Tag Archive | New Look

J’adore Dior

When I think of Dior I think of femininity, luxury and class.  When Dior launched his first collection in 1947, he created The New Look – the hour glass silhouette.  The press dubbed the collection The New Look because of its revolutionary nature.  In contrast to wartime boxy styles, his designs emphasised the curves of the female body.

Born in 1905, Dior retrained as a fashion artist in 1935.  Tragically, he died of a heart attack in 1957, just ten years after the launch of his first collection, however the legacy left by Dior continues to inspire some seven decades later, through the six artistic directors that have succeeded him in the fashion house.

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The V&A’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015 Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, has been a sell out for the London Museum, leading them to extend the exhibition for a further two months until 1 September 2019.  The exhibition was inspired by the Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve in Paris and also explores the designer’s fascination with British culture.  Dior is quoted as saying: “There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much.”  He was fascinated by England’s great houses, ocean liners, Savile Row tailoring and royalty.  He often showed his collections in grand country houses, such as Blenheim Palace in 1954 in aid of the British Red Cross.

I had long anticipated the release of tickets for this exhibition and finally got to visit in March with my friend.  For the visit I wore a red t-shirt from Topshop with J’adore on the front to emulate an actual Dior t-shirt worn by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City Movie 2.

I paired the t-shirt with a black satin, bias cut skirt from New Look.  A similar skirt produced by Topshop was an Instagram sensation and therefore a sell out.  The weather still being somewhat chilly, I also wore my trusty New Look faux leather biker jacket that is one of my go to pieces.  To really set the outfit off, I wore black suede heels that I purchased in Belgium some years back and accessorised with an Asos bag which I thought had a look of a Dior saddle bag and actually appeared in Fabulous magazine sometime after I had purchased it.  The only true Dior I wore was my mascara, Diorshow which I can’t rate highly enough.  A lady on the tube commented on how beautiful my shoes were but after a whole day in London in them, I can assure you I was using a rather different word to describe them!

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The exhibition has over 500 objects, including over 200 rare Haute Couture outfits, displayed with accessesories, original drawings, perfumes, magazines and photographs.  The exhibition is set out over different themed rooms and is a display of absolute beauty, curated perfectly to take you on the Dior artistic journey.  It looks at where Dior found inspiration for his designs from the eighteenth century, to travel to gardens.

The entrance to the exhibition looks at Dior’s life and then focuses on The New Look, particularly the bar suit, acquired by the V&A in 1960 and considered to be a key piece of his first collection, reimagined subsequently by many artistic directors.

Dior in Britain’s main attraction was the dress designed by Dior for Princess Margaret to wear in her 21st birthday portrait in 1951.  Dior said of the princess: “she was a real fairy princess, delicate, graceful and exquisite.  The same adjectives could be used to describe Dior’s own creations.

The next room is historicism and looks at the influence of the eighteenth century on Dior and subsequent artistic directors.

Christian Dior enjoyed travel and took inspiration from art, landscapes and architecture in different countries.  The Travel room looks at how travel inspired his, and future designs of the fashion house. My favourite outfits in the room are shown below.  On the left an Egyptian inspired piece by Christian Dior – John Galliano and part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2004 collection.  This is purely art, if totally unwearable.  On the right, the dress was for the Tokyo presentation of the 2017 Spring-Summer haute couture collection and I just adore this Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri creation, which with the trailing cherry blossom, encompasses the femininity of Dior.

The next room was by far my favourite, The Garden, and I could have spent hours in there.  It truly felt like a secret garden, which is exactly the feel Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to create in the Musee Rodin where she displayed her first couture collection, as homage to Dior’s love of gardens.  Flowers influenced both Dior’s designs and his wonderful perfumes.  He would often sketch in the garden and as a boy he loved to study his mother’s plant catalogues.  Dior said: “After women, flowers are the most divine of creations.”  The room was simply magical.  The centre piece gown, seen top right in the below collection of photos is Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri and part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 collection.  The detail is phenomenal with the petal-like decoration created using layers of dyed feathers.

The centre bottom photo of the collection above is a dress by Dior – Raf Simons and part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2012.  The dress was worn by Natalie Portman as the face of the Miss Dior perfume.  The bottom right picture of the above collection shows to the far right a dress by Christian Dior – John Galliano, which was part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2010 collection  and is hand painted silk, clinched at the waste by a green bow representative of garden twine.

The Ateliers room demonstrates how test garments are made in white cotton fabric so the fit and shape of the design can be checked before making it in the actual fabric and adding embellishments.

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The exhibition concludes with The Ballroom which was where Dior could really allow his imagination to run free and showcase extravagance.  Dior once said that: “evening clothes are the most glamorous and fascinating things a woman can have as the evening is the time when you escape the realities of life.”   This room was really atmospheric with relaxing music and lighting moving it between day and night.

The dress to the bottom right of the collection above is Christian Dior and part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 1949 collection was embroidered with thousands of shimmering sequins and has to be one of his stand out pieces.

The final dress we see is the below creation by Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri and was part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 collection. The inspiration for the dress was an original 1950 hand-painted fan by Christian Dior, held by the mannequin.  Having his signature embroidered in the skirt is symbolic of his lasting legacy.

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If you can get to the exhibition, I highly recommend it.  Additional exhibition tickets will be released on the 15th day of each month for the month ahead and limited tickets are available to purchase daily at the museum on a first come, first served basis.  Dior remains one of the greatest designers and his creations are often seen both on the red carpet and in the fashion magazines.

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The shop at the V&A also has an impressive range of books on the designer and souvenir drawings, photos and stationery from the exhibition.

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Sadly my finances will probably only ever extend to the makeup and perfume of the fashion house, but his influence can often be found in high street designs.  He was a true God of the fashion world.  Long may his legacy continue.

Girls and the city

Fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn once said: “Paris is always a good idea”.  I couldn’t agree more, Paris, like New York is a city I never tire of as there are always new things to discover.

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Paris is chic personified, the city and fashion go together like strawberries and cream.  It is the home of Chanel and Dior as well as the birth place of Karl Lagerfeld, John-Paul Gaultier, not to mention some fabulous accessory brands, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier.  The allure of  French fashion for me began as a teenager when I discovered Kookai, a label founded in Paris in 1983.  Unfortunately Kookai no longer exists in England so you can imagine my joy on my recent visit to Paris on seeing the store.  Naturally I had to go in and purchase.

In September I spent a very enjoyable long weekend in Paris with two of my closest friends from school.  We started the trip as we meant to go on with prosecco on the Eurostar while reminiscing about French lessons at school and visits to La Serronerie, the house near Normandy that the school owned.  I always adored the French language, despite it not coming naturally to me and so studied it right through to A Level.  I actually surprised myself on this trip at how much came back to me.  When travelling it’s important to be comfortable so I wore a black pleated midi skirt from Asos with a t-shirt embroidered with the Paris skyline from Topshop.

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I first visited Paris aged about 13 with my Mum (see picture below) when her best friend lived on the outskirts and it was love at first sight.  I have returned many times since then, as well as introducing others to its wonderful charm.

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Anyone who reads my blog will know that Sex and the City is an obsession for me and therefore first on my list for this trip was to explore the sights of those 2004 epic finale episodes, guided by the website Set in Paris.  It made perfect sense that Carrie Bradshaw should visit the French capital as fictionally, she is one of the biggest fashionistas and as she puts it so eloquently, is “a person looking for love”.   My outfit for this occasion was carefully planned, a black cord pinafore dress over a mustard long-sleeved top, both from New Look, set off with a beautiful Victoria Beckham for Target silk scarf and Carrie Bradshaw herself would have been proud of the amount of ground I covered in my patent Oasis heels.

In these finale episodes, we first see Carrie in Paris as she arrives at Hotel Plaza Athenee and the hotel is even grander in the flesh than it looked on the screen.  The weather was wet, just as it was for most of Carrie’s trip but the hotel is simply striking in any weather with its beautiful balconies, adorned with red flowers and the Eiffel Tower just a stones throw away.

The hotel is on the most fashionable street in Paris, Avenue Montaigne which is home to all the haute culture brands.  Indeed the Dior store where Carrie slips over is on this street.

When Carrie finds herself alone in Paris again, vowing to “do French things and be very parisien” she visits Cador patisserie, where she shares cake with a large dog.  Cador is unfortunately no longer and instead there is Cojean – an organic cafe.

Kong, the restaurant where Carrie meets Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife and gets an insight into what he is really like is still there although we didn’t go inside.

There is no better people to explore a city like Paris with than your girlfriends and that is what Carrie is missing in Paris.  This hits home for her when she spies four girls having lunch in l’Avenue.

The last time we see Carrie and Aleksandr happy is when they are strolling through place du dauphine after Carrie has bumped into her French fan base.

When Aleksandr feels nervous about the opening of his light exhibition, Carrie ditches her dinner with her fans to attend the museum with him.

Carrie goes to Paris with a new man for a new life but returns with an ‘old’ man to her old life which is quite ironic but of course gave many fans the ending they craved of Carrie and Big finally getting it together for good.  We see Carrie hear the long awaiting declaration from Big on pont des arts “Carrie you’re the one”.

So that was my Sex and the City tour of Paris but of course we did plenty of the sights too.  We stayed in Montmartre which is one of my favourite parts of Paris.  Known as the art district, it has a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere than other areas of Paris.  The main square (place du tertre) has a carnival atmosphere with artists painting and sketching and selling their work.

Overlooking the main square, on the highest point of the city, is the beautiful white stone basilica of Sacre-Coeur.  This gives visitors a great view over the whole of Paris.  The building is awe-inspiring whether seen by night or day.  If the steps up are too much of a challenge, there is a small funicular that takes you to the top for a small fee.  The inside is just as beautiful with its stunning painted ceilings and carvings.

Having done the cultural bit, the shops in this area are well worth exploring, particularly the macaron stores.  A quirky find is the shop Belle du Jour which specialises in traditional, vintage perfume bottles.

On a couple of evenings we enjoyed dinner at L’ete en Pente Douce where delicious food can be enjoyed on the pavement terrace soaking up the Montmartre ambiance.  On the walk back to the hotel, we were tempted into a small creperie for a sweet treat on more than one occasion!

On one of the days while there, the rain became torrential and so we opted to duck out of the showers in some of the wonderful shops along the Champs-Elysees.  We walked the full length of the street to where it meets the Arc de Triomphe.  My friend had a fantastic make-over by the Urban Decay stand in Sephora and we queued for macarons in Laduree.  Laduree is a beautiful and regal store where you can eat in or simply buy some of the luxury sweet treats which the brand has been making since 1862.

I had never seen the famous painting, the Mona Lisa and so we paid to go in Louvre museum simply to see it.  The Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world and the glass pyramid in the main courtyard of the museum is a work of art in itself.  The Mona Lisa however was somewhat of a disappointment.  It is much much smaller than one imagines and you have to fight your way through throngs of people in order to get a look at it behind glass.

On this day I wore a checked pleat mini skirt from Oasis with a Boohoo slogan t-shirt and a long grey cardigan from Oasis.  I finished the outfit with my red patent bow pumps which I bought in Milan.

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No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.  We visited at night when it is spectacularly lit and went right to the top, which while blustery and cold was worth it for the views and the champagne at the champagne bar.  When we came down, I indulged the child in me and had a ride on the traditional Victorian carousel.  It was a magical evening.

Our final day came round all too soon and we decided to begin with a boat trip along the Seine.  On this day I wore a Breton t-shirt dress from New Look, clinched in at the waist with a red belt, also from New Look which nicely tied in the red mac from Marks and Spencer.  We visited Notre Dame with its impressive stained glass windows and finished up with lunch at a cafe on the left bank which is linked to the Shakespeare and Company book store.  The book store sells English language books and is part shop and part library.  Many writers write here amongst the books, in exchange for helping in the shop.  It really is an Aladdin’s cave and a bohemian heaven, somewhere I would love to sit and write myself.  It totally inspired me and I’d love to come back.

Paris should be on every fashionistas bucket list and is a perfect break for friends or couples.  I will certainly be returning to one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world.  As Honore de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright said “Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant”.

 

 

A magical time of year

When it comes to Christmas, I am like a kid in a sweet shop! Every December I am counting down the days and itching to put the decorations up.  Putting up the decorations this year was extra special as it was snowing outside.  We followed our usual tradition of enjoying a different kind of snowball as well!  Throughout the year I have collected some great new tree decorations including a golden Paddington bear and a glittering cinderella carriage.  We couldn’t leave Rufus out either and decorated his hutch with paper chains, as well as getting him to wear his Santa hat!

Every December I also like to do something special to get in the Christmas spirit.  Previous years have seen us going to Winter Wonderland, but we decided to give that a miss this year, in favour of a festive meal on a Pullman carriage, hauled by a steam engine on the Bluebell railway.

The Golden Arrow dining train as it is known, is a cheaper version of the Orient Express but just as special.  For the evening I wore a royal blue maxi dress from Coast along with my Zara, tile pattern coat, which was a cult buy last year, that I snapped up as a sale bargain this year.  In keeping with the time of year, I wore silver glitter sandals from New Look and finished the look with a silver scalloped clutch from Asos.

There really was a hint of magic in the air when we arrived at Sheffield Park station.  Christmas lights lit the way to the booking hall and there was a marquee, decorated with fake snow, Christmas trees and lit reindeer that led out on to the platform where our train awaited its passengers.

We were given mulled wine, which was very welcome on such a cold December evening and then boarded our carriage, Fingal.  Each carriage had the luggage racks decorated with Christmas foliage and the perfectly set tables were complete with crackers.

We ordered a bottle of Bluebell Prosecco which was delicious and then the attentive staff proceeded to serve a delicious 4 course meal to us.  I started with a smoked fish medley tartlet followed by a traditional Christmas dinner, the most ornate peach bellini cheesecake you have ever seen and finished off with cheese, coffee, mince pies and a Baileys.

During the journey we stopped for carol singers which further added to the festive mood – you could even join in if you felt so inclined!

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It was a wonderful evening and certainly put me in the Christmas spirit.

The day before Christmas eve was spent with my brother and his family and in the evening my two best friends, their partners and us went for a meal.  Christmas eve we had my parents and my in-laws over for tea.  I wore my Christmas jumper from Oasis.  We opened each others presents.  Rufus is now inside and while we were busy unwrapping we suddenly heard him trying to join in and unwrapping presents under the Christmas tree!  That evening we went for prosecco at a neighbour’s before going to midnight mass.

This year, we decided to spend Christmas day just the two of us which was lovely.  We started with a smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast, washed down with bucks fizz.  We opened each others presents, cooked Christmas dinner and enjoyed Christmas TV.  For the day, I wore a grey jumper from Oasis and a cord pinafore dress from Topshop.  Rufus also enjoyed his own Christmas dinner and present!

Boxing day was spent in Norfolk with my Mum’s brothers and their families which was most enjoyable.  We were truly stuffed after a fantastic lunch there and I was delighted that they set light to the Christmas pudding, as I had never seen it done before.  For this day, I wore a dress from Zara with knee-high black boots from New Look and accessorised with my Stella&Dot clutch.  We saw my husband’s family a few days later.

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One of my most treasured presents this year was a Kikki K leather, monogrammed notebook that I had been lusting over for some time.  That will come in very handy for my blog notes.

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All too soon, New Years Eve came around.  We went to my husband’s friends house for curry and prosecco.  I wore a glitter, navy knitted dress from Warehouse.  As midnight struck, that marked the end to my drinking alcohol, for I had put myself up for dry January.

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2017 certainly had its ups and downs, with one of the main downs being nearly losing our beloved Rufus – luckily though the emergency vet saved him and we might be over £300 lighter but it was worth every penny to see him pull through.  As for the highs, I end the year in a job far more suited to me than anything previously, in internal communications.  Other highlights include visiting the Manolo Blahnik exhibition in Milan, our wedding anniversary in Scotland, visiting Kefalonia, seeing Stereophonics in Margate, a friend’s wedding and a number of friends having babies, a visit to Newcastle, my husband’s surprise 40th bash and many more.  Here’s to a great 2018!

Back to school

Having been blogging for some time now, I felt it was time I went on a course to refine my self taught skills.   In October, Medway adult education were running a Saturday class in Rochester and so I enrolled.

I was surprised it ran; so often you sign up to classes and there is not enough interest for them to run.  It was however somewhat of a disappointment when I discovered that not only had the teacher not prepared a lesson plan, but everyone in the class; apart from me, had never blogged, but rather just had an interest in starting.

It wasn’t a total waste however, it is always good to meet other writers and I did pick up a few tips.  It also gave me some time to practise writing, when we were all asked to write an introduction to why we blog.

Rochester provided a great back drop for a fashion shoot and my outfit for the day was somewhat geeky in style to fit in with the back to school theme.

Skirt, jumper and tights are Oasis, boots are Kookai and bag is New Look.  I love a check woollen skirt for winter.  The clear lens glasses set of the geek chic perfectly and were a steal from Asos.  The Hello Kitty folder is from Paperchase, who have a fab range of back to school stationery.

 

 

 

Remember you are never too old to learn and we can learn a lot from each other.  If you get the chance to do some adult education – go for it.  Let me know what you think of my ‘back to school’ look.

Channeling Captain Corelli

Upon arriving at the Apostolata Spa hotel in Skala, Kefalonia, I had never felt more homesick. To say it was not a good start to the holiday, would be an understatement! The room was tired, the bathroom wasn’t clean and the balcony only overlooked the sea if you looked at a 90 degree angle over it!  I don’t want you to take this as a bad review of the hotel though, as the staff were fantastic and took us via golf buggy the following morning, to a room that couldn’t have been more different. From then onwards, thoughts of home diminished and I began to enjoy the usual Greek hospitality.

The town of Skala was about an hours walk from the hotel but there was a regular bus service. In the town there were the usual array of souvenir shops, along with tavernas and a lovely sandy-ish beach.  The old part of town also has the remains of a Roman villa.

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A game of chess overlooking Skala beach

 

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Frill t-shirt, River Island, shorts, Oasis and Havaianas flip flops.  Cat eye sunglasses Accessorize

Some 16 years ago as a hedonistic 18 year old, my friend and I had visited Zakynthos, another of the Ionian Islands and on a boat trip, the guide had pointed out Kefalonia. From then on I always hoped I would get to visit the island, that was the setting of the 2001 film, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and now finally I had now made it there, for a relaxing week with my best friend, my Mum.

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Enjoying my first trip abroad without parents – this was taken behind the bar in our favourite place, Ghetto in Laganas, Zakynthos.

The pool at the hotel was so inviting and the first day was spent working on a tan on a lounger by it and swimming in the water that twinkled, like diamonds in the sun’s rays. One of the things I love about a package holiday to the sun is the permission it gives you to lay about doing nothing.  This year I decided to try out the slider trend for pool footwear rather than my usual flip flops and I can confirm that I will be sticking to the old faithful in future, as despite looking nice, they are really hard to keep on especially when your feet are wet.

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Hotel pool by night

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Best bargain beach bag from Iceland!

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Sliders from Bershka

I do like to mix it up and ensure I enjoy some culture so the following day we hired a car.  The car was a bit of a wreck that struggled to get out of third gear and driving on the island was quite an eye opener. They tell you to stay off unmade roads but that proves difficult when a proper road suddenly peters out into a dirt track! The mountain roads were also very steep and winding and when driving through Skala, I came face to face with a cow running down the road! Thank god for iphone’s or we would probably still be driving around the island as the map the hire company gave us was about as much use as a chocolate tea pot!

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Our first stop was the port town of Poros. We refreshed ourselves with a cool drink in one of the tavernas, overlooking the harbour and watched the boats before heading down to a small beach for some relaxation.

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After refuelling at a very cute little petrol station, where an attendant dispenses the fuel, we headed on to a beach I had read about, Kaminia. This was a beautiful quiet beach and we relaxed here for a while and I got into the book of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as having never read it, this seemed like an appropriate occasion to do so.

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Lunchtime found us in the pretty village of Kateleios and I enjoyed a traditional Greek salad and moussaka at a local taverna.

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Sisson monastery was our next stop. Unfortunately it was closed when we arrived. We then went on a walk in search of views which was probably a bad idea, given how hot the day had become.

The final stop of the day was the Ayii Theodori lighthouse. My Mum loves lighthouses so this was a must have. It was very different to what I would typically picture as a lighthouse but equally as beautiful. It was built in 1829 originally but had to be reconstructed along with much of the island following the 1953 earthquake.

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I always try and go on a couple of the organised tours and we had a wonderful day out on the ‘Discover Kefalonia’ tour. We had a brief photo stop in Sami before heading on to the Melissani caves. The temperature dropped somewhat as we boarded a small rowing boat to go into the caves. We had a great guide who sang ‘Just one Cornetto’ as he rowed us around.

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Flamingo t-shirt – Oasis, denim skirt – FatFace

The necessity of any sun holiday for me, is a boat trip which was a large part of this excursion. The boat took us around the north-eastern coast of Kefalonia up to the village of Fiskardo – the only town on the island that wasn’t destroyed in the 1953 earthquake. On the way we passed the beach where in the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Penelope Cruz jumps off the board walk for a swim and also stopped at a little pebbley cove. The afternoon was spent in Assos. On the return journey we had a beautiful photo stop at Mytos beach, which when looking down on it appears to be a white sandy beach but is in fact pebbles. This beach was made famous by Hollywood in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

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Approaching Fiskardo

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Old ruined houses in Assos

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Mytos Beach

Prior to going to Scotland in May, I had my hair dyed rose gold. While it looked lovely, after a couple of washes it just looked like my usual blonde highlights. I brought with me on this trip a wash in, wash out pastel pink hair dye by L’oreal and absolutely loved the results.

 

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The professional job

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The DIY job

That afternoon we went on our second organized trip to a vineyard by the monastery of Saint Gerasimos.  Saint Gerasimos is the patron saint of Kefalonia and it is believed that he can heal the sick.  I very much enjoyed the wine tasting and needless to say I didn’t spit it out.  I purchased a couple of bottles to take home.

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Saint Gerasimos Monastery

The coach then headed on to the capital, Argostoli.  We then had free time to either shop or turtle watch.  We spent too long shopping on the beautiful marble street and sadly missed the turtles that others in the party saw but I had seen them before in Zakynthos.

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Shop til you drop in Argostoli.  Top – Oasis, white jeans and silver mules – New Look, bag – Biba with bunny charm from Asos

There was plenty of time for pampering whilst we were away. We went to a morning stretch class, part of which involved concentrating on our breathing. This was extremely relaxing, particularly given our surroundings; the sea was lapping gently and the morning sun was cooled by a light breeze. Of course it would have been rude to come to a spa hotel and not use the facilities, so we both indulged in a back, neck and head massage which was so relaxing, I dropped off to sleep. I also had a pedicure done.

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Food in Greece is always delicious and one of the best meals we had was at a restaurant called Nautilus. The restaurant is designed to look like a boat and over looks the sea. The staff here were fantastic, with one even boning my sea bream for me!

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Dressed for Nautilus in Topshop floral maxi dress, Asos silver clutch and New Look flat mules

In Argostoli, I had to try the Kefalonian meat pie, a traditional delicacy which I have since cooked at home reasonably successfully.

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As part of our all inclusive package we were entitled to one evening in the a la carte restaurant at the hotel which was delicious and allowed for beautiful views over the bay.

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At the a la carte restaurant, I am wearing dress – Zara and red pumps from Milan.

On our final night we followed a recommendation to go to a restaurant in Skala called Sunrise and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

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Getting in on the corset belt trend from In the Style – t-shirt dress –  New Look, denim shoes – Aldo, silver bag – Asos

I couldn’t leave the island without bringing a little part of it with me including some olive oil and various herbs, to help me cook up some Greek flavours in the kitchen.

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I must admit that the book of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin did beat me – despite the excellent story the book is not quite the easy beach read I enjoy.  I was not disappointed by the island the book is set on however and whilst not the best of the Greek islands in my opinion, Mum and I had a fabulous holiday as always.

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Sun sets on another great holiday

Love is Louboutin

May was our third wedding anniversary and to celebrate we decided to go away for a week. Having spent the last few years visiting various far flung places, we thought it was time we explored the treasures the UK has to offer and as such headed to Scotland.

We could have driven or flown but we opted to travel by the Caledonian Sleeper train, which booked in advance was very reasonably priced and hired a car once there. Now the sleeper train is not luxury but an experience none the less and it certainly is nice to fall asleep in London and wake up in the Scottish Highlands.

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We were greeted at Fort William by horrendous rain – the main problem with staying in the UK. As we were unable to book into our accommodation before 4pm, we sought refuge at the Inverlochy Castle hotel and indulged in afternoon tea.

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Highland scenery is stunning and by our bed and breakfast there was a beautiful wide expanse of lake which was ironic given that they ran out of water by the Thursday!

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A walk through Nevis Gorge to Steel Falls is well worth it, if not for the faint hearted – it’s a four and a half mile round trip. The ground is rocky and rough with sheer drops but you are rewarded with a beautiful photo opportunity. Just make sure you wear appropriate footwear – my Italian leather ballerina pumps didn’t cut it!

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Glencoe also provides beautiful views and has been used for films such as James Bond – Skyfall and Harry Potter – it’s where Hagrid’s hut was built.

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T-Shirt Oasis, cropped jeans Oasis and ballet pumps from Milan

A great way to see some of the flatter scenery the highlands have to offer is by horseback. I have always enjoyed horse riding and really enjoyed my trek in Tain – not least as I managed to tick off my bucket list, riding on the beach.

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Sweatshirt Joy, Jeans Oasis and rain jacket New Look

On our actual anniversary we boarded the Jacobite steam train for a journey from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct – made infamous by the Harry Potter films. We celebrated with champagne and exchanged gifts. The three year wedding anniversary is leather and as such, we couldn’t have let it pass without him adding to my shoe collection. I was ecstatic to open my very own pair of classic Pigalle Louboutins in black patent! You can read more about Louboutin in my previous blog First Steps.  I bought him a leather wallet with his initials embossed on it from Aspinal of London.  Leather is traditionally used to protect and shelter due to its durability, so as your relationship matures, a gift of this represents those qualities.

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Glenfinnan viaduct

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Butter-brew cocktail

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Harry Potter Charm

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If castles are your thing, Scotland has some fabulous examples. We visited Urquhart castle, overlooking Loch Ness, for a great example of castle ruins which date from the 13th to the 16th century and Dunrobin which is a true fairytale style castle. Interestingly Dunrobin castle was used as a boarding school for seven years – imagine going to a school that looked like that!

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Urquhart castle

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Dunrobin castle

If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, I can highly recommend the Seaxplorer fast boat trip out on Loch Leven. We got to see seals and sea birds as well as our captain doing some elaborate fast turns like they do in lifeboats to add to the thrill.

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We couldn’t visit Scotland without going to Balmoral of course. Having always been a royalist it was fabulous to see the Queen’s holiday hideaway. Balmoral castle itself is beautiful although we saw very little of the inside. The Landrover safari trip revealed how vast the grounds are, with stunning views and we got to see some majestic deer.

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Balmoral

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T-Shirt Zara and leather jacket New Look

 

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Being us it was a mad rush to get from Balmoral back to Fort William to catch the sleeper train home but we made it and got a lovely view of Ben Nevis on the journey too.

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Ben Nevis

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KIP (Krissy is Phil’s) elephant snuggling on the Caledonian sleeper

The UK really has some great sights that shouldn’t be overlooked.  We had a great anniversary and look forward to many more years happily married.  I love my husband because he knows me inside out and loves me anyway.

A Boot Sale with a Twist

In April I went to the Classic Car Boot Sale held in London’s Kings Cross.

What springs to mind when I say boot sale? 5am start, a muddy field and people’s junk on sale – this event is as much like that, as glamping is to camping!

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Run by House of Hemingway, people bring their classic cars and sell all manor of fine vintage clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware and vinyl.

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Now as you can imagine this was right up my street, I love classic cars having owned a 1970’s VW Beetle and you all know how I love all things vintage. It was also a bargain event given it was in London, with tickets costing just £5 on the door or £4 if booked in advance.

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To add to the atmosphere there was a DJ on the top deck of a vintage bus playing all the golden oldies and many people came in vintage dress.

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There were bars on vintage buses, some great food stalls also in vintage vehicles and even a mobile cinema.

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Unfortunately for me, vintage clothes tend to be quite small, as women have in general got bigger over the years, so there was little there that would fit me. I did however find a stall selling new items in vintage styles, called Weekend Doll and bought this red t-shirt.

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For the day I wore a black pleated skirt from Asos, plain black vest top from New Look, my trusted biker jacket also from New Look and a scarf from Victoria Beckham for Target. I wore black flat, multi strap shoes from Zara and finished the look an Forever 21 suede look saddle bag, which toned with the orange on the scarf and a Lulu Guinness umbrella – after all this is England, so the event enjoyed sunshine and showers.

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Talking of 5am starts, there was one thing I was willing to do that for and that was earlier this month, one Sunday when Victoria Beckham x Target went on sale! Magazines had been building up to the release for weeks so I stayed up on the Saturday thinking it would go live at midnight Sunday, only to find it didn’t, so then set the alarm for 5am, which would be midnight in the USA and still nothing. After constantly hitting refresh on the webpage, it finally went live at well-gone 9am. I was lucky enough to bag the scarf above and a dress before it sold out though so was quite pleased with myself.

If you like the sound of what you have read, there is another classic car boot sale being held on 9th and 10th September in London Kings Cross. For tickets visit www.classiccarbootsale.co.uk