Tuesday, 23 February 2010

London and New York fashion week - falling out of love

As usual this time of year I'm following with interest the fashion shows. London Fashion Week is on at the moment and before that was New York, but I've felt that for some reason fashion isn't really exciting me at the moment. Maybe it's motherhood, maybe it's the fact that every spare bit of money is being squirreled away for our impending renovation work, but the collections this year aren't inspiring me as they usually do.

I'm finding a new softness and confidence in my style but most of the designers are going for quite strong, even hard, statements that don't seem to flatter or enhance the wardrobe.

Here are some pieces that have caught my eye. All images are from style.com.

Paul Smith: pretty soft layering with sharp tailored cigarette trousers - wearable and stylish, I can imagine wearing this on a night out, or maybe even for a business meeting.


Paul Smith again - I'm inspired by the clashing prints and mixture of strong, masculine black boots with soft feminine florals, and I can imagine that cute tweed jacket with a great pair of jeans.



Clements Ribeiro, more wearable pieces that I can envision mixing easily with my wardrobe.


Love love love this cardi with the hearts - anything with hearts on gets my vote.



L'Wren Scott, what a pretty way of combining colours, and totally inspired to wear a big scarf over a slim fitting dress. Very luxurious!




Simple style solutions...

After yesterday's post I was considering what it takes to shop and dress well. I don't believe in being prescriptive about style and think that every woman should find her own statement with her wardrobe but there are some simple rules that help in looking pulled together.

These simple style solutions can pretty much apply to everyone regardless of age or style:

1.] Always wear clothes that are appropriate for the occasion [whether that's in style or practicality], and the weather. Now this may seem like the most blindingly obvious piece of advice but I'm constantly amazed at how many women get it wrong. Particularly those women up North who don't wear the appropriate attire for an evening out in winter [you know who you are!].

You'll never look or feel more uncomfortable than when you're inappropriately dressed, and style and comfort to me or inextricably linked. If you want more evidence of this read Caitlin Moran's hilarious piece on current trends in last Sunday's Times - particularly the sky-high platforms that are impossible to actually walk in.

2.] Buy clothes you love; in other words don't be a slave to fashion. If there's one thing I learnt in 10 years working on magazines it's that very few people actually working in the industry follow the trends, or could afford to buy them if they weren't 'gifted' them by the designers.

3.] Take care of your clothes; this means keeping them in a wardrobe / drawers / cupboard space that allows them to be seen and not squashed into oblivion. I've seen too many friends with crammed wardrobes full to bursting with clothes who tell me they have nothing to wear. If anything they have too many clothes and because they can't actually see what they have, how on earth can they figure out what to wear.

Storing clothes is a whole art form and something I'll be covering in another blog. If the clothes you have are clean, pressed and ready it is much easier to put an outfit together in a morning when you're rushing out the door, or juggling a giddy toddler while dressing yourself and cleaning their teeth at the same time.

This leads to point...

4.] Be ruthless and have a clear out of your wardrobe every 6 months. This may sound like a big headache, but believe me it will save you a lot of money in the long run. When you are forced to go through your clothes and consider what you actually wear you are much less inclined to spend money on something similar a couple of weeks down the line. Put the clothes into 3 piles: keep; mend/alter; charity/ebay. Religiously get rid of anything that doesn't fit or can't be mended.

5.] Rather than buy lots of cheap clothes, buy fewer clothes but invest more wisely. Again, this is speaking from experience of friends who have a wardrobe full of cheap clothes, and yet seem to be constantly spending money on new things.

Cheaper clothes don't last as long - fact, so the trick is to buy the best you can afford. That might mean saving up to buy one really great piece from French Connection rather than 3 bits from New Look or River Island.

If you'd love to buy designer but your purse won't stretch try looking on ebay for second-hand finds. I'll be posting soon about where to find the best bargains.

6.] When you're shopping think fabric, fabric, fabric... there are some fabrics that shouldn't be considered after the age of 30 - anything with polyester in should be avoided like the plague particularly in knitwear. This is one area where it is really important to stick to rule 5. Cheap knitwear is always guaranteed to look tatty after a few washes, it will lose it'sshape, start to bobble, and generally look messy.

7.] Good news: Don't spend alot on expensive denim - if there is one thing that you can buy well and buy cheaply this is it!

I'll be blogging more on style in the weeks ahead...

Hooray for Blighty!

Now I can't say I'm a very patriotic person, having lived and worked abroad I can certainly see the advantages and disadvantages to living [and shopping!] in this Fair Land, but I'm loving some of our very own products at the moment.

I've seen The Bath House products before, but came across some gorgeous pieces at the shop at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park [which is worth the trip just on it's own!]. Including really lovely hand-milled soaps and indulgent scents for the bathroom, I love the fun, simple packaging too. A great gift idea or I'd want to just display some of their glass bottles in my bathroom, perfect against simple, white tiles.

Bath soak £9.95



Soaps £3.95


Hobbs is a label I've fallen in and out of love with several times but their new NW3 line is brilliant. Cute prints, great tailoring and all with a fun retro twist - good if you're looking for something to splash out on.

Hooray for Blighty!

Dove top £89

Cropped Crombie Jacket £189


Monday, 22 February 2010

Oh to live here...



I'm constantly looking for ideas and inspiration when it comes to interior design. Especially with our imminent move to, what we've dubbed; The Ugly House. I could happily spend hours looking through my favourite blogs [some of them are listed to the right], and poring over Living Etc.

So when a friend posted some gorgeous pictures of her house on FB I had to share them as I thought they were so beautiful and inspiring.

Lisa Valencia is a brilliant and talented make-up artist but she obviously also has a flare for design too.

If you'd like to share pictures of your home on-line drop me an email!

Lisa describes how she put together pieces from her travels around the world for work with smart highstreet and ebay finds, against a rich backdrop of Farrow and Ball colours.


"THE RED WALL HANGING IS A FEATHER HEADDRESS THAT I BOUGHT IN SOUTH AFRICA, THE 1950'S AEROPLANE SEATS WERE BOUGHT FROM A JUNK SHOP, I THEN GAVE THEN A GOOD CLEAN AND HAD THEM REUPHOLSTERED IN A LINEN TICKING.


THE WOODEN OARS, I PAID £4.00 FOR THEM AT A CAR BOOT SALE."




"THE BEDROOM CURTAINS ARE FROM LAURA ASHLEY, AND THE BED IS A FRENCH ANTIQUE THAT I BOUGHT FROM EBAY.


THE DUVET COVER AND CUSHION ARE BOTH ANTHROPOLOGIE."



"THIS LAMP [BELOW] IS A HOLLYWOOD REGENCY STYLE LAMP, I BOUGHT IT FROM AMERICAN EBAY AND THEN HAD IT REWIRED, IT'S AN ORIGINAL 1940'S PIECE.


THE WHITE FEATHER WALL HANGING IS AN AFRICAN FEATHER HEAD DRESS I BOUGHT BACK FROM CAPE TOWN.

THE CROSS I BOUGHT IN MEXICO AND THE OIL PAINTING WAS A BIRTHDAY GIFT FROM MY FRIEND."




"THE SOFA IS FROM MARKS AND SPENCERS, COVERED IN DESIGNERS GUILD FABRIC,

BOTH EBAY PURCHASES. I NEVER BUY NEW SOFA'S IF I LIKE THE SHAPE. I ALWAYS HAVE THEM REUPHOLSTERED IN MY FAVOURITE FABRIC.


THE CURTAINS ARE BY SANDERSON AND THE WALLS ARE PAINTED IN FARROW AND BALL BLUE GROUND.




THE WALLPAPER [BELOW] IS MATTHEW WILLIAMSON FOR HABITAT, I BOUGHT THE JEWELS AND JUST STUCK THEM ON.

THE FLOOR LAMP WAS A GIFT FROM MY MUM. THE CHESTERFIELD, IS GREAT WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN AS THEY CAN JUST JUMP ALL OVER IT. I BOUGHT IT FROM EBAY AND USED, WWW.SHIPLY.COM, TO HAVE IT COURIERED.


THE UNION JACK CUSHION WAS FROM EBAY, THE SEQUIN CUSHION IS FROM MONSOON, AND THE FRENCH BULLDOG CUSHION, IS BY BEN DE LISI FOR DEBENHAMS.


THE KNITTED CLOCK ON THE WALL IS FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE, THE ARMOIRE WAS AN EBAY FIND, AND THE WALLS ARE PAINTED IN FARROW AND BALL JAMES WHITE.


THE CHANDELIER, IS FROM EBAY."




THE MIRRORED ARMOIRE WAS AN EBAY FIND, THAT I PAINTED IN F&B JAMES WHITE, AND THE

BLANKET ON THE CHESTERFIELD IS FROM TK MAXX.



"THE CONVEX MIRROR IS FROM LAURA ASHLEY, THE WALL'S ARE PAINTED IN F&B ELEPHANTS BREATH.


I DECIDED ON A WHITE WOOD BURNER, TO GIVE THE ROOM A MORE CONTEMPORARY FEEL."





THE CHEST OF DRAWERS [BELOW] WERE A DARK HEAVY WOOOD, BUT A GREAT SIZE, I BOUGHT THEM FROM EBAY AND THEN JUST PAINTED THEM IN FARROW AND BALL CARD ROOM GREEN.


THE BEDROOM WALL'S ARE PAINTED IN F&B, ELEPHANTS BREATH. THE MIRROR IS FROM IKEA, AND THE

CURTAINS ARE LAURA ASHLEY.



"I FOUND THE ANTLERS IN A JUNK SHOP IN SOUTH AFRICA, THEY WERE MOUNTED ON A UGLY WOODEN PLAQUE THAT I REMOVED."





THIS IS THE SHED/OFFICE THAT WE HAD BUILT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GARDEN,







"AND THIS IS THE BEDROOM IN MY GARDEN HOUSE/SHED.

THE WALL PAPER WAS FROM COLE AND SON, THE FRENCH BED WAS FROM EBAY, AND THE

BED THROW IS LAURA ASHLEY."




Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Bright Blue skies! A perfect day for visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where my current favourite artist: Rob Ryan has had an exhibition [unfortunately it ends on the 21st of Feb for anyone interested].

Here are a couple of pieces that I loved.





For fear that this is turning into a fan-blog I also loved the work of Alec Finley called Propagator that was funny, quirky little mesostic poems planted in small terracotta plant pots.






Prettiness

Just because...






Friday, 19 February 2010

The perfect gift

Our friend's Nick and Lily are soon to have a baby and as if that weren't enough they're renovating a lovely old Victorian house down in Hove.

In the spirit of recessionary chic we sent them a package of Noah's old clothes and bits and bobs and in return we got the most brilliant gift! They sent a biscuit from Biscuiteers! It tasted delicious, but I was even more mesmerised by the brilliant packaging.




What a brilliant idea as a thank you gift or even as a new baby gift for Mum and Dad - I know I needed lots of biscuits when Noah was first born.

Spellbound

I'm totally spellbound by the artist Rob Ryan's work. He has the most incredible talent for expressing wonderful, simple sentiment in the most beautifully, delicate work and if I won the lottery I think an original artwork would be top of my list of things I would love to buy.




Instead I've made do with a really pretty gift card that I've framed in a simple white Ikea frame.


Small but perfectly formed I think.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Market day


I'm learning how tough business is; market day again and Karma & Cupcakes is back on the front-line plugging for business with new product and a fresh look.

It was great to get lots of compliments on our stall and I was definitely pleased with how fresh and different it looked. One person even said she'd like to move in!

For information on any of the product featured email me directly at: amy@amy-stylist.co.uk.

Taking a break!

Personalised bunting






It was also a great place to meet up with other new businesses and share ideas and inspiration. Some of my favourites were the food companies [no surprise to those who know me!].

Anne Marie is a really inspiring woman who has already set up another catering business and has a product called bakeit. They are fun jars of ready-to-make dry cake mix [just add the wet ingredients].

Mamapie made delicious vegan and non-vegan cakes, brownies and cupcakes.

The best ice cream flavours I've ever tasted were made by Yee Kwan [try Turkish Delight, and Ferrero Rocher with chunky pieces of chocolate] - already trading locally through restaurants and delis,she looks like she's already on the road to big success.

Melanie Jane Brookes is a really talented designer with a flare for vintage-style dresses. Pretty and quirky I loved her work.








Noah likes Karma


With our recent house-move life has been too hectic for blogging which is disappointing and frustrating, but with a moment to catch my breath I'll hopefully be back on-line more often over the next few weeks.

Although this is only a temporary move I am feeling much more settled and Noah is enjoying life in his new home [for now!]. He took particular enjoyment in playing hide and seek with one of my cards for the market [news to follow!].

This picture said a thousand words so had to post it.
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