Saturday, 31 December 2011

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

A New Year's message from my style icon Zooey 
Deschanel (and the gorgeous Joseph Gordon-Levitt)!

Hope you all have a brilliant New Year's Eve and best of luck for the year ahead. Thank you so much for your support in 2011, it's been a fantastic year for the blog and we couldn't have done it without you!

Here's to another 12 months of Chic & Cheerful!

Ruth xx

Thursday, 29 December 2011

How to have a fashionable hangover

The Christmas party season is my all time favourite excuse for getting dolled up: you can get away with so much glamour and no one bats an eyelid! Glitter, velvet, jewel tones and pleats are just a few of my key looks this year - but daytime is a different matter. Rather than huddle under a snuggie, clutching a glass of orange juice, I've decided to take a different tack and rock a very fashionable hungover look, 'hungover chic' if you will.

Now you're probably thinking I've gone a bit mental but hear me out on this one: looking good can make you feel better when you've got an actual sickness so why not apply the principle to self-induced illness too? Next time you're suffering after a night of partying, try these very chic and cheerful tips to make the recovery process a lot easier!

1. Never forget Anna's golden rule: it is always cool to wear sunglasses

(c) Karin Bar
2. Try 2012's beauty trends early by opting for a dewy look

Alberta Ferreti, Spring/Summer 2012
(image from
Use a heavy duty moisturiser to revive your skin and yummy lip balms to perk up your pout. If you just can't go without a bit of eye make up, coat your lashes with a clear conditioning mascara to lengthen and add definition.

3. Autumn/Winter 2011 was all about the statement knit... make use of that stack of jumpers and snuggle up. If you bypassed the trend before Christmas, visit the sales and pick up some cosy winter warmers - shopping online, of course!

Funnily enough, now is probably the best time to embrace another trend which I've ridiculed quite a bit over the past 12 months: pyjama pants. In the style of a certain tabloid newspaper, I have voiced plenty of horrified opinions on how this trend would surely cause the downfall of Britain and fashion as we know it (well, maybe I didn't go that far but it was probably just as dramatic...). In all honesty thoough, I now get it: trousers that are as comfy as pyjamas? It may be a few seasons late but sign me up!

I picked up this Topshop dalmatian jumper
for £25 in the sales
These three quarter length pyjama trousers
make for easy fashion - Pins and Needles rose
print trousers
, £25, Urban Outfitters
4. Treat your feet
Fleur foot soother teabags, £3, Whittard
Whether you're in heels or flats, a night on your feet can leave your poor toes looking like something out of Embarrassing Bodies. Err...ok, so that analogy may not work (if your toes do look like something on EB, you may want to see a doctor - stat!) but these foot soothers from Whittard certainly do. Simply soak your toes in the peppermint and lemongrass blend then wrap up in soft socks and quirky slippers.
ELLE Eyelash suedette slippers, £5 Topshop
5. Condition, condition, condition
Whether you're a hairspray fiend or just can't live without your GHDs, the only way to make sure your hair stays in tip top shape after an evening of teasing to perfection is to coat it in heavy duty conditioner the day after. My favourite product is Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor deep conditioner. Not only does it smell lush but it will leave your locks in just left the salon quality.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor
deep conditioner
, £4.99, Boots
And finally...
I wrote a post for food blog Back to the Roots a few weeks back on my perfect hangover cure, a scrumptious wild mushroom broth. This yummy soup is perfect for rehydration and, as it's only 95 calories a bowl, you can have guilt-free seconds too.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Normal service resumes soon!

Hello lovelies,

Hope you're all having a brilliant Christmas break at the moment. Sorry for not posting as promised over the last week or so, I managed to pick up a nasty bug (and no that's not code for a hangover!). Anyway, normal service will resume from the 29th - I'm taking the day off tomorrow for my birthday - so until then, take a look at this fabulous guide from the Telegraph on what you should be picking up in the sales!

Love xx

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Look like Miss Piggy (in a good way)

Dear Santa, I'd like to be a divine
swine this Christmas please.
What screams CHRISTMAS more than a sparkly nail varnish? That's right, a sparkly nail varnish with an awesome name ('The fresh frog of Bel Air' and 'Divine Swine' are two of my faves). 

The Muppets have got together with OPI to create a surprisingly lovely range of nail varnishes - given that it's The Muppets and all. At only £10.50 each these suitably festive flavours make a pretty neat stocking filler too.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Bargain of the week: £3.99 little black dress

This week's offering comes from H&M. This dress was £7.99 as I started writing this post but has now gone down to just £3.99! WOW.

At the time of writing, only sizes 10 and 12 were left for sale online so you may have to have a scout in-store for this little number - but at this price it's at least worth a look, right? 

Velvet is huge for autumn and cute pleated skirts have been around for a few seasons now. Best of all though, the dress can be worn time and time again with different accessories to create new looks. And on that note, watch out this week for the Chic & Cheerful style guide 'One dress, five ways' featuring this beauty!

PS - Just found out that if you sign up to H&M's e-newsletter you get another 25% off, applicable to sale items.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Fashion news round-up: 18/12/11

Your guide to the biggest fashion stories of the week
Meryl covers Vogue
This has to be my favourite story of the week: the inimitable actress Meryl Streep (shot by Annie Leibovitz above) is covering the January issue of American Vogue. Her hotly anticipated role in The Iron Lady is already generating a lot of awards buzz - and for good reason too! Just watch this teaser trailer of Streep at work:

Andrej Pejic models push-up bra

Andrej has been the name on everyone's lips again this week following the announcement that he is starring in an ad campaign for Dutch department store Hema - modelling a push-up bra. Apparently Pejic said he'd have a sex change to model for Victoria's Secret but it looks like he didn't have to go to such extreme lengths to bag this one. 

The androgynous model rocks plunging necklines in the ad shots, looking as beautiful as ever. The bras are covered up but certainly prove their claim of boosting two cup sizes!

Elizabeth Taylor showing off the engagement ring given to
her by Richard Burton (image:
The Elizabeth Taylor auction sets world record
For a woman who was once quoted as saying "Big girls need big diamonds", her last event on this earth was a rather fitting affair. Bidders turned up in their finest to buy Taylor's coveted collection. Her catalogue of jewels, originally estimated at $30 million, sold for $115,932 million - a portion of which went to The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. WOW.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Young Forever jewellery

Make a wish necklaces, £2.50 each; Multi animal pack rings £3; Semi precious red ring, £2.50
In my hunt for cheap, chic Christmas goodies today, I discovered a fantastic little website which sells on trend jewellery for under £5 - in fact, most pieces are on sale for just £2.50. 

Young Forever has this great vintagey, charmed feel to it, perfect for costume jewellery addicts (and last minute stocking fillers too!).

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas jumpers for all seasons

2011 has been the year of funky knits so it's only right that we've had some great Christmas jumpers in high street shops lately. Thank goodness that we've come a long way from dodgy patterns, bobbly sleeves and - I shudder at the thought - The Sweater Shop's annual offerings.

Now I love festive sweaters but kind of have a problem with them.You spend so much only to wear it for a few weeks a year. Not very purse friendly! So instead of wasting your cash on Frosty the snowman or some cutesy penguin this merry season, why not take a look at my guide to some of the best Christmas jumpers guaranteed to take you all the way to springtime.

Creature feature
L-R: March hare jumper, Joules, £69.95; Knitted rabbit jumper, Miss Selfridge, £39; Knitted sequin bird sweat, Topshop, £46; Cooperative sequin fox jumper, Urban Outfitters, £48

Patterned prints
L-R: Vila bright nordic jumper,, £45; Chelsea Girl intarsia jumper, River Island, £35; Phase eight fairisle guinevere jumper, Debenhams, £37.50

Sparkles and sequins

L-R: Oasis chunky sequin yarn top, Debenhams, £55; Vero Moda sequin knit jumper,, £32; Vintage beaded top, Oasis, £70; Jovonnista sequin bow jumper, Pret a portabello, £55

It's in the details
L-R: Bow shoulder top, Oasis, £32; Black fluffy jumper, Dorothy Perkins, £24.50; Open knitwork sweater, Mango, £39.90; Relaxed fit lurex sweater, Mango, £34.90

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Style insider: Bristol's best boutiques

This is the very first of a feature we hope will become a regular on Chic & Cheerful. Style insider looks at your favourite places to find fashion up and down the country. First up, Martha Cliff has put together an amazing guide on where to find the best fashion in Bristol - let us know what you think!

Ahh, Christmas shopping. If you're anything like me, you've probably found yourself drowning your sorrows with a glass of mulled wine and watch old re-runs of the Vicar of Dibley rather than venturing out into the frozen landscape and traipsing around B&Q for a nail gun for your dad.

The West Country certainly does not carry with it connotations of cosmopolitan heaven, but, as I found on a recent flurry around Bristol’s boutique scene, it has a little more on offer than scrumpy cider and cream teas.
It's not a maze in Maze (and there aren't any terrible puns either)
Located in the affluent area of Clifton, Maze is one of those shops you wouldn’t dare approach if you had just eaten a sticky jam doughnut.

Offering a glorious collection of designer names including Joseph, French Connection and Day Birger et Mikkelsen, its light and airy spaces could be compared with some of London’s tip top shops.

Hannah Holloway, Maze’s owner, assured me that although it all looks very London chic, Maze is more down to earth, “We sell future classics that are made to be worn and loved, Maze customers want to be fashionable without being fashion victims. It's not about being a slave to fashion, but about what looks great and feels right.”

26-28 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4DS,

The kitsch interior at ShOp
The name 'ShOp' sounds as inspiring as your local Tesco express but this is one not to judge by its cover, so to speak.

Tucked away in the Christmas steps the ShOp is an Aladdin’s cave of all things vintage, bursting at the seams with all sorts of curious objects for you to spend hours appreciating (or trying to figure out what they are).

It also provides guilt free shopping: the ShOp puts all profits back into community arts projects.

Jayne, ShOp’s owner has a passion for vintage clothing - and not just because of its style credibility, “We believe vintage clothing, by being second-hand, is a more ethical option to the high street. Vintage pieces are one-offs and often the reference point for catwalk trends; you can be fashion-forward without comprising your morals or your bank balance.”

ShOp provides free tea and cake daily so if the stress of Christmas shopping is all getting too much, you know where to head for some yummy treats.

19, Christmas Steps, Bristol, BS1 5BS,

Heavenly: 18 boutique, Bristol
18 is just a hop, skip and jump away from its sister store Maze in Clifton Village. You can find yourself in rather a lot more of a tizzy over what to buy in 18 than Maze: it's not just a closet full of clothes, but is also a concept store where everything is for sale - from the lovely Miller Harris candles to the antique French and Swedish furniture.

As well as being style conscious, 18 has a moral conscience too: “We favour a lot of environmentally conscious brands in 18," says Hannah Holloway. "Especially those who produce locally, supporting British industry, using vegetable dyes and natural processes.”

It’s like having the most delicious cake and then being told it’s fat free: you can buy the jacket and feel like you’ve just done a little good in the world. Guilt free shopping heaven.

18 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4DS,

You won't find scraps for sale at Rag trade!
Rag trade
One thing you can be sure about in this charming little boutique is that they are certainly not selling old rags.

Listed as Bristol’s best vintage shop, Rag trade acts as a bring and buy store where customers receive 50% of the profits for the clothes they bring in. Perfect if you're in need of some extra pennies!

Rag trade operates around the idea of sustainability in clothing and, speaking to owner Alison Taylor, it’s clear that she wants pieces that are going to last, “I have a huge problem with Primark, those clothes don’t last. I love a real mix of labels, I truly believe in mixing it up.”

If you just have to have that dream dress for your Christmas party and need a little extra wardrobe space, Rag trade is the place to go.

2 Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol, BS2 8DJ,

Vintage tie anyone?
Oxfam Boutique
I have to say, charity shops are not my forte. I always try to be one of those people who find amazing things to give a new life to but, let’s face it, charity shopping can be kind of tedious at times.

But, saying that, I could spend hours in Bristol's Oxfam Boutique. I'm pretty sure if it was in Knightsbridge, people would call it luxurious vintage and stick a £100 price tag on it. But this boutique is as reasonably priced as any Oxfam shop.

Just think of the most brilliant dressing up box any of your friends had when you were a kid - but beautifully laid out and carefully displayed. I find I’m always much more adventurous in this shop because you have such fun trying items on and they’re so cheap that even if you wouldn’t usually buy them you can afford to do so.

If you wound up with a serious fashion follower as your secret Santa this year, then hop down to Oxfam and buy a silk scarf and pass it off as vintage couture darling!

77 Park Street Bristol, BS1 5PF

Do you have a style destination to share? Send us an email at and you could appear on Chic & Cheerful!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Bargain of the week: Vamp up your favourite shoes with Blingbacks

You know those shoes in the back of your wardrobe? The ones that are so comfy you refuse to part with them but at the same time could do with a bit of sprucing up? Well, I've found the solution!

Blingbacks in action
These cute Blingbacks are the easiest way to glam up your old faithfuls for only a couple of quid - great if you need new heels but are a bit strapped for cash. 

They have a really neat silicon pad on the back which slips inside your shoe so the jewel rests on the outside. Perfect early Christmas present to yourself!
Blingbacks cost between £12 and £15, depending on the style, and are available in Debenhams, on Asos and Amazon.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Whistles A/W 11

I'm really not sure how I managed to miss out on this fantastic video from Whistles earlier this year but now that I've found it, I hope all you Chic & Cheerful readers will love it as much as I do! 

Lovely music, gorgeous clothes, beautiful film.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Versace at H&M Cardiff (or the day I got up at 4.45am for fashion)

Two of the lovely ladies at the Versace
for H&M opening, Cardiff
Editor's note: I know I promised I wouldn't talk about Versace for H&M anymore!

One cold (bloomin’ freezing actually) day in November, I was given the opportunity to visit H&M Cardiff to report on the Versace collaboration’s first day in-store. This is the story of what happened to me the very first time I went to a high street collaboration opening.

At 4.30AM on Thursday 17 November, I dragged my poor other half out of our cosy bed and pushed him into the car, demanding that we hurry to catch the 6AM train to the bright lights of the Welsh capital. After much deliberation (and Twitter watching the night before) I figured 7AM was a safe bet to get to the Hayes’ store – I’d be, what, in the first hundred or so, right?

Wrong. I marched off that train, shaking with excitement and chilliness (it was prepare for the weather or prepare for 3 hours of queueing with fashion fanatics – guess what I chose). As I rounded the corner, I thought my eyes must have deceived me: there couldn’t have been more than 10 (10!) people outside. Where were the queues? Where were the maniacs crying that they wished they’d gone to London to see Donatella? How was I going to get photos of the massive queues of 10 PEOPLE?!

The 'queue'
Once I’d calmed down (and popped into a conveniently placed Starbucks next door for a caffeine hit), I realised what I was up against: three ladies who had camped out (more on them later) and a few younger girls wrapped up in cute winter jackets. Surely I’d be able to pick up some of the covetable accessories from the collab with only a few in front of me? Brilliant.

As time went on (and my mood improved with more hastily bought skinny cappuccinos), I began to chat to my excitable co-queuers about what they thought of the Versace/H&M pieces. Most were still hugely enthusiastic after seeing the window displays but some (er, apologies Donatella...) thought it looked kind of cheap. Like school skirt fabric cheap.

Cheap or chic?
Regardless, rumours were rife: would there be menswear inside? What sizes were available? Could anyone see any friggin’ printed leggings?? We whiled away the hours debating what to buy and comparing fashion sense and previous H&M collaboration buys (my Swedish Hasbeens were trumped by a model turned scientist who had picked up a Lanvin dress on sale).

The first group (the three ladies who had camped out to be at the front of a queue of what was eventually 25ish long) went in at 9.05AM. To say that they raided the place would be an understatement. I’m pretty sure they picked up one of everything. Each. I heard a sales assistant saying that one woman alone had spent £1600 on pieces from the collection – she said she was buying for her daughter, make of that what you will.

By the time I went in with the second group of five the shelves were looking a little sparse. I'd promised myself that I’d only pick up accessories and managed to stick true to my word – although that did mean I ended up spending £40 on what transpired to be some quite cheap jewellery. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap. They look amazing from afar but up close you can see the production marks in the base metal and I'm pretty sure they're going to turn my wrists green. That being said though, I still love them. L-O-V-E love them. Ah, the fickle nature of fashion.

My accessory of choice
Moral of the story? Go to Cardiff next time. They may not have the whole collection on display but you sure do beat the fashion traffic.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Bargain of the week: £14 party shoes

Nothing says Christmas like a bit of excess glitter. So don your LBD and add some sparkle with these fantastic gold courts from the one and only Matalan. Teamed with last week's bargain dress for a tenner and you'll have a gorgeous party outfit for under £25!
Gold glitter courts, £14, Matalan
Word of warning: I find Matalan shoes tend to be a little bit larger than the average fit so you'll definitely need to try these on before buying. 
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