as a feather!

I have rubbish feet and anyone who followed me on Twitter through my half marathon training will know how I’m prone to blisters and the like, but sportshoes.com have a guide to picking the right running shoes which narrows down trainers based on the level of support they provide – handy for an over-pronator like me.

So an admission from me – what I wear does alter the way I feel about exercise. What about you? Do you think there is a place for fashion within fitness?

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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 - Breakfast at The Bristolian

Breakfast

Last weekend Mr Ship-Shape and I treated ourselves to breakfast at The Bristolian on Picton Street. I’ve been ill with a nasty cold for most of this week and haven’t had much of an appetite, so thinking back to the delicious Belgian waffles with bacon and maple syrup served there have kept me sane. The café is tiny and always packed on the weekends but well worth a visit, particularly if you’re vegetarian – they have lots of veggie options and a couple of vegan ones, too.

Topshop sale

Did you know there is a mid-season sale happening in Topshop at the moment? If you have any sense or willpower, I suggest you don’t go in there. I did yesterday and came out with several new additions to my wardrobe that will no doubt crop up on the blog, but my bank account has been weeping as a result. On the plus side, I’ve been clearing out lots of clothes for recycling, selling and swapping, to counteract this high street splurge.

Dresses and destinations

On the blog this week – an outfit post showing the clothes I found at Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale. There were so many good finds that I’m tempted to go back when the one day event returns to Bristol next month. I also put together a little wishlist for my upcoming trip to Berlin. I’ve never been there before so I can’t wait to explore – if you have any recommendations for places to eat, shop or visit, do let me know!

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

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Berlin Bound

A Long Weekend in Berlin

Rokit 40s red garbadine dress, £120 / New Look Pink sequin vest / Topshop duster coat, £99 / Mango tartan leggings, £38 / The Cambridge Satchel Company 14″ Leather Satchel, £130 / Clarks Hamble Oak shoes, £54.99

Next month I’m heading to Berlin for a long weekend and I need your help. Having never been to Berlin – or Germany, for that matter – before, I’d love to know your favourite places to eat, drink, shop and everything else in between.

I’m going to visit a friend who works out there as a journalist, so I’ll be in good hands, but as far as I’m concerned, the more suggestions for enjoying Berlin, the better! Aside from the Berlin Wall and its WWII history, all I know about the city is that it’s big on art, vintage and music, all of which sound just dandy to me.

If I could afford a whole new wardrobe for the trip, this is what I would take – I’ve had my eye on the Topshop duster jacket for months, and the Hamble Oak brogues from Clarks toe the line perfectly between jazz dance and bookish. I think it will be pretty cold over there so any vintage I take with me, like this beautiful wine coloured garbadine dress from Rokit, will probably be hidden under layers of coats, jumpers and scarves, so colourful, fun accessories will be key!

So before I head off in search of a guidebook, what recommendations for this fine city can you give me?

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What I Found at Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale

Mint green spotty dress

A few weeks ago I popped along to Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale at Bristol’s Paintworks, so I figured it was about time I shared what I got my hands on.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the vintage stock dated from the 1970s through to the 1990s. I had my eye on 70s printed dresses and although most of the rails contained seasonally appropriate jumpers, jackets and coats, I wasn’t disappointed.

First up is the mint green spotty dress, above, which is a very simple shape and will be perfect for spring. There are a couple of tiny holes along the elasticated waist which will need seeing too, but other than that it’s in pretty good condition.

Blue pleated St Bernard dress

I’ve taken to calling this blue pleated dress my Margaret Thatcher dress – imagine it with a box clutch and some leather court shoes – though I doubt Maggie would have worn a dress by St. Bernard. After a quick Google of the label, I found that it’s parent retail brand is Dunnes, an Irish chain that was founded in the 40s and lists M&S, Debenhams and Penneys as its rivals. It’s a little on the big side so will need styling with heels and waist-cinching belt, or possibly taking in, to have a hope of demonstrating that I actually have a waist.

Pale yellow bouquet dress collage

Next up is this beautiful pale yellow pleated dress. The downside of the kilo sale was a distinct lack of changing rooms, so I picked this up and hoped for the best. Unfortunately it’s a little too tight at the moment but I’m hoping to wriggle into it in time for my friend Laura’s wedding next summer, if not sooner.

Cream butterfly top and tartan pleated skirt

This pleated tartan skirt fits like a glove and was the first thing I was drawn to when I arrived at the sale, hosted at The Paintworks. I paired it with this sporty cream knitted tank, which I also found there – I think I’d prefer it without the pair of cornflower blue butterflies, but it’s so unique I couldn’t walk away from it.

Blue floral dress with Zara cowboy boots

As soon as I clapped eyes on this blue and pink floral dress I was in love. I’m normally put off by dresses that have a baggy top half (does anyone know what this style is called?) as they typically don’t suit anyone over a B cup, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this on. I think I like it because it reminds me of the vintage dress I found in Motel last year – I’m such a sucker for florals!

Red collarless box jacket with paisley detailing

Finally,  just when I thought I’d seen everything Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale had to offer, I spotted this red collarless box jacket, complete with shoulder pads and silk paisley trim. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it scrubs up pretty well when teamed with black skinny jeans and a simple white t-shirt, honest!

Not bad for £40, eh? I also found a winter jumper (currently at the dry cleaners) and a claret and navy dress, not pictured, which I’m looking forward to wearing this winter. To find your local Judy’s Kilo Sale, visit their events page. Judy’s are coming back to Bristol in November – see you there?

P.S. If the age or, er, aroma has ever put you off buying second hand or vintage clothing, check out my guide to washing vintage clothes for Oxfam – it’s a doddle and will have your vintage finds smelling as good as new!

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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…

The Ten Pound Suit Band at Blue Lagoon

Swingbilly style

Despite typing this while watching the rain hammer it down outside, this week has been great for numerous reasons, not least a Friday night session dancing to The Ten Pound Suit Band. I saw this ‘swingbilly’ band with friends at the Blue Lagoon bar on Gloucester Road, and their blend of pop covers and country twang was nothing short of infectious. The tiny bar was so packed that it felt like we’d stumbled into a house party and the band had just set up in the living room. If you live in or near Bristol I’d recommend checking out their gig listings and hot-footing it down to see them this autumn.

Room 101

This week I’ve been writing about elements of blogging that get my goat – have a read and tell me yours, I’m sure I can’t be alone about the whole PR request hashtag, can I? Whistles pyjama trousers have also featured on the blog this week. I know it’s all very 2012, but I swear these are the most comfortable and stylish trousers I’ve found in ages so I’ll be on the hunt for more this autumn. Big shout out to Bonjour, Blogger! for featuring the post on their Saturday Summary, too.

New heights

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I’ve started taking aerial silk classes and this week I finally managed to climb about six feet in the air. Now that may not sound like much, but for a weedy thing like myself who has virtually no upper body strength, it was a huge achievement and had me on a high (excuse the pun) for the rest of the week.

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

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When Blogging meets Room 101

I was recently challenged by Mancunian Vintage to share the gripes that would enter my personal Room 101, and despite the fact I have as many gripes as everyone else – mushrooms, slow walkers with wheelie suitcases and Gordon Ramsey, to name but a few – I found it hard to think what would make sense to write about on this blog.

I don’t think 400 words on why I hate mushrooms would make a particularly riveting read (though if you are a mushroom-hater, please know that you’re not alone) so I thought I’d channel this challenge into blogging bits and pieces that get my goat instead. So without further ado, here is my blogging version of Room 101…

Colourful fonts are hard to readColourful / hard to read fonts

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accents of colour and I love a good font – check out my Pinterest boards if you don’t believe me – but there is a time and a place for a royal blue serif typeface and it isn’t in the body of your blog posts.

Blocks of brightly coloured and/or elaborate text aren’t easy on the eye, and when your day job involves using a computer for eight hours a day, trying to decipher a blog post that looks like it was written by Jackson Pollock on a Haribo high isn’t the way to my heart.

wp-logoWordPress.com affiliate links

Not cool, WordPress, not cool. I recently collaborated with a brand for a product review and kept being told that there were affiliate links attached to the products, and could I please remove them.

This was somewhat confusing since I’m not signed up to any affiliates schemes and so I didn’t have a clue what the (very patient) PR contact was on about. Turns out WP are allowed to shove in affiliate links wherever they see fit, and this is also an issue with the Jetpack plugin for WP.org users. Thanks to Hayley for helping me suss out the problem!

PR Request hashtag#PRrequest

The humble hashtag has a lot to answer for (I think it’s probably best to skip right past #yolo) from excessive Instagram hashtags to my personal peeve, the PR requests tag.

For the record, when used properly this can be a really effective way of connecting journalists, bloggers, industry experts and PRs, but I’ve also noticed an increasing number of serious requests from bloggers that are at best cheeky and at worst, downright rude. Perhaps it’s my British sensibilities, but I would never dream of asking for a new kitchen/car/hairdryer ‘in exchange for review’ on Twitter and yes, all of those are legit requests I’ve seen recently. On the plus side, #PRrequest is fast becoming my go-to on Twitter for a giggle, so there is a sliver lining.

Phew! Well now I’ve got that off my chest it’s over to you. What blogging gripes would you put into Room 101?

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Outfit Post: Wishing for Whistles

Whistles trousers and maroon blazer

Oh Whistles, how I love thee. After Jane Shepherdson took the British label’s spot as Chief Executive in 2008, the brand has gone from strength to strength, becoming synonymous with buttery-soft leather jackets, quirky prints and beautiful tailoring. There is just one snag though, and that’s the price tag.

Remember fashion’s (still lingering) obsession with pleated midi skirts in 2011? That stemmed, in part, from the brand’s £95 ‘Carrie’ skirt, a sugary pink midi that grabbed the hearts of many, myself included, and spawned a hundred look-a-likes. Then last year there were the royal blue lace panel dresses that were so intricate they deserved the £190 price tag, but again were out of my reach.

Not any more though, oh no. The Whistles trousers I’m wearing here – bottle green silk printed pyjama pants that are the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever owned – cost just £20. The reason? I bought them from the Whistles outlet at Clarks Village, Somerset.

Whistles silk trousers from Clarks Village

S and I went there for a day trip a few weeks ago and while I wasn’t bowled over all the shops, there were a couple that caught my eye, and when I saw Whistles I knew I had to take a look inside.

Understandably with outlet villages, you’re not necessarily going to walk away with current season clothes, but I’d been curious about pyjama-style trousers for ages and hadn’t found a pair that fitted properly. The reason this pair was so affordable (down from an eye-watering £120) was a missing button. However, since a spare button was attached to the label, all I needed was a needle, thread and a spare five minutes and voilà! The trousers are as as good as new.

I wore them this weekend for a trip to St Nicks Market, a Bristol institution packed with every stall imaginable, from pies and falafel to cobblers and stamp collectors. I opted for a mannish look by pairing the trousers with a grey marl jersey t-shirt from Zara and a very old cricket-esque blazer from Peacocks, plus my Dr Martens satchel, Lorus watch and the Topshop Chelsea boots I found for festival season.

I’m pleased as punch with my new trousers –  have you ever found a bargain at an outlet village? Tell me your favourite outlets (online or shopping centres) to shop at?

Silk trousers – Whistles / Grey marl t-shirt – Zara / Cricket blazer – Peacocks circa 2007 /  Maroon satchel – c/o Dr Martens / Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

St Nicks Market, BristolWhistles trousers and Dr Martens satchelCorn Street BristolWhistles trousers Zara t-shirt and Peacocks blazerCobblers ticket stub

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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 - Vintage kilo sale clothes

  • Kilo sales. It barely got a mention on my last RTW post but Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale rocked my socks on Sunday. It was my first time at such an event and I was lucky enough to find lots of colourful dresses, a blazer and some other bits and pieces that I’ll be sharing on here soon.
  • Tweet-ups. On Wednesday evening I popped along to the Clifton Club for Jo’s fashion tweet-up. The first event took place a couple of months ago and provided the opportunity to meet lots of other Bristol-based fashion folk and this time the lovely Grace was on hand to show us the latest A/W make-up looks, making me crave a vampy plum coloured Mac lipstick.
  • Cheese! Last night, following a rather decadent lunch at Pieminister, we decided to treat ourselves to an evening of gorging on cheese for dinner – I know, we’re total rockstars, right? – which was heaven. We picked up lots of goodies from Source in St Nicks Market and hunkered down for an evening of films and food. This was the perfect antidote to a whisky-fuelled Friday night and means we now have lots of Wensleydale left over – hurrah! Just call me Wallace…

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

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