Category is: EBay Eleganza

Welcome back lovelies! Now before we leap into this chinwag have you got a cup of tea, coffee or beverage of choice in hand? Wonderful!

So I’m on a mission, sent to me by the fashion gods! With me so far? Rightyho!

I decided a little while ago that for the rest of the year (as an experiment) I’m not going to buy one single piece of brand new clothing.

It can be new to me, but not newly made is what I mean.

Yes this decision was a spur of the moment thing and I’ll admit it was most definitely a wake up in the morning and shout it from the rooftops decision, but it comes as a result of following the amazing Teresa Maria (known as the fantastic Outlandish Blog). Her whole platform has made me aware of brands that claim they sell sustainable items and has educated me on the damages of fast fashion. Believe me; I thought I was aware of what’s going on… But oh no, she has fully opened my eyes and that’s just the tip of the iceberg with her blog! But I fully recommend her blog and her e-book on sustainable fashion.

Since then I’ve been on a quest to “shop my wardrobe” some more. I know I’ve mentioned this on more than one occasion, but during the lockdown I found it necessary to do it more than usual and if I do require a piece of clothing, to only buy second-hand garments – unless the garment has to be underwear, of course! That requires some research into sustainably made pants.

I want to do more to be kinder to our planet and being more sustainable with fashion I feel is a good start for me.  

I know that this is just a small step in the grand scheme of things, but if I can be more select with my fashion choices it’s paving the way for more changes.

Admittedly throughout the last few months of lockdown I have bought a few key pieces to get me through the height of summer; if you’ve stuck around for this long you may remember me saying a few times that my summer wardrobe has always been pretty abysmal haha! But I took to the land of eBay to amend this and found some beautiful true vintage 1960s pieces that have stood the test of time because of how well made they are. The purchases I made were even more worthwhile when the sellers told me that they were giving the money to charity!

It’s given me the nudge to be more cautious about where I spend my money, who does it go to, who does it benefit? What do I get out of it? Even by just starting with sites like EBay and depop I’m able to put my thought into why I want these pieces and do I really need them? I mean, what I get out of it is key pieces that are truly one of a kind, no one will have these and I’m truly an individualist haha.

I simply can’t help it I thrive on looking unique and different, always have! Hence why I’ve also started the process of making my own clothes… Well, I say started the process. A sewing machine has arrived at my house, but we all start somewhere and this is an adventure I’ve wanted to embark on for years and didn’t have the confidence to challenge myself. The time is now lovelies!

As Vivienne Westwood once said “buy Less, choose well, make it last”

Grey Hair, Don’t Care!

Hello lovelies!

I truly hope you’re all making the most of being home more, but whatever your situation I sincerely hope you’re all happy, healthy and staying creative!

But whilst we’re all sat here growing our hair out and doing our best not to reach for the kitchen scissors, I wanted to discuss what I feel is my biggest accessory!

Mainly because it makes me look like I’m a Lego Mini Figure.

Now I make it no secret that I’m only going grey, not only that but I never hid the fact that I’ve been going grey since the age of 21. Fair to say I’ve always been punctual!

I also make it no secret that I dye my hair and that I dye it my natural hair colour (there is a point to this, honest!) A lot of this has been purely for work purposes, as unfortunately with a lot of what I do it’s always been easier if my appearance looks consistently the same. So to keep it one slick overall colour has always seemed the easiest thing to do!

But let’s be honest now, during this lock down I have not once felt the urge to reach for the box dye (yes, I’m a box dye type-a-gal haha) and cover up my grey roots, instead (like many others) I’m letting it do its thing and I’m embracing it.

I’m now 31; and it is a known fact among my family that I am indeed greyer than my own dad (no shade)! You see back when I was 21 and I discovered not just my first grey hair but a cluster of them (clearly one didn’t want to be the first to the party so decided to bring friends), this was immensely difficult to cope with. Especially being around the time I was graduating university and I had this horrid feeling that I was aging quicker than everyone around me!

This was always made ten times more difficult when someone would point out “Oh my god, do you realise I can see 10 grey hairs just from where I’m standing!” Cue me, (insert sarcasm here) Geez thanks for that, nope I clearly had no idea… Now I hear you lovelies, you’re probably thinking along something of the lines of “kids can be so mean, can’t they?” However this was actually said by people that in theory were considered adults and yes adults can also be incredibly mean.

Needless to say Mr Lee, my wonderful partner has always been incredibly supportive and truly loves me for the person I am and feels I can rock anything… Unless I suddenly decide to grow out my fringe, then he’s told me something’s would be extremely wrong and I would require an intervention, haha! As he knows this is something I will never ever do! The bangs stay.

But truthfully it’s the confidence that I; myself have built up over the last few years that have allowed me to be fully comfortable with this change.

Over time I have come to love and embrace what I’ve been given, which is very thick, healthy hair… It just happens to be going grey! I’m going to be honest, I know this process for some might be incredibly stressful and you may be struggling with your confidence and if dying your hair makes feel confident and it brings back a sense of normality, then you do you hun!

I just count myself considerably lucky that I have hair and if going grey is all I have to worry about… Then bring it on!

I’m not saying I’ll never dye my hair again, haha! For certain scenarios there’ll no doubt come a time where I’ll have to cover my silver strands, but right now for the purposes of a cheeky selfie for the Instagram or a zoom chat with the besties I’m going with the “I am who I am” look… Oh, I feel a song coming on! I should quit while I’m ahead.

I digress! What I saying is, whenever the day arrives and I do go the whole hog; you’ll find me rocking my chic bob as per, applying my favourite red lipstick, styling with my retro eye-wear I’ll be good to go.

Just call me Dame Judi or Dame Helen… But minus the Dame part!  

(Side note: Please remember my lovelies, if you do decide on a radical change and happen to reach for the bread knife at this time, if your hair meets the requirements consider donating your locks!)

Bisous!

A Pinny For Your Thoughts

Afternoon luvvies! How are we all? I do hope you’re eating plenty of treats, drinking much tea and looking after yourselves.

Now during these times I am fully aware that some of us… Ok probably a lot of us are living in realm of lounge wear and pajamas, including myself! Comfy worn-in joggers and slouchy jumpers have become the new office attire; let’s face it even if you’re working from home in these times and have to take a conference call who says that you can’t be put together on the top half and cosy on the bottom? You’ve totally earned it! But if you do happen to wake up one morning and the notion of getting dressed presents itself then do it, sometimes putting on an outfit I really like can make a huge difference to my day and I genuinely feel more productive simply just by getting dressed.

One of my favourite pieces in this scenario is (you may have guessed by the title!) The pinafore!

Now I’ll be honest I steered away from buying a pinafore for years, out of fear that I’d end up looking a bit like a child and let’s be honest I wouldn’t be worlds away with my haircut and collection of peter pan collars… However when I started to plan my outfit choices for a holiday to Scandinavia, ordering one by chance completely changed my mind and it has now become a major staple in my wardrobe.

I got this navy blue one from Joanie Clothing (my favourite online store I might add) and much like Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, I honestly wish I had this pinafore in so many different colours and shades (hint hint)! It’s versatile and one of those timeless pieces that can get you through any season.

When it gets a little chilly in the air a cute jumper with a collar works perfectly with a pair of opaque tights. Fast forward to the height of summer, now you can ditch the tights altogether and opt for a basic tee or an adorable blouse with all the frills imaginable. What made me fall head over heels with this pinafore in particular was just how much you can do with it! It can be casual one minute or dressed up if you’re going out for a lovely lunch somewhere. One of my favourite places to where this item is when travelling, specifically on a train journey. I find it comfortable and effortless; it’s a no-brainer outfit! I for one cannot rock lounge wear out and about in public it simply doesn’t suit me, so something like a pinafore is fantastic.

Whether you have a modern dress sense or you want to jazz it up a little and make it look 1960’s and retro, a pinafore can work for your personal style no matter what outfit choices you have in mind.

I have yet to buy another like this and when I stumble upon the right one you better believe I’ll be buying another one… or three!

A Momentous Occasion

Happy Sunday lovelies- now hold on to your cup of tea, this post is going to be a mushy one.

Today I’m sending love and appreciation to all the mum’s, mam’s, mummy’s, mama’s, step-mum’s, grandma’s, granny’s, nan’s and nana’s out there.

To the mother’s that we are still lucky to have here with us and those that are sadly not with us anymore, you are constantly in our thoughts.

The ladies that are celebrating their first mother’s day and the ladies who are about to join motherhood!

Not forgetting all the wonderful dads out there who are also mum.

While we should celebrate these beautiful people every day, this day in particular is dedicated to you.

My mumsy is a truly magnificent person. She’s one of those who will not stand to see anyone stuck and has a duty of care towards everyone she meets; honestly her willingness to go above and beyond for people knows no bounds!

I think it’s fair to say that she’s been there for me through times where I’ve been at my lowest, even miles apart she’s helped me get through countless panic attacks just by being on the phone (she even sent me the loveliest care package, paper bags with inspirational messages written on them!) Through teenage bullying, job losses, rejection, anxiety, going to university, moving out of my family home, feeling like a failure and a whole lot more rejection! She’s been my rock through it all and I honestly cannot thank her enough for putting up with me (aka this theatrical, dramatic emotional mess).

But through all of the hardships, we’ve also had some pretty amazing successes! One of my favourites would be seeing Fleetwood Mac together (I know, right?) This dream finally came true in 2013 and singing Don’t Stop hand in hand with my mama I will cherish for years (upon years) to come. Then last year I experienced not only my first cruise but we had our first mother/daughter holiday exploring Scandinavia, ticking a few things off my imaginary list of things I’ve been desperate to do! We got to be ladies who lunch for an entire week and I absolutely loved it (can we start planning the next one yet?)

I know I’m waffling right now, but I have so much to thank her for (and if she’s reading this, I’m going to assume she’s already started welling up by now… Sorry!)

Even now, in my thirties, my mum has never once doubted my ability to follow my dreams no matter how wild and ‘out there’ they seem. She has always allowed me the freedom to express myself and to be a creative free spirit, which is why I sing at the top of my lungs, dance my heart out and wear exactly what I want to. She’s always championed me for being unique and different.

I owe her so much.

M’dears If you can’t be with the ones you love right now, whether it’s due to forces out of your control or (like my mum) unfortunately don’t live around the corner, if you haven’t already send a card, text, call, facetime, skype, even carrier pigeon! But if you miss somewhere dearly and they’re not with us anymore, you can always tell me what you’re what’s on your mind today and what you miss most about them- I’ll be more than happy to listen.

But please, tell them how grateful you are that they’re/were in your lives and that you love them.

Happy Mother’s Day x

A Day at the Opera (Cake)

Did someone say cake? Part 2

If you know me, you’ll know that I am what I call a cake enthusiast… Or y’know a person who just flippin’ loves cake but thinks she deserves a fancier title (is it just me that thinks Miranda Hart would strongly approve of that statement?)  

Whenever it comes to a catch up with a friend what says “let’s have a chinwag” better than cake? Nothing that’s what! Everyone can enjoy cake whether it’s gluten free, dairy free, flourless! Yasssss is what I say!

Well last week I visited the most adorable café that I simply have to share my experience with you all, just in case you ever visit London town.

Boulangerie Jade is a traditional French artisan bakery and patisserie and I know what you’re thinking “well that ticks all the boxes doesn’t it?” You’re darn tootin’ hun. I instantly felt I was back in Paris the moment I walked through the door and it was wonderful to have the feeling in the heart of London. They have four locations, all SE London and but it’s definitely worth travelling out of Central London, not only the cafes but the delightful surroundings. My dear friend chose to visit here as it was her birthday and she was keen to try somewhere new (my kind of mentality!) She decided upon Boulangerie Jade as one of the locations was in East Dulwich (which is such a pretty part of town) and it’s the only one out of the locations that does hot food.

The place felt cosy and warm and the ladies who worked there made you feel extremely welcome. It’s not a particularly large place but nonetheless there were plenty of places to sit and it was clear by the number of people it’s a popular choice with the locals (and this is always a good sign). So before I go anywhere I always tend to scour the menu beforehand, this is because I could talk for England and reading the menu when I meet up with a friend isn’t very high up on my priority list! However…Trying to narrow down a patisserie menu filled to the brim of some of my favourite cakes and pastries, this proved to be incredibly difficult and could have easily ordered 5 things off of the menu…

I didn’t however if that’s what you’re thinking! Cheeky.

I opted for the Opera cake, which is one of the most beautiful combos ever put into cake form, if you’ve never tried it and are a chocolate/coffee obsessive then honestly what are you waiting for?  Again, due to popularity (and no doubt because it’s been featured on the Great British Bake Off) there was only one of these available. But I wanted to my dear friend to have it, as it was her birthday and after all one of us had to have it!! Nevertheless my luck was in when my other favourite was in fact available, another popularised by British Bake Off fame- Millefeuille. The most beautiful flaky pastry sandwiched between layers of crème pâtissère. My idea of heaven basically! We paired it was a couple of their light and creamy coffees and we were two very happy Northern girls!

Having now tried a sampling of their cake and pastry, I would return in a heartbeat and wouldn’t hesitate to try their hot food offerings and leave enough room to try another of the cakes, tarts or pastries.

No matter where in the world you live I think we can all agree that one thing we could always have more of are lovely little cafes, where they provide comforting hot drinks and luxurious desserts that taste so good you can’t even be bothered to feel guilty about devouring.      

Wardrobe Woes

Well my friends it’s that time of the month. Oh my goodness, no! Not that!

…That was a stellar introduction to 2020 on my blog wasn’t it? Ta-dar! You’re welcome!

The time of the month I’m referring to being “it’s January – time to have that break up chat with your clothes again”.

Basically around this time of the year, every year (without fail) I have my annual ‘try it and style it’ routine; taking my entire wardrobe and trying literally everything on. Now I don’t ever go in with the notion that I have to get rid of something, it just always works out that way! My main rule (that I try and stick to as much as possible) is – that if I’ve not worn an item of clothing in the last year then there’s no doubt that it has to go, again it’s not attempting to get rid of stuff, but if I’ve not worn it a year am I going to wear it in the next? Probably not! (Hence the “sorry we have to break up” part)  

Doing this allows me to rediscover my love for items of clothing I might have forgotten about, or maybe my body had decided it was going to grow out of it for a time and now miraculously it fits again!

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Just me then…

Now I know I may sound like a neat freak by saying this (and that’s because I am, and proud!) But I actually love having a wardrobe clear out! Although it can be a lengthy process; in helping to make way for space in my wardrobe it also makes way for space in my mind. I find it extremely therapeutic and calming; I’ve always felt that way about cleaning and tidying though. How about you lovelies? Am I alone on that one too?

If you’re wondering by the way I filled two shopping bags! A good mixture of blouses, dresses and even a ballet skirt (yes, you read right). These I will split between the charity shops in my area and (an attempt to) sell some pieces and I’ve never tried selling my garments before, so this for sure will be an interesting experiment.  

But being among chums I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been noticing my anxiety has been on a downward spiral over the last few months, slowly beginning to channel depression-like symptoms. However last month I decided enough was enough and I made the decision to go back to therapy. It’s making a massive difference and I can already tell the leaps taking to get myself back to where I should be; which is good that I can notice that. Normally I’d be so quick to judge myself, doubts would instantly set in and I’d feel completely hopeless. So channeling my negative energy into activities such as this I find really help and also helps my creative soul when putting new ensembles together.

My anxiety will always be a part of me, I may as well style it out the best that I can!

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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.

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!!!”