Tuesday, 13 February 2018

What Helen Wore: In Amsterdam

Bright red outfit for a grey Amsterdam day

Cosy and bright outfit for a chilly Amsterdam day
Bright and bold red outfit for a day in Amsterdam

This time last week I was enjoying a few days away in Amsterdam for my birthday. I had a great time with my friend Ashley, wandering around, visiting museums, and eating and drinking all the things! The buildings, streets and canals are so pretty, even on a grey day like in these photos (luckily it brightened up for the rest of our trip). It was rather cold though! I made sure I packed plenty of layers and, as you can see from these photos, decided not to take any off for pictures. That means you don't really get a good look at this sparkly jumper I got in the sale for £5 but I'm sure it will make another blog appearance soon.

Can you tell I like red? I've been wearing more and more of it recently - I think it's safe to say it's my favourite colour. In fact, based on what I had in my suitcase, I could have worn a red scarf and red jumper too! I decided to dial it down a little and go for my bargain jumper and this huge (and super cosy) black scarf. Both happen to be from H&M, along with the trousers AND bag!

I've said it before, but I think I have a bit of a H&M problem. It's just so convenient to shop in ( I pass it pretty much everyday on my way to and from work) and they have a fun selection at reasonable prices. I do think I need to mix up my shopping habits a bit more though. I really need to start ordering online from all the amazing indie brands out there rather than just going for that quick fashion fix, but the lure of an easily accessible changing room is pretty strong. I did discover some fun new brands while in Amsterdam so I must try and remember to check them out. I'll be putting together my top 5 tips from the city soon so hopefully that will help to remind me.

Beret | Tiger
Scarf | H&M
Jacket | Charity shop
Jumper | H&M
Jeans | H&M
Boots | c/o Monki
Bag | H&M
Eye brooch | Rosemary Head
Yeah pin badge | Birthday gift
Earrings | Accessorize
Glasses | c/o Spex Pistols

I'm kind of loving wearing a big ol' block of colour. It certainly makes me easy to spot in a crowd. Sometime that's what's required when you're short like me. I'm not sure I have enough of any other colour in my wardrobe to do a complete outfit so for now I'll stick with red. It's pretty appropriate really, what with Valentine's day is coming up and all.

How do you feel about wearing all one colour? And, more importantly, which colour would you pick?

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

January Round Up

Watching: After all the great reviews and Oscars buzz I went to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with quite high expectations, perhaps too high because I ended up being rather disappointed. While some of the performances are great, the tone felt a bit off and some of the 'laughs' just made me cringe. It does have some interesting ideas but others aspects missed the mark for me.
I've been getting into a few TV shows though. I really enjoyed Fargo, especially season 2, and I'm only up to episode 4 of The End of the F***ing World but I'm loving it so far.

Doing: One of my New Years resolutions was to try new things, so of course I signed up to an adult jazz dance class! While I hated the first lesson ( I felt like such an uncoordinated failure!), the following classes have been much more enjoyable as the moves are starting to stick in my head. Plus, we're working on a routine set to The Addams Family theme song!

Buying: As mentioned in my last post, I've done a little bit of sale shopping over the past month. Ok, quite a bit. It started with me treating myself to a necklace from Not the Kind. That was right at the start of January and felt more like a belated Xmas present to myself. Then the Monki sale popped up on my Facebook feed so I just had to have a nosey. I only bought a dress and a top, which is quite good considering how many items I added to my cart to start with. That was going to be it for sale buys but a friend of mine alerted me to the fact that some Karen Mabon scarves had been reduced in the Anthropologie sale. Of course, I had to have a look and when I saw they had one with my initial on it still in stock I felt it was only right to make it mine.

Clicking: I've booked a trip to Amsterdam for my birthday so a lot of time has been spent online researching where to stay and what to do. I have quite a long list of places I'd like to visit but I think I'm whittling it down now. I'm only there for three nights so it would be impossible to do it all! A trip to Katten Kabinet is high up on my list, as is Electric Lady Land. I've also booked for the Anne Frank house, as well as Moco Museum and Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum. I'm still after any excellent shopping destinations or good places to eat (especially ones with veggie options), know of any?

Watching: I'm a little late to the party but I have just binge watched Feud: Bette and Joan on BBC iplayer. Oh my word! Jessica Lang and Susan Sarandon enough to make a girl swoon with their excellent portrayals of old Hollywood rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in this funny and poignant story surrounding their film What Ever Happened To Baby Jane. The narrative dips into other films, alongside important historical moments in Hollywood. The costumes and sets are sumptuous while directly poking fun at what really went on behind the veneer. Go see it while you still can! I also went to see the new Starwars film at the cinema, because I felt like I should. And to cry a bit at Carrie Fischer. I don't think I've even seen the last one but I must say I enjoyed this one much more than I have previous episodes (except the original ones, which I loved as a child).

Doing: this month was my now annual visit to Maison de Moggy for Ian's birthday. You can read more about what I think about the cat café here. I have also been very preparing to move cities! Yes, I have just become Helen's neighbour, got a shiny new job and moved into my new home with Ian. It's been a whirlwind! I'm so excited about this new chapter and hope it'll mean bigger adventures for the blog now that we'll have more time together. I will still be spending a lot of time in Edinburgh though, so you can expect the Edinburgh blog news to continue.

Buying: as I mentioned in my latest blog post, I've been taking advantage of last chance sales items now that my buying ban has ended. I treated myself to a ring from Oh My Clumsy Heart and these brilliant smoking slippers from Zara (pictured) featuring spiders. They are grand and creepy in equal measures.

Clicking: with my move, I need recommendations for absolutely everything in Dundee! Bars, hairdressers, yoga studios, nail salons and spas... I even need a new dentist! I have the important stuff sorted- like brunch spots- and already have plans to visit the top on TripAdvisor, Castlehill Restaurant. Please send any and all other tips my way!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Styled by Kimberley: January Sales

In my students days, I loved a bargain and I was notorious for making the same mistake Helen has- buying completely random items that didn't go with anything else in my wardrobe. Occasionally these purchases wouldn't even go with me, and I definitely wouldn't have bought them at full price, but as they were so cheap it was worth a punt. Fast forward a decade (ahem) and I've spent the last few years actively avoiding the sales, buying only things I'd wanted anyway and considering each purchase. I feel guilty buying anything.

When I think about it, though, a number of those quick dopamine fixes shaped my style! They gave me the chance to experiment by making a leap. I could be more adventurous throwing a few quid at a "is this too out-there?" purchase. I could bulk out my belt collection or add in a frivolous accessory that would normally be out of my price range. If you buy only staple, or what is necessary, you miss out on individuality. It also increased my clothing usage- I'd be so excited to wear my new things that I'd go deep into my wardrobe to drag out other items I could combine with it. It helped me to use my wardrobe more creatively, try out a new silhouette and test my own boundaries.

In 2018 I'd like to feel less guilty about buying on a whim. I've been pushing the ethical fashion and 30 wears mantra for so long that it's hard to separate my own habits. But I do need to buy things!

This is in part due to the fact none of my clothes fit my small frame, partly because I don't think it is healthy to internalize negative feelings over a silly treat, and partly because I enjoy clothes. When we are talking about throw away fashion, we mean people clogging up wardrobes with useless things, or trying out every going trend that is soon tossed aside.

I've been around long enough to see the cycle of trends circling back round (sob!) and I've already tried them out. I've kept what I like, ignored what I hate, and obsessively ordered multiples of things I love (totally normal, right?). And all of my clothes are worn. I have worn them to the point of repairs and then worn them more. As I've talked about before, all clothes have a limited lifespan, no matter how organic or expensive.

I want to renew!
Kicking off my new goal, I picked up this brilliant jumpsuit in the ASOS sale (along with yet more pink shoes and my NYE dress). I've been thinking about jumpsuits every since wearing that Biba one. This one is not ideal, being backless and slightly awkward in leg length (and poofier in the sleeve than I realised?!) but it gets a perfect score for it's day-to-night versatility. Even if it is far too bloody cold for wearing in the snow. Just like old times, I dug through my wardrobe to pair it with some H&M tassel earrings I've had for years (constantly in my ears right now) and a fun fluffy bag that I don't even know the history of. I think I picked it up in a sale and cut off the cheap-looking strap. Still living that upcycling life!

Let the shopping commence!

Jumpsuit | ASOS
Jacket | Oasis
Necklace | Pippin
Ring | Oh My Clumsy Heart
Earrings | H&M
Blether Brooch | Bonnie Bling

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Styled by Helen: Sale

I'm so easily swayed by a sale. I try not to be but I find it very hard to resist a bargain. I'm note one to buy strategically and tend to just go for anything I like the look of that has a decent price reduction. Usually these things are heavily patterned and go with very little else in my wardrobe. Case in point: this Monki dress. It's blue (a colour I don't often wear), it's long (a strange length that's slightly longer than the midi I'm used to wearing), it's heavily patterned (making it difficult to coordinate with other items) and it's not the most flattering of shapes. But, sometimes, the sale purchase that steps out of the usual comfort-zone is just what's needed.

Dress | Monki
Boots | Primark
Belt | H&M
Pin | hello SUNSHINE for Caboodle Magazine
Glasses | c/o CrossEyes

That's what happened here. I bought this dress on a total whim. I liked the pattern and it looked super cute in peoples #monkistyle pics on Instagram. I ordered it online and tried it on pretty much straight away when it arrived. Looking in the mirror I thought 'oh no! This isn't right'. I wasn't sure about it all - the length and general shape (or lack of) really bothered me. Queue a very sad face from me and lots of huffing and puffing about having to send it back.

But then I put it on again. I added the boots and the belt and suddenly felt so much better about it. Not just better, I felt pretty damn fabulous! The pattern is fun and colourful and instantly lifted my mood. AND the fabric is super stretchy, making it VERY comfy to wear.

Being so bold and busy it makes it look like I've made an effort, while being a dream to wear and lounge about in. Ta da - sale buying regret was transformed into garment love with the addition of some basic accessories. Goes to show that you shouldn't judge a piece of clothing on it's own. It's going to be worn with other things and the right footwear and accessories can make such a difference! For me, they totally helped me fall in love with this dress and, in turn, this dress helped me get out of my red, black and white outfit rut. Don't get me wrong, I still adore that colour combination but it's nice to mix things up every now and again.

I've already worn this dress a couple of times since I bought it and I can definitely see me wearing it a whole lot more when spring arrives. So, while thinking consciously before buying sale items (and all items) is very important, sometimes that thoughtless purchase can turn into a wardrobe favourite.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

January Wishlist

1.) Eye Tshirt | Risotto Studio
I've been wanting this tee for so long it's really surprising I don't own it already. The problem is that I keep forgetting that I want. It sounds strange but it's true. Then it will pop up on one of my social media feeds and the whole cycle starts again. Hopefully putting it here will help keep it in my mind once payday comes around.

2.) The Giving Spoon | Manifesto
I love this small but perfectly formed Etsy shop and always enjoy it when a Manifesto pic pops up on my Instagram feed. There are small decorative cats, some amazing new earrings (featuring dreamy colour combos) and these fabulous spoons. Basically I want it all!

3.) Alien Girl | FFembroidery
FFembroidery's pieces are equal parts amazing and terrifying. Luckily that's a combination I can totally get on board with. I love the detail and the colours of this one as well as that angry alien girl mouth!

4.) Monochrome Dangle Earrings | Baked by Lou
I just got my ears re-pierced after stupidly letting them close up and now I can't stop thinking about all the new earrings I want. Baked by Lou certainly have a number of them but I'm a particularly big fan of these monochrome ones with their terrazzo effect.

5.) Psychedelic Eye Cushion | Knit and Destroy
Surprise, surprise, another eye themed item on my wishlist. I can't help myself, ok! I love the colours of this knitted cushion and just can't help imaging how good it would be to have two of them. It would be like my sofa was watching me!

1.) Jungle Print Jumpsuit | McIndoe Design
McIndoe is a brand that I've been following on instagram for quite some time. I'm a fan of fun holiday prints and their fried egg print was a dream but sadly the cut isn't one for me. The summer collection is currently 50% as pre-sale. Seriously tempting...

2.) Illusion Earrings | Wolf and Moon
My Christmas wishlist had "any earrings from Wolf and Moon" written on it and that still stands! I love the Deco shapes and soft colours that would match any mid-century modern home. I think they are made of wood and brass, so I'm a little concerned that the huge doorknockers (which I love) would be too heavy but these are still a pretty statement.

3.) Monster Crunch Crisp Necklace | You Make Me
I already have the sweety earrings from You Make Me but this Monster 'Crunch' ;) necklace has been on my radar for some time. I'm also a big fan of the cushions, although I've been banned from buying any more cushions for my home.

4.) With Love from Half Pint Bag | Brit Stitch
Another great sale item that I've had my eye on for a while is this sweet mini satchel bag from Brit Stitch.

5.) Eye and Mountain Art Print | Depeapa
It was quite tough to choose one of the brightly coloured Depeapa prints- they have done a number of versions of this eye and mountain motif. They are so striking and I find the composition really appealing.