Category Archives: London

Vintage Blues at St Werburghs Farm

Blue vintage dress | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Despite living in Bristol for eight years, St Werburghs City Farm is somewhere I’ve only ever jogged past when running through the neighbourhood  That’s a massive error on my part as there are so many adorable animals there, which I found out when Mr Ship-Shape and I went for a wander with our cameras on Saturday.

The farm backs on to a set of allotments and is a really relaxing space to visit, except for when you see a duck being sexually harassed by three other ducks, which I did. Then it can become quite stressful, as you shout at the male duck to stop standing on a very disgruntled looking female duck, “that is not the way to get her to like you!” I digress…

Ducks aside, the farm is charming addition to the already laidback St Werburghs, and I thought it would be a great place to road-test the new lomography film I bought a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, as it was still rather cold, most of the animals were tucked up in their pens so I’ll have to wait until the roll is developed to see if I managed to capture any pigs or rabbits on film.

The blue dress is a vintage number I found at a market near Brick Lane on my recent trip to London, and was a bargain at £5! The bird necklace is from The Cutworks, a new Bristol-based brand that have a soft spot for, as it’s run by the lovely S from Beautiful Plumage. The necklace reminds me of the plump little birds in Snow White and I love wearing it against the busy backdrop of the royal blue dress. It also comes in white and black, too, so take a look at the Facebook page to see the whole collection.

Dress – Vintage market, London / Necklace – c/o The Cutworks / Belt – vintage / Cable knit cardigan – Tesco / Ankle boots – Primark

St Weburghs City Farm graffiti | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionThe Cutworks bird necklace | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionSt Werburghs | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionVintage blue dress and Diana F+ | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion


Filed under London, outfits, vintage

Tim Walker: Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House

Mechanical dolls by Tim Walker and Rhea Thierstein | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionPhotography by Tim Walker. Image courtesy of Rhea Thierstein

‘I don’t want to sound mystical but sometimes when you take a picture something takes over and leads you’ – Tim Walker

One of the highlights of my trip to London on Saturday, and the main reason for going, was to see the Tim Walker: Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House.

For anyone unfamiliar with his work, Tim Walker is a British fashion photographer who creates and shoots scenes worthy of fairytales, truly putting the story into ‘fashion story’ – typically used to define various fashion editorials in magazines. After graduating with a degree in Photography from Exeter University in 1994, Walker assisted the American fashion photographer Richard Avedon before moving up the ranks to become a legendary fashion photographer in his own right. His work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue and W Magazine.

The first time I remember seeing a photograph by Walker was in a 2008 copy of Vogue. It was a Tim Burton-inspired shoot (which features in the exhibition) set in the corn fields of Kings Seeds, Colchester. I was blown away by the models (which included Burton and his muse, Helena Bonham Carter), the make-up, the clothes, the sets and the poses.

After that moment I began searching out Walker’s work, oggling manor houses filled with multicoloured balloons and shots of models in gowns with 12 foot long trains, draped off regal-looking stairwells and ladders.

Tim Walker and Rhea Thierstein for Vanity Fair | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionPhotography by Tim Walker. Image courtesy of Rhea Thierstein

Story Teller pulls together some of Walker’s most exquisite fashion stories, along with portraits of British icons such as Vivienne Westwood, the cast of Monty Python and the late Italian fashion writer, Anna Piaggi.

Larger photos have been displayed on the walls of the East Wing gallery, while smaller ones have been purposefully propped up in white-washed creates, as if they had travelled from far and wide (on cargo ships and steam trains) to reach the venue. As well as the stunning photographs, all in simple white frames, there were also props from each shoot on display.

These props, ranging from an insect orchestra to a giant doll complete with gingham dress and curls, were of particular interest as some were made by a friend and former colleague of mine, the insanly talented Rhea Thierstein. Rhea has designed props, sets and costumes for Mulberry, LOVE magazine and Cath Kidston, and it’s props like hers that are intrinsic in bringing Walker’s photographs to life, making his shoots so imaginative and inviting to look at, and adding to the fantasy world that each frame creates.

This exhibition is on until Sunday and is an absolute must-see for photography and fashion fans alike. If you’re based in London then you may already have seen it but if not then what are you waiting for!? Walker’s images are incredible and the exhibition offers the brieft opportunity to step inside those pages of Vogue and see the dream-maker behind the lens.

Have you been to see Story Teller yet?

Tim Walker: Story Teller is free and running until 27th January at Somerset House. For more details on the exhibition, visit the Somerset House website. Thanks to Rhea for letting me use these images.


Filed under London, photography

Rock The Week

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

Yummy strawberries

  • Homeward bound. I went home for a family wedding (and a dentist appointment, eek!) on Friday. It was a whirlwind visit as I came back to Bristol on Saturday, but it included home-grown strawberries, celebrating with family I haven’t seen in years, wearing my vintage dress from Ears & Whiskers and trying to explain to Grandma Ship-Shape what Google is.
  • Style Bubble meets Tatty Divine. Style Bubble is one of those blogs that I keep faithfully in my Bloglovin account and check up on occasionally, but often I find the posts are either irrelevant to me or the fashion/designers out of my comfort zone. Not a bad thing, as it informs and educates, but not always easy reading. That’s why I love Friday’s post about Tatty Devine. I love the brand and the opportunity to see inside their studio – a brilliant post that’s well worth reading if you’re fans of the design duo.
Marcel Fromenti drawing from the V&A archives

Marcel Fromenti drawing from the V&A archives

  • Ballgowns at the V&A. Back in May I visited the V&A as part of my stay in London. Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 was one of the museum’s standout exhibitions, and I wrote a lengthy post about it here. It tapped into my princess fantasies and I thoroughly recommend visiting it if you haven’t already done so.
  • Green fingers. My parents took me back to Bristol yesterday and spent the afternoon helping Mr Ship-Shape and I plant herbs, lavender and pepper and chilli plants in our garden. We have a habit of killing whatever planets make it through the front door, but I’m excited to see our garden starting to take shape and can’t wait to get cooking with all our produce!

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


Filed under Food, London, Rock The Week, Tatty Devine, weddings

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 at V&A

Ballgowns at Harrods reflection

The word ‘ballgown’ conjures up many different notions of style. It makes me think of animated Disney princesses, Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, Grace Kelly’s poise captured in black and white photos, and lavish charity events in grand, sweeping ballrooms. Regardless of your interpretation, the latest exhibition at the V&A will no doubt tap in to your own princess fantasies.

Housed in the newly renovated Fashion wing of the V&A, Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950, showcases a collection exquisite dresses, dating from the 1950s to the modern day, and includes designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Elizabeth Emmanuel (on half of the design team that made Princess Diana’s epic wedding dress) and Bellville Sassoon.

The exhibition is split over two levels. Downstairs the gowns are grouped vaguely according to colour, ranging from cinched waists and endless layers of silk organza, to oversized bows and neat rows of hand-sewn pearls. Short films are projected onto one wall which show adverts and documentaries of fashion houses from the 50s and 60s unveiling new collections in grand country mansions, displayed on models with pristine make-up and permeant smiles.

Victor Stiebel dress on display at the V&A's Ballgowns exhibition
A Victor Stiebel dress on display at the V&A’s Ballgowns exhibition

A modern, sweeping double entrance staircase in crisp white leads visitors to the upper level, where the museum has chosen to showcase a more modern take on these fairytale gowns. White wooden imitation chandeliers hang from the ceiling and ballroom dancing steps have been painted onto the white floor. Giant, peralescent balls form large-scale pearl necklaces, draped around each of the three stands, which house half a dozen dresses each.

Photographs of ballgowns from the V&A’s permanent collection are projected onto each of the four alcoves of the dome ceiling. It’s up here that young British designers take centre stage, with creations from Jonathan Saunders, Alexander McQueen, and Nicolas Oakenwell. These gowns are far more modern, and aren’t necessarily how I would picture a ballgown, but they demonstrate how the dresses featured on the ground floor have influenced current designers.

I fell in love with a 1950s design by Victor Stiebel, above, made from silk tafita and organza. The simplicity of the faded teal gown over the striped underskirt is, to me, sublime – simple and understated, but beautiful all the same.

Marcel Fromenti drawing from the V&A archives

Marcel Fromenti drawing from the V&A archives

There was a strict no photography (or even drawing) policy at the exhibition, but fortunately Harrods have also collaborated with the V&A to showcase their own collection of gowns, which is where the photos (top and below) in this post were taken. While in London it felt like the whole city had Ballgowns fever – even Miss Selfridge on Oxford Street had filled their shop with decadently dresses mannequins.

Ballgowns window display at Harrods

Ballgowns window display at Harrods

I thought the exhibition was wonderful, with a brilliant mix of old and new (such as a Gareth Pugh mirrorball dress) and it opened my eyes to a whole wealth of designers I’d never heard of before. While there (on a Thursday afternoon) the exhibtion was swarming with women of all ages and I think it (and the rest of the V&A) would be a great destination to take your mum or grandma. There is also a programme of free events and talks running alongside the exhibition, which sounds incredible – definitely worth coming back to London for!

Have you been to see Ballgowns yet? What did you think of it and was there a stand-out dress you loved?

Tickets: £10, concessions available. This exhibition runs until January 2013 so there’s no excuse not to see it! For more information and a list of events and lectures, visit the V&A website.


Filed under Alexander McQueen, London, vintage

Topshop Make Up: Lips Lipstick in Brighton Rock review

Topshop Make Up Lips packaging

Since losing my lipstick virginity at the MAC counter in Debenhams last year, I’ve been looking to feed my growing habit for make-up. I’m no make-up junkie and prefer a look that requires minimal effort, so the notion that one slick of lipstick can transform my appearance appeals to me.

Despite the press hype surrounding Topshop’s Make Up launch back in 2010, I’ve been reluctant to try it. Sure, the packaging is quirky and easy on the eye, and the reviews from bloggers have been promising, but something was holding me back. Make-up is a new venture for the brand, and I was a tad suspicious that the results would be all talk, no walk.

When I was in London a couple of weeks ago, curiosity got the better of me and while in Topshop’s Oxford Street store, I decided to throw caution to the wind. After much consideration (and zero help from staff, despite how quiet it was on the shopfloor) I walked away with Brighton Rock, a semi-matte lipstick in a bright shade of coral, mixed with a dash of fuchsia.

It’s a lot brighter than my MAC lipstick (Speak Louder, in case you’re wondering) so I’d be more inclined to wear it for a night out, or paired with just a slick of mascara during the day. I love the matte finish BUT – and I think this would be problematic (for me) with any matte lipstick – I did find it very drying. That dryness is presumably the tradeoff you make for having a matte finish, however if you can recommend any matte lipsticks that don’t have the same effect then let me know by commenting below.

At £8 I think this lipstick is good value for money, though I feel I’d need to use a moisturising lip balm underneath if I were to wear this on a daily basis. It seems as if the lipstick is a different colour in each of my photos, so as with any review I’d recommend trying it out yourself before committing to buying, but it is a wonderfully youthful colour and the perfect weekend treat!

Have you tried any products from Topshop’s Make Up range? Or do you have a brand of lipstick you swear by?

Topshop Make Up: Lips in Brighton Rock
Topshop Make Up: I’m a sucker for simple packaging!
Topshop lipstick in Brighton Rock
Topshop lipstick in Brighton Rock
Brighton Rock is a warm, bright pink shade
Brighton Rock is a warm, bright pink shade


Filed under beauty, London, MAC, Topshop

Rokit dresses and weekend bags

Rockit dress and bag

I’ve been on the quest for the perfect weekend bag since Christmas, after my old black patchwork bag began falling apart at the seams (literally). Like Goldilocks, I was rather picky about finding a replacement, keen to get one that would be just right. As someone who relies on public transport or my own two feet, one of my top priorities is a bag with a shoulder strap and/or strong handles, as I always find these seams are the first part of  a bag to deteriorate.

While I was in London last week, I had some time to kill before the Christopher Kane sample sale (more on that at a later date) and I soon found myself in the Covent Garden branch of  vintage chain, Rokit. Any shop where the clothes are coordinated by style AND colour is enough to excite me, so it wasn’t long before I was thumbing through the playsuits and summer dresses, before I spotted a bag at the back of the shop.

The colour of a malt chocolate milkshake and neither too big, nor too small, I knew this bag was the one for me. It was a bargain at £20, so I decided to treat myself to this summer dress, too.

The faded pastel pattern and lightweight cotton makes for an ideal holiday dress, perfect for exploring the local villages and eating baked camembert (surely the only thing that’s unsuitable for eating baked camembert in is a bodycon dress, non?) So here I am, wearing the Rokit dress in a field near our French farmhouse. I’ve spent the week experimenting with the pistachio coloured Diana+ Dreamer camera that Mr Ship-Shape bought for my birthday – I cant wait to get the photos developed once we get back from our holiday.

Shades and sunshine

Rockit bag and dress

Diana+ Dreamer camera

Rockit dress plus bag and Diana+ Dreamer

Diana+ Dreamer camera


Filed under bags, holidays, London, outfits, vintage

Rock The Week

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

Our lovely holiday home

Our lovely holiday home…

  • Bonjour! This week’s RTW post comes from France, where I’m looking forward to a week of eating cheese, drinking wine and wearing Breton tees. I’ll be blogging a bit too, depending on the internet connection : )
  • Topshop Make Up. Being short on luggage space, I’ve had to restrain myself on the shopping front while in London (though a vintage sundress from Rockit did sneak its way into my bag) so I decided to treat myself to a new lipstick instead. I went for a bright pink number from Topshop called Brighton Rock, and I love it!

Ballgowns at Harrods

  • London. One small paragraph isn’t enough to express how much I enjoyed my holiday in The Big Smoke, but in a nutshell I loved… seeing old friends, haggling for curry in Brick Lane, soaking up the sunshine in Soho Square, noodles, sample sale madness – courtesy of Christopher Kane, hotel breakfasts, walking everywhere, the British Library and ballgowns at the V&A.
  • Jubilee overload. London was awash with Diamond Jubilee decor last week, and although I’m excited for my holiday, I do think being in the capital (or Bristol for that matter) would have been a fantastic way to celebrate.

What’s been rocking your world this week? How are you spending your long weekend? Let me know by commenting below…

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Filed under beauty, holidays, London, Rock The Week, Topshop

Did someone say Jubilee?

Love them or loath them, you can’t really diss the royal family for giving us a day off every time one of them gets married or celebrates an anniversary. Not that I’d know, as I’m currently en route to France, but while I was in London this week I took a few snaps of some Diamond Jubilee decorations and celebrations from around the city…

Paul Smith for Harrods

A commission of the Imperial State Crown by Paul Smith for Harrods

Union Jack Carnaby St

A sparkling suspended Union Jack on Carnaby Street

Union Jack Carn St

A shot from the back. I love the way it shimmers like a giant patriotic mirrorball

V&A Jubilee poster

A large scale print hanging in the V&A shop, based on a scarf by Laura Berens


Filed under London, shopping

Rock The Week

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

Sunshine and blue skies

  • THE WEATHER. Quite obviously, as a weather-obsessed Brit (I think it’s in our blood to discuss the weather at every opportunity) it would be foolish of me not to mention the glorious sunshine in this week’s RTW post. I hope you’re reading this in your garden/sat in the park/while eating an ice cream and have had a wonderful week soaking up the sun.
  • Fashion Says Stitched. I finally got around to editing my photos from UWE’s graduate fashion show this week. If any of you missed it, you can read the post here.
  • Packing. Just to be clear, the actual logistics of packing doesn’t rock my week, but I am excited because I’m going on holiday to France soon. Before I go I’m stopping off in London for a few days, so if anyone has any recommendations for exhibitions/events/activities that are a must-see in the capital right now, let me know : )

Oxfam Fashion blog

  • Finally… I have some exciting news to share. A while ago I entered a competition run by Oxfam Fashion to find a new Oxfam Fashion blogger, and I found out on Thursday that I won! I’m chuffed to bits as it’s a fantastic charity and I’ve found so many fab bloggers through the site, including Roz and Kat. I’m looking forward to writing about vintage clothes, charity shop finds and lots more over the next few months.

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below and don’t forget to give me your London recommendations…


Filed under holidays, London, oxfam, Rock The Week

A little less conversation, a little more action please

Benefit's They're Real mascara

I feel like I’m going through a bit of a beauty revolution at the moment, what with losing my lipstick virginity and now this recent discovery – mascara that actually works. I’ve been a huge Benefit fan since a uni trip to New York where the pretty packaging, a friendly make-up artist and a temporary loss of senses led me to spending half my student loan on scrubs, glosses, mascara and everything in-between.

My Benefit make-up collection

My Benefit make-up collection

Since then my costly love affair has been satisfied by Christmas presents (thanks Mum) and magazine samples (thanks Glamour!) and my mascara of choice has been Benefit’s Bad Gal. It does the job but to be honest I’ve never understood what friends and fashion magazines were banging on about when a new mascara launched. I despise the television ads, most of which use ‘post production enhancement’ or ‘dramatisations’ to make inflated claims. Of course I would like darker, thicker, longer lashes as much as the next girl but it’s never been that high on my to-do list.

So when I was accosted in the beauty department of Oxford Street’s Debenhams by Benefit make-up artist Charity, I was surprised to find the US cosmetics brand’s latest mascara offering, They’re Real, actually lives up to its claims.

Advertised as a ‘beyond belief mascara’ They’re Real promises to increase curl, length and volume without smudging or drying out. These are common claims for most mascaras which often translates to clumpy, spider-like lashes – while this look might be in-keeping with this season’s 60s trend I prefer more natural looking lashes.

Just one coat of Benefit’s They’re Real gave me long, realistic but enhanced lashes and two or three coats gives  a very ‘va-va-voom’ look perfect for a more dramatic look. The wand has a rounded end which allows you to work the mascara into your corner lashes and the ‘no smudge’ claims were true – it took ages to remove the stuff with my usual make-up wipes.

I’d post a piccy on here but I’ don’t think I’d do the shiny tube of wonderstuff justice so here is another review by Sarah from I Heart Cosmetics. Do you have a mascara that rivals They’re Real? If so let me know by posting a comment below.

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Filed under beauty, Benefit, London