Saturday, 30 June 2012

My best friend's jacket

Smart snake jacket, on sale for £30 now, Warehouse
Don't you just love it when a friend picks up something gorgeous you never would have considered? That's exactly what happened with me and this Warehouse snake print jacket. A good friend of mine was modelling it over the jubilee weekend and I just couldn't take my eyes off it. It's not often that I'll spot something on someone else that I really really want (blame my picky fashion sense there) but this jacket just really intrigued me.

On paper, it shouldn't work: white denim and snake skin are two of my big fashion no-nos (makes me think of big 80s hair and American rock concerts). But in reality, it's one of the best cover-ups you're going to find this summer. For a denim jacket it's such a flattering fit, in a lighter denim than you usually find: the hem is tailored so it'll skim over your waist and hips - and the barely-there print means you can pretty much team it with anything.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Summer scents: new perfumes for SS12

 L-R: Gucci Flora - Magnolia, Gardenia, Tuberose (50ml) £41.65, escentual.com
Citrus Verbena Summer Fragrance (150ml) £38, L'Occitane; Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche (50ml)  £49.50, theperfumeshop.com; Davidoff Woman Cool Water Pure Pacific (100ml) £32, Boots.com
Marc Jacobs Tropical Splash Hibiscus (100ml) £24.65, escentual.com

I've been on the lookout for a new summer perfume for ages and have finally got it narrowed down to these five choices. I love a good light scent and all of these are (I think anyway) well matched to this season's big tropical and pastel trends.

1. Gucci Flora
I am so in love with all of these scents - and they have a really fantastic story behind them too. The inspiration for this range of perfumes comes from a Gucci silk scarf design, first created for Princess Grace of Monaco. The breezy fragrances remind me of 50s dresses and garden parties - so very Grace Kelly, don't you think?

2. L'Occitane Citrus Verbena Summer Fragrance
Just like a walk in the Mediterranean countryside, this cooling fragrance is at the opposite end of the summer spectrum to Gucci Flora. It is enriched with organic verbena from Corsica, lemon oil from Sicily and grapefruit extract from Italy. The perfume is subtle and delicate but with a citrus pow.

3. Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche
Coco Chanel was the first fashion designer to create a label perfume, in the form of the everlasting Chanel No. 5. Given the fashion house's perfume legacy, it really is no surprise that this is another fantastic fragrance. It's hard to explain but something about Chance Eau Fraiche just sparkles

4. Davidoff Cool Water Pure Pacific
Another scent with a citrus kick, Pure Pacific has a lovely extra layer to it. As with all perfumes in the Cool Water range, it has the added rolling tones of ocean waves. For me, it brings back memories of summers spent on the beach and ice cream on the pier.

5. Marc Jacobs Tropical Splash Hibiscus
Raspberry, mandarin, peony, hibiscus - this perfume is just so summery, you'd have to have a cold heart not to smile at a whiff of it. It's like a Hawaiian holiday in a bottle.

And for the evening...

Light and airy works well for warm summer days, but evenings call for something a bit spicier. 

This L'Occitane Eau d'Iparie Eau de Toilette (75ml, £35) has a wonderful eastern Mediterranean vibe to it. With a heavier incense and myrrh filled smell than those above, this perfume is perfect with kohl eyeliner and floating maxi dresses. Great for long meals at sunset and cocktails on a balcony.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

'Buy and return' - this season's biggest trend?

Shopgirl image from jezebel.com
 A funny little press release caught my eye the other day. According to a survey carried out by OnePoll.com, one in eight women has bought expensive clothes, worn them on a night out and returned them the next day.

Half of those who confessed their dirty deed said they did it because the couldn't afford to keep the clothes in this economic climate; another 18% said they did it because they enjoyed the buzz. And apparently it's most common to do it for wedding outfits.

Ew.

Come on girls! Did we learn nothing from our fabulously stylish grandmothers and great aunts during the war? If you can't splash the cash, make do and mend. I'm a terrible person for looking in my wardrobe and doing the old 'Oh but people have seen me in this before...' but this is just plain weird. If you don't have the money, don't buy it!

A few weeks ago I picked up a really cute top in a popular high street chain's sale. But in the bright lights of the changing rooms it became quite clear not all was as it seemed. There were actual food stains on the front. Shame on the sales assistant who took it back, but double shame on the cheapskate who returned it in the first place.

Have you ever bought and returned? Let me know (anonymously!) in the comment box below.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bargain of the week: Karrimor wellies

Pink Karrimor wellies, £17.99, mandmdirect.com
Whether it's for festival season or just to survive this dreary weather, it looks like we're all going to be needing a sturdy pair of wellies this year. 

If you're on the lookout for some new rubber shoes, these Karrimor bargainous boots are down from £44.99 to just £17.99 on mandmdirect.com. Sure to stand out even in the thickest of muds.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The little Paris Kitchen cookbook by Rachel Khoo review

Image via telegraph.co.uk
French food, like French style, will never go out of fashion. If it's not the flavours that gets mouths watering, then it's the French's ability to eat all those calories and still be stick thin, that gets everyone's tongues wagging.

I'm a bad cook. No, that's an understatement. I'm a laughably bad cook, almost on a par with Bridget Jones' blue string soup. But there's something so intriguing about Rachel Khoo and the Little Paris Kitchen. The love that goes in to making her food (and her flouncing about in gorgeous vintage dresses on the telly) made me want to give it a go.

Paris kitchen cookbook, £10.86, Amazon
I picked up Rachel's cookbook after a wonderful week in Paris, to treat me and the other half to some more French treats. I had seen a few episodes of her television show but, as with all cookery programs that claim to offer a 'simple approach', I was wary. Surely the gourmet of France couldn't be that easy? Well, I'll be honest, it's not. If you don't know how to fold, or that bechamel sauce had cloves in it, or own a sieve for that matter, then this is probably going to be a pretty hefty adventure in cooking for you. But it's worth it. So far I've tried the French toast, madelines, citrus loaf cake and smoky fish pie and all I can say is yum to everything. Forget the calories (and all the butter) and just enjoy.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Interview: Kaitie Manani, designer, Vamastyle


Speaking to Kaitie Manani, the founding designer behind Vamastyle, you can almost smell the sun cream. Her summery disposition isn't just a personal attribute though, it's wonderfully translated into the bright and beautiful fashion she creates for Vamastyle - the Australian label hitting British shores this summer.

Vamastyle is "a little piece of Australian heaven", says Kaitie. Each collection is designed for a year-round summer lifestyle, featuring vibrant prints in soft silks and cottons. Perfect for any upcoming beach holiday, or even if you just fancy cheering your wardrobe in all this drab weather we're having.

I spoke to Kaitie last week about colours, collections and inspiration.

Kaitie Manani
Chic and Cheerful: Hi Kaitie, it's great to meet you! Ok, so first things first - could you please describe your style for the C&C readers?
Kaitie Manani: I love to wear colour and lots of it - yellow, pink, green, aqua neon and loads of gold accessories… if I need to add a neutral then it’s usually navy, cream or army green.

C&C: Lovely! So, tell us, what's your background in? How did you get into fashion design?
KM: I used to work as a graphic designer for fashion companies; I have worked for many brands in Australia and the UK. I always dreamt of having my own fashion label one day. When I moved from London to Hong Kong four years ago, everything just fell into place.

I have always loved fashion illustration, as young as I can remember I have been drawing and tearing sheets from magazines and books, collecting ideas. Having graphic design and drawing skills allows me to translate my fashion concepts for each collection.
 
C&C: So besides the career progression, what really inspired you to go into fashion design?
KM: My love for bright colours and prints.

C&C: And that's definitely translated into your work. If you weren't a designer though, what would you be doing?
KM: I'd be an illustrator, it’s an incredible skill to have.

C&C: On to the label - where did the name 'Vamastyle' come from?
KM: ‘Vama’ means ‘woman’ in Sanskrit and I added ‘style’ to define it as a fashion label. My husband is Indian and we used to eat at a fabulous Indian restaurant in Chelsea when we were living in London five years ago, and I fell in love with the name [Vama].

C&C: And who would you say is the Vamastyle girl?
KM: She’s a summer loving girl, who loves wearing colour, bold prints and feminine details in her outfits.

C&C: What is your favourite S/S12 trend? I'm really enjoying the tropical prints which are all over the British high street at the moment, and the Vamastyle collections have a similar but more luxurious Bali feel to them - what's the main look you're rocking this season?
KM: I like combining brights (bold colours) and lights (pastel colours).
 
C&C: Who's your favourite designer? Or who do you most admire in the fashion world?
KM: Can I say two? Amy Smilovic from Tibi (New York) - I am obsessed with the clean cut designs, they always use beautiful colours and prints. And Marc Jacobs (in particular his diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs) - the colour combinations, cute prints and vintage references in his styles are incredible.

C&C: Looking to your SS12 work, what inspired your latest collection?
KM: Tropical Daydream was inspired by the flamingo pink and citrus ice cream shades of Miami and palm-tree green and aqua-blues from the exotic island of Bali. Also, all of my collections take inspiration from my own circumstances - being an Australian designer living in the tropics of Singapore, creating a year-round summer boutique fashion label.

C&C: Is the use of bright colours a theme in all your work? Why is colour such an integral part of your designs?
KM: I grew up on a beautiful farm in rural Australia, and was surrounded by incredible spectrum of colours everywhere, from rainbow parrots, pink sunsets to emerald green hills. Bright saturated colour is enriched in my soul! So yes I would say that bright colours will always be a theme in every Vamastyle collection.

C&C: What have you got in store for next season?
KM: I have always been a ‘dress’ girl but lately I have been moving into more jumpsuits and shorts, so expect fabulous day-to-night dresses and more tailored shorts and tops to match.

C&C: It's been a pleasure chatting to you Kaitie, I can't wait to get shopping for my summer wardrobe now!

You can find Vamastyle on Facebook or visit the website, vamastyle.com.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A right royal party


Is it just me or does the jubilee weekend seem a million years ago now? Forgive the lateness of this post but I just had to share these royally themed accessories.

My jubilee weekend consisted of some rather gorgeous treats. The first came in the form of these lovely (and sturdy I might add, given my notoriety for ripping them, I was very impressed) union jack crown tights from Jonathan Aston.

The second was my new favourite thing of all time: a corgi-printed scarf from Silken Favours. This hand illustrated scarf was created to honour the Diamond Jubilee and, I’m 99% sure, to fill the gap of pooch prints in my wardrobe. Actually, now that I’ve written that, I’ve just started to realise just how many things I own that have dogs on them in one form or another. Move over crazy cat ladies, I’m coming through!

A slice of this and a G&T made my jubilee weekend
Last but not least, I attended a scrumptious vintage tea party at my good friend Caroline's house with some many mouthwatering delights, I still daydream about them. Yum. Now that's a girl who knows how to cook.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Bargain of the week: £10 Havaianas flip flops

Havaianas, £10, Matalan

Ok, so the sun may not be shining quite yet but that doesn't mean you can't plan ahead, right? 

The iconic Brazilian flip flops Havaianas are timeless stand out fashion, perfect for cheering up the gloomiest of so-called British summer days. And whats more, you can now grab a pair for just £10 at Matalan. Thank you Brazil!

Monday, 11 June 2012

See y'all later!


Hello lovelies!

I'm off to the States for a week so posting will be a little bit delayed. I know things have been super quiet around here lately, but now I'm all settled into my new job, I'm hoping to get the blog up and running again - as soon as I'm back on the other side of the Atlantic!

See you later x

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Figs & Rouge balm: your new beauty essential



If there's one product you need in your make up bag this summer, it's Figs & Rouge sweet geranium balm. I've had mine for a few months now, having received it in one of my Latest in Beauty boxes, and refuse to live without it.

I have to be so careful with what products I use on my skin but this balm has proved to be an excellent multi-purpose product. I've used it as a lip balm, to soothe dry skin and even to help tired under-eyes. It's not sticky at all and has a soft, light fragrance. And if that isn't enough for you, the balm is 100 per cent organic and it's made right here in the UK too.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The future of holiday fashion

I was sent some information the other day which is absolutely fascinating. According to a new survey commissioned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), women are using fashion renting websites to get that covetable dress to show off on holidays.

If you haven't used a fashion rentals site before, the premise is basically that you get to borrow expensive designer looks at a fraction of the price for a short time - perfect for the thrifty fashionista.

With the ridiculous costs that some airlines impose on baggage these days, IHG have come up with what can only be described as my dream holiday. The concept of 'renting tourism' was identified by IHG in their 2012 trends report: future travellers could rent fashion while they're on holiday and have it directly delivered to their hotel rooms. Or there could even be hotels with 'borrow not buy' rooms where guests can just browse through a selection and choose the holiday capsule wardrobe.

Is it just me who's thinking of Cher's Clueless wardrobe for this one?
Image from thegloss.com

Imagine going to the beautifully decorated Maison Moschino in Milan to find your dream wardrobe already there. No baggage claim, no unpacking required. The sooner this becomes a reality, the better in my book!

Moschino hotel, Milan 
Image from evewithoutadam.net

Angela Brav, IHG Chief Executive, Europe, and fellow follower of fashion  says: “We know that packing can be difficult for women, especially when it comes to bulky items like a fabulous evening coat or a pair of luxurious boots, so to be able to offer this kind of flexibility for our guests would be of great value.”

Friday, 1 June 2012

Silken Favours: best of British for the Diamond Jubilee

We've all seen the jubilee tat stacked high on the supermarket shelves for the last few weeks (although, don't judge, I will admit to being slightly tempted by these garden gnomes!). But this special occasion should really be about celebrating the best of British design and culture - and that's where Silken Favours comes in.


British through and through, Silken Favours prints are designed by Vicki Murdoch, a former model who won The Face of 1998 with Storm Agency. Vicki later enrolled at Chelsea Art School, specialising in textile design - she had a first class honours for her degree piece, a 1960s caravan filled with cat prints (so kitsch, I want one!).

Her career kicked off when she designed a bespoke scarf for her parents covered in drawings of the birds that would fly into the garden of their Aberdeen home - and Silken Favours was born.

Bounteous birds scarf

Last summer, Vicki's range of scarfs and cushions were picked up by Liberty London as part of their best of British open call. Vicki now designs all of her prints in a Hackney studio, and everything is manufactured in Sussex. How much more British could you get?!

Vicki in her studio

To celebrate the jubilee, Vicki has designed a gorgeous scarf featuring her Majesty's favourite pooch! (Liberty, £150). I am absolutely obsessed with corgis, having grown up with a lovely little grumpy corgi/Yorkshire terrier cross, so this scarf is my dream jubilee accessory (if there is such a thing). And, as an added bonus, this timeless piece certainly won't go out of style once the weekend's over.


Liberty's scarf styling guru Lauranne shows 
how to style the stunning corgi scarf.

You can follow Silken Favours on Facebook and Twitter. Shop for Silken Favours online at Liberty.
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