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”

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.      

“Just call me Aunt Teek!”

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!

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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Summer clothes make me feel fine

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!    

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!