Competition Alert: Creative Couture Fashion Designer of The Year

Creative Couture Fashion Deisnger of The Year competition

Something a little different on the blog today, I’m excited to announce the launch of Creative Couture Designer of The Year, a new fashion design competition launched by vintage boutique, Heartfelt.

The aim of this competition is to inspire and encourage creative fashion talent, and there are several categories including 16-18 year olds, 19-25 year olds and 26 years old and over, as well as an additional category for 11-15 year olds. Budding designers can either design a new vintage inspired outfit or rework an existing piece to give it a new lease of life.

The competition is in conjunction with Little Wings, a local organisation that supports children’s charities around the world, and designers will need to work the theme ‘little wings’ into their design.

Some of you might recall that I blogged about Heartfelt, based in Clifton, a few months ago, which combines beautiful vintage threads with tea rooms and even styling and photography projects. Ever one to keep busy, owner Mandy Hawkins is busy preparing for a Vintage Weekend Spectacular next summer, which is where the winning designer will be announced.

Creative Couture Designer of The Year 2014 launched earlier this month and to be in with a chance of winning, you need to register by 24th January 2014. For more information and to register, contact Mandy Hawkins on 07809 302626 or email heartfeltmb2010@hotmail.co.uk.

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Playing with Proportions

Zara cropped sweatshirt and Topshop skirt

Eight years ago, if you’d told me I’d be wearing a cropped sweatshirt I’d have laughed in your face and then pulled down on the hem of my baggy jumper even further.

Before I came to university, the concept of having a waist was foreign to me. Although not obviously overweight, I’ve never possessed a flat, washboard stomach, so trends like 90s cropped tops passed by me in a flurry of ‘well why should I pay so much for a t-shirt that’s half finished anyway!?’

But then I found myself living in a house of ten people – including seven girls with seven distinctly different personal styles. We shopped, we borrowed clothes and my waist was eventually coaxed out of hibernation, embracing the trend for wide elasticated waist-cinching belts with aplomb. After university I took up running and yoga and started loosing weight. 50s vintage skirts piqued my interest and I finally started shopping for clothes with waistlines that sat around the middle of my body rather than hanging off my hips.

Today I’ll try almost any trend, and while my midriff remains firmly under wraps, accentuating my waist with a full circle midi skirt and cropped sweatshirt is all part of playing with the figure I have, rather than pinning for a body I’ll never have.

This beautiful powder blue midi skirt was snapped up in the Topshop sale a few weeks ago (where I also bought these beauties) and the cropped grey marl sweater is a recent impulse purchase from Zara, and my first foray into anything cropped since the age of ten, when cropped ‘bra’ tops were all the rage. My silver brogues from Office complete the look, which is one of my new favourites to wear to work.

Are cropped clothes a yeay or a nay in your style playbook?

Zara and Topshop outfitRed ombre hairZara cropped sweatshirt and powder blue Topshop skirtSilve brogues from Office

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Rock The Week #92

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

GK Nails launch party-Rock The Week

GK Nails launch

Bristol based MUA Grace Kingsley has only gone and launched her own nail designs! The launch party took place at Wild at Heart, a quirky bar-cum-hair salon in central Bristol, on Wednesday evening and I popped along with Hayley, Gina and Lily to see the new collection. I’m not usually that into nail art (mostly becuase my nails tend to chip if they so much as look at a bottle of nail polish) but Grace has designed some beautiful press-on nails featuring moustaches, bows and even Hello Kitty. To see the GK Nails designs and be first in line to buy a set when it launches tomorrow, click here.

Public Service Broadcasting

On Tuesday a couple of our friends came down from Cheltenham to see Public Service Broadcasting with us at the Anson Rooms. PSB have a very unique sound, taking old public information films from the 1930s-1950s and layering synth, guitar and even banjo sounds over the top. The result is a climatic collection of songs, my personal faves being ‘Everest’ and ‘Spitfire’.

Running Routines

The colder days aren’t exactly making me jump out of bed to go running, but I have finally settled back into the habit of going out a couple of times a week. Since I switched to using my New Balance trainers, I’ve had less problems with my feet and I feel like my stamina is definitely improving. It’s still a far cry from last year, when I was running so much I even went out on Boxing Day and New Years Day, but hopefully that tradition will continue!

This week I’ve been…

Blogging about: Origins Mask Marvels – I just couldn’t wait till Christmas to try these face masks out. Festive knitwear and tartan – an outfit post featuring a very cosy jumper from George.

Listening to: Far too many Disney soundtracks, Black Sheep by Gin Wigmore and Coming Back Home by Ellen & The Escapades.

Watching: House of Cards – a slick political drama based in Washington staring Kevin Spacey. I’m three episodes in and already addicted.

Reading: Carolyn Franklin’s editorial on pornography and fashion for i-D and Venue magazine’s open letter to the publishing company who shut them down after 31 years.

RTW92

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

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Origins Gift Sets: Mask Marvels review

Origins Mask Marvels gift set

The time has come to talk about all things Christmassy, and I had honest intentions to put together a Christmas gift guide for all things beauty… but then I cracked and bought some of the things on my list (though not the Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm or Jo Malone fragrance, for any friends and family listening!). So instead of adding to the numerous gift guides already out there, here is a review of these scrumptious ‘Mask Marvels’ from Origins.

Mask Marvels costs £25 and is made up of three 75ml masks, which is great value when you consider that one full size product would set you back £22. The set is compact and comes in pretty, festive packaging and while it’s not quite stocking filler size, it would make a great gift for under the tree this Christmas, unless, like me, you can’t bear to wait that long…

Drink Up 10 Minute mask

A lighter version of the popular Drink Up overnight mask, this can be applied and removed after a soak in the tub. It has the same consistency and a similar, if lighter fruity scent and soaks in quickly to the skin. I actually leave this to soak in completely because my face gets so dry and tight, particularly at this time of year, but for anyone with normal or combination skin, 10-15 minutes should be enough to hydrate and soften – perfect for a mini pampering session and happily it’s great for sensitive skin, too.

Drink Up Intensive Overnight hydrating mask

This hero of a product is the reason I bought the set in the first place. Whenever I go for an Origins mini facial, this mask is used and for parched skin like mine, it’s so hydrating and makes a huge difference to my skin for several days after application. The scent is a mixture of mango and apricots and although I’m not usually a fan of heavily scented skincare, this smells good enough to eat!

As the name implies, Drink Up is designed to be worn overnight. If you’re worried about it transferring to your pillow, simply apply the mask half an hour to an hour before you go to sleep and the majority of it will have sunken in to your skin before you turn out the lights.

Clear Improvement Active Charcoal mask

For me this is the rogue of the set. My skin is incredibly dry so clay based masks like this one aren’t part of my usual skincare routine. I hadn’t tried the mask before purchasing the gift set but was advised to stick to my t-zone when using it.

It’s a lot messier than the other two masks, though part of that is perhaps down to the murky grey colour. After using it a couple of times, my skin does feel clean but also a little tight, so if you suffer from the same fate you might want to consider giving it to a friend with normal to oily skin instead.

Have you tried any Origins masks before?

NB This gift set is currently sold out on the Origins website but take a look in your nearest House of Fraser or Selfridges and you might be in luck!

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Confessions in Knitwear and Tartan

Christmas jumper outfit with George

I have a confession to make. It’s something I’ve toyed with for years but now it’s time to ‘fess up and tell you that, well, I like menswear. A lot.

I’ve been known to coerce my other half into buying things in Zara just so I can pinch them later, and I have a serious crush on Girl in Menswear. If my arms were long enough I’d have snapped up one of H&M’s fisherman style jackets from their S/S13 menswear collection and I’ve even been known to snap up bargains in the boys department (seriously – age 12-13 is pretty much a size 10).

There is something undeniably cosy and heart warming about wearing something that belongs to a loved one – slightly-too-big jumpers, sweatshirts and t-shirts have all made their way into my wardrobe, each one identifiable to a relationship, romantic or otherwise. When a relationship ends, clothing can get caught in the crossfire and the best thing to do in these situations –if you really want that threadbare Idlewild hoodie – is to sneak it into the back of your wardrobe when he’s not looking and feign confusion when questioned.

This fairlise style jumper from George ticks all the boxes but fortunately I don’t have to share it with anyone else! I’m not a huge fan of brightly coloured or cartoon style Christmas jumpers so I naturally gravitated to the wintery fairisle jumpers in George’s menswear collection. This navy and cream number is deliciously warm and is perfect for Sunday afternoon ambles around the city.

I’ve paired it with this tartan skirt from H&M that I bought in Spain seven years ago – each winter it seems to shrink a little more but I can’t quite part with it yet so it’s usually paired with think tights or leggings to tone down the, er, shortness!

Do you have a softspot for menswear – stolen or otherwise?

Fairisle mens jumper – c/o George / Tartan skirt – H&M / Cable knit socks – M&S / Black beanie – Accessorize / Navy boots – Dr Martens

George fairisle menswear jumperAutumn leaves in MontpelierGeorge Asda mens Christmas jumper and HM tartan skirtAutumn leavesGeorge mens jumper and HM 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 - Oxfam Fashion blog

Oxfam Fashion

Technically this should have been included in last week’s RTW post, but I wanted to include it as I’ve had a couple of new posts on the Oxfam Fashion blog this month. The first was all about how to survive a vintage kilo sale, the second one explained how you can get a head start on shopping for S/S14 trends, plus there is also a bonus party dress post that wen’t up this week. As if that wasn’t enough I’ve also been working on a Christmas crafts DIY which I’ll link to soon.

Scrabble Sundays

This weekend has been very house-centric – yesterday we started painting the outside of our house and today we’ve been hanging picture frames on the stairway – so this afternoon Mr Ship-Shape and I snuck off to the pub for a game of Scrabble and a couple of drinks. It may not be a rock ‘n’ roll end to the weekend but what can I say? I’m a sucker for a triple word score…

A Thousand Splendid Suns 

This week I finished reading a book that I started back in September and kept picking up and putting down, then – I don’t know if you do this too? – I began reading it again and couldn’t put it down. I even looked forward to when I could excuse myself, go up to bed and start reading! The novel is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner. It’s a tale of two young women growing up in Afghanistan and is an incredible insight to the history of the country, spanning four decades. Trust me when I say you need to read it.

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

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Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Camel and faux leather coat – Zara  /Plum funnel neck coat – Jaeger  / Mustard yellow boucle wool coat  – River Island / 1970 Soul  straight cut blue coat  – Reiss / Orange boucle coat – French Connection

As much as I loved Raf Simon’s princess pink swan-song at Jil Sander (A/w 2012), the whole over-sized, pastel pink, dropped shoulder, Grace Kelly-esque thang isn’t my cup of tea. The show was nothing short of beautiful and when Carven, Mulberry and Celine followed suit with pink coats for A/w 2013, I knew the trend would stick.

I appreciate the sugary sweetness of it all, but pastel, powder, blush or fuchsia; pink just doesn’t suit me. And what’s more, I don’t even like it.

Yep, that’s right, this blog might be covered in the pink stuff but it’s not my favourite colour by a long stretch, partly because it was always a colour I was encouraged to like growing up because ‘you’re a girl’. Pink is now such a loaded hue that apart from the design on this blog, I tend to avoid it at all costs.

I’ve seen a gazillion pink winter coat options on the high street, compiled on wishlists and featured in blog posts (my fave being Amy’s round up), but what I haven’t seen is some decent alternatives.

Above is a selection of five beautiful high street winter coats for the pink-phobic like me. Are you pining for a pink coat this season or does one of these take your fancy?

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Topshop Haul and THAT Zara Scarf

Topshop outfit with Zara scarf

I’m reluctant to use the word ‘haul’ in titles because, a) it’s terribly American, and b) there is enough mass consumerism in the world without me adding to it with a high street binging session.

However, when the Mr left me alone for ten days to go gallivanting half way around the world for work, I took out my loneliness on the recent Topshop sale, in a big way. I bought four completely different, mis-matched items, two of which can be seen here.

Sales have a habit of bringing out the best and worst in me – sometimes I’ll find the perfect item that I was waiting to go down in price and other times I’ll be so excited that a top is in my price range that it doesn’t matter if it’s bright orange and covered in enough feathers to keep Big Bird warm.

This digital print rose skirt fits into the latter category – I’ve been after a pencil skirt for a while and although pink isn’t my favourite colour, I’m a sucker for a good floral print, as my collection of floral trousers will attest to. On the contrary, the fine knit grey jumper was a no-brainer. It’s so light and delicate that can be layered with any outfit and the colour goes with almost everything else in my wardrobe – result!

As this was a lazy Sunday afternoon outfit I slung on a pair of beaten up Converse and kept warm with my huge Zara scarf. Since it featured in a previous outfit post, I figured I should at least go to the effort of showing off the other side – a fine herringbone pattern in black and white wool. If you haven’t yet gotten your mitts on one –hurry! I hear they’re selling like hotcakes…

Jumper and pencil skirt – both Topshop / Double sided scarf – Zara / White trainers – Converse / Grey wool backpack – free gift with some German beer Mr Ship-Shape picked up on his travels

Zara herringbone scarfTopshop jumper and grey wool backpackTopshop and Zara outfitTopshop rose print pencil skirt and Converse trainers

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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…

Christmas decorations at House of Fraser

Christmas at House of Fraser

On Thursday I started the evening by heading to House of Fraser’s Christmas preview at Cabot Circus. It was the first festive event I’ve been to this year and it was lovely to catch up with some of my favourite Bristol bloggers over mulled wine and miniature mince pies. I fell hook, line and sinker for the adorable Christmas decorations – I’m ashamed to say I’d never even visited the top floor of House of Fraser before this event but I’ll definitely be back.

New music

Thursday was a good day – after House of Fraser I met up with Mr Ship-Shape to celebrate our eight year anniversary. We met working behind the bar at a live music venue so we decided to revisit our past with a gig at The Fleece. We saw The Cadbury Sisters (a trio of three-part harmony perfection) and Treetop Flyers who had a 70s soul-rock sound that blew us both away. I don’t feel qualified enough to say that either band are ‘up and coming’ but if you’re after some new music, go have a listen – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Home girl

This weekend we travelled to Bournemouth for a friend’s 30th birthday. It was a whistle-stop tour but we managed to squeeze in a roast dinner with my parents, a visit to Grandma Ship-Shape’s house and a night out on the town with friends I haven’t seen in years. The older I get, the more I value spending time with my family and I can’t wait to see them again at Christmas : )

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

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Zara goes to Berlin

Zara tarten scarf and red vintage dress

Guten tag! It’s time for a outfit post from my recent trip to Berlin. Of course the Zara I’m referring to is my favourite New Thing, my reversible tartan/herringbone woollen scarf from Zara. I spotted this beauty a few weeks ago but foolishly didn’t buy it at the time, only to go back to Cabot Circus to find it had gone from the shelves. Luckily, it appeared again the day before we left for Berlin – perfect timing!

These shots were taken outside the Reichstag building after our free walking tour, which I cannot recommend highly enough if you visit Berlin. Starting at the Brandenburg Gate, groups of 15-20 tourists are led on foot around the city by knowledgable tour guides. We saw parts of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, the Reichstag building and the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt, a square housing two neoclassical cathedrals and the Berlin Knozerthaus.

Our guide, Inken, spoke about her childhood growing up in Germany and the dramatic effect communism had on Berlin. Visiting parts of the Wall and hearing how it went up so quickly really put the history of the city into perspective – seeing normal buildings pockmarked with bullet holes was certainly surreal.

For early November, the weather was similar to the UK, if slightly chillier, so I could get away with wearing this vintage pinstripe dress (one of the dresses I found at the kilo sale) with a pair of black tights and my favourite Chelsea boots. The scarf and bowler hat kept me warm, though the blustering winds did try to sneak off with the latter on more than one occasion…

Auf Wiedersehen for now!

Red pinstripe dress – Judy’s Vintage Kilo Sale / Tartan/herringbone scarf – Zara / Green bowler hat – H&M / Green leather belt – vintage / Leather satchel – c/o Dr Martens / Tan Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

Reichstag building in BerlinBerlin outfit post outside the ReichstagAutumn leaves in BerlinPosing outside the Reichstag buildingZara tartan herringbone scarf

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