I A-Dior You!

“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!

Cruise Diary 1 – Seas the day!

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!!!”