Good afternoon luvvies!

It feels like forever since I’ve posted (I know, I said I wouldn’t do that again. Oopsy!) But I couldn’t be happier to be back. I’ve had a lot of up’s and down’s since my last post. Don’t worry! I’m not going to go into details about the down parts, simply because I’ve let my anxiety hash it out and to type it out I feel would be inviting all that negative energy back and that’s a big no-no (bye Felicia!)

With arrival of autumn (hey babe, I’ve missed you!) The heating is finally going on, knitwear and plaid trousers are making their way back into my wardrobe again and my tea consumption is through the roof. If you can’t tell (or you’re new here “hellooo”) it’s my favourite time of year. Let’s reminisce to a few blogs ago, where I’m trying to find my way with summer fashion. Fair to say I was struggling! Now you’ll discover when it comes to the matters of ‘autumn/winter fashion’ I have zero worries. Bring on the jumpers, I say!

I. AM. THRILLED!

Now there’s one major fashion staple that pretty much helps assemble my everyday outfit choices that I feel deserves talking about, especially at this time of year: the false collar.

Something that would seem so simple, yet takes my autumnal outfits to a whole other level.

I first decided I wanted to make these an addition to my wardrobe a few years ago, but I was confronted with a series of collars from amazon that had some pretty sketchy reviews and all looked the same. There was just nothing that popped and had zero personality; until I came across Magnus Clothing Company on Instagram. The girl just understood exactly what I wanted!

It’s as if she took a peek inside my brain and said “girl, I got you covered!” If her store wasn’t enough- she is just an absolute dream! Personable, adores fashion and to say she works incredibly hard would be an understatement. Her business attracts quirky instagrammers and fashion forward people alike from all over the world, including myself. Through her store I’ve not only met other like-minded people, but created some wonderful friendships through the power of social media… All because of the magic of ‘the collar’!! 

In addition to the collars that Magnus creates, she also offers useful tips and what she calls the ‘crew neck closet’. Here is where she thrifts shirts and dresses that would fit her collars perfectly, which you can also purchase from her store so you’re never in doubt of how to pair your collars and also encourages buying sustainable fashion. Believe me whether you live in the US, UK or Australia, what she offers is worth the extra postage to get these items to your doorstep!

What I personally adore most about the false collar is the power to completely transform your old t-shirts and tired jumpers. They’ve given my wardrobe new life! Through supporting a small business, I now have a whole new love for some of my older clothes as I can simply change them up day by day.

At this preset time I own 6 collars and I will never stop adding to my ever-growing collection, remember #livecollarfully !

Earlier this month I was completely overwhelmed with happiness (understatement of the century) when I got to see one of my idols the Barbra Streisand live in Hyde Park. Oh my lovelies, to be able to stand there hand in hand with my mum (aka the most important lady in my life) and watch (through all the tears) this goddess whom we have both looked up to for many years; it was quite simply a dream come true (as I’m sure it was for many of the others we were stood with!) It got me thinking about how important it is to have someone to look up to.

Personally for me, an idol is someone whom I look up to because of their talent, career, charisma and all-round presence.

Four people who I feel encompass all of these traits are (as mentioned) Babs, Lucille Ball, Liza Minnelli and of course, my mum. They’re ladies I’ve always known and can’t imagine my life without them. They influence a lot of what I do, how I dress and how I present myself to the world on a day to day basis (ask any of my friends or former colleagues… On second thought don’t!)

My mum is an incredibly strong-willed woman who continues to empower me every day and teaches me to never settle for less. She’s always taught me to be persistent, and even though the road to success maybe a bumpy one has never once deterred me from what I wanted to achieve in my life. I’ll always be eternally thankful for her and for introducing me to the other amazing ladies I look up too.

Liza has been an idol of mine for as long as I can remember. I fell in love with her performances in Stepping Out, Cabaret and Arthur (not to mention her collaborations with choreographer Bob Fosse) and knew I wanted to perform just like her; the energy and facial expressions she possessed had me hooked from day 1. She’s an utter powerhouse, but yet when she’s vulnerable it’s beautiful to watch. What makes my admiration for her even more worthwhile is when I was working last month, an absolute sweetie made a comment that I resembled like her without even knowing I was a fan. If only I had her voice and could move like her, that is! Is there anyone you’ve been told you look like and do you find it strange, or like me the biggest compliment!? What I’ve always loved about Liza is that she still adores her mother and the legacy she build, but Liza well and truly carved out her own legendary career! Believe me; watch her episode of Inside the actors studio with James Lipton and try your hardest not to fall in love with her infectious personality! (See my dedication to the woman below in an impromptu makeover I did yesterday…)

One thing all my idols have in common is: comedy.

If you’ve met me, you may think I’m a little quirky, off-beat and most definitely kooky (these traits I definitely got from my dear mama!) So I suppose it’s no surprise that I relate heavily to all of the quirkiness these ladies flourish with. Like Liza, Barbra and Lucille are comediennes in their own right and I live for comedy! If you’ve never watched an episode of I Love Lucy before, might I recommend Lucy does a TV commercial or watch Barbra in Funny Girl and I defy you not to not belly laugh at some point! I find that even when the TV is on mute their facial expressions alone can leave you in fits of giggles. But did you know that if it weren’t for Lucille Ball you wouldn’t have Star Trek? I know right! In addition to her amazing comedic talent, she was the first woman ever to run a major TV studio! I mean, I don’t know about you but I certainly find that inspiring (even where we are in 2019). Moving swiftly back on the topic of Babs! Now she can make me howl with laughter one minute, make me sob with her effortless voice the next and still have plenty of talent to spare directing, producing and starring in two of her movies (one of which is my mum’s absolute favourite!)

What I’m trying to say through all of the ramble is – these fantastical ladies push me to do better. They’ve gone through personal battles over time and chose to come out on top and I know that if they can do it- so can I. I love my idols and they’ll always remain a massive part of my life. Even if some are in the entertainment industry or unfortunately not with us anymore and will never know that I exist, I’ve found that they can still support me just as much as I support them.

Chinwag time! Who are your idol(s) and why do they inspire you??

Afternoon darlings!

Now something I’ve not really gone into detail about on this blog (yet) is that I’m a MASSIVE nerd (and very comfortable with being called such) and right now one of the greatest annual events known to humanity is currently taking place, San Diego Comic Con (SDCC for short). I do realise that by just simply stating I’m a nerd that it can sound quite generic, as I geek out about many things! Fashion, musical theatre, movie scores and Liza Minnelli – just to pick out a random few! However, my love for comic book/sci-fi/fantasy nerd culture is something that’s been deeply rooted in my soul for as long as I can remember. Watching classic Wonder Woman with the iconic Lynda Carter and discovering my love of Patrick Stewart as none other than Jean Luc Picard with my mum, my utter obsession with The Goonies and Beetlejuice (both of which are still going strong by the way, thank you for asking) and as I got into my teenage years I fell head over heels in love with The Lord of the Rings.

(Not to mention everything else, this is merely the cusp of my geekiness!)

But I know what you’re thinking “Quinn, are you feeling ok hun? You seem to have left Star Wars off the list” Heck no! It’s common knowledge that I bloomin’ adore Star Wars.

As always I digress! As I was growing into an image conscious teen, I don’t know about you but I began to notice the lack of clothing options available especially if you were like me and knew you were different. At this time (as you may recall me mentioning) I was an alternative teenager with a penchant for Tim Burton inspired stripes and a severe lack of colour within my wardrobe. I had to make do with jeans (with the widest legs I could find) from Tammy Girl and an array of HMV t-shirts that were extremely ill-fitting and although unisex definitely weren’t meant for shapely hips like mine (do remember that in the year 2000 there was no Primark m’dears!) In my hometown the only other option was a shop called Kinda Majik, and no there’s no spelling mistake. This was your goth/alternative store, and I frequented here as again there was not much else available. A case of needs must!  

Fast forward to now, 2019 and nerd girl clothing is much more than just a galaxy far, far away! Most importantly we have brands such as Her Universe and Loungefly. These brands truly understand what it means to be a nerd, a geek and a fangirl (if you will)! You can be all of these things and do it in style; it’s exactly why the amazing lady behind Her Universe developed the brand in the first place. Ashley Eckstein is a wonderful actress both on screen and in the voice-over booth. Every year she holds the Her Universe fashion show at San Diego Comic Con unveiling new geek couture and uniting those that want to transfer their love of nerd culture and put it in their everyday wardrobe.

Like Her Universe, Loungefly is nerd chic through and through! However they specialise in accessories. I first discovered this brand in early 2015 (instantly fell in love, obviously) but soon learned I could only buy their items if I ventured to the US, which lucky for me I did and made my first purchase without hesitation! They basically had me at “Star Wars purse”. Their bags and purses are now available everywhere from Disneyland Paris and the Disney Store, and websites such as Zavvi and Truffle Shuffle. Her Universe has yet to make the bigger transition to the UK and believe me; I’m waiting for the day with my star wars purse in hand.

Its brands like these that can make you feel empowered and truly represented, because I believe how your able to freely express yourself is important. Although I identified as Goth and wore that very much on my sleeve… and the rest of my body for that matter, underneath that veneer was my true self bursting at the seams. I chose hide that part and lock it away in my teenage bedroom, where it was safe. Yet that’s the part of me that has always remained a constant, as the Goth exterior surely enough faded away as soon as I left high school and entered college. I suppose I hid that huge part of myself away to not give kids another hundred reasons to bully and tease me; especially when those ‘things’ meant so much to me and helped me to escape. Although teasing me for whom I was and things I couldn’t change hurt, weirdly I knew teasing me for what I had utter love and admiration for would hurt so much more.

Now I wear my favourite movie properties and cartoons as a fashion statement and a symbol of just how proud I am to be a nerd.

Chinwag time! Are you a little bit geeky about something? If so, let’s have a geek out together!   

Cruise Diary 2

I’m head over heels in love with Copenhagen and I think it’s serious.

It may sound completely and utterly absurd, but having only stepped off the ship for a mere 10 minutes I already had the strange feeling I’d be heading back to Copenhagen again in the future. This may also have had something to do with the fact that this would have been the first time we’d have set foot on land in almost 72 hours. If you’re thinking “wait, you did tell us why this was but I honestly can’t remember” – then let me catch you up m’dears! We were scheduled to head to Brugge as our first port and due to a storm called Hannah (apologies to any Hannah’s out there reading this, it’s nothing personal) this would not be possible. We thus had to spend a day extra at sea and our first port of the trip would be Copenhagen. TA-DAR! 

But let me reiterate, Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever set my eyes upon and completely different to other cities. Say you like the concept of being in a city and going sightseeing, but maybe you’ve tried somewhere like London and it’s really not your cup of tea. Sometimes it’s the sheer volume of people and I understand that at times it can feel fairly claustrophobic, I completely hear you! If all this rings a bell, then why not give Copenhagen a try instead? Now although it’s a city, believe me nothing makes you feel like you’re wandering around one. My mum likened it very much to Amsterdam, if that comparison helps at all? There’s no real sense of hustle and bustle, the people are incredibly friendly and the food, oh my goodness the food!

If you’re not so keen on trying new foods and want to stay fairly close to home, don’t worry most restaurants (especially on the front in Nyhavn or the city centre) have plenty of options to keep everyone’s tummy’s happy! But if you’re a bit like me and cannot wait to get stuck in for lunch, then you simply must opt for an open-faced sandwich more commonly known as Smørrebrød. You can find so many different toppings for these to try and almost everywhere in Copenhagen serves them! In the end my mum and I decided on beef, horseradish, crispy onions, sun-dried tomato and pickles on rye bread. I know it may sound like a simple combo, but my goodness when you put all the flavours together it tasted like the most incredible comfort food! I could have easily had a second helping if I weren’t so full.

However if I’ve managed to win you over already and you’re now desperate to visit yourself, let me be open and honest about the prices! Do be aware it’s a fairly expensive trip, a touch more expensive than London. To put it into perspective, the Smørrebrød and a coffee came to around £15 per person. But I wouldn’t let this sway you from booking a trip to Copenhagen immediately my lovelies! This is something that didn’t really faze me when visiting; it’s just something to take into account before going.

Now even though we only spent around 12 hours here, I feel like I’m only getting started when telling you all how truly glorious this place is.

You’ve probably seen on countless instagram accounts (or even this blog) the famous multi-coloured houses in Nyhavn and the statue of The Little Mermaid. Basically not discounting these wondrous sights, but everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity and a photo simply does not do these sights justice. There’s so much to see! To try and conquer this we managed to book a canal cruise and I feel this is an absolute must. In doing this you will see sights that otherwise would be quite difficult to see in such a short space of time, the canals are the easiest way to get from point a to point b of the city- without skimping on any of the sights along the way. I also found it absolutely fascinating to learn about their history; honestly I can’t recommend it enough. Tip: if you take the canal cruise in the evening you’ll also see the sun begin to set throughout your journey, which allows you to see the city in (literally) a completely different light!

Another reason why I would have done anything to stay another day in the city (as if I need another reason!) would be for Tivoli Gardens. We sadly only got to experience an hour in this magical, fairy-tale theme park and you must pay it a visit if you ever decide to venture to Copenhagen. It’s a very special place and so much more than a theme park! You can simply purchase an entrance ticket and have a wander, do some shopping, eat some delicious cake at Cakenhagen (and yes. That’s the actual name of the store) and pay separately for the rides, if you wish to do so. Or pay for a ticket that includes the entrance fee plus all the rides! Honestly visiting felt like a step back in time (especially in the evening), when you wander around the gardens, see peacocks walking freely around the park, delicious food stalls, pretty fairy lights cascading the buildings and trees and an abundance of family-friendly rides; you can indeed see where Mr. Walt Disney got his inspiration from for a theme park of his own…

Although nothing quite prepared me for how much I was going to freak out over seeing the home of Hans Christian Andersen. For me personally, this was the core reason for wanting to visit Copenhagen so badly in the first place. Aside from loving the Danny Kaye musical movie (a little too much), I have adored the fairy-tales of his from a very young age. As I can imagine many of you have! (I even freaked out having a photograph taken with his statue in Central Park, New York!) He lived in three different houses in Nyhavn and there are various nods to him all over the city. There’s even a statue of him across from Tivoli Gardens, in which people still leave flowers for him. How beautiful is that? It filled my heart to know that he is very much a presence within the city and that the people are still in love with his stories.     

As you can blatantly see the beauty of Copenhagen has stolen my heart tenfold. In all honestly I could hop on a flight tomorrow and travel back in a heartbeat, with zero regrets! If you want fairy-tale culture combined with awesome food, then my friends this is the city for you!

Hello my lovelies!!

How about we have a sit down, a cuppa and a chingwag?

Do tell me, how are you all? Apologies for yet another 3 week absence, I swear that these absences feel longer every time! So to catch you all up with life stuff, this last week I’ve been on a wonderful job with some truly lovely people and as much as my intentions were good to come home and write another blog, honestly? I was so tired, that food and bed won me over every time. However, I’m now getting better at not berating myself every time I don’t happen to fulfil a task on my imaginary to-do list (that’s normally down to the floor). I listened to my body and did what I needed to do.

Within the last month it’s safe to say there have been a couple of things that’s definitely put my anxiety to the test. The feeling that certain forces have been put on this Earth purely to test how you’ll cope. For those that are in the process of healing or starting your journey, have you felt that? Well that’s how things have been recently and I don’t want to jinx things, but so far things are in fact ok! If these forces are trying to grab hold of you once more, remember how strong you truly are. Believe me, you are.

If I’m being perfectly honest, yes during this time I’ve had a panic attack. But so far it’s only been the one. Normally I would have seen this as a step backward or a sign of weakness, but weirdly I’m feeling quite the opposite. It happened, I took control of it and although my body was exhausted for a time afterward I didn’t let it get the best of me. Now I cannot lie my friends, this is major progress.

Aside from that minor blip, I’ve been taking steps to get passed some of these testing moments that would have otherwise dragged me down, I like to call these “F—it, why not” moments.

It’s basically trying to be more open and more spontaneous to what’s out there and if you’re having a particularly good day you could be on a roll!  

So starting off small I started doing Yoga in the comfort of my own home! Yes, I know! Me! Yoga!Again, this is just something small but after one session I could already feel a massive change. During my healing process everyone around me recommended I try yoga. However at the time I was completely against it and couldn’t see how it could possibly help. It’s that’s scenario of wanting to and when you’re in a dark place sometimes the last thing you want to do is work out and meditate. It’s one of those rousing “I told you so” moments, yes I can hear you!

Here’s where I’m majorly proud of myself (I never say that I’m proud of myself, but here it comes!) I applied for not one job lately, but four!

Now to some this will probably not seem like a big deal. However rewinding back to January (of this year) the thought of even going online to just have a browse at jobs sent me into an instant panic attack with no warning, one that could have lasted up to an hour and wiped me out for the rest of the day. I had absolutely no confidence in myself or believed I had any sort of skills and basically thought I was useless and simply didn’t even see the point.

This is HUGE deal.

I digress. It’s not just the number of jobs I’ve applied for that matter, but I applied for jobs that aren’t even in this country! Believe me when I say, I would never have given these opportunities a second glance last year, January or even February let alone apply for them! Now I’m well aware that I may never get anywhere with these applications. That’s what is so thrilling about the “F—it, why not” moments, it’s about the process of spurring you on to make you happy to strive for other victories. These victories are personal to you.

If you’ve had a particularly bad day, week or even month remember lovelies I’m always here to talk and you can always drop me a line!

But if you wake up and think “F—it, why not” I’m going to do that (insert awesome achievement here) thing I’ve been thinking about for a while, then do it whilst you feel that way and you’re in the moment and just know I’m very proud of you!

I’ll be honest lovelies; I really don’t care for summer.

From June until mid-September is a time of year I simply don’t look forward to. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love the thought of staying out until late and yet it’s still light out, those days someone suggests having a BBQ for dinner (which is always a resounding “UM YES”) and days spent lounging in the park or wondering around central with gelato. But I have this love/hate relationship with the HEAT. Put it this way my dear readers, when I go on holiday my destination of choice is anywhere that’s 25 degrees or less… But when the UK does decide it’s going to get hot (which actually happens believe it or not. I’m staring outside right now and I see the sunshine, it’s there!) I’m always horrifically unprepared. Why am I always unprepared?

This is why. Now I’m going to give you a little insight into my wardrobe situation, (y’know, this is blog number 11 m’dears and we’re all getting to know each other now!) So the scenario is this… my summer clothes are abysmal!

Winter clothes dominate a solid 90% of my wardrobe. Now that’s bad isn’t it?

My “summer clothes” basically conclude of 2 skirts, 2 dresses and a mere few tops… I’ve been well aware for a number of years now that this has to change!

However I’ve been extremely lucky! I managed to win a prize (which never happens) with my absolute favourite online clothing store Joanie Clothing. If you’re listening to me ramble on wondering who on earth Joanie are? I shall explain my loves. Their tag line states “pretty clothes for nostalgic souls” – It’s feminine, chic but also fits my quirky personality. It was a brand I felt suited me perfectly and their clothes are extremely high quality. So you can imagine my excitement to discover I’d practically won a shopping spree, without the arduous task of leaving the house.  

It was here I set myself the challenge of actually buying summer clothes and I can honestly say I had a difficult time pick and choosing, as I naturally gravitate towards the long sleeves and those warm autumnal tones. It’s almost like telling me I’m not allowed to buy anything with polka dots ever again… It’s just not going to happen!

When I have bought summer clothes in the past they tend to be dresses that I can just simply throw on, with no effort needed. However these tend to be unflattering to my body shape and nowhere near reflect who I am or my personal style. What I like to call convenience clothing! These specific items are worn in the house and unfortunately that’s as far as they go. I just don’t feel my best self when wearing these items of clothing in public, no matter how comfortable they are. Do you have any clothes like that my dears? I’ll be honest, I have a fair bit.

But these pieces I’ve listed throughout this blog 100% show to the world exactly who I am and are also super comfortable, which is a huge bonus. What I basically wanted is a wardrobe that excites me to wear it just as my autumn/winter collection does. A wardrobe that looks as though I’ve put hours of effort when in reality all I’ve done is throw on a fabulous dress and my trusty mustard loafers (which I’m obsessed with!)

You can see why I’ve had such trouble putting this all together now, can’t you?!

Tell me your wardrobe woes my lovelies! Do you look forward to getting your summer looks together, or are you like me and try to live in your autumn wardrobe until you just can’t get away with it anymore?   

Here’s to a fabulous looking summer!    

“In the world of today, haute couture is one of the last repositories of the marvellous” Christian Dior, 1957

This can be read on the wall as you make your exit from visiting Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which currently resides at the V&A until September. It’s an exhibition that celebrates the life and career of the man that started it all and the 6 key creative directors that have followed in his footsteps. It’s exquisite, stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. For anyone who loves fashion and artistry, this is both an education and a history lesson. But not one that will put you to sleep! No no, quite the opposite.

With more than 200 dresses on show this entire exhibition basically became a shopping list of everything I can’t have, but would hyperventilate uncontrollably if I did.

From Dior himself to his successors; when seeing all the pieces displayed so perfectly together I felt there was one common theme that the Dior brand has stayed true too.

The essence of femininity.  

Christian Dior’s iconic ‘Bar Suit’ which he called ‘La Ligne Corolle’

This was first demonstrated with Christian’s ‘Bar Suit’ (designed in 1947 and made in 1955). This ground-breaking outfit embraced ladies curves (and believe me, from seeing this in person if you didn’t have curves back then you were guaranteed them just by slipping on this fantastic tailored jacket). Upon his first fashion show in 1947 where he debuted this design it was immediately dubbed the New Look. Fast forward to creative director John Galliano (1996 – 2011) bringing extravagance and theatricality to the runway and now to the present day with Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior’s first ever women creative director, can I get an amen?) Chiuri stands for female empowerment and says with her way of femininity “the message, really, is that there is not one kind of women” (quote from Vogue.com).

Quite simply, whether we’re talking 1955 or 2019 – Dior know women and they know how to dress us.

All of us.  

Walking into the exhibition- from the first moment it felt as though it was lifted straight from the pages of a fairy-tale, almost like Disney’s Cinderella and Dior is your fantastical Fairy Godmother. As you turn each corner; almost holding your breath to see what might await you in the next room, the experience made you feel as though you were permanently in a dreamlike state. Honestly, it’s magical! Although not as emotional as Mcqueen’s Savage Beauty (V&A, 2015), It gave me a lot of the same feelings in terms of the thought and care that has clearly gone into each room.

I’ll be honest, there were so many garments in that exhibition I never ever thought I’d have the opportunity to see… that wasn’t just on the pages of a magazine that is (basically a lot of John Galliano- see the photos above for sheer perfection); and clearly from the literal “oohs” and “ahhs” that emerged from everyone else’s mouths around me I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. It was at a moment like that I realised we were all there for the same reason.

WE J’ADORE DIOR.

At £20 a ticket, honestly it was worth every single penny and more (and if you’re wondering, yes you could take photos!) If you are contemplating a visit, unfortunately lovelies the run is currently sold out however (like the Savage Beauty exhibition) they do release a limited number of tickets at the V&A itself. Also, do keep your eyes peeled online as I’ve noticed they have been releasing more tickets for museum lates!

Victoria and Albert Museum 
Cromwell Road
SW7 2RL
Nearest tube station: South Kensington

Cruise Diary 1

Hello my dears!

I know that it’s only been 2 weeks since I last posted, but in the world of me I swear it feels a lot longer. As you may be able to guess from the title of this post, I have firmly set foot back onto land and back from my Scandinavian adventure and my first ever mother/daughter holiyey!

I’ve been rather excited to have this chinwag with you all since returning and I have so much to discuss. So as Julie Andrews once sang “Let’s start at the very beginning” (don’t worry I’m not going to copy and paste the entirety of Do Re Mi on here, I’ll just let you all get the song stuck inside your head of your own accord…)

Now as someone who recently disclosed with you all that I had a fear of boats and doing something on this sheer scale was a rather big deal for me (understatement of the century). I can hand on heart tell you all that I’m completely and utterly converted to the cruise life and may have already started looking at others I could venture on in the future (may I add that I did this search whilst still on board the cruise itself!)

So for lack of a better word, I bloomin’ loved it.

I’ll be honest I don’t think my mum was the only one who was shocked upon hearing how much I enjoyed the entire experience, and no one was more surprised most than me!

The cruise liner we sailed with was Princess Cruises, on the Sapphire Princess ship. Now this meant absolutely nothing to me; as I didn’t know who was neither good nor bad! But this decision was made due to the fact my parents had sailed with them a few times before and has had many a wonderful experience with them, and thought given their track record it wouldn’t be a bad place to start!

Lovelies if you’ve never been on a cruise before however it’s something that has crossed your mind from time to time, then I say absolutely do it!! But for those who really aren’t keen on the whole idea, I wouldn’t say that it’s a must do or tell you that “you’d be missing out if you didn’t”. However, there’s a lot I’ve gained from having this wonderful experience and also things I’ve learned about myself.   

I think you can clearly tell that this was taken within the first two hours on-board, we look so happy!

Cruises are not just for people who have retired – Unfortunately this is a very common misconception and I’ll be honest, when my parents booked their first cruise I was shocked as this is something I thought to be true as well. However, given the range on cruises you can now book and the vast choice of cruise liners you’ll most likely see every holidaymaker going!

You can absolutely go on a cruise as a solo traveller and look fabulous doing it! – I saw so many wonderful people on our specific trip that were solo travellers. There’s so much to do on and off the ship and everyone (especially the staff) is extraordinary you will always feel like you’re being looked after.  

There’s a facebook group for that – If you’re going on your 1st or 15th cruise with your partner/friend/wonderful self, join a facebook group for your specific cruise line! Whether it’s a question about what’s onboard, the excursions on offer or even how much of which currency to take! Everyone will offer their own experiences to help you on your way and for certain things my mum and I found this very handy!

You don’t have to dress up to the nines – Again, a very common misconception! The formal nights are a great way to get dressed up and take the opportunity to snap some lovely photos. If you’re like me you’ll relish an opportunity like this, as apart from weddings or the occasional drag show in London I don’t get to do it very often! But you don’t have too if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable or it’s just simply not your thing! Don’t worry, there are still many people that don’t. But if it is your thing, however you don’t know what to wear and dread the thought of bling and sequins (very much like yours truly); A simple cocktail/maxi dress and some flats will do. (I’ll go into further detail about the formal nights soon!)

Activity time! – There’s so much to do on-board the Princess cruises and you get your daily patter delivered the day beforehand of all the things scheduled. I found this becomes particularly handy on the days at sea! However, just because it’s all there don’t feel obliged to take part! It’s one of the things that actually made me feel a little nervous. That notion of “do you have to join in?” You absolutely don’t. But watching a movie outside on the cinema screen, lounging with a coffee and cake (which my mum and I did many times over) or taking in a boogie in the ships nightclub are things I did do on-board!     

So many places in the world, so little time! – Cruises are the greatest way to see parts of the world, by giving you a taster. What I mean by this is, say like me you wanted to visit Scandinavia… But you simply don’t know where to start?! Do you travel to the main cities or go further out to the countryside? This is where a cruise is a fantastic idea, as (depending on the cruise you opt for) it allows you to explore places you maybe never would have ventured to had it not been on the itinerary!

Those immortal lines “I don’t get motion sickness, as I’m great on roller coasters” – ships are not roller coasters kids. They can be extremely rocky and this can last for hours. It is true, I love roller coasters and have never really suffered with motion sickness. However this is a completely different sensation. Heed my advice and take sea sickness pills with you, no matter how strong you think your stomach is! However if you’re like me and for reasons can’t take sea sickness tablets, those adult travel bands (y’know the ones that sit on the pressure points on your wrist?) are amazing and certainly do the trick!  

THE FOOD – It’s inclusive, enjoy it and feel no guilt whatsoever.

I well and truly missed the boat here – Due to unfortunate circumstances (aka the darn weather, curse you Storm Hannah), we had to miss our stop to Brugge and stay at sea for an extra day; this would ensure our safety and help us arrive into Copenhagen on time. Now I’m going to put this down to my sheer lack of knowledge about going on a cruise… But I didn’t know that ‘missing a port’ was a thing. It’s a bummer!! So much so that the idea of spending another day at sea sent me into a panic attack… My first in a couple of months! However thanks to my amazing mum, she got me back on track and helped me deal with it pretty quickly. I digress! If this ever happens (the missed port scenario, that is) make sure beforehand you have holiday insurance with specific cruise cover, as you may be able to claim something back!

Lost at sea? – Obviously it goes without saying but you won’t have phone signal on board the ship (shock horror!) Whatever you do, do NOT go and pay the ridiculous Wi-Fi prices they have on-board. I forbid you all to do so, as it’s really not necessary. Most cruise liners (like Princess) will have a super easy to use app (free of charge might I add) that you can use on the ship to contact others you’re on holiday with. Huzzah! Then if you’d like to contact loved ones back in the UK, wait until you land at a port! Being at sea and having no signal or social media was extremely liberating. It put me at ease to not see everyone attached to their phones and instead taking the time to meet new people; and living in the moment.   

RELAX – The first thing I told my partner once we’d landed back home was how, for the first time I went from 90 mph to 5 mph. His response? “Good, because you never ever relax” and he’s absolutely 100% correct. My usual idea of a relaxing holiday is crammed full of sightseeing, walking, wandering and going full-out. When you’re at sea… You’re entire mentality has to change. I didn’t realise how quick I’d fall into a state of relaxation. Honestly? It took me less than a day. As someone who’s past year or so has been a never-ending stream of overthinking, to the point of either not leaving the house or a series of panic attacks. This has been a triumph and a half!  

Always the (Fabulous) Wedding Guest

So I have two weddings to attend this year, which I’m not gonna lie- that’s a lot for me! But I’ve now reached that age where this should be a normal occurrence, no? However what my inner monologue is actually saying is- “Oh my goodness, we’re now at that age where all my friends are getting married and I’m sat here contemplating a trip to New York for comic con season”. Well, you can see where my priorities currently lie, can’t you?

Nevertheless I’m ecstatic to be attending the weddings of my beautiful friends (and have already got emotional about it on more than one occasion); and feel that this is a fashion opportunity if ever there was one!

Now I love shopping for a wedding outfit and waste no time in looking as soon as an invitation arrives in the post (no word of a lie).

If you made the assumption that I don’t like to be one of these wedding guests who tends to hide in the background- then you’d be spot on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully of the notion that you shouldn’t upstage the bride; I think that goes without saying. However I don’t think there’s any harm in looking as fabulous as you possibly can (hey, photos last forever y’know! Didn’t you see my last blog?)

If you’re struggling to come up with some ideas of what to wear for this year’s wedding season, or feeling adventurous and want to give other styles a try? I’ve put together a little mood board as an example of how I’d (personally) put an outfit together, also taking into consideration accessories and makeup (of course! You all know I’m a sucker for a statement red lip!)

I don’t own these photographs. Copyright goes to Collectif, Loungefly, Truffle Shuffle, Lulu Hun and His & Her Vintage via Etsy

As you can (easily) guess from my mood board, I’m not exactly traditional. Again, you’d be right there.

I definitely have my own “rules” (if you will) when it comes to wedding season shopping… Now, before I go into these “rules”; let me establish sweeties that these are purely what I go by and just my opinion.

Absolutely no (I mean no) fascinator’s. However I feel incomplete without a hat (preferably a pillbox!) This doesn’t mean that I don’t love a fascinator on others! I simply don’t suit them and because of hairstyle it looks as though an alien is emerging from my head… Very much like what you see in Alien, or The Thing. Not a good look.    

You absolutely can wear black to a wedding. I feel as though there may have been a few gasps when reading that. But I have worn black to a wedding before! It’s all in how you wear it. By wearing stripes or polka dot, it breaks up that you’re wearing a big black block and can introduce some personality to your outfit.

You don’t have to wear floral’s! I know this may seem an unusual one to put. However whenever you visit certain stores on the high street at this time of year, it may seem as though that’s all there is available for us wedding guests and there’s a total lack of imagination for those of us that may want some different.

Get an outfit that can do both! If you’re lucky enough to be invited to the ceremony, getting an outfit that can transition seamlessly to the evening reception will cut down costs and a trip home (or the hotel) to change!  

A note to takeaway lovelies, the wedding of your beautiful friends/family/friends that are practically family is an event you want to remember (for all the right reasons, of course)! Wear something you’re going to relish wearing for the day, regardless if you don’t wear it again until the next big occasion! Be comfortable, be fabulous and be YOU!

It’s Personal!

Hello my lovelies!

As I sit here mulling over Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix (which is pretty incredible if you’ve not seen it yet) with a cup of tea in hand; I’m in awe of how far this fantastical lady has come in her career and also her style. To put it simply she’s a powerhouse. But who else remembers those coordinated Destiny’s Child outfits, every 90s band had them! This got me to thinking about my own metamorphosis, even within the last year! We’re always changing and discovering new things about ourselves and when it comes to my own style (my goodness) this could not be more accurate!

Circa 2009. I soon found out I do not suit footless tights.

It was more apparent when doing one of those 10 year challenges. 2009 I was a completely different person the woman I am now (believe me, ask my parents!). I was young, at a university where I constantly questioned (and was constantly questioned by tutors) whether I truly belonged there, in my first relationship and had a strong love affair with the movies and music of the 80s – which heavily influenced the way that I dressed…

Flash forward to today…

I’m definitely not young anymore (unless 30 is the new 18? Asking for a friend) by next year I’ll have been a graduate for 10 years (well, that’s not scary, at all). Although, I think it’s fair to say I’ve learnt more about my craft and myself in the outside world (yes, that’s me spilling the T) and I’m now in my second relationship (he’s bloody wonderful and here to stay).

March 2019. Same curves, but a style that’s more me.

Through all of this the one part of me that hasn’t changed whatsoever is that of my love for different eras. Before I’d fall in love with a specific point in time and stick to it like glue (the 60’s and Woodstock- the force was strong with this one)! Now I’m able to draw inspiration from different eras and refine them into what I feel my style has become.

You may have guessed already, I’m not exactly a follower of trends. I suppose I’ve always followed the beat of my own drum; which would explain my many (cringe worthy) fashion choices over the years.

Nowadays my personal style is heavily influenced by city fashion specifically Paris and New York, cartoons, classic Hollywood and Mad Men; I know that’s a lot to take in right? Let me explain fully!

I have no doubt in the next year, or even the next 6 months my personal style will change again! Only the other day I raided my (now abysmal) summer clothes and put 7 items in a charity bag! Luckily those were items I’ve been clinging onto for years in the hope that I fall back in love with them… Or should I say that the items fall back in love with me. But they won’t and I’m definitely ok with this break up.

Bon Appétit! Smakelijk! Vær så god!

As my adventure away draws closer I’m beginning to think about what lies ahead at the places I’m about to visit! The excitement is rather overwhelming and slowly bits and pieces are finally coming together.

So, I’ve mentioned previously that on the cruise I’ll be heading to parts of Scandinavia- but to expand (and so you can fully understand my excitement) I’m visiting Brugge, Copenhagen, Skagen and Oslo. I know, right? This is my first taster of what Scandinavia has to offer and I already know that in the future I’ll be planning to head back to some of these places, along with some new ones! This is an area of the world I’ve dreamt about visiting for so long and can’t wait to finally see it for myself. To hone in on one of the major reasons I can’t wait lets discuss one of the greatest things known to man.

Food.

I am a MASSIVE foodie (which is rather hilarious coming from who used to be the pickiest eater. No, I’m not kidding. As I child I was the fussiest eater you ever did meet), and it’s pretty much the main reason I keep visiting Paris (I’ve been 3 times now… Not counting 2 school trips).

There’s just something spectacular about eating local cuisine; whether it’s street food from a food truck, a sit down meal, food on the go (like a good pastry) or eating 3 desserts in one day just so I can try them all… Definitely haven’t done that (I’ve definitely done that).

My favourite meal in the entire world (sorry to betray you beloved pizza) is boeuf bourguignon (see tasty photograph to the left). It’s like a rich beef stew served with boiled potatoes and by god is it incredible! It’s one of those meals that is both extremely hearty and comforting, but also indulgent. Basically it’s just utter perfection. Now I’ll freely admit, I’m stubborn. So stubborn in fact that I waited years to try this dish, as I refused to try it at any of the restaurants in the UK. But I’m so glad I did as it was worth the wait and I eat it every time I visit Paris! However, I’m afraid to say I did the same thing with my now favourite desserts, Crème Brulee and Mille-Feauille. But remember good foods come to those that wait! That’s the saying right?

Where was I again? Apologies lovelies, my tummy just rumbled…

So basically, the hunt for the best Smørrebrød (Danish open sandwich), Rød Pølse (Danish hotdog) and Frikadellar (Danish meatballs) is on!! Not forgetting my sweet tooth (or should that be sweet teeth?) I’ll also be scouting out some delicious Belgian chocolate waffles and a Norwegian bakery in the hopes I can try KrumKake (honestly, google this delight… It sounds amazing!)

Have you ever ventured to this part of the world and know of fantastical foods that I simply have to try? Please contact me through here or Instagram, as I’d love to hear your thoughts!

But I have nothing to wear!

So sorry for my sudden disappearance lovelies!

I recently visited my parents back in my Northern hometown. This means I’ve been drinking all the cups of tea I can muster (the water is marginally different; any Northerner who lives down South will tell you this!) Eating from my favourite takeout place and spending time organising our mother/daughter holiday (or holi-yey, as I tend to refer to it).

I’ve been basically helping my mum put together outfits that can lend themselves to both day and evening wear. Then there’s the dreaded formal wear (dum dum duuuuuuuuum), this I think I’d like explore in another post. So for now let’s stick to prospect of day wear. As I’ve said before I love putting outfits together… Sorry, I don’t think you heard me in the back, I LOVE putting outfits together!! I know some find it easier to purely keep on buying clothes because of the “I don’t have anything to wear” syndrome, and don’t get me wrong we’ve all been there. But I only have so much wardrobe space (yey for city living) and for this holiday I only have one case so I have to think on a small scale.

So for those that do wonder how I put my own outfits together, I’m going to tell you how I do it. Personally I find it makes shopping a much more enjoyable experience and weirdly if the idea of shopping freaks you out a little; it makes it a slightly quicker experience too. These aren’t original ideas, just things I’ve picked up from other stylists along my journey, Trinny and Susannah (for those that remember “What not to wear”), Gok Wan and more recently Lori Goldstein.

Firstly, know your body. For me, this was a crucial life lesson. Like probably a lot of you I’ve spent years hating parts of my body! But it wasn’t until probably the ages of 18 that I started to really get to know what my shape was, even if I still was nowhere near 100% comfortable with my figure yet. I began to learn (over time) what the good parts were (and we all have good bits!!) Then it was a case of what could I do to extenuate those and disguise the parts maybe I wasn’t so happy with. I’ll be honest with ya’ll- my boobs are fairly small and my bum could probably rival Kim Kardashian. Most times I really don’t feel in proportion and the top half of my body feels too petite for the bottom half. Plus I really don’t like my legs, I never have. Ok, now the good bits. This is the hard one right? But if I can bare my soul, so can you! I really like my hair- I know one seems like a cop out, but your hair is your BIGGEST accessory. How your hair is styled can really impact on your outfit choices! My does for sure; having such a severe haircut like a bob can change your whole aesthetic and for me it helped shape the look that I have today. I really like my neck and collar bones- now I know you’re thinking “collar bones? That’s a little weird, no?” Yes, perhaps it is a tad! But again, that space between your neck and chest area can lend itself to so many different necklines. The only one I’d say I honestly dislike on myself is the v-neck (due to my severe lack of breasticles). But when having photographs taken way back in 2010, I had my collar bones compared to that of a Tim Burton movie… This was literally the most amazing compliment you could have given me. So I ran with it!  

So I’ve bared my soul a little and breathe. If you’ve never had the confidence to do this before, why not give a little try and if you’re not ready don’t worry! But like I said before, we all have good bits of our body (even if like me and it’s the slightly quirkier parts); and we all deserve to give ourselves self-love!

Now onto my little shopping trip tips!

Wearing all black is never the answer: I went through a phase of wearing nothing but black. My entire clothing collection was made up of black outfits…. And honestly? I’ve found other colours and even some patterns more slimming on my figure.

Create a mood board or a Pinterest page: this is great if you have an idea of the types of clothes or silhouettes you’d like to be wearing; but haven’t quite made it to the shopping stage yet.  

But if you know exactly what you like to wear- hunt for it eBay: If it’s cheap, you won’t lose anything by trying. I know this seems obvious, but eBay is such a great tool; if you’re not so keen on the whole changing room idea.  

Inject a vintage bag: This tip is for those that might not ready to try vintage clothes shopping yet, but you kind of want to give it ago. Why not go for an accessory instead? It’ll inject some originality and individuality into your day to day wear. I hear those thrift stores, charity shops and eBay calling your name!  

Scenario- you’re going away somewhere and have no idea what to pack: Why not check out with the local fashion is, the locals might give you some inspiration especially when it comes to the year-round weather!

Don’t be afraid of mixing patterns: Honestly, I live by this rule! I genuinely believe you can find patterns that can complement each other. Even if it’s the same pattern in different colours. Don’t be afraid to experiment- fashion is meant to be fun!

Do remember lovelies, these are just little guidelines by and I hope at least one of these can help you in your next shopping venture.

I’m here for all your queries, questions and qualms you may have m’dears, if you think I can help send me your fashion woes and let me help in any way that I can like a Fashion Fairy Godmother!   

Looking Ship Shape

God dag lovelies!

Now that’s just a little hint there of where I’ll be venturing off to soon- but more about that later!

One aspect I’m really enjoying about all this cruise prep is looking at outfits and seeing what clothing combinations I can put together (a capsule wardrobe, if you will and yes I learnt that from Gok Wan). If you know me, you’ll know I absolutely adore fashion (understatement of the century) and that over the years I’ve not been afraid of changing things up and experimenting with my look (apart from the bob, that goes nowhere). I love looking at where I’ll be travelling to and finding outfits that complement the place beautifully. I basically like to bridge the gap between stylish and functional! But I’m chockfull of personal style and can sometimes find it exceptionally difficult to just shop at one store.

Do you feel that way too? It’s really frustrating isn’t it! It just equals more tea and biscuit breaks, if you ask me.

I can however pretty much shop anywhere from Primark and H&M (their basic tee’s are an essential and a lifesaver!) to thrift stores and Lindybop for my key retro or vintage pieces. It takes longer to build a wardrobe that way then I care to admit. However it’s the simple matter of “you like what you like”.

However one person I know who struggles with this is my mumsy. I know over time she’s struggled to walk into a store, pick up more than one item of clothing and then proceed to walk out of that store with said item(s). I think it’s fair to say that unless you can afford designer clothing (Ah, Chanel), my mum’s age is simply not catered for.

I hear some of you exhale slowly, like I’ve just (ever so slightly) crossed over a line. But it’s just something I’ve observed in my many (30) years on this planet.

These extraordinary ladies want to look as stylish as say those in their 20’s and 30’s, and they absolutely deserve too (I mean, look at ladies like Cate Blanchett and Kristen Scott Thomas)! But without the worry that their dressing like their daughter, niece or insert younger relative here. I must admit, as someone who’s been on countless shopping trips with their mum I have seen the high street dwindle (over the years) when it comes to everyday fashion that it almost terrifies me at the prospect of getting older!

Lovelies, if this conversation screams you then please get in touch with me and tell me your fashion agony! Let me see if I can help anyway I can… I say this like I know what I’m talking about.

Now my mum is pretty classy woman (I think she’d be cool with me saying that). She knows exactly what suits her body type and has amazing Marilyn Monroe-esqe curves! However, I’m fully aware that although we both have similar body types she probably wouldn’t wear some of the things that I have in my wardrobe. I think it still astounds her when I can thrift a vintage dress or skirt and walk (aka strut) down the street in it like its Paris Fashion Week. She’ll always respond with “Now if I were to wear that I would just look old”. To clarify my mum does not look old and dresses exceptionally well despite what the high street has to offer.

So my dears I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find clothes and maybe stores that are solely online, in the hope that I find at least one store that provides exactly what women my mum’s age are looking for (that shouldn’t be too hard, right?) It seems such a shame that if you’re over a certain age shopping becomes less fun and more of a chore.

I just want my mum to feel absolutely amazing in whatever she’s wearing (even if it’s a paper bag), because truth be told she is.      

If any of you lovelies have any suggestions of places we could look that maybe we’ve never tried before please I’m all ears (not literally, of course).

Or maybe the answer to all this is “sod the high street Quinn and make your own clothes!!” In a kind of Mel Gibson Braveheart type manner… I mean it is International Women’s Day after all “FREEDOM!!!”

Can I have a cup of Anxietea please?

My lovelies I have something to tell you!

In a mere few months I’ll be going on an adventure, doing something I’ve never done before and possibly overcoming a fear at the same time.

I’ll be venturing on a cruise! Sounds exciting right?  

You’d think so, but here’s the thing… I actually have a fear of boats.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself “Wait. Hang on. Quinn… What are you thinking hun!?” (Or words to that effect) and quite frankly, I don’t blame you. I’ve been thinking it myself, don’t worry! However, the best thing about this scenario is that I’m not going alone (I’m not that crazy!) I’ll be going on this adventure with my best friend aka my mum. My mum went on her first cruise with my dad back in 2012, a celebration for their 25th wedding anniversary and they were hooked! They fell in love with the concept of having little samples of different places without the fuss of flight connections; especially since some cruises can journey to a lot of remote places. Although my parents have usually opted for self-catering holidays in the past, I think they rather enjoyed that feeling of being well and truly looked after and that touch of luxury. Now I’m going to experience all this first-hand, which I find both exciting and a little daunting at the same time! Is that normal?  

So let’s rewind a bit. I just told you all I have a fear of boats. Now (if you’re dying to know) this began at a very young age! Basically it was around the age of 3 (I think, correct me if I’m wrong here mum!!) and I got taken on what I can remember as a mini fishing boat. My parents clearly thought it would be a gentle ride along the sea…. Alas, no. Quite the opposite! All I can remember is screaming and crying the entire length of the trip. Yes. I was quite the theatrical child. But either way the experience stayed with me for a long time and I haven’t really been on a boat since. Somehow I don’t think an excursion on a replica of the Endeavour in Whitby for half an hour counts.

But this holiday symbolises a lot more than simply conquering my fear of boats and trying to re-enact a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.      

Over the last year I have been suffering with severe anxiety and symptoms of agoraphobia, and within the last month have started to take action with the help of counselling to overcome things once and for all.

It’s something I’ve felt I’ve been dealing with for more than just a couple of years, but within the last year it really started to take its toll. Now m’dears first and foremost- I have absolutely no shame in telling you this! It’s something that I’m dealing with, but the important factor here is I’m getting the help I need! For those of you out there who might be going through a similar battle, whether that’s dealing with mental health yourself or have a friend/loved one who are fighting right now- know from me personally that there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, I’m in the process of healing but I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without the support system I have around me. They’re helping me fight this battle. I know in my heart that I wouldn’t be able to conquer this without them. To put all this in nerd terms? It’s like Lord of the Rings! I’m like Frodo carrying the ring to Mount Doom, but yet Frodo didn’t do it alone. He had the help of the Fellowship. That’s what Mr Lee, my mum and Dad and my friends are to me. If you are going through a lot right now, even if it isn’t you personally going through mental health problems, but are connected to someone who is- remember you need support too!! Please speak to someone. Will you all (whoever you lovelies are reading this) do that for me? Even if professional help isn’t the first step you take (Believe me, I know it’s scary), that’s ok. But please speak to a friend, a teacher, a relative or even your hairdresser! Also, I have a contact me page- send me a message if you’d like. Don’t underestimate the power of speech! I know it’s not easy but you can get there. I may not believe in myself just yet (that’ll come with time), but I believe in all of you!

And breathe.

That’s a just brief history lesson of Quinn!

So right now I’m trying to get myself to a position where I know this cruise is going to be a piece of cake, without the heart palpitations or the panic attacks- unless those heart palpitations are from looking at pieces of cake…   

Belgravia, A catch-up… and Peggy (Porschen)

Did someone say cake? Part 1

When I say, “How about we go somewhere for some tea and cake?”  Where does your mind go to?

Could you demolish a cupcake with a pot of tea (for one, of course)? A slab of cake, that’s four layers high with a latte to compliment it? Or is it a case of “sod the cake; I’m going to be controversial and go for a biscuit or a pastry”.  Whatever your preference I’m going to test out as many places in London that specialise in tea/cake/coffee/all of the above! Why Quinn? I hear you ask. Well, my lovelies I shall tell you. Whenever I have friends or family come to visit it’s the same conversation every time!! Tell me if this sounds familiar?

“Where would you like to go?”

 “Oh I don’t know, why are you asking me? You pick, you live here”

“No, no! That’s exactly the point. I do live here. You don’t, you’re visiting. It’s up to you!”

“Well, where’s nice?”

It continues like this until I one of us ends up in full-on facepalm.

I’m a habit I can’t break! I go to the same places; it’s no doubt a Costa Coffee or Starbucks to make things easier on my guests. That way everyone’s happy! Now don’t get me wrong- I love a Costa Coffee chai latte as much as the next person (I really do. It’s my absolute fave). However, I feel I need to expand my knowledge! So when that opportune moment comes where I have to recommend a place I CAN without hesitation!!

To begin my journey, if you will, I thought I’d start at a place that seems to feature most heavily on my Instagram.

PEGGY PORSCHEN.

Oh my goodness. To say I was super excited to try this place is a MAJOR understatement and I definitely didn’t want venture here alone (although if you know me I’m all for a solo trip!) For this adventure I asked my darling friend Andy to join me, he’s one that really appreciates trying new places and it’d been so long since we had a good catch-up with each other. Put it this way, I greeted him by saying “Happy New Year”. No need to check your calendars I’m fully aware that it’s February. Like I said it’d been a while since we’d seen each other and knew this would be a great place for a chinwag!

This is just the exterior for the month of February!

Now From photographs this café looks like pure joy; as if Glinda the good witch floated down to Belgravia in her pink bubble and created a café completely based on her look and filled it with social media goodness.

That goes for the treats too.

Attention shoppers! There’s only ONE (singular sensation, sorry, MT reference for ya’ll) Peggy Porschen currently. There’s a second opening in Chelsea soon, but no date on the opening just yet. It’s a short walk from Victoria station and even shorter from Victoria coach station. Believe me; you can see it from the top of the street and as you walk more towards it you’re met with this beautiful pretty in pink exterior which is absolutely covered in flowers! Honestly, it’s truly gorgeous. It did start to rain, but it didn’t dampen our spirits and we began to queue with the others who were also eager to try this chic bakery.

Just to forewarn you lovelies, Peggy Porschen is immensely popular and I would 100% recommend visit on a weekday if it’s at all possible to avoid long queues!

Luckily we only queued for a total of 10-15 minutes. Personally I don’t think that’s bad, I’ve definitely queued longer in Primark (am I right lovelies?) but do beware you do have to queue outside, just in case you were wondering. However I reckon our queue timing could have been reduced if it was a sunnier day as they do offer outside seating. But queuing aside, it’s all worth it when the lovely front of house staff open the door to fetch you and bring you into a world of adorable pink Parisian chic (I didn’t even intend for that to rhyme!)

Can they come and decorate my entire house please?

Hold the phone. You’re going to want to take some photos. The décor is charming and absolutely adorable! Everything from the cute flower arrangements to the light fixtures, and I haven’t even got started on the cake yet (which is of course laid out beautifully, by the way!)

So let’s move swiftly onto what treats they had in store for us!

Andy and I both opted for a pot of tea for one (pfft, I was not sharing my tea with no one!) It works out slightly more cost effective buying a pot for two, but we really wanted to try a bit of everything. They have your traditional teas such as Afternoon and Earl Grey, but also teas for the more adventurous and I knew instantly that Andy would definitely opt one of those! So in the end I stayed quite traditional with the Earl Grey with orange and Andy selected the Sugar Plum tea…. SUGAR PLUM TEA!! I KNOW! Definitely one for those with a sweet tooth and who aren’t put off by brightly coloured tea (It was a very vibrant purple)!

Selecting a slab of cake or one of their deliciously, inviting cupcakes proved rather difficult. Honestly the selection process was hard! It was as if it was the literal Hunger Games and I had to choose one of those cakes to go into battle (with my stomach) “may the odds ever be in your favour”. Every single one of their flavours sounded heavenly and pretty traditional in terms of what’s available at most tea and cake shops nowadays. No real wildcard option, all quite safe options but by god did they all look and smell good! The two flavours we (eventually) decided upon were salted caramel and the lemon, raspberry and rose cake.

I’ll give it a second whilst your mouths are watering.

These cakes let me tell you were both WINNERS. They tasted beautiful and oh-so (apologies) moist. What I loved most about the salted caramel layer cake is that instead of a traditional buttercream sandwiched between each layer they used pure caramel. This BLEW MY MIND! It tasted rich yet light and fluffy, and I know how difficult that can be with that type of cake. But what they achieved was absolutely stunning! I can’t tell you how devastated I was once I realised that my plate was empty.  

The lemon, raspberry and rose cake was such a kapow of flavours that I did not see coming!! It arrives looking so delicate, matching in wonderfully with the décor…. Then you taste it. Wow. If you ever wondered what pink tastes like. IT’S THIS FLIPPING CAKE!! You immediately get this rush of raspberry flavouring that’s amazing and not at all tart (which I was afraid that might happen and it didn’t!) As the cake is simmering down on your palette then the lemon flavour decides it’s time to make an entrance; it’s almost like an after taste but a really good after taste. I honestly can’t remember if I got much of the rose or not, but the cake tasted that good I genuinely don’t care that I didn’t!  

I must admit, I did have a few concerns that in coming to Peggy’s you’d be surrounded by people glued to their phones, constantly snapping photos for Instagram and such. But I’m happy to report that if you also had those concerns then I can put them to rest for you! Yes, people were taking photos (I mean c’mon, it’s unquestionably stunning both inside and out, why wouldn’t you?) but it wasn’t to the extreme where no one was enjoying themselves or being antisocial. It was a lovely atmosphere and we were all clearly very happy to be there! There were younger people, mothers and daughters, families, husbands and wives. Just anyone wanting a lovely afternoon in this quaint setting with a good cuppa!

I’m so grateful when I can finally catch-up with my darling friends.

Oh and me? Well I personally cannot recommend this place enough! I’m firmly on board the Peggy Porschen train and cannot wait to take someone else with me to indulge in the pretty chicness of it all.

116 Ebury Street 
Belgravia 
London
SW1W 9QQ

Opening hours: 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week! 

Mary Mary Quant Contrary

If you know me you’ll know I’m obsessed (LITERALLY OBSESSED) with fashion. More specifically fashion from the 1950’s and 60’s. Flowing skirts aplenty, gorgeous tailoring, pinafores and polka dots. Oh my goodness. I’m going to have to stop right there and have a sit down. The ‘Mad Men’ fangirl within me can’t cope right now thinking about all these clothes.

So you can imagine my excitement when I got to visit the beautiful Swinging London exhibition this week. It’s currently on display at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, (a short walk from London Bridge station) and will be on display until June 2nd. It’s an exhibition that celebrates the British high street revolutionaries Mary Quant and Terence Conran.

Sir Terence Conran and Dame Mary Quant
Source: Fashion and Textiles Museum website

Wait… I’m sorry. But did I just hear some of you just ask me, “But dear Quinn, who are this glorious people you speak of?!” Well fear not lovelies I will explain in a mere sentence (or two) that will save you scouring google.

Fashion designer and legend Dame Mary Quant (apart from having one of the most iconic bob haircuts ever) is the fantastic human you have to thank for the MINI SKIRT (I know. Right?) One of her favourite statement pieces that she’s ever designed is the ‘Banana Split’ mini dress; which I will show you later. But she basically revolutionised the British high street! – We have a lot to thank her for (THANK YOU MARY!)

Designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran is the man behind the beautiful home furnishing store we know as Habitat. He made stylish home decor available to the masses! His ethos was to make designs that would “grow old gracefully and slip seamlessly into peoples lives and give them years of pleasure”. (Side note: you may also think “Conran, now that rings a bell!” you may know his son’s work as one of the many designers at Debenhams- Mum I’m looking at you here!) 

Now we’ve all had a history lesson, I shall move on. I bought my tickets beforehand, but there were plenty of walk-ups so if you wanted to head midweek I’m sure you wouldn’t have a problem waltzing straight in! However if you’d like to be super organised and buy your tickets beforehand, check if the 241 offer through Timeout London is still available as it’s an utter bargain!!

Tickets purchased and dressed in all my retro glory, off we went for a jaunt!

It’s a rather condensed exhibition, nothing as vast as what you may see at the V&A; whom are also choosing to honour Mary Quant with an exhibition this year (Starting April 6th, if you’re dying to know). However it was super quaint and displayed with a lot of thought and care for the pieces.

My favourite ensembles in the exhibition.
I’ll take them both in all colours. Thank you muchly.

The downstairs floor in particular is filled with some of Quant’s most iconic work including the banana split dress, which to this day still looks like a masterpiece. This dress will always be in fashion because of its shape and its simplistic nature and as Mary herself once said “you can make it as exciting as you want”. Pair it with some brightly coloured tights- as the lady herself would have done and you’re good to go my friend!

Apologies for the horrendous quality!
Photos are allowed but do remember to turn off the flash
(you don’t want to ruin the fabric)

I would say if anything there could have been a few more pieces for the Terence Conran sections of the exhibition. As although there was a lot to see and was well integrated with the clothing almost into little scenes, my eyes were definitely more fixated on Mary Quant’s striking fashions.

However if you’re a fan of 60’s London, fashion history, furnishings, Mary Quant or you just simply want a lovely afternoon exploring whilst listening to fantastic soundtrack, then this exhibition is definitely a must-see!