Thursday, 27 April 2017
It's a busy old week, with both Fashion Revolution Week and MS Awareness Week falling at the same time. Both of these causes are close to my heart. We do something each year for #fashionrevolution and I gave a workshop at the Edinburgh event on Wednesday (details here). We were even more excited to work with Charcot to share the new collection and awareness of Multiple Sclerosis this year.
The visual artist behind the design brand, Kirsty Stevens, is firstly one of those Cool Girls I mentioned in my last post. She's unmistakable with her deep green hair and undercut, gold-rimmed glasses and impeccable style. Secondly, Kirsty has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We've been following her design journey for the last three years as she uses the intricate lesion patterns of her own brain scans to create beautiful prints and pieces of wearable art. Helen picked up one of the earliest Charcot pieces and I've had them on my wishlist ever since. Now that she has expanded the colour range with these vibrant tropical pops, and added in textiles too, I just can't decide! The patterns are akin to detailed ink blot tests but it's fascinating to think that it is a slice of Kirsty. The way that she manipulates the shapes to form the brain moths or brain skulls is wonderful and she is fully deserving of her newly unveiled title as first Design Champion at V&A Dundee. You can watch her story here.
I thought I'd keep the look simple since these bright pieces are the start of the show, whether you know the poignant history or not. I paired them with a few accessories I picked up at last week's Ladies Night and kept to my off-duty mime workwear for an easy, chic look. The palazzo culottes are strictly simple, but feel really fun. Repeating the colours in my makeup (hello, glitter lips?!) kept the circus theme framed to my top half, to complement the beautiful Charcot scarf. I'm loving the textiles addition to the range!
Scarf | Charcot
Necklace | Charcot
Top | New Look
Trousers | Warehouse
Shoes | River Island c/o The Circle
Backpack | Topshop c/o The Circle
Atomic Tote | c/o Sun Jellies
My personal interest in Charcot designs has changed in the last few years since my mum's diagnosis of MS. MS is an auto-immune condition that affects the brain and spine, and can have short-term symptoms and leave long term effects. The relapse and progression of my mum's condition is something that has been difficult to understand and to watch, but Kirsty approaches the subject with such passion and positive energy, as she puts into all aspects of her life. Hearing someone talk about it so openly, and using it in such an empowering way, has really helped to normalize it for me. It's a surprisingly common neurological condition, affecting around 1 in 600 people in the UK, but isn't widely known about. It can be difficult to detect but early symptoms can include fatigue, stumbling and odd skin tingling- you can find out more on NHS or MS Trust early signs page. There is no cure for MS and there is a range of treatments used to control the symptoms so it can be challenging. More research and development is very much needed. If you are interested in the cause donating to the MS Society is a great way to start. Or buy one of these beautiful pieces, as a percentage of each sales go directly to the charity. Alongside sales, Kirsty is working hard raise awareness all year round through her art, and I'm so proud of her!
Thanks so much to Charcot for letting us share an early peek of the beautiful new designs. Keep your eyes peeled for the new website being unveiled soon- catch Charcot on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the meantime.
Tuesday, 25 April 2017
I find it hard to remember when exactly I met Kirsty, the designer behind Charcot, because it feels like I've known her forever. I do know that I was aware of her work for sometime before we became friends. She graduated in jewellery from DJCAD. Now, I always try to pay attention to the designers displaying during degree show time but Kirsty's work stood out to me because her designs were all based around Multiple Sclerosis (MS). My mum suffered from this autoimmune condition so I've seen the difficult effects it can have and seeing it used to create unusual, statement jewellery certainly made me curious.
Kirsty was diagnosed with MS in 2007 and decided to take this news and turn it into something positive. All of her designs are based on the lesions, caused by MS, that show in her MRI scans. She takes these dark shapes and turns them into intricate and interesting designs and patterns. As well as creating beautiful jewellery, prints and scarves out of these shapes, she also works to raise awareness of MS, with a percentage from each sale of her work goes to the MS Society. With the 24th - 30th April being MS Awareness Week it seemed like a great time to dress up in Kirsty's striking designs (something I've been wanting to do for a while) and do our little bit to raise awareness.
Starting in jewellery, Kirsty has since expanded into printed textiles. Her collection now includes bright statement necklaces and beautiful silk scarves in a range of neon colours. In fact, she's just been working to add a couple of new colours to her collection. Hello bright pink, deep orange and mellow yellow! They are a great way to add a pop of colour to a plain outfit or, if you're me, add more bright hues to an already rainbow look. The more colours, the merrier and with these the neon acrylic is so bright that it looks like the edges are glowing!
I love how Kirsty has used the lesion images to create other shapes in the necklaces. These ones look like skulls, adding a tougher edge to the bold, cheerful colours. While on her scarves they look fans, flowers and more abstract shapes. All round, it's a great collection that I'm totally on board with and would be, even if I wasn't aware of the deeper meaning behind the designs.
Dress | Taisir Gibreel
Shoes | Charity shop
Necklaces | Charcot
Scarf | Charcot
Jacket | H&M
Bag | c/o Sun Jellies
Glasses | c/o Iolla
MS is a condition which effects the brain and/or spinal cord and can cause a number of different symptoms, including fatigue, pain, vision problems and mobility issues. It happens when the immune system attacks part of the body, mistaking it for a foreign substance. Not much is known about why people develop MS and there currently isn't a cure for it, but treatment has come a long way over the past 20 years. You can find out more about it via the NHS, MS Trust and the MS Society and there are plenty of ways you can get involved during MS Awareness Week. If you can, I'd love it if you could donate to the MS Society and support the research and work they do to.
Check out Kirsty's work via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, buy here work here and watch out for her new website coming soon!
Saturday, 22 April 2017
|Photo Credits 1 2 3|
Back when I lived in the countryside (eww), I found it easier to travel to Livingston to shop all in one big mall than to traipse around in town. I haven't been in years though, so when The Centre invited me along to check out their Ladies Night earlier this month I thought I'd see what all the fuss about.
Me. The fuss was about me. And every other customer. Because don't we all love a fuss? These kinds of evenings are the best way to shop- it's like a blogging event but open to anyone. As soon as we arrived at The Centre for the late night shopping experience, customers were treated to loads of discounts in most stores, free samples, goodies with purchases and some entertainment too. I took advantage of 10% off at The Perfume Shop to stock up on my new favourite scent and my bag was filled with samples to try out. The girls in River Island kept my (15% off!) mules aside so I could return to pay after a good look around and there were Lush bath bomb demos and a fun Heart FM photo booth. There was a great energy throughout the evening, and store staff were so welcoming and accommodating, no matter how much was being spent.
We bloggers were treated to a meal and smoothies at Wagamama before fellow Scottish blogger Sheri from Forever Yours Betty gave the centre a workshop on the latest trends. We've known Sheri for some time, and it was great to cheer her on from the front row. She'd been styling the lucky shopping spree winners beforehand and, oh my god, that girl can spot a bargain at 50 paces! She sniffed out every decent sale find in Topshop.
There was a bit of a beauty spin on the evening, with a pout workshop from a really enigmatic Urban Decay makeup artist (she was FAB!) and Debenhams had a number of other demos and deals on in store. The main masterclass was with YouTube make up artist Jamie Genevieve, as she did a full face demo. It's no secret that I'm pretty clueless about all things makeup but I can see why she's so popular- she's a really engaging, funny public speaker and there was a huge crowd of contoured girls lining up to meet her. Her makeup looks like stage makeup to me (see, I know nothing!) but she explained the techniques and I took away a few good wee tips.
The evening concluded with a bit of a mad dash as we bloggers tried to squeeze in some actual shopping between all the excitement. It was easy to get caught up. I had looked at The Centre's website in advance to see where the sales were and I had a clear plan of what I wanted to pick up- my perfume and a New Look jumper I've had my eye on for a while. The perfume was a cinch but when the top wasn't in stock I did find myself being tempted by, well, everything. I finally settled on a very Radley-esque Topshop backpack from my wishlist and the River Island mules (on the blog soon). Sale shopping makes for great bargains if you use it wisely for something you'd want anyway. If you buy a lot of cheap crap (and I've been guilty of this) you're just wasting money on clutter. Luckily, I'm a dab hand at shopping by now!
Thanks so much to The Centre for the VIP treatment at Ladies Night!
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Kimberley and I both love rocking a vintage look, so when PinUps Vintage got in touch to ask us over for a makeover we jumped at the chance! After our Sun Jellies adventure, we made the most of being in Glasgow and popped along to their West End salon. I hadn't heard of PinUps Vintage before going along but it turns out they've been around for a while (the salon was established in 2014 but they've been in the business for more than 20 years!), tucked away on Ruthven Lane. The vintage salon chairs outside mean it's easy to spot when you start looking.
The salon itself is teenie but it has everything required to make you look fabulous; from a nail bar to make-up chair and a couple of hair stations. They've even squeezed in a comfy sofa area and a fabulous vintage reception desk. The place is decked out in full on shabby chic style. It's kind of like being at your granny's if your gran was utterly fabulous. I loved the over the top lace curtains mixed with cool retro touches and plenty of genuine vintage knick-knacks.
Upon arrival, we were given a warm welcome by stylists Mandi and Rebecca, who both looked fantastic in their pink dresses and spectacular up-dos. Their authentic vintage style certainly made me feel like we were in good hands. After introductions, teas and coffees and a look from their inspiration books, they got down to business.
They primped and prepped our locks to make sure the finished looks would sit perfectly and stay in place, all the time chatting away and having a right good laugh. While our hair set, we each made our way to separate stations: Kimberley to get her make-up done, while I sat down ready to get my nails done. As always happens I was faced with the tough decision of what colour to go with. I always find this part tricky but usually go with the same colour in the end. That's right, it's got to be orange! While my nails were buffed and painted, Kim was getting her face pampered. I have to say I was rather jealous of the results. Flicks, sharp brows and classic red lips, oh my! My face felt drab in comparison, but at least my nails looked fab.
Our hair was then taken from the backcombing stage to perfect vintage pin curls and victory rolls. I always love watching this transformation, it's like some kind of magic! We were both super happy with the results and partook in more than a bit of posing, taking full advantage of the vintage salon chairs outside. It's just a shame we had no parties to go to! We did get plenty of compliments on our journies back home though. I even managed to make my do last to the next day, making my Monday morning feel way more glamorous than usual. I'm pretty sure it would have lasted even longer but I couldn't quite face sleeping with all those kirby grips in for more than one night!
So, if you're in or around Glasgow and looking to add a bit of glamour to your look, PinUps is definitely worth a visit. Their salon is a great place to hang out and the perfect venue for a none tacky hen-do, alternative birthday celebration or for bridal parties that want to look fabulously vintage. As well as the wee salon you can also find the 'Girls in Pink' popping up all over the place. Check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow their adventures. I've certainly enjoyed following them, especially seeing the salon, styling and pink ladies pop up in The Hostiles music video. It's so good!
What's your favourite vintage hair style and what occasion would you get a vintage makeover for?
Friday, 14 April 2017
Every Cool Girl wears a leather jacket, right? (or faux, these days). This is my first, but I still felt a little out of place putting it on. I bought this jacket back in 2015 but I packed it away when my weight was fluctuating and I really didn't think I'd bring it out again.
You see, I've never been The Cool Girl. It just isn't in me. In my head, I'm still the nerdy teacher's pet who did homework in advance and raised her hand for every. single. question. I think that people looking at me now somehow know I once wore those terrible gold rimmed specs and haircuts by my mum. That I was the only girl in my Physics class for three years and the boys didn't even notice there was a girl in the class.
That all feels like a hundred years ago, and a whole different person. So why, as a goddamn adult, am I still unable to be cool? Putting on a leather jacket makes me appreciate when other girls say they love my colourful style but "couldn't wear it themselves". Why not, I always ask? Reflecting on it, I now realise. When something is outside our comfort zone we wear it like a costume. Like a child tottering around in our mum's over sized clothes. And a leather jacket is the cliche; it's what all the distinctly Uncool kids buy when trying to fit in. Trying to be edgy. Rock'n'roll. Again, it's an idea lodged in my head that I can do brights, I can wear vintage classics, I can go out dressed like Barb from Stranger Things but something about leather just makes me feel fake.
When I found this jacket, I finally found a compromise. The subtle floral print gives it some colour, there's no studded embellishment and it swerves padded biker vibes for feminine silhouette. I wore it on a couple of occasions after buying it and tucked it away again. On pulling it out for the first time this year, I felt much more comfortable throwing it on because it has softened up a bit and it felt worn in and mine. I barely glanced twice in the mirror before I headed out to spend the afternoon with a bunch of bloggers and #GirlBosses at the Sun Jellies event. I received compliments from these much-cooler-than-me girls, so I guess I don't stick out so much after all.
That's the thing about style experimentation: it's not long before that bold new item slips into your everyday wear and becomes a part of you.
Floral biker jacket | Fearne Cotton x Very
Shoes | Primark
Bag | Accessorize (gift from friend)
Pompom | gift
Earrings | Mica Peet
Faux fur scarf | ASOS
Glasses | c/o IOLLA
What trends do you shy away from? Or how do you overcome them?