Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cheap and full of christmas cheer...

If, like me, Christmas this is year is a homespun affair you'll be looking for some ways to save money, but still keep things looking festively-stylish [or stylishly festive].

There are some great resources online to help you on your way, here a few of my favourites.

Martha Stewart always has great ideas for the holidays and she has some lovely free gift-tag downloads that look very chic, click on the link here for ideas.

Another place to go is the brilliant design blog Paperseed which is by a graphic designer in Portland, Oregan. Her designs have that simple, retro look that I just love, and the trick with all these ideas is to print them directly onto a thicker paper or card that you can get from a good craft centre.

These handmade tags are from BBC Food website - I'm thinking of whipping something tasty up for the Grandparents as a stocking filler, even if you don't use these templates the ideas are fun.

The last link is to another inspiring design blog, Eat Drink Chic by Amy Moss. Her labels have a very cute handwritten feel, great for any fashionable friends.

Have fun with your wrapping!

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Can anyone solve a conundrum for me? How do European women and particularly french women manage to look so effortlessly stylish? I realise this is hardly answering one of life's great questions but it has been a perpetual puzzle for me, a girl from Rotherham, who was trying to make it in the very international, and glamorous world of fashion from my early 20s.

I felt abit like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole if I'm honest, as all the women had incredible style like they'd just walked off the set of a Federico Fellini film, whilst I looked more Carry on Camping! It's such a difficult thing to define but I always felt like there was something aesthetically not quite right with my 'look' for want of a better word - my nails weren't manicured, my shoes were the wrong shape, or something similarly ridiculous that would leave me feeling constantly inadequate.

I only ask as I was reminded again whilst looking at the brilliant blog The Sartorialist. I will borrow a couple of images to illustrate but you should really go straight to Scott Schuman's website as it is a pictorial education in modern style. Even the dressed-down outfits of the Euro-fashionistas have a confidence and f**k it approach the British don't seem to have.

Vanessa Paradis, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sophie Marceau, Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Tatou - all elegant and seemingly better with age and botox-free!

I'm also reaching an age [my mid-30s] where I think my style needs to become a little more considered if I'm going to look someway resembling good. This is of course something that doesn't begin to cross my mind as I'm wrestling with a toddler first thing in the morning trying to persuade him of the merits of brushing his teeth and putting clothes on other than his cartoon PJs. But I'm starting to think about what my next career step will be and my re-emergence into the real world - bad nails and all.

So I'll continue pondering on my predicament - although I seem to remember reading somewhere that French women spend the most money on lingerie and cosmetics in the world. True or false? Maybe that effortless chic does actually require considerable effort...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I love mid-20th century illustration whether it's the quirky, colourful, modernist drawings of Eric Carle or the feminine lines of a 50s Vogue cover, they capture a very evocative period in design and fashion.

There is an exhibition on at the moment that I would love to see at Somerset House in London featuring the work of Rene Gruau. An illustrator for Christian Dior Gruau created iconic, beautiful images that reflected the spirit of Dior in such a wonderful time.

I can't help but think of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly - all poise and elegance - when I see these images and feel a little bit sad that we've lost that sense of style. The exhibition runs until the 9th of January in case you fancy popping along.

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