Thursday, 30 December 2010

Take a Tumble

...Or even, take a leap. I just set up an account on tumblr. I figure it's kinda like blogger in miniature. It will definitely contain more quotes, songs & pictures from travelling than my blog usually does.

Feel free to follow me on it, if you have it. The URL is

Here's a screen shot of my page:

And of course, if you have tumblr & would like me to follow you, just ask!

Ciao for now,

Tough Cookie

All the greatest writers combined styles. Chaucer combined high and low styles in a way no one had attempted before. Shakespeare combined the gaudy with the romantic, and even more modern playwrights like Edward Albee took to combining expressionism, absurdism and naturalism to make their plays all the more powerful. ('Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' might just be my favourite play of all time.)

But what's my point? I forget sometimes. I get on the subject of Albee and all I want to do is analyse the bejeebus out of him. I'm pretty sure my point was that the same applies to fashion - sometimes combining unexpected elements is the best way to get an awesome outfit.

I tend to have a very girlie, feminine style. My wardrobe is literally full of silk, lace, nude tones, jewel tones, cashmere, florals, cameos, pearls, dresses and skirts.

You get the idea. But I don't like to look sickly-sweet so I like to use little elements to subtly toughen up my looks.

Here are some of my favourite ways to do it, using items from ASOS, because their sale is amazing. 

These various stud-earrings with either faux or real leather coverings toughen up a potentially cutesy look, whilst the leather bra-let would look great under a see-through floaty, chiffon or lace top.

ASOS Leatherette Rose Studs ASOS Leather Look Bow Stud Earrings ASOS Genuine Leather Covered Heart Stud Earrings

ASOS Boudoir Leather Look Multiway Bra

ASOS Leatherette Rose Studs, £4
ASOS Leather look Bow Stud Earrings, £6
ASOS Genuine Leather Covered Heart Stud Earrings, £8
ASOS Boudoir Leather Look Multiway Bra, £8

brogues, boots and shoe-boots
Masculine up your footwear! Swap ballet shoes for brogues or court shoes for heeled shoe-boots and your outfit will be much more suited to the mean city streets than to meadows and flowery fields.

ASOS MORTIMER Lace Detail Shoe ASOS MARKY Leather Traditional Brogues

ASOS GEORGIE Leather Knee High Boots

ASOS TEASE ME Peep Toe Shoe Boot River Island Shutter Mid Fur Boots

ASOS Mortimer Lace Detail Shoe, £20
ASOS MARKY Leather Traditional Brogues, £32
ASOS Georgie Leather Knee High Boots, £60
ASOS Tease Me Peep Toe Shoe Boot, £60
River Island Shutter Mid Fur Boots @ ASOS, £74.99

Blazers are a great way to immediately add some city chic to an outfit (more on that here), or think about swapping your skirt (I'm a skirt-fanatic) for tailored shorts or trousers, very 'in' this season.

One Teaspoon Piccadilly Blazer Oasis Lace Back Blazer Mango Tailored Blazer

Mango Tailored Shorts Vero Moda Loose Tailored Trousers

One Teaspoon Piccadilly Blazer @ ASOS, £38
Oasis Lace Back Blazer @ ASOS, £32
Mango Tailored Blazer @ ASOS, £34.90
Mango Tailored Shorts @ ASOS, £19.90
Vero Moda Loose Tailored Trousers @ ASOS, £32

animal print
A fashion stalwart, animal print spices up any outfit. These dresses and accessories in particular have feminine silhouettes, toughened up by print. Wear with a big old dose of confidence.

Motel Leopard Print Swing Dress TFNC Dress Animal Print Chiffon One Shoulder

Karen Millen Weekend Luxe Leopard Print Pony Shoe ASOS Leopard Patent Frame Clutch Bag

Motel Leopard Print Swing Dress @ ASOS, £45
TFNC Dress Animal Print Chiffon One Shoulder @ ASOS, £21.50
Karen Millen Weekend Luxe Leopard Print Pony Shoe @ ASOS, £95
ASOS Leopard Patent Frame Clutch Bag, £11

add a belt
Along the same lines as tailoring, adding a belt (be it skinny or wide) will give definition to floaty, feminine outlines and automatically update the look. Especially great with last seasons full-skirted looks.

ASOS Double Wrap Super Skinny Waist Belt Paul Smith Wide Elastic Belt ASOS Double Buckle Leather Wide Belt 

ASOS Double Wrap Super Skinny Waist Belt, £12
Paul Smith Wide Elastic Belt @ ASOS, £64
ASOS Double Buckle Leather Wide Belt, £28

Injury has never looked so good. Not only is the bandage look extremely flattering, showing off all your curves whilst simultaneously keeping them where they belong, it toughens up evening wear no end.

ASOS Pleated Wrap Strap Top Whistles Selena Skater Bandage Dress Whistles Imogen Print Bandage Skirt

ASOS Pleated Wrap Strap Top, £26
Whistles Selena Skater Bandage Dress @ ASOS, £195
Whistles Imogen Print Bandage Skirt @ ASOS, £41

colour accents and contrasts
Be a bit bolder and wear brights you might otherwise avoid, or stark monochrome contrasts. I'm in love with this pink Ringspun dress, even though it's not something I'd normally wear.

Ringspun Dress With Contrast Panels Rare Contrast Stripe Bandeau Dress Boutique By Jaeger Sweater With Contrast Lurex Trim

Ringspun Dress with Contrast Panels @ ASOS, £70
Rare Contrast Stripe Bandeau Dress @ ASOS, £28.50
Boutique by Jaeger Sweater with Contrast Lurex Trim @ ASOS, £85

chunky jewellery
Big jewellery = Big impact. And not necessarily big bucks. Enough said.

ASOS Chunky Ethnic Style Studded Bangle ASOS Chunky Hematite Stone Encrusted Ring ASOS Vintage Style Chunky Ridged Stud Earrings
ASOS Chunky Ethnic Style Studded Bangle, £7
ASOS Chunky Hematite Stone Encrusted Ring, £8
ASOS Vintage Style Chunky Ridged Stud Earrings, 8

 (images from

Just a few little tricks you could team with an ultra-feminine outfit to stop it looking sickly-sweet:

Smoky Eyes
(Image from

Eyeliner Flick
(Image from

Red Lips

So when you're getting ready to go out and look fabulous, stick on your favourite rock anthems and be brave enough to toughen up your look.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Pretty Who Town?

Such a great picture.
 I found it here.

In the spirit of getting to know the anonymity behind the blog, I figured I'd explain why 'A Pretty How Town' is the title of my blog - in case you hadn't guessed already.

As I mention in my profile, I love e.e.cummings; he is my favourite poet ever (even more so than Shakespeare and Christina Rossetti). I'm an English student so words and literature mean the world to me, and poetry in particular strikes a chord.

My favourite e.e.cummings poem is 'anyone lived in a pretty how town', explaining both the web address ( and the title itself.

It took every modicum of willpower I have not to include my in-depth, word-for-word analysis of this incredible poem, but I resisted and so here it is, on its own, in all its beautiful, innocent, spine-tingling glory:

anyone lived in a pretty how town
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did.

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
with by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain 

Now my conscience can rest at ease knowing I've included a wee bit of literature in amongst all the other pretty things.

Ciao for now,

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Married a Music Man

Well, I didn't. I'm not married at all. But, I'm still trying to make Music Mondays happen (don't judge). I'm aware it's actually Tuesday now but Monday required an anniversary-specific post so deal. Anyway, here's some songs me and the mister like to call our own, even though we know everyone else loves them too. (Because that's what couples do)

1. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
We're both huuuuge Radiohead fans and it's how we originally connected. This is both of our favourite Radiohead songs so it kind of became 'our song' - not because of the lyrics but because of what it means to us. Having said that, the end of this song 'If I could be who you wanted...all the time' is one of my favourite moments from any song ever - who can't connect with a line like that, sung like that?

As a side-note, I was only freakin' at Glastonbury 2003 and got to see this legendary performance: (one of the top 5 musical moments of my life, without a doubt)

2. Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved?
I remember when we first got together we sort-of slow-danced in his room to 'Is This Love?' by Bob Marley and he commented what an appropriate song it was - cute huh? (If he reads this, don't expect to hear from me again... not sure you can blog from beyond the grave). We listen to a lot of Bob Marley so I could have chosen any one of his songs but this one is definitely a favourite (along with Is This Love?, Three Little Birds, and No Woman, No Cry - and some less well-known ones).

3. Journey - Any Way You Want It
Waaaaaay better and waaaaay less overplayed than 'Don't Stop Believing'. Puts me in the most fantastic mood every time I hear it.

4. Motley Crue - Girls Girls Girls
Both the Mister and I are massive classic rock fans; again there are thousands of songs I could put on here (Van Halen - Panama, Alice Cooper - Poison, anything by Billy Idol or Black Sabbath, etc.) but this one just has the most sing-a-long-able chorus evs.

5. Pulp - Disco 2000
Because who doesn't love a bit of Pulp? Something we've been listening to a lot lately. (As well as Common People, Underwear, Pencil Skirt and This is Hardcore.) Disco 2000 is almost reaching that 'forgotten gem' status - and no-one wants that!

6. Q-Lazzarus - Goodbye Horses
Because it's hilarious. (Clerks anyone?)

7. Human League - Together in Electric Dreams
We both love a good bit of 80s cheese. Erasure - A Little Respect, A-Ha - Take On Me, there are many many more. This one is just great fun (especially the backing vocals) and makes me smiiiile.

8. U2 Covers.
We are both agreed (I think) that U2 have fantastic songs, but neither of us think Bono can sing for toffee. So we happened across this ukulele (well, toy guitar) cover of my favourite U2 song 'With or Without You' one day (we're also both big fans of ukulele covers; Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' is the only ringtone I never get bored of):

I am also a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan, so this cover of 'Stay' by U2 gives me shivers:

9. Damian Marley - All Night
This was also my ringtone for a long time. I kinda got the boyf into this song because he liked watching me dance around wiggling my bum to it. (Boys = easy to please)

10. Elvis Presley - Hound Dog
I'm a huge fan of old rock 'n' roll, motown and rockabilly stuff. Over this summer it was ALL I listened to, and of course - Elvis is the King. Every time this song plays the mister perks up. I especially love the line 'well they said you was high class / well that was just a lie' - cutting!

I chose this video, not necessarily for the sound quality, but for the sheer volume of cool in the one man:

Oh, the Mister and I also listen to a lot of Pavarotti together. Yeah, for real. But more on that in another post I guess.

Enjoy these little gems! (At least I like to think they are...)

Ciao for now,

Monday, 27 December 2010

Paper Hearts and Ticking Clocks

The 27th of December is my anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary; please, I'm only 20. But today my mister and I have been together a whole year.

Eugh, please forgive me for this,

I'm a hopeless romantic, but I'm not really the mushy type - I like to keep that stuff private. I'm already cringing about including that picture.

Anyway, this made me think about how, traditionally, your first wedding anniversary is your paper anniversary, whilst the modern rules dictate that it's a clock anniversary (?!).

Here are some great gift ideas along these themes:

A photo album or scrap-book of special moments, or waiting to be filled up in the future (if you're the optimistic type). 

A more original take on the
traditional photo album
£7 (was £12)
Urban Outfitters
Image from

A book - either a novel that means something to you and that you want your other half to share with you, or that you know was a childhood favourite of theirs. Or, if you're super into romance, poetry. For me (in case you hadn't guessed), it has to be e.e. cummings everytime. Or, of course, the Bard. 
But here's a poetry book I really liked recently:

"I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face"

Image from

A signed picture... of whomsoever your sweetheart admires. My boyfriend was given a signed picture of a football player (Frank Lampard, if you're interested - my boyfriend is a Chelsea fan. Sigh.) for his last birthday and was so chuffed with it, so I guess it makes a good present.

Personally, I'd prefer this.
Image from

Tickets... what for depends on the depth of your love, the clearness of your diary and the size of your wallet. Tickets for the theatre, stand-up comedy, a gig or the opera are a great gift, depending on both your interests. At you can get tickets for various 'experiences' from wine-tasting to meals to bungee jumping and spa days for a range of prices. Or, buy a pair of plane tickets. Wow.

Why not?
Image from

Believe it or not, I've reached this minor relationship milestone before and when I did, I gave my then-boyfriend a jar full of paper cranes that a childhood friend made me before she went back to Japan. Origami is a beautiful art and makes a really thoughtful, inexpensive gift.

The children's monument in Hiroshima, Japan.
For the truly touching true story of Sadako Sasaki,
the girl in the monument, follow this link.
Image from

And then, of course, some form of time-piece. 

For her, I love this:

Image 1 of ASOS Vintage Style Skinny Twisted Metal Watch
ASOS Vintage Style Skinny Twisted
Metal Watch
Image from

And for him, this is so retro cool it deserves its own decade, or something:

Image 1 of ASOS Retro Style Digital Watch On Expander Strap
ASOS Retro Style Digital Watch on
Expander Strap
Image from

Anniversary Ideas also informs me that the gemstone to earmark your first year is the freshwater pearl (a personal favourite!!) and the flower representing it is the pansy - which, naturally, gave me a few more ideas:

A chanel costume jewellery pearl necklace. These have been my ultimate fashion crush since forever, and I'm lucky enough to have found a second-hand one at an affordable price and now own a little piece of fashion heaven.

Chanel pearls. Who wouldn't?
Image from

Of course, there are some more affordable options in terms of pearls at many online vendors. Another option is German charm-smith Thomas Sabo. I've had a Sabo charm bracelet for about a year and a half now and I'm slowly adding to it as I go. They have both pearl charms and pearl charm-holders with which to start building a new, unique and meaningful jewellery project.

They also have these beautiful, classic pearl
Thomas Sabo
Image from

As pansies go, you could buy an actual pansy (and a pot-plant also kind of fits the 'paper' theme too), or a pansy print item of clothing. Florals aren't going anywhere any time soon, and watercolours are my current favourite update on the trend, something which pansies lend themselves to perfectly.

Image 1 of Oasis Pansy Print Bubble Dress
Oasis Pansy Print Bubble Dress
£37 (was £75)
Image from

For your man, why not a pansy-print tie or shirt? As long as you don't make him look like an actual pansy, the poor thing.

And now for a teeny-tiny sliver of culture (so that the poetry up there doesn't get lonely), a print by one of my favourite artists (whose work I based my own GCSE final piece on), Georgia O'Keeffe. I don't think there's anywhere you could hang this where it wouldn't look good.

Pansy, 1926 by Georgia O'Keeffe
Pansy, 1926 by Georgia O'Keeffe
£22 (was £27)
Art Republic
Image from

So, if you've got a one-year anniversary coming up, be it with a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, your baby's first birthday, or the anniversary of any other special occasion, why not commemorate it with one of these ideas?

Ciao for now,