Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lusting after LLUSTRE

As I get older, I find myself becoming more and more enthusiastic about homeware. I think it's the nesting instinct kicking in. British design icon William Morris once said, Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.' This can be harder to achieve than it sounds-and what's often the hardest is finding things that are useful AND beautiful.
Here to help is new design website, Llustre. Think of it as the homeware equivalent to sites like Net-A-Porter, featuring talented designers, exclusive products, limited edition pieces and special offers as well as engaging editorial content on their blog. I particularly enjoyed having a nose around the homes of the Llustre team- including their web designer Katie who also has a fantastic blog What Katie Does (check out her prints). Her collections of owls and cameras are just gorgeous!
 Llustre is a members' only website- but membership is free and offers loads of great benefits, from discounts to exclusive products.
Sales will launch in April- the first month will include pieces by Becky Bauer, Ella Doran, Plumen, Snow Home and more. Norman Copenhagen is a great example of a designer who combines the useful and beautiful- his washing up bowls have been on my wish-list for years!
Other brands Llustre will be working with include iconic British lamp makers Anglepoise- an essential for any stylish desk, and Thornback & Peel; check out their whimsical prints here. Join now so you're well equipped when the time comes to make your next Christmas wishlist!

I've just been informed about a competition to win £250 to spend on Llustre- please sign up using this link then I get more credit to spend on the site too! Same applies for you-you'll get your personal referral link when you sign up!

Winner will be chosen in the week commencing 30th April and prize given out in 1st week of June, valid on any purchase but not for P&P

Miranda Watkins

Make International- making breakfast the most stylish meal of the day

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway with Vintage Trudy!

At the very beginning of my writing career I spotted a couple of artists' work in a tiny exhibition in East London, really liked their paintings and ended up interviewing them both for Dazed and Confused. Both these artists Tinsel Edwards and Twinkle Troughton have gone on to become brilliantly successful artists, as well as dear friends of mine. We've worked together many times over the years, with the pair  creating all the artwork for my website, and Twinkle's genius painting 'The secret of England's Greatness'  is the heading here on my blog!
Both ladies are now working on wonderful projects-Tinsel opening her own studios A-Side, B-Side in Hackney Downs Studios, and Twinkle has just published a charming series of her grandmother's illustrations. They have a really sweet story behind them which you can read below:
Born in Amsterdam, Trudy's childhood fell apart when in World War 2, her father joined the resistance movement and the family had to live under assumed names, in hiding, often eating no more than tulip bulbs. At the age of 19 Trudy came to study nursing in Rugby, England and within months met the man she soon married. No guests at the wedding, just two witnesses, no honeymoon, but a trip to London Zoo. Pale, beautiful, thin, afraid of the sound of planes, in a foreign country,Trudy suddenly saw a life that held promise and joy. Her pictures, all originals, drawn in 1951-52, reflect the life she so wanted to live.

Years later after Trudy passing away these drawings by a much loved Nanna resurfaced. The family felt the drawings were too beautiful to be hidden away in an old sketchbook so in honour of Trudy and her dreams, and thousands of women like her in those post war years these drawings have been given new life. The drawings are not nostalgic reflections of an era gone by, but were created at the time and are as authentic and original as any vintage artefact you might find.

Vintage Trudy includes greeting cards and gift tags, aprons and cushion covers. The range will be expanding with new lines added as the venture grows. To keep regularly updated you can find us on Twitter and our online shop on Etsy

I thought these greeting cards and tags would make the perfect Mother's Day stationery-so the lovely Twinkle has offered us these two sets of cards and gift tags!
To win a set, leave a comment below telling me the best tales your mother or grandmother has ever told you about life in a different era. I'll add another entry for you if you tweet about it too- just tag @vintagetrudy and include a link to this post.

I've yet to meet any mum who doesn't appreciate being bought lovely flowers, so I thought I'd recommend my favourite florists, the Flower Appreciation Society. Have a look at their gorgeous website and you'll see how they're 'not your average florists'!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Lara Stone gets tough for SHOWstudio

As I'm writing this post, I'm still trying to digest how I feel about these videos.This is the blurb from SHOWstudio:

In La Femme à Paris the author Octave Uzanne dubbed a woman's clothing 'her offensive armour' - but, in reality, fashion seldom offers protection from the violence of the modern world. The clothing adopted when a woman is at her most vulnerable to attack - the heels, furs and jewels of evening attire - actively works against the idea of self-preservation.

Nick Knight sought to challenge this: born from a desire to protect his own two teenage daughters and inspired by the 'Slutwalk' movement of women reclaiming the right to dress as they wish without being seen to invite attack, Knight decided to address the notion of self-defence through a fashion shoot. For this, he chose to collaborate with two much-celebrated and empowered female fashion figures - model Lara Stone, and stylist Carine Roitfeld - to redefine the notion of 'Power Dressing' for the twenty-first century.

Specially trained for this shoot in the techniques of Krav Maga, a self-defence system developed by the Israeli Defence Forces, Stone defends herself in a series of scenarios whilst modelling a selection of Spring/Summer 2012's finest fashions, selected by Roitfeld and captured by Knight in stills for V magazine and on fashion film for SHOWstudio. These films serve two functions - showcasing next season's key styles, and offering instruction to women, a high-fashion 'how to' of self-defence.

Pushing the boundaries of fashion editorial beyond aesthetic, and countering the 'Brutal Chic' of violent fashion imagery that dominated in the seventies, Knight, Roitfeld and Stone offer a true vision of 'Power Dressing' for a modern and truly powerful woman.

Obviously, I am all for more representation of women, particularly in the fashion industry, as independent and powerful rather than weak and vulnerable. I also genuinely think these sort of basic self defence skills should be taught to ALL women. Is there any woman reading this who hasn't felt threatened by a man at some point in their life? It always amazes me how much stronger men are than us- even my boyfriend who is super skinny and has never set foot in a gym can pin me down almost effortlessly. Only ever with my consent, I should make clear! Ahem..moving on...
So- yes, these are great videos for changing the image of women in fashion as weak, submissive and passive, and yes, we should be teaching women how to defend themselves; there's just something about these videos that leaves me feeling like they're not going to be taken as seriously as the issue should be? Referencing the designer Lara is wearing just seems like a bit of a cheap publicity stunt when the subject is actually quite a serious one. Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL for fashion making fun of itself and not taking things too seriously- see Marcus Lupfer's video which I adored- but this seems to be a bit of a confusing one because of the subject matter being a real issue.
Having said that, maybe I wouldn't have actually sat through all these videos if the clothes weren't so gorgeous, and if the slow-mo shots of  Lara kicking ass weren't so beautifully shot. So maybe it's doing just what it's set out to do, even if it had to wrap it up in a pretty Balenciaga bow for us to pay attention. It's a shame that was necessary, but if it educates any young women out there on how to defend themselves, then it's done good work.
What else can I say? Other than, of course, poor Dave.
What do you think of the videos?

Friday, 2 March 2012

London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Trends: Print

Charlotte Taylor

So, I mentioned how big Prints are in my post on Orla Kiely-here are some more designers experimenting with all sorts of shapes,colours and patterns-such a lovely change as Autumn Winter collections can sometimes be a bit sombre and dull.Not this year!Charlotte Taylor continues to use animals as inspiration for her prints- I adore this owl dress, and am equally in love with the real owl used in her brilliant, moving image lookbook-check it out.




Mary Katrantzou

Meadham Kirchoff


Charlotte Taylor image from her lookbook, all other images from

Above are some more shots from my favourite print-heavy collections. If, like me, you don't have the figure to pull off lots of print (it doesn't tend to do us non-model types any favours) then you can still embrace the trend by wearing printed accessories-everything from scarves, to shoes, handbags and sunglasses come in print at the moment, so you won't feel left out.
If you do want to indulge in the trend but can't stretch to catwalk prices, then I'd really recommend Ted Baker. I got to see their new collection in the brilliant suite Handpicked Media ran for their bloggers at One Aldwych over LFW- it made life so much easier. Having somewhere to take your heels off for five minutes, re-charge your phone and grab a cup of coffee was bliss- and if you wanted to stay longer you could even crash on the bed in front of Mad Men! On the Monday The Ted Baker team came to visit, bringing with them their new collection and their beauty team-I didn't know Ted Baker had their own beauty salon?! I had my nails Shellac'd-a process my mum has been recommending to me for ages. You have your nails painted and then set under a special light, and they stay on for about 2 weeks- mine only just need removing now as they're starting to grow out-but no chips! Amazing!
Anyway-I was talking about their collection- it's perfect for a number of big trends at the moment, including 'Prints' and 'Princess'- some pieces even incorporate both, combined with that lovely vintage-inspired  tailoring that's so flattering.

From Ted Baker lookbook

We were given a great Ted Baker goodybag when we left- mine contained this gorgeous laptop case- I have needed one for ages and had been struggling to find anything I liked-so this was PERFECT. I love it. So thanks to the Ted Baker team, and especially to Handpicked Media for providing the suite for us-it was really lovely to get to meet some of the other bloggers in the HPM network too. As always, the best part of LFW for me is getting to catch up with all your online friends in peson, and meet people whose blog you follow, or have been chatting to on Twitter. Digital friendships and work relationships are great, but no amount of emails or social media can replace actually meeting someone in real life and having a good old natter.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Trends- Print: Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely truly spoilt us this LFW with her wonderful presentation/installation. Models were whisked off their feet by handsome young men, taking to the dance floor to the tunes of a live band whilst we looked on from tables with tea and cake. Nostalgic prints graced both the clothes, the wallpaper and the beautiful lamps, as well as beautiful, mismatched vintage crockery that tea was served on. As Zoolander would say, prints are 'so hot right now' - I'll be posting on Mary Katrantzou et al imminently. 
The handbags all went straight on my wishlist, as well as one particular dress that has black stripes and a big black velvet bow-you can see it below in my lomography pictures which came out a bit dark, I'm afraid.

I loved the fact that you got to see models actually chatting to each other, sipping tea, sitting down, SMILING and generally looking human!So refreshing! 
Other details I really liked in the styling included the lovely sparkly Tabio socks, t-bar shoes, sequinned collars, sleek ponytails and dark red lipstick and nails.

Gabby Young and I spent a good hour sitting and watching the show, listening to the band and indulging in the delicious spread laid out for tea!

I felt sorry for the models who were carrying handbags as they didn't get to dance!

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