Archive | March 2016

A Mother’s Day treat for Mother and Daughter

Mother’s day – just another over commercialised day like Valentines?  Maybe, but I wonder how many people know the true meaning of Mothering Sunday in the UK?  It was in fact a Christian religious day which fell on the 4th Sunday of Lent and was when parishioners returned to their mother church i.e. the one they were baptised at.  The American mother’s day which is celebrated in May, was created by Anna Jarvis who wanted to honour the peace activist work that her mother had done before she died as well as honouring all mothers, reasoning that they generally do more for us than anyone else.  Although the founder of it, she actually protested against the commercialisation of the day, suggesting that sentiment should be shown in hand written letters not through purchasing cards and gifts.  Since World War II, when American soldiers came over to the UK, the day here is now more like the American one when people treat their mothers to cards, flowers and gifts but still remains on the 4th Sunday of lent.

I decided to celebrate it a few days early this year with Mum.  I have long enjoyed scouring the variety of kitsch shops that Rochester has to offer so jumped at the chance of being invited, with a guest, to attend an evening at the shop Pink Flamingo to celebrate their 5th birthday.  Pink Flamingo also has another branch in Whitstable and is a ladies clothes, shoes and accessories shop.


For the occasion I decided to embrace the Americana look seen at London Fashion Weekend and wore my nautical stripe blue, ¾ length sleeve dress by Winser with a denim jacket from Oasis.  I then added a pop of red with my LK Bennett wedge sandals and Floozie heart shaped bag.  I also added a scarf tied to the bag to give a unique twist, seen by Elie Saab; the scarf was une souvenir de Paris and features the Eiffel Tower.  I did my hair in what the industry is calling the grown up bunches as seen at Marni.  These are simple to create but look like you have really made the effort.  Divide the hair in a centre parting and then leave a small strand from each half loose whilst tying the rest in normal bunches.  Then wrap the left over strand around the band to hide it and pin with a kirby grip.  I swept a turquoise blue eye shadow from an old Virgin Vie palette over my lids to create the ocean eyes seen by Diane Von Furstenberg this season.



On arrival in Rochester Mum and I treated ourselves to a coffee and cake in Fleur de Thé.  This is a beautiful tea room, where all the shabby chic decorative items are also for sale along with refreshments.  I had a slice of their Oreo cake and it really was a huge portion that although nice, left me feeling quite sick.


Next stop was Rocket, a shop that specialises in vintage design clothing and I bought a lovely 1950’s style turquoise skirt with white polka dots on.  I’m thinking I might purchase one of the taffeta underskirts to really set this off.


We browsed Kiss Kiss Heart, owned by the same people as Rocket but with a greater emphasis on the homeware than the clothes and I liked so many things in there especially a floral Fiorelli bag; but settled for a butterfly shaped ceramic dish.

By then it was getting on for 5pm so we made our way up the high street to Pink Flamingo.  On arrival we were treated to a glass of pink fizz and there were some cupcakes decorated with pink flamingos and a variety of sweets on offer.


Pink Flamingo stocks Great Plains London, Cath Kidston and Irregular Choice, amongst other brands.  Irregular Choice shoes were created by British born designer, Dan Sullivan in 1999.  His vision was to create truly unique shoes rather than the neutral and black shoes that dominated the market.  His designs are influenced by his punk rock era upbringing on the Kings Road coupled with his extensive travel around the world.


On this special open evening, there was 20% off anything purchased and a chance to win either a pair of Irregular Choice shoes or a Cath Kidston bag.  Unfortunately I wasn’t the lucky winner of either.

I tried on various pairs of Irregular Choice shoes, feeling that there should be a bit of this originality in my shoe collection however in the end I didn’t think I would be brave enough or quirky enough to pull them off.  I may pluck up the courage at a future date as each shoe truly is a work of art in its own right.


Mum bought a pair of sandals by Lunar which I had also had my eye on and I bought a Great Plains mint coloured top.


Together we spent over £30 and so received a free goodie bag.  The goodie bag contained some Tamaris lip balm and hand cream, some shoe horns and a bracelet.


All shopped out, I then treated Mum to a meal and Prosecco at Pizza Express.  My Mum really is my best friend and I love that I can talk to her about anything and she listens and advises without judgement.  I can always rely on her to be honest with me, even if it’s not always what I want to hear.  However many times we mess up, we can always rely on our mothers to love and forgive us. Commercialised or not, I think it is only right that we celebrate all our mothers do for us – not just on this one day but throughout the year.


Let me know what you did with your Mum on her special day.

A Gallery of Fashion

February, along with September is always a highlight in any fashionista’s calendar as it is London Fashion Week.  I attended the 18th London Fashion Weekend, organised by the British Fashion Council, as I have done in previous years.  It is an opportunity for anyone to get a sneak insider preview of the season’s trends as well as giving access to designer brands at discount prices.  This time it was held for the second time at its new home, the Saatchi Gallery and this was my first time at this new venue.  The Saatchi Gallery has moved location numerous times but its current location is in the 1801 Duke of York HQ which is a beautiful pillared building, just off of the Kings Road. The Kings Road has always been renowned as one of the great shopping streets of London, so is a fitting location, with more than enough glamour to complement the fashion event.

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Image courtesy of Google

For this occasion I decided to embrace the current 90’s trend of cropped tops and wore skinny jeans, with a black vest top and a cropped sweatshirt bearing the name of fashion’s bible – Vogue.  To learn more about Vogue check out my last blog  I accessorised with a small backpack (another 90’s throwback) and my Kookai suede boots.  My hair was done in 2 French plaits.  My new favourite leather look biker jacket, kept the winter chills out.  On a previous occasion I wore another cropped sweatshirt, this time grey with a Mickey Mouse logo and again following the seasons braid trend, this time with a small french plait at the front of my head.




Fashion week has been at the forefront of the media recently with the suggestion that rather than show autumn/winter in February and spring/summer in September, this would be swapped so the items seen on the catwalk appeared in the shops before the hype from fashion week is a distant memory.  They also want the shows to be less about the media and buyers and more about consumers.

Upon arrival, with our silver tickets, we received a Preen by Thornton Bregazzi tote bag filled with goodies.  The designer couple, met as students on the Isle of Man and began with a shop in Portobello road sharing their love of Victoriana. Twenty years on they are now a global brand with a signature look of combining femininity and masculinity in their designs.  The bag was a pretty floral design mixed with a geometric pattern.  My favourite goodies inside were the Garnier Moisture Bomb and Maybelline lip balm.


My friend and I opted to view the trend show rather than that catwalk show in the hope that we would get more achievable ideas for our everyday looks for the upcoming spring/summer season.  I treated us to front row seats too.

It was disappointing that the models stopped just short of us so when they posed we could generally only see their backs.  Another disappointment of the day was the quality of the refreshments. There was a small coffee bar that only took cash and a champagne bar which had all the ambiance of a cardboard box.  They did however provide us with wrist bands so we could go outside for sustenance.

The trend show was presented by Laura Jackson (you may remember she had a collection at Oasis last autumn) and was styled by  The hair was done by Toni and Guy and the make up by Maybelline.  The four trends showcased were Beautiful Botanicals, Americana, Pop Art Brights and New Romance.


Laura Jackson sporting the mesh trend

Beautiful Botanicals promoted the floral motif which I love because it is so feminine and evokes the feeling of a beautiful British summers day.  This particular dress is Paul by Paul Smith.


Next up was Americana, drawing on the components of the American flag – stars, stripes and red, white and blue.  I loved this military style jacket as well as this denim jacket which were both Marc by Marc Jacobs.



Pop up Brights as its name suggests injected a lot of colour onto the catwalk.  Make a statement with accessories in clashing pantones with your outfit.  I loved these two dresses; the striped one by Karen Millen and the other Love Moschino.



The final trend was New Romance and embraced feminine ruffles, pastel colours and lace.



Both my friend and I fell in love with the Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes with glitter heels seen on the models in the final trend. Unfortunately they would blow the budget but online I managed to find a similar style by Miss KG, only nude instead of black, which were a fraction of the cost so of course I had to buy them for my ever expanding collection.


Miss KG

Afterwards, my friend and I browsed all the designer pop ups including Miss Patina loved by Taylor Swift, Ukulele and Bad Denim amongst many others.  I couldn’t resist a nautical striped dress by Winser that was reduced from £79 to £39!  I was pleased to see that they had a shoe gallery this year and especially liked shoes at House of Spring and Alexander White but was for once restrained on purchases!



When we had literally shopped ‘til we dropped we headed to a pub on the Kings Road for a good old catch up over several glasses of wine.

Did you go to London Fashion Weekend?  If you did, let me know what you thought of it or perhaps you were lucky enough to attend the main London Fashion Week that precedes it; in which case I would love to know what you thought the key trends were coming out of that for autumn winter. Until next time….



En Vogue

Vogue magazine takes its name from the French phrase ‘en vogue’, meaning ‘in fashion/style’.  Vogue started life in 1892 in USA as a weekly newspaper with the intended audience being the American aristocracy; America had glamour and showmanship but wanted to emulate Britain’s class and style.  The title may have been a consequence of the fact that during that time, both the USA and Britain looked to Paris for their fashion guidance.  Condé Nast bought Vogue in 1905 and changed it to a bi-weekly publication. It was as late as 1973 that it became a monthly publication.

The British edition of Vogue was first published in autumn 1916, so celebrates 100 years this year.  To mark the centenary, the National Portrait Gallery London has organised an exhibition entitled ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style’ which runs from 11th February – 22nd May 2016.  The exhibition consists of some 280 prints from the Conde Nast archive and international collections.  The show is a who’s who of photographers, models and celebrities over the last century.  There have been over 1500 issues of Vogue to date and still it remains the authority on fashion.

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Claudia Schiffer in Paris by Herb Ritts, 1989 ©Herb Ritts Foundation/Trunk Archive

For the exhibition I wore a navy long sleeve butterfly dress from Asos with a leather biker jacket from New Look to contrast with the girly butterflies and give the outfit an edge.  My shoes were some Mary Jane black patent shoes which I got in the Oasis sale and I absolutely adore the gold detail on the heels.  To match the shoes I accessorised with a beautiful gold and black box clutch from Aldo.  I had been admiring a very similar one from Biba but this one was a great find at half the price.  In my hair I had a navy suede alice band, the inspiration for which came from Chanel’s autumn/winter 2015 catwalk where the black ribbon was worn by their models. Ribbon always slides out of my hair so the alice band is a great alternative to achieve the same look. I also sported this trend in Hong Kong with a black leather alice band see previous blog.



BIBA version of clutch

Spot the difference?


black patent shoes

The exhibition was laid out with a room for each decade from the magazine’s birth up to the current day.  Many original images were used – with rips and scribbles to prove it.  The earliest surviving vogue print was one of an heiress to a Philadelphia banking fortune which featured in the third issue. There was also a long room which had laid out a copy of an issue from each year of Vogue’s production along with iconic images of models over the years displayed on the walls.  Vogue magazine has evolved over the decades and has seen some of the greatest defining fashion eras; the roaring 20’s, swinging 60’s and punk rock to name a few; what Vogue doesn’t know about fashion isn’t worth knowing and it is now considered by many to be “the fashion bible”.  Celebrities are desperate to feature on the cover.  As well as the exhibition being a tribute to fashion over the last century it is also a great overview of the key historical events in Britain with the tribute issue to each of the deaths of George VI, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana.  Cecil Beaton who proved to be a great asset to Vogue following his first published photo in 1924, covered the coronation of the Queen in July 1953.

There is somewhat of a lack of imagery from the early war years as in 1942 Vogue recycled the majority of its photographic prints to help the war effort.  Vogue was however vital to the morale of the home front and there were in depth reports about the war, showing a more serious side to Vogue.  The depth of report was not seen again until 1993 when Marie Colvin revisited post war Baghdad.  Post WWII, Norman Parkinson’s photos re-emphasised traditional values and signalled that the nation could once again think of prosperity.


Fashion is Indestructible by Cecil Beaton, 1941 © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd

Early editions of Vogue came with patterns for women to make clothes but as the art of dress making lost its popularity and people had a greater disposable income to use in shops, these disappeared.

In 1953 Vogue revealed a new fashion demographic in the young and developed ‘Young Idea’ pages.  This youth culture strengthened through the 50’s and 60’s and in 1955 Mary Quant and Alexander Plunket opened a boutique in Chelsea aimed specifically at the young, called Green Bazaar.  Mary Quant claims to have launched the mini skirt in the 1960’s, named after her favourite car and later popularised hot pants.  The 1960’s were a classless period.  For Vogue, David Bailey became another prominent photographer at this time which is much attributed to his special relationship to the model Jean Shrimpton.

Vogue is known for its firsts – with 1966 seeing Vogue use the first black cover model.  Vogue’s first colour cover was as early as 1932 by Edward Steichen and Vogue led the field with the finest quality colour pages. was launched in 1996 and the first digital issue of the magazine was launched for iPad in 2010.  In 1936 there was a shoot called ‘April comes to Paris’, which saw fashions modelled in the streets of Paris rather than in a studio and it was novelty to see clothes in everyday situations.  It’s interesting to see how fashion photography has changed with the advent of airbrushing and Photoshop.  There was a print at the exhibition of a swimsuit shoot in 1930’s and you can clearly see it was shot on a cold day as the model has goose bumps on her legs – something they would never show nowadays.

The magazine featured Christian Dior’s first collection in 1947.  In 1939 there was an interesting spread entitled ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a waist’ showing the love affair Britain had with the corset. August 1994 saw the explosion of the Kate Moss phenomenon – an ordinary girl from Croydon and turned fashion on its head, changing the way we saw beauty and style.

My favourite cover was July 1926, Vogue constellation by Eduardo Benito and I was able to purchase a print of it in the store.

Following a couple of great hours spent immersed in the exhibition – my friend and I decamped to the gallery restaurant that overlooks Trafalgar square.  Despite the rain it was a lovely view of London and we enjoyed afternoon tea with a champagne cocktail each.




The first man to feature on the cover of UK Vogue was Manolo Blahnik in 1974.  Manolo Blahnik opened a new boutique in Burlington Arcade – only the second shop in the UK on 3rd Feb this year. I tried to get to the opening night cocktail evening but unfortunately it was already fully booked.  Would have been great to get a couple of quotes from him directly as my blog is named after him.  I did however visit the new store after the Vogue exhibition and it truly is a little bit of heaven.  I was almost intimidated by the luxury of the store and was anxious that my shoes, wet from the drizzle might mark the soft cream carpet.  I need not have felt anxious however as on entering the store, the staff couldn’t have been more helpful.  A lovely guy in purple Manolo’s showed us around the store. I pointed out my lovely wedding shoes as worn by Carrie in Sex and the City and he asked if I had worn them since.  He thought it hilarious when I replied only in the house and said ‘some people have slippers, you have Manolo’s!’  The store appears to be quite small until you make your way up a winding staircase to the second floor where more delights decorate the Victorian fireplace and shelves.  By far my favourite pair of shoes I saw was the rose bud sandals but at over £900 they are sadly out of my budget.



Manolo rose

It was a fantastic day out and inspired me to start colouring in my Vogue colouring book that I received for Christmas.  2015 saw the rise of the adult colouring book with at least 4 of them appearing in Amazon’s top 20 book sales.  It has been suggested that they can assist with mindfulness and I did find it surprisingly relaxing.


Vogue colouring book, ‘Love’ keyring as seen in first Sex and the City movie and a Yankee candle

Check out the Vogue exhibition whilst you can and they even do a combined ticket so that you can enjoy afternoon tea in the restaurant too.  It makes for a stylish girls day out.  Here’s to the next 100 years of Vogue!

Vogue 100: A Century of Style is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 11 February – 22 May 2016, sponsored by Leon Max.