Well hello there lovelies, I guess I should firstly start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
How are we all feeling? If you’re anything like me you swiftly made the realisation after Christmas, that you bought way too much in the way of Christmas goodies and you’re now trying to get through it all before the end of the month, because y’know ‘best before dates’… This is my reality.
Before I get back to my usual programming I’d just like to take the first blog of the year to chat about what I’m hoping to achieve this year. Now sweeties, before I begin these are in no way goals or resolutions! It’s what I’d like to call a ‘well that be lovely’ list! I feel it’s important at this time to keep focused on things that are full of goodliness and make you happy!
I’d love to know, what are your little victories of last year? Have you thought about writing yourself a little ‘well that’d be lovely’ list? If so, what little things would you like to do or achieve?
Whatever you do this year lovelies, just remember to look after YOU this year.
Lovelies! I sincerely hope you have your beverage of choice at hand; a cup of tea, maybe an Earl Grey or perhaps a hot chocolate with marshmallows as it’s now beginning to feel cosy and autumnal.
Now whenever I take any kind of break from blogging, even if it’s just for a week I tend to apologise profusely and will sit at home wondering why I didn’t post that week… However today is a day close to a lot of our hearts (especially at the moment), World Mental Health Day. The truth is m’dears lately my absence has been due to my fluctuating mental health and I’m not embarrassed to say it; I’ve always tried to do my best not to bring the dreaded C word into the sanctuary that is my website but I think it’s absolutely fair to say that there’s a lot going on in people’s lives right now brought on by this, including my own.
Back in 2018, when my mental health truly began to affect my life “It’s ok, not to be ok” were words that I felt I needed to hear on a daily basis. Having someone to hold my hand and look me in the eye (whenever I could muster the strength to give someone eye contact, that is) tell me that it’s absolutely ok to feel the way I do and to know my feelings were valid, this may seem so simple to do and say these things and it is! When your mind feels like mush and is constantly going through so much turmoil, I can say hand on heart that it’s the littlest things that can honestly have the biggest impact on someone who is deeply struggling.
But no matter what you might be battling through, you never have to apologise and especially right now, in this moment. It’s ok.
Carrie Fisher (someone I’ve idolised for a very long time) never once shied away from the fact she suffered with mental health issues, she wore it proudly like a t-shirt and I always found this immensely courageous. It made me feel like I have never have to be ashamed or apologise, that I have struggles now and have had major struggles in the past. When you go through something that affects your mental health the way it does it’s truly life changing and it will always be a part of your story.
I had to learn and accept that my anxiety does not define who I am and allow it to be a part of the person I wanted to become, but to try and not give it the opportunity to take over my life anymore.
For me, reading Carrie Fisher’s extraordinary book Wishful Drinking was one of the most cathartic experiences I’d ever had reading an autobiography, when I’d initially read it back in 2015 it hadn’t really hit me that for most of my life I’d already been face to face with a series of mental health issues. But when things eventually came to a head for me a few years later I was brought back to that book and her immense words. In some of my darkest days, if I wasn’t brave enough to speak out to anyone I knew I could pop into that book and talk to Carrie. She was there. To quote one of her many immortal lines she tells us, “In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls”, yes Carrie it does! I eventually got to tell her just before she passed exactly what this book means to me and how her words made such an impression; that even the thought of not getting out of bed or showering was ok, because at some point in this journey I would get through what I’m going through and it would be ok.
Darling people, if you know someone who is struggling please just be your lovely caring self and offer your support. Don’t think too hard about what to say to them; if you have no idea what to say and I understand it’s difficult being on this side of things too just message them and offer to talk, or even call them and please respect their boundaries. If it’s yourself that’s struggling and you’re reading this, I know that it’s extremely hard to reach out initially about how your feeling and it can all feel like a bit of a blur or an outer body experience, but please reach out to someone around you or contact your GP for a chat.
You are loved.
My messages are always wide open, I’m here to talk and I’m with you. It’s going to be ok.
Lovelies, I’m now the very proud owner of a dress and blouse that I made myself.
As someone who only a few months ago was still suffering with severe anxiety, panic attacks, with symptoms of depression and agoraphobia… I’m sure you realise just how significant this moment is.
Through doing this I honestly feel as though I’ve reached an important milestone in my mental health journey and the healing process. I know that if I’d have attempted this a few years ago or even back in February I would have told myself I was untalented, worthless and I shouldn’t even bother because what’s the point?
It’s a very different story to how I feel right now.
Making clothes is something I’ve always imagined myself doing; my eclectic fashion taste unfortunately doesn’t lend itself to the high street and I find reproduction clothes although gorgeous they can also be extremely expensive! So this was always an option I wanted to explore, but knew I wouldn’t be able to get to this point without looking after my mental health first.
In making my own clothes I’m able to find patterns that not only suit my personal style, but I’ve been lucky enough to find that my nearest vintage store has heaps of beautiful vintage fabric! So at the end of the day, I not only get a garment made to fit my petite yet curvaceous body type (finding clothes to fit exactly can indeed be a challenge, anyone with me?) But in order to achieve this I’m not using newly made fabric in the process; therefore being sustainable and having a truly vintage garment as the result. I mean, can you say win-win?
However instead of using the phrase “I tried to run before I could walk”, I think it’s fair to say I ran the London Marathon before I could even crawl and decided I would make this dress with it only being my third time using a sewing machine! I’m one of those that seems to learn better when doing and if I need to learn a specific stitch I’ll have trusty YouTube tutorials at my side to guide me through. I definitely don’t recommend this for everyone, I’m just extremely stubborn… and as I type that I can hear a distant echo saying “YES SHE IS!” from my loved ones haha.
So I’m trying not to steamboat ahead… Y’know like I did when I started all this, but I have some major plans for the future and where I’d really like to take this skill. Honestly I’d love nothing more than to take my cosplay game to a whole new level, making lavish costumes on the scale you’d see at New York Comic Con. As well as creating an entire wardrobe of reworked and personally made clothes and making me true feel like I’ve walked out of Sterling Cooper (Draper Price)… You know I have to mention Mad Men at least once!
Ok, I’ll freely admit that these garments are far from perfect! Nevertheless I personally think it’s pretty nifty being able to see my whole progress right before my eyes and what I’ve achieved so far. I’m teaching myself a completely new skill and I’m prepared for the fact it’s going to look at little ropey for a while yet!
During these last few months have you happened to pick up a new skill, or did you rediscover a love for an old skill? Or, have you been thinking about it but haven’t tried it on for size yet? Take it from me lovelies, if you’re thinking about learning a new skill, whether it’s sewing or something completely different I feel you should absolutely go for it! It might just be the beginning of something truly special.
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!
Hope you’re all safe and sound my lovelies! Keeping sane and being creative I hope. I’m pretty good at spending a lot of time indoors, I must admit. Presently I’ve been putting outfits together and trying to be creative with my ensemble choices (y’know so I can look utterly fabulous, once I emerge from my cave of wonders) and it got me to thinking just how much of what I wear is actually influenced by what I watch! This also works the other way around too; a lot of what I watch is definitely influenced by what I wear!
This has been most apparent with Mad Men.
Yes I know! But don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything for those that haven’t watched it on Netflix yet… hint hint.
I remember when I first watched the show I instantly resonated with the wardrobe of Peggy Olson, played fantastically by Elizabeth Moss! Am I right?
Firstly, I think it’s fair to say I could easily sit through one episode and vocally express that I wanted (nay needed) every single outfit from every character… Including the supporting artists!
Yes I actually did that, if you were wondering.
Peggy’s array of bows, peter pan collars and not to mention her bangs! It was crystal clear that there was a lot I could take away from this character and already had unbeknownst to me.
Now please bear in mind sweeties I had all these clothes in my wardrobe whilst doing this blog post, I bought nothing new for the occasion! I wish! I know that these are not in any way accurate depictions or cosplay’s of Peggy’s costumes, but I found it interesting just how much of what I already owned lent itself to the iconic TV series.
As you all know (unless you’re new here, then welcome lovelies!) I have a penchant for retro and vintage clothing, particularly that of the 1950s and 60s. However when my putting these ensembles together the hair was the hardest thing to get right! Oh my goodness, no matter what I do to my hair it just naturally wants to form itself back into the 1920’s flapper bob that it is… But thanks to unwashed hair, pin-curling the night before (and a sleepless night due to bobby pins sticking into my skull), some severe back combing and a big tin of hairspray I managed to achieve (only just) this look!
What I love and adore most about the costumes created for Elizabeth Moss is that they always put her in a combination of patterns and textures and were never afraid of a pop of colour!
They clearly showed her evolution through the changes in fashion and trends at the time- I’m now going to blame the stylists for my growing obsession with the colours mustard yellow, rust and green!
These costumes creatively designed by Janie Bryant concentrated on Peggy’s journey, not only through the decades of the show but her important transition through the period of time as a woman and what it meant to be a woman in what was a male dominated world. The women on this show were (let’s face it) positively badass! They were not afraid of the men around them, to assert their authority when necessary and knew how to achieve exactly what they wanted to; they were go-getters and will always be (in my opinion) considered as some of the best written characters on TV and I think we can all agree some of the most stylish!
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.
When looking to plan a perfect day out and about; for me it would be a morning moseying around local antique and second-hand stores, a stop off somewhere for some tea and cake (or a cheeky chai latte, if it’s on offer) preferably at a quaint café where the cake is homemade, then an afternoon wandering little side streets with another coffee to walk around with.
Now I’ll be honest with you all the antique stores in Shoreditch are quite simply not my cup of tea. I think they’re overpriced and Shoreditch itself I find to be rather stressful!
When antique hunting in London I find it best to scour the internet first instead of hopping straight to Shoreditch and some of the best places I’ve found so far are in the SE London. Crystal Palace antiques and Love Atomica which has a space Croydon are fantastic, if you’re looking for vintage furnishings! Maybe you’re looking for a tea set just like your Grandma used to have and you remember it from your childhood, or a funky 1960s Mad Men style bureau. Places like this are really worth taking a look round and they won’t have you forking out so much money that you end up thinking – “was it just worth buying something similar from Ikea?”
My favourite haunt as of lately is Mabel’s Five & Dime, in Sydenham. Now hold onto your seats kids it gets better, there’s also a cute little café next door… I know right?
However Mabel’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, but this should just further the urgency to go and visit!
It’s such a perfectly sized store and is curated beautifully. The owner handpicks everything that goes into Mabel’s (by the way if you’re curious Mabel is a cute little pup) and the way everything is displayed instantly made me personally want to spend a lot of time there, just to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The store stocks everything from furniture, china, books, toys, clothes/accessories and plenty of vintage fabric. Even better, if you do see an item of clothing you do have your eye on there’s a changing room!
I knew as soon as I entered that I’d be walking away with something and that I did! Now would you honestly believe me if I told you that these finds came to £24 altogether? I know right! I didn’t think they would either to be perfectly honest. But it just showed me what vintage and antique stores can be like once you venture away from Central and East London, and I’m eager to find more to visit.
If you know of any fantastical vintage/antique stores on the outskirts of London that I simply must go and give some love, then please do send your recommendations my way. Or if you know of any around the country, I will make it my mission to go visit those too!
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.
to mention everything else, this is merely the cusp of my geekiness!)
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.
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!
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 howproud 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!
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
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
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!!!”