Tuesday, 21 November 2017

10 of the Best Dundee Festive Markets

The best festive pop ups, markets and fairs in Dundee for Christmas 2017

Christmas ads keep popping up on TV, festive songs are blasting from high street shops and decorations are starting to appear in people's windows - Christmas is most definitely on the horizon! It's a bit early for me to put up my tree, I like to save the decorating and Christmas film binge until December actually starts, but it's about time I got around to making my list and checking it twice.

Every year I try to shop small and buy as many of my Christmas presents from local designers and independent boutiques, and this year will be no different. My calendar is already filling up with fairs, markets and pop-up shops, so I thought I'd share some Dundee events that you might want to pop in your diary...

Light Nights Christmas Market
Slessor Gardens | Pop Up 24 / Market 25 November
I'm excited to see Dundee's Christmas lights getting switched on this weekend. There's something nice about walking along the high street with multi coloured lights twinkling above that makes the cold, dark nights much more fun. I'm also looking forward to starting my Christmas shopping at the market that will be happening in Slessor Gardens. It may be outside but I'll make sure to wrap up warm!

Wasps Studios Christmas Sale
Wasps Studios | 26 November
These artist studios are filled with local creatives making prints, jewellery, textiles, accessories, ceramics and more. Every now and then they open their doors and Christmas is one such occasion. There's always a really good variety of gift ideas available, from stocking fillers and cards to special jewellery pieces and show stopping accessories.

A list of the best Christmas markets in Dundee 2017
Tea Green Pop Up Boutique
The Stables at Taypark House | 30 November - 24 December
Tea Green have had a Christmas pop-up shop in Dundee for the last few years and it's always a great opportunity to tick some gifts off of my 'to buy' list. I love that it runs right up to Christmas eve for any last minute shopping I need to do. This year it's taking place at Taypark House. I've been meaning to check out this place for ages and now I have the perfect excuse!

CRAFTED Christmas Market
DCA | 2 December
Disclosure time - I work for DCA so I may be slightly biased, but I'm really looking forward to checking out this event. So much so that I'll be going into work on my day off to have a look round! There will be plenty of awesome makers (I've been scheduling the social media for it so I've had a good look) and I'm sure I'll be adding to my own Christmas wishlist at the same time as shopping for gifts.

Christmas Night Market
Duke's Corner | 5 December
Duke's night markets are pretty compact but they still manage to fit a lot in. They're one of the best fairs for food and drink based gifts, which always go down well with the guys in my family, plus there's usually lots of tasters on the go so I get to try before I buy.

Winter Market
DUSA The Union | 7 December
This event is happening during the day on a Thursday, which might make it a little tricky for me to get to, but I think it will be worth spending my lunch break checking it out. I always enjoy seeing what the art school students are making and it's a great chance to discover new designers and find some truly unique gifts.

10 of the best pop ups, fairs and markets in Dundee to help you shop small this Christmas
Dreamland Clothing + Vintage Christmas Open Studio
Wasps Studios | 8 - 10 December
A huge favourite around here at Wardrobe Conversations, Dreamland have one of the most colourful studios around and it's always a pleasure to get a peek inside. I'm expecting there will be plenty of sparkly party dresses to choose from.

Urban Market Christmas
West Ward Works | 9 - 10 December
Usually found in Glasgow, this will be Urban Market's first time in Dundee. From their Instagram feed it looks like they have a great selection of traders lined up, plus food, drinks and a supper club. I'm intrigued and can't wait to find out more.

Dundee Mini Make Off - Christmas Extravaganza!
Blackness Library | 16 December
As well as a pop-up shop, Dundee Mini Make Off offer workshops and a live making competition. A full on day of creativity? Sign me up!

Dundee Christmas Market
Steeple Church | 16 December
Last, but not least, this market promises local food producers, gin distillers, chocolatiers, bespoke jewellery and gorgeous gifts, as well as mulled cider and wine to enjoy while browsing.

Christmas shoppin in Dundee 2017

Now if that little lot doesn't sort out your Christmas shopping then I'm not sure what will! I can't wait to head along to these events, discover new designers and buy gifts from some of my favourite makers.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Styled by Helen: Autumn Colours

Scottish blogger Helen from Wardrobe Conversations dresses for the changing seasons
Wearin autumn colours, a Datter Industries hand necklace and pointing pin and a vintage scarf
Dressing for the cold with autumn colours and layers
Dressing in autumnal colours inspired by the fallen leaves
Autumn outfit inspired by fallen leaves

I was delighted when Lauren (aka The Devil Wears Tartan) got in touch to Be Our Guest, but then super sad because I couldn't make it along for the autumnal photo session! I still enjoyed reading her post though and I loved her 80's look from last week - the colours and patterns of that blazer are fab! My autumnal outfit is a bit more casual but I made sure to include deep reds, greens and a touch of orange to match the leaves around me, plus I went for a Lauren inspired lie down in them!

Wearing a vintage scarf in the leaves for an autumn outfit

Coat | Charity shop
Shirt | H&M
Jeans | Charity shop
Boots | Zara
Scarf | Vintage
Necklace and pin | Datter Industries
https://datter.co.uk/
According to Google, Autumn lasts from Friday 22 September to Thursday 21 December. I ain't buying that. For me Autumn was pretty much October and then the chill turned way too wintery. I've been wearing a hat and scarf almost everyday since the start of November and not just as a style choice! But (when it's not raining) I find myself enjoying dressing for this time of year. I love piling on the layers and picking out the right woollen accessory to keep me warm. Who doesn't love an excuse to wear even more of your wardrobe?!

Another good thing about the changing seasons is pulling out a bunch of clothes that have been hiding at the back of the wardrobe for a while. This coat is one of them. The colour is a kind of odd sludge green/ brown and there are holes in both the pockets but I still wear it every now and again because it's perfect for those chilly but not too chilly kinda days, making it the perfect transitional piece. Plus, this scarf goes really well with it. The rest of the outfit is relaxed and comfy because sometimes (especially when it's cold) that's all I want to be.

What are your go to autumn / winter pieces?

Kickin up leaves in the park while wearing an outfit of autumn colours

Thanks to Heather Mac for being my photographer extraordinaire!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Styled by Kimberley: Autumn Colours




This week we are styling up outfits inspired by our special blog guest: Lauren Aitchison. Lauren has already featured on the blog as one of our Blog Crushes so when she contacted us for a style challenge I was thrilled. I really don't remember when Lauren and I started chatting online but we've met IRL a few times now. Our similarities go further than the love of an 80s power jacket; we've had similar difficult life experiences, she can rival my biggest squeeze of a hug, and she's very switched on to current affairs. We can chat on any topic for hours.

I met up with Lauren to take these fun autumn colour inspired looks while she was in Edinburgh, and it was a horrible day to shoot on but it was also really easy. She was a breeze.

I'll admit I'm not the best photographer so I get quite nervous when I photograph people who aren't Helen. I've done it a few times now though and, you can never guess what someone will be like. Like anyone, bloggers can be quite different in front of the camera than you'd think. Some have their poses down and jump straight into it, Next Top Model style. Turn. Bam. Hand on hip. Bam. Look to the middle distance. Bam. Others find it difficult to perform in front of the camera, feeling a little silly in a crowded street. Because everyone is watching, right? Some can be kind of diva-level on photo control- they know exactly how they want to be portrayed online and want to approve every image on site. Why not? Their image is their entire USP.

Me? I find it directly relates to how good I feel on the day.
I have worked with a number of photographers by now, so I'm used to being in front of the camera. I know my natural face is pretty but mean. Being goofy might look cute on instagram but it takes effort, and feels and looks (outside the camera) strained. I'm far more animated than Helen IRL but I just can't fake it for photos.

All those faux laughs and weird contortions that photographers have asked me to use have produced great results but they really can be hit or miss. For every photo there's 3 unusable ones. Weird mouth and odd chin angles often ensue. Lying in probably-dog-wee leaves, oddly timed jumps in the air and sleepy mid-blink photos all exist on my camera roll. There's even one of me ungracefully squealing at a wasp.

If you struggle to get your best angle in, here's some help to get you posing like a pro (so, probably not me then):

1. Get to know your photographer. It's quite intimate to be photographed, and being comfortable is the main thing. It helps that I love to talk because chatting away and actually laughing in photos has produced some of my favourite ones.

2. Wear a comfortable look. When you are wearing something that you're not into, it shows. This is a mistake I've seen fashion bloggers make, wearing something on trend that's so clearly not their style. I've also styled up outfits I've not been 100% about and felt crap. Whether it's your new favourite OOTD or your old comfies, it will still be new to your audience and feel like you.

3. Loosen up. My body can sometimes feel frozen or stiff, and when I feel nervous I clam up. When Helen photographs me I literally do a little jump around and wiggle to prepare. If that's not enough I find that moving to a second location produces better images because I've already done a dry run and limbered up. I also often stretch my mouth between poses because my face can start to look tense.

4. Practise your poses. Honestly, this is something I didn't do and it took me a long time to find my groove. It's easy to do the same 3 shapes over but I like to add some extras at the end that can be thrown away. It's necessary to show off the shape of certain clothes, or get accessories in. To be honest, it's something I should do more work on but hey, I'm no model.

5. Let go. It can be difficult to hand over creative control to someone else. After all, they don't know about your 'bad sides'. But that is actually a positive! A fresh eye is going to find those gems of a photograph that you might have thrown out because you're hyper-focused on your goofy smile (guilty) instead of the overall impression.

Now I guess I just need to practise what I preach...


Coat | Oasis
Top | vintage
Skirt | Topshop (old)
Necklace | c/o Esa Evans
Brooches | Punky Pins and The Sad Ghost Club

I haven't even spoken about this outfit but I've discussed it before here. I hope I can squeeze just a tiny bit more out of autumn style but I think that turning of the leaves has passed already in Edinburgh. I'll be moving on to my winter version of this outfit, I think!

Thanks to Ian Finlayson for the photographs.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Be Our Guest: Lauren Aitchison

It has been a while since we had a Be Our Guest post and we are all about sharing the love for fellow stylish bloggers! Today's vintage-clad beauty is Lauren Aitchison of Scottish lifestyle blog The Devil Wears Tartan, and editor of Bimbo Magazine.
Autumn inspiration  photo with blogger Lauren Aitchison lying in pile of leaves
Scottish lifestyle blogger wearing a bronze and black 80s blazer from Rag Trade Vintage
Portrait of Scottish lifestyle blogger Lauren Aitchison from The Devil Wears Tartan
I'm so old now that I lecture young 'uns on what summer was like in my day. It went on forever; you didn't even have to look out the window, you just put on shorts and a tshirt and off you went. And winter? Every Christmas was a white Christmas! Of course, I'm romanticising and choosing to forget the drizzly July days spent inside reading Harry Potter and playing my Nintendo. But in this time of global warming, autumn feels like the season we can rely on. We can't count on sun and we can't count on snow, but we can count on changing leaves, Hallowe'en, limited edition Starbucks and lots of layers. I'm getting the gang back together again: my entire wardrobe plus tights.

As someone whose self esteem comes and goes as it pleases, the loud patterns in my wardrobe act as armour on the days I'm not quite feelin' myself, and a megaphone for my extroverted personality on the days I am. When I saw this jacket on Rag Trade Vintage, it didn't even occur to me to pair it with trousers. It deserves a spotlight and nothing more than fishnets (I'll take any opportunity to get my legs out tbh). One of my greatest skills is the ability to lose jewellery; it seems to evaporate the moment I take it off, so busy clothes also mean less accessorising. I know, I'm a genius.
Scottish lifestyle blogger Lauren Aitchison from The Devil Wears Tartan portrait for Autumn in Princes Street Gardens
Scottish lifestyle blogger Lauren Aitchison from The Devil Wears Tartan wearing a vintage striped jacket from Rag Trade Vintage
Blogger Devil Wears Tartan demonstrating how windy it is in Edinburgh in Autumn
I usually love having my hair as huge as possible - it's the emo teenager in me - but was so glad I decided to put it up on my way to meet Kim on Princes Street because it was so windy that I would have spent the shoot eating it while looking like Cousin Itt. I was really nervous about having someone who's not my boyfriend taking my photograph but was reassured by Kim saying, "Aww, look at your wee face!" whenever she looked back at the pictures.

Enjoy autumn while you can, everyone. The Christmas gift guides and John Lewis adverts will soon be coming thick and fast and it would be a shame to let our reliable season pass us by.
Scottish lifestyle blogger Lauren Aitchison from The Devil Wears Tartan
Thanks to Lauren for being our guest and for braving the wind and awful lighting to get these dreamy photos. As well as her blog you can also catch Lauren over twitter and instagram. And if you fancy getting involved in Wardrobe Conversations and setting us a style challenge then do get in touch. You can find more details on our contact us page. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

October Round Up

Kimberley
Blogger round up featuring Stranger Things 2, Enchanted Forrest, Rock on Ruby and Fashion Ethics Watching: Stranger Things, of course! Like everyone else, I binge watched the series over Halloween weekend with nachos, popcorn and spooky treats. Unfortunately, I still had other things to do and was left with just one episode to go. ONE EPISODE. I'm saving the finale for this weekend- and it cannot come fast enough! Trying to avoid spoilers online is the pits. I have enjoyed this series as much as the last, apart from that one weird spin-off episode. Bob the Brain though? The best.

Doing: I booked tickets for Enchanted Forest way back in April and I've been super excited about it ever since. I stayed in Pitlochry at a really cute hotel and made a weekend of it with a trip to a whisky distillery and walk up Black Spout waterfall (which coincidentally ended at another distillery. I think I was duped). It wasn't quite as cold at the Enchanted Forest this year but we still indulged in mulled wine and toasted marshmallows. Although I think last year had a better finale, I just think it's a brilliant event for everyone- it's so well organised and accessible.

Buying: I love a tote bag but mine are all getting quite well used. I spotted this Resting Bitch Face tote from Rock on Ruby and just thought it suited me to a T.

Clicking: I'm always on the lookout for the latest news in ethical fashion but I feel that I already know more than the basic most blogs and podcasts offer. I now prefer academic journals on issues such as sizeism, human rights and environmentalism, and I was pleased to hear that Sue Thomas from Heriot-Watt University has just released Fashion Ethics, a book looking deeper into the issues. I intended on going to the book signing but couldn't in the end. I'm still eager to read the book!
I'm also planning a last minute trip to Hamburg (possibly also Copenhagen) in December, which is causing me a bit of stress at the thought of eating out with my new dietary requirements. Frantically googling coeliac-friendly tips as you read. Please send any my way!


Helen
Blogger round up featring Blade Runner 2019, Spirits of Scone, Too Cute to Quit and 1 Second EverydayWatching: During October I watched a horror movie everyday for #31DaysofHorror as a way of getting me in the mood for Halloween. I did a mix of re-watching old favourites like The Descent and Hocus Pocus, catching up on some classics (how have I never seen Friday the 13th!!) and discovering some new treats like Martyrs, The Love Witch and Dumplings. On top of all that I also went to the cinema to see Blade Runner 2049. I have to admit that I enjoyed this sequel much more than the original, and it's not just because it has Ryan Gosling in it (though that doesn't hurt). I thought 2049 was better paced, looked more impressive and had a much better Harrison Ford performance.

Doing: The Halloween theme continues... From carving pumpkins to going on an after dark tour of the McManus archives and taking part in a Halloween themed pub quiz, I managed to fit in a lot of Halloweening. My favourite thing was Spirits of Scone, a spooky evening of walking around the grounds of Scone Palace and getting chased through the maze by a cannibal butcher! The whole thing was really well organised and looked awesome - I had so much fun!

Buying: You guessed it... more Halloween! I found it really hard to leave any shop without something spooky. There were snacks (yes I bought Halloween pasta), candles, false nails, make-up, bath bombs and so much more! My favourite buys were a glow in the dark ghost purse by Tatty Devine and this awesome tshirt from Too Cute to Quit. Totally going to be rocking this all year round!

Clicking: After seeing lots of fun videos on Instagram I decided to download the 1 Second Everyday app and make one of my own for the month of October. Not actively related to Halloween but I managed to include plenty of spooky goings on in my video. I did sometimes struggle to remember to film but I'm glad I did. It's nice to have a little snap shot of the month in a handy 31 sec video. I think I'll take a break for November but maybe do another one in December featuring lots of festive fun.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Unlikely Horror Icon: Pennywise

Rereatin the IT film poster with a yellow Lighthouse jacket and red ballon
Easy Pennywise IT costume
Yellow rain jacket and clown makeup for an easy look inspired by horror movie IT
DIY faux leather clutch bag made to look like paper boat SS Georgie in horror film IT
Creepy clown outfit inspired by Pennywise the dancing clown from IT

From Gerald's Game and The Mist on Netflix to the release of The Dark Tower, adapting a Stephen King book for the screen is so hot right now (even if some of the results ain't so great). Of course, his work has always been popular source material. His Dollar Baby deal allows students and aspiring filmmakers the rights to some of his work for only $1 and with so many of his books being bestsellers there's already an eager fan base for studios and directors to tap into. But with the recent remake of IT becoming the biggest selling horror movie of all time, there certainly seems to be a Stephen King moment happening right now. And what kind of bloggers would we be if we didn't jump on that moment, especially with Halloween just around the corner!

Kim posted her Annie Wilkes look earlier this week so now it's my turn. Getting straight on the bandwagon, I decided to go for Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT.  When I spotted this amazing graffiti art by CGull on Instagram and realised it wasn't that far from me, I knew it was meant to be. I'm a big fan of Tim Curry and think he makes an amazingly creepy clown, but decided to base my look (loosely) on the new version played by Bill Skarsgard. Specifically, I went for the moment where Pennywise pretends to be Bill's missing brother, Georgie. The yellow jacket and red balloon combo from the poster is just so striking, plus it gave me the excuse to buy this jacket that'd I'd been eyeing up for a while. It's pretty much the most sensible thing I own. Almost too sensible in fact - I was boiling taking these photos! I'm looking forward to terrible winter weather so I can actually wear it out and about.

Easy Pennywise outfit for Halloween
Sugar & Vice acrylic necklace inspired by IT, the perfect finishin touch for a Pennywise costume
Easy Pennywise Halloween costume with red ballon

Jacket | Lighthouse
Shirt | Monki
Trousers | New Look
Wellies | Primark
Necklace | Sugar & Vice
Clutch | DIY

The outfit is pretty simple, just some check trousers and a white shirt. I amped up the costume factor by adding pom-poms to my buttons, going big on the make up and giving my hair a good old backcomb. For the perfect finishing touches I rustled up a DIY faux leather paper boat clutch bag (try saying that three times fast!) and treated myself to this awesome Sugar & Vice necklace. While the bag may not be that useful (the space inside is pretty tiny), I will certainly be wearing this necklace again and again. I love how it subtly shows off my horror film fandom.

Wardrobe Conversations easy Pennywise clown costume for Halloween

While I really enjoyed the new version of IT, it's not quite made it into my top 5 Stephen King adaptations - which goes a little like this...

5.) Thinner
I remember watching this late at night on the small black and white television I had in my bedroom. I don't remember much about what happens in it, just that it absolutely terrified me. It doesn't really have the best reviews but it certainly made an impression on young me! I wonder if I'd be quite as scared watching it again now?

4.) Misery
Definitely my favourite King book that I've read and the film certainly does it justice. Plus it has Kathy Bates and she does horror rather brilliantly.

3.) The Shining
While I don't enjoy Shelley Duvall's performance, I do love Jack Nicholson's. Watching Nicholson play crazy is so much fun. And then there's the iconic set design and those terrifying sisters that have influenced many a blog photo.

2.) The Mist
I'm talking about the film, not the new TV series (which is only ok). The visual effects may not hold up too well but that ending gets me every time. I recently saw it in black and white (as the director intended it) at Dundead and it's one of my favourite cinema experiences.

1.) Carrie
I do have a bit of a problem with the shower scene at the start but the rest of the film is pretty much perfect.

What's top of your list?

Scottish blogger Helen from Wardrobe Conversations shares her favourite Stephen Kin adaptations






Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Unlikely Horror Icon: Annie Wilkes

UK blogger Wardrobe Conversations wears an outfit inspired by Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery UK blogger Wardrobe Conversations wears an outfit inspired by Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery, holding books by her own favourite author Margaret Atwood Hand holding copies of Margaret Atwood novels in the woods
We couldn't do an Unlikely Horror Icon in 2017 without a homage to Stephen King. It's a no-brainer for any horror fan!

I may not be a horror film fan like Helen (due to my dislike of viewing simulated torture) but I have always loved horror books, and I remember the day I got my mum to sign a special library slip to allow me to graduate from age appropriate Goosebumps to Stephen King books at age 10 or 11. I had a YA horror book club subscription in primary school and an unhealthy preoccupation with ghosts. Don't assume I skipped the Point Horror stage, of course, as Helen and I swapped these books even in high school. (In fact, these books were so formative for me that if you name any title and I could describe the 90s cover even today. And those early L.J. Smith books...? *dreamy sigh*)

Stephen King is a whole other level though, and a stand-alone author for me in that I didn't read any of his contemporaries. It was all Stephen King. My favourite book was Misery, with the antagonist Annie Wilkes in it. In short summary (no real spoilers), the book is about an author named Paul Sheldon who has a serious car crash and is rescued by his self-proclaimed "number one fan", Annie Wilkes. She nurses him back to health to hear about his character's next escapade but becomes incensed when she discovers that the latest instalment (on his person at the time) actually kills off the main character, Misery. Annie injures Paul to keep him with her so that he can write Misery back into the story and he then makes multiple attempts to escape. I won't ruin the end.
UK blogger Wardrobe Conversations wears an outfit inspired by Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery UK blogger Wardrobe Conversations wears an outfit inspired by Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery
This book (and film) spoke to me for a few reasons but mostly it was Annie. She's a super fan, and demonstrates, in an extreme way, how fictional characters can become very real to people. She's na├»ve and innocent in some ways, and is devastated by Misery's fictional death. But she is also incredibly dangerous and unpredictable, and can turn in an instant. The film adaptation led to Kathy Bates winning an Oscar for her portrayal as Annie Wilkes. She's superb.

Annie has a very distinctive outfit, which is actually youthful, demure clothing but looks frumpy on her. It's not too out there, though. I'd say it's definitely an Unlikely Horror Icon, rather than costume, as I realised I've actually worn a different version of this outfit on the blog before. For this one, I changed it up to be a little frumpier than my Dr Martins spin. A dark green and grey colour palette, high collar and a pinafore are all a must to nail this look. I skipped the large crucifix necklace she wears because I don't wear crosses but I added in my favourite Karen Smith key earrings (because she locks him in, geddit?) The neat, childlike under-turned bob with hair slides complete the look. Oh, and creepy overly enthusiastic expression.

I didn't say it was an attractive look.
Kimberley from Wardrobe Conversations blog in green turtle neck top and grey pinafore as worn by Annie Wilkes in Misery UK blogger Wardrobe Conversations wears an outfit inspired by Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery
Top | Warehouse
Pinafore | Oasis (very old)
Shoes | Clarks
Earrings | c/o Karen Smith

My final accessory was, of course, some books by one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood. She can be assured that I would not give her the Annie Wilkes treatment if we were to meet... honest.
Kimberley from Wardrobe Conversations dressed as Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's Misery novel, holding a kitchen knife and looking menacing