Monday, 27 May 2013

Bargain of the week: Marc Jacobs sunglasses at Own the Runway

Pink and blue wayfarers, £3.99; Pink and yellow wayfarers, £3.99, both
Admittedly, it has started raining outside my window again so this may not be the best timing for this post - but it has to brighten up sooner or later right? When it does, these pastel sunnies will be right on the money to spruce your style up. Coloured frames were all over the SS13 runways with designers like Marc Jacobs and Sheriff & Cherry leading the trend. But for those of us who can't afford to invest £100+ in eyewear at the moment, these Own the Runway lookalikes are perfect!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Saunt and Sinner need you!

Limited edition heather scarf, £95, Saunt and Sinner
The girls over at Saunt and Sinner are trying to get to London Fashion Week in September and need your help! As you may be aware, fashion week is no cheap ticket and Toni and Emma are asking for our help to crowd fund their Spring Summer 2014 collection. They need £2500 in total to reach their target before 3 June. For certain price donations you get a little thank you: if you donate £15, you get a VIP invite to their next show!

If you don't know Saunt and Sinner, the brand has been seen on everyone from Emeli Sandé to Sophie Kennedy. The designs are all made with Scottish resources and fabrics where possible and all are created in the Toni and Emma's Glasgow studio.

The label is aimed at style conscious, professional women who love spending money on unique or bespoke products. "We are very aware of our surroundings and environment," say Toni and Emma. "Art, music and culture all play a big part in our influences. We also like to take and focus on particularly unpleasant and unappreciated objects or things that may go unnoticed in every day life and turn them into something beautiful and creative. It is about finding that unique characteristic in amongst the chaos.

To donate or to find out more, see the Saunt and Sinner Bloom page or visit them on Facebook.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Introducing: Astrid and Miyu

Astrid & Miyu is quite literally beautiful by name and beautiful by nature: in Swedish (Astrid) and Japanese (Miyu), the two names mean 'exceptionally beautiful'. What a fitting choice for such lovely jewellery, don't you think?

Co-founders Connie and Jenny believe that accessories should not overshadow the woman wearing them but let her own light shine out. Everything is quirky yet timeless; it makes a statement but is completely effortless.

The ladies behind Astrid and Miyu have one heck of a story behind them too: Connie and Jenny met at London Business School while taking a break from being investment bankers in New York and Hong Kong. The two bonded over their love of fashion and the rest, as they say, is history. According to their lovely website, Connie and Jenny are constantly on a hunt for unique yet wearable designs mixing different materials in unexpected ways.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Portuguese Heart

Margarida necklace, £90; Maria earrings, £23
The best thing about summer holidays is finding beautiful trinkets on tiny market stalls. While I'm waiting for an Italian adventure in September, Portuguese Heart will be filling up my jewellery box with sunny accessories.

The website was started in 2012 to promote Portuguese filigree jewellery and the Portuguese culture. Filigree jewellery - or filigranas - has been worn for centuries in the country but are just as relevant now as they were back then: these are the kind of timeless accessories you'll wear forever. Everything is handmade in sterling silver or gold-plated sterling silver, in the north of the country, and each piece is very much a limited edition.

Teamed with a flowing skirt, big hair and tanned skin, every single item will bring the heart of Portugal into your wardrobe. Muito bonita, sim?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Bargain of the week: Cara Delevingne's Great Gatsby earrings

Cara Delevingne at the Cannes Great Gatsby Premiere. Image from The Guardian
Model of the moment Cara Delevingne showed off these dazzling earrings at the Cannes Film Festival's premiere of The Great Gatsby. The Chopard gems certainly make a statement, and I imagine the price would too! Lucky for us though, Quiz have these £10.99 lookalikes - talk about movie star glam at high street prices!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Keep wildlife out of your wardrobe

Topshop have tried to raise awareness of the goings on of the illegal poaching 
industry and regularly collaborate with PETA in their window displays

Snake skin has been a popular material for clothes and accessories for a number of years and unfortunately the demand for it does not look as though it is slowing down. It is this demand that drives the illegal trade in which snakes are treated worse than you could ever imagine, as the poachers obviously do not follow any rules of how the animals should be killed in a humane way.

You’re probably thinking why should I care about what happens to snakes? Admittedly, snakes are not the cutest and cuddliest of creatures, but they have their own kind of beauty, and things are not sustainable the way they are; some species are endangered and they will become extinct.

When a poacher catches a snake they pump them full of water and clamp their mouths shut so the water cannot escape. This loosens their skin. They then nail them to a tree by their head and skin them alive. The poor snakes are left in complete agony until they finally die of dehydration two days later. Could you think of a worse way to die? Being drowned, nailed to a tree by your head then skinned alive? Sounds like something out of a horror film to me. It is completely inhumane.

Gucci are one high fashion brand who are aware that this goes on and want to stop it. They are teaming up with other brands to try to put in place a system that will trace every individual snake skin from ‘marsh to market.’ This would mean that they could boycott any that were not tagged, as they would be from the illegal market. If this was to happen, and lots of designers were to get involved, then there would be no demand for illegal skins, and the trade would hopefully die out.

Popular high street brands like Topshop are the ones that have the most influence over customers, and with them trying stop people buying products made from exotic animals we are one step closer to protecting our endangered species.

Beyonce recently caused a stir when she had some trainers made for her from five different exotic animal skins. The designer released a statement to say that "no animals were beaten, harmed, or killed" to make the shoes. It doesn’t take a genius to find the flaw in that. Beyonce is a highly influential woman and should realise that her actions may have negative consequences to the safety of many endangered species if these shoes are put into mass production.

What are your views on this topic? Would you be happy wearing an animal that was tortured in order for you to have the latest accessory? Or would you ensure that you only bought accessories made from ‘tagged’ skins?
Niqui Stubbs is a fourth year medical student with an interest in fashion, and a love of animals. She currently writes on behalf of a London based law firm and hopes that educating people on what goes on in the illegal poaching industry will encourage them to support endangered species like the snake.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Sophy Robson does nails for netball

After showing off some fantastic designs at the London 2012 Olympics, nail art guru Sophy Robson has teamed up with England Netball in a bid to get us girls back in the game the best way she knows how. To celebrate. I am very happy to share with you these *two* wonderful nail DIYs direct from Sophy herself.

Tangerine dream nails

Click the image to make it bigger!
  1. Start off by trimming your nails down short and filing the edges so they are round and smooth. You’re now ready to get started - and the umpire will be happy too!
  2. First, apply a base coat to the nail to smooth out any uneven texture. Then, add your base colour. We’ve opted for a sporty tangerine base that will really help you to stand out as a sporting star! 
  3. Once your base colour is dry, you can start working up your dream dots. Choose two contrasting colours to really bring your look to life - we’ve gone for red and blue here. Starting closest to your cuticle, use a dotting tool to layer up the first half of your nails with pretty red polka dots. Try to keep them nice and neat at equal distances apart.
  4. Once the first half of your nail is complete, finish working down the nail with your dotting tool using the blue colour to complete the look.
Sophy's top tip: Never dip your dotting tool directly into your varnish bottle. Instead, set your brush upside-down on a flat surface and use the excess paint clinging to the brush. This will help to keep your tools clean and ensure you don’t use too much paint and smudge your dots.

Girl on fire nails

Click the image to make it bigger!
  1. Start off by trimming your nails down short and filing the edges so they are round and smooth.
  2. First, apply a base coat to the nail to smooth out any uneven texture. Then, add your base colour. We’ve opted for a sporty red base to give you that star quality glow.
  3. Once your base colour is dry, choose two additional colours to start building up your ferocious flames. We’ve chosen a glinting gold alongside brilliant white to make the flames really standout. Find the centre point of your nail and carefully draw on two crescent shaped flicks reaching down to the curve of your nail. Complete this on both sides so you have four flame-shapes on each nail in total.
  4. Once your white flames are dry, you can then add your gold lines in next to them using exactly the same flicker technique. Again, draw in four lines in total to complete your ‘Girl on Fire’ look.
Sophy's top tip: A normal nail varnish brush will be too broad for your flickering flames. Instead, try using a thin nail art brush or even nail art pens, which work equally as well and are available from most beauty stores.
For more netball nail tips from Sophy, visit

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Why be a GEEK or a NERD when you can be Polite?

Back through the mists of time, when I was a teenager (sidebar: it wasn't *actually* that long ago but I do like to set a dramatic scene), I was called a geek/nerd/swot/loser on a daily basis. And those were just the names my sister used.
It's hip to be square (apparently): Dweeb crop (£7), Geek crop (£10), both Topshop
Jokes aside, I wasn't exactly the most popular kid at the local comprehensive school so it really kind of bugs me that it is so cool to be a nerd these days. If someone had told me that this would happen when I was reading sci-fi and eating lunch at my desk, I would have snorted in derision. And then felt all high and mighty for using a word like derision.

Nothing wrong with good manners. Polite tee, Brashy Couture
So, in an act of fashion solidarity with my teenage self, I will be sporting this tee in the very near future. Being polite is way cooler than being RAD and wearing fake glasses - or, judging by the way my life has gone, it will be in ten years' time.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bargain of the week: £19.99 Celine paper bag at Zara

Celine roll top messenger (left) and Zara's £19.99 version
It's beyond me why brown paper bags are just so cool right now, but it seems they have provided the inspiration for this season's it bag. The roll over messenger bag is the accessory to have this summer and, lucky for us bargain hunters, Zara have taken inspiration from the likes of Jil Sander, See by Chloe and CÉLINE and brought out a version for just £19.99.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Weekend treat: Sanskrit necklaces from Anita Kaushal

Eternal love, £67; Gratitude, £67, both
These pretty necklaces are made for warm summer days - think tanned skin, white sundresses and a cocktail in hand. More than perfect.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Kiera Knightley and the recycled wedding dress

Before I start, I just have one thing to say about our friend Kiera: until last week I couldn't stand her. Not for any reason in particular, I just didn't get on with her acting style. Especially in Pirates of the Caribbean a.k.a. the one where Kiera faints for attention ALL THE TIME. Yeah, doing wonders for feminism there Elizabeth Swann. Oh, and Love Actually. Seriously honey, you just got married, don't go smooching Rick Grimes like that. You're totally leading him on. Eugh.

Now and then [Image (c) People]
Anyway, while evidently no one else seems to be as bothered by Ms. Knightley's characters as I am, no one's been that bothered about her style either. She's one of those red carpet types who, don't get me wrong, always looks fabulous but I can't think of that anything she's worn that really made her stand out. Until now.

Unless you've been stuck on another planet (or possibly just without wifi) for the last week, you'll know that young Kiera has just got married. In a recycled dress. I know, I know, I can hear you gasping in shock: a celebrity wearing something more than once. Why it's unheard of! How dare she! Except, let's be honest, she looks so much better in it it this time round than back in '08. The Chanel dress is teamed with cute flats and a cropped jacket (also Chanel) specifically designed for the occasion. The flowers in her hair, wayfarers and charm necklace are all PERFECT. If I was going to get married, I'd so be wearing this outfit. Heck I might invest in a lookalike just for funsies. Hats off to you Kiera you're finally making your mark in the fashion world.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Introducing Lucza


The picture above perfectly describes Lucza: the young brand's new clothes are perfect for Parisian shopping on an early summer afternoon - if that makes sense.

Lucza was launched in April 2011 with the aim of making the lives of busy women just a little bit easier. Everything's versatile, classic, convenient and effortlessly chic, so you probably can see where I got the Paris reference from up there. These are clothes for the girl who knows fashion, and wants to look very good in a minimal, understated way.

Although Lucza is a little bit on the pricey side (a silk camisole is a justified £85), the wonderfully tailored garments are the kind of clothes you invest in. The SS13 collection is fresh and vibrant with pretty prints and chic colours, including royal and sky blues, soft tan shades and minty greens with hints of gold.

I think it's safe to say that these will become the clothes your granddaughter will be pulling out of your wardrobe: Lucza has this quality which means that every single design is as relevant now as it was when Coco Chanel was on the scene, and will be hailed as the best vintage in a couple of decades' time.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

May wishlist: summer loving

Wowee what a gap since the last post! Sorry about that guys and girls, I've been a busy little bee lately. After the little sniff of summer weather we've had, my style's taken a very definite turn for the better. But with operation bikini body still underway, I'm sticking to some new accessories to perk things up for now.

1. Rebel pendant necklace, £65, Stella & Dot
2. Turquoise cuff bracelet, £31, Peggy Li Creations on Boticca
3. Embroidered evening bag, £39.99, Zara; 4. Firework sandals, £18, Asos
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