Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A Short Shorts Post

First things first, sorry sorry sorry for being so absent. I went to Blackpool to stay with my Nana for a few days and then dropped my BlackBerry in my cup of tea (dunked it like a biscuit) so couldn't upload pictures, which had been my plan for the next couple of posts. Now I'm back at uni and trying my very hardest to be organised. When I get that all sorted though I should be able to treat you to some nice pictures and stuff.

So just a quick post as I'm off to Nottingham tonight and London this weekend so busy busy.

I do this thing, which is pretty childish, where any new thing I buy will be my absolute favourite thing I own for the next couple of weeks. My current favourite are a pair of shorts I got from Topshop.

I love these shorts because they combine a few great trends - minty colours, nudes, the paper bag waist (seriously, the fashion press took a long time to catch onto that one and are taking even longer to shut up about it!) and a little birdie tells me prints like these are the next big thing, they're already infiltrating high street stores.

 But I'm not really about trends, so I love that these shorts are also flattering in general and pretty timeless - looking at them, they could almost be a more youthful version of something the Golden Girls would wear or that my mother would have worn in the 70s.

In short (no pun intended), I love them!

Multicoloured Flower Print Paperbag Waistband Shorts
Multicoloured Flower Print Paperbag Waistband Shorts
£36, Topshop
image from

They're a great Winter-Spring transition piece. Currently I'm styling them with (deep breath...) a loose-fitting navy t-shirt, black tights and black ballet pumps, grey cardigan and Chanel pearls. With a grey Modcloth blazer and scarf for warmth. And peachy make-up and nude nails. BUT I cannot wait until Summer when I can wear them with bare legs, creamy jerseys and tan accessories. And the obligatory sunglasses of course.

Of course, I would have had pictures of all this if I weren't so clumsy. So this post is dedicated to the loving memory of my dear, faithful BlackBerry. R.I.P.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

When it is Summer in the light, and Winter in the Shade.

This title is a Dickens description of a March day, and I think it's the perfect description of Spring.
Plus, it's from 'Great Expectations', and I'm sure I can find some tenuous link there to my great expectations for the Spring/Summer season. Apologies.

So anyway, this morning I was looking at some of the Spring 2011 campaigns and thought I'd share a few of my favourites. All images obtained here and here.

Lindsey Wixson for Alexander McQueen.

Daphne Groeneveld for Givenchy.
Photo by Mert & Marcus.

Stella Tennant, Freja Beha Erichsen, Baptiste Giabiconi and Inès de la Fressange
Chanel, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld himself.

Lindsey Wixson and Nimue Smit for Mulberry.
Photo by Edward Enninful.

Photo by Mario Testino.

Stunning: The photoshoot took place in Malibu, California with photographer Tony Duran behind the lens
Rumer Willis for Badgley Mischka. Photo by Tony Duran.
See more on my love for this campaign here.

Malgosia Bela for Stella McCartney.
Photo by Mert & Marcus

Karolina Kurkova for Bottega Veneta.
Photo by Alex Prager.

Leighton Meester for Missoni.
Photo by Juergen Teller.

See more of this campaign, which includes various Missoni family members, Jade Parfitt, Jasmine Guinness and Juergen Teller's daughter Lara, here.

I think I'm nearly caught up now. Apart from the pre-fall shows...

Ciao for now,

Be the Buyer

In case you haven't noticed, Modcloth is one of my favourite websites.

Not only do they sell adorable things like this:

The Bow Down Flat Rum Raisin Cupcake Skirt Timeshare Shorts
Blue Sleek Dress Salt Lake Pretty Dress Gary Pepper Dress

....And these:

Call My Direct Line Phone Looking Past the Looking Glass Wall Art in Perched Ripe and Ready Salt and Pepper Shakers

...But they are also home to one of the most ingenious features any shopping website has come up with: Be the Buyer.

In this feature, visitors to the site get to play the fashion buyer and 'pick' or 'skip' items, leaving comments if they want. It's such a clever idea to get your customers & potential customers involved with choosing your stock - after all, they're the ones buying it. Plus, it's a really fun way to pass a bit of time.

But don't take my word for it, try it yourself here.

Oh and p.s. every time you order with Modcloth, they send you a free gift too. However, if you're not from the US, watch out for the taxes you'll pay on your order (mine came to £25 last time I ordered! Eek!). Maybe just do one big order every now and again instead.

(All images from

Ciao for now,

Monday, 17 January 2011

Cocktail Party

Exams finished tomorrow! No more Renaissance Literature and Medieval Renaissance and American Drama and Italian to deal with for a wee while, at least.

Here's my final favourite thing, and one I hope to be having plenty of to celebrate the end of exams:


Me enjoying a Singapore Sling at Raffles.

I love cocktails, I really do. Especially anything fruity. 

If ever I'm in doubt though, I come back to an old favourite, the Cosmopolitan. (Yes, very Sex and the City.) It's the perfect amount of fruity and feisty, and just looks so sophis. It always goes well with my outfits too.

In fact, my flatmate and I have set ourselves a challenge for this semester - to visit & drink at each of the supposed best bars in Leeds, according to World's Best Bars, a site I reckon I will be using wherever I am in the world from now on. 

Both of us will then blog about the experience (here's the link to her blog, very appropriately named and really cool in general, I promise - she got me into blogging in the first place). Of course, the standard of the bar will only really be interesting if you live in Leeds so we will be including outfits too. Hopefully some nice ones. Hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am!

Remember to enjoy alcohol responsibly!

Ciao for now,

Breaking Out of this Two-Star Town

If you recognise the lyric in the title, I love you forever. Yes, it's Music Monday and this week's theme (because I do like a good theme) is pretty personal to me, but hopefully the songs are awesome enough to transcend that.

I'm one of those people who likes to 'soundtrack' their lives; it may be morbid, but I'm always thinking about songs for my funeral. And for my wedding, I guess. But mostly my funeral - I figure I can be more sure that I'll have one of those than a wedding.

My Gap Year then (sounds so pretentious!), as my first taste of freedom after years of education, and my first opportunity to really, really go see all the world I wanted to (well, at least some of it), was just begging for its own soundtrack.

And as usual, the gods of music delivered.

Here's a run-down of the songs that accompanied me on my travels, enjoy! (Disclaimer: Brace yourself now for a very, very long post.)

1. The Killers - Read my Mind
Obviously. This song is more the soundtrack to my life. It's probably one of my favourite songs of all time, and as a small town girl (originally) who moved to the big city and has since been looking even further beyond, it speaks to me like no other. And makes me tear up every time. Plus Brandon Flowers is a genius, hands-down. (I listened to Sam's Town loads in general that year, especially on roof-down drives with my Mum while I was at home; For Reasons Unknown and This River is Wild are other particular favourites.)

Of course, it helped that when the song came out, the (awesome) video was set in Tokyo, the very place I was saving up for a flight to. 

2. Yves LaRock - Rise Up
'My dream... is to fly... over the rainbow, so high'. Duhh!

3. One Republic - Come Home
More than the whole 'missing home' thing, I chose this song for that first line, 'Hello world, hope you're listening'. It was like my mantra for the year.

4. Bob Sinclar - Love Generation
This song is awesome and always makes me super happy. I love the official video; the little dude getting on his bike and cycling all over the place. What a legend. And eco-friendly too.

5. Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
An obvious choice maybe, but the perfect accompaniment to the beaches of South-Eastern Asia, and to elephant rides through the Thai jungle. (p.s. check out the amazing hotel I stayed in on Koh Chang here)

6. Tina Turner - Missing You
Again, not actually because of the 'missing you' message but because my friend and I enjoyed rocking out to this on the overnight train between Beijing and Hong Kong.

7. Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
This could just have easily have gone in my 'Married a Music Man' post, but it's here instead. 'You can't start a fire, worried about your little world falling apart'. The Boss. Enough said.
p.s. Courteney Cox!

8. Kanye West - Home
Not as well-known as his more recent version of it, Homecoming (feat. Chris Martin of Coldplay), but I much prefer the soul of this version. Strange how a song that is seemingly so personal and so obviously about Chicago can feel so applicable to anyone and their own home town. This is without a doubt, my favourite Kanye West song & one of my favourites in general.

9. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
Like, the funnest song ever. My travel-companion (The Danner) and I had soooo much fun dancing to this when train-station stopovers got a bit much. If you like vintage-inspired music, you'll like this.

10. Underworld - Born Slippy
Not sure why, but this song makes me think of, like, everything all at once. Just before I went away, my Mum and I took some us-time driving through the countryside just outside London at dusk with the roof down and this song on. It was nice to know that I had that to come back to.

11. Train - Drops of Jupiter
My Mum told me one day that this song always makes her think of me. It's one of my favourite songs ever ever.

12. Bobby Darin - Somewhere Beyond the Sea
I think I told my then-boyfriend to listen to this whenever he missed me! I'm always thinking about what's out there, so sometimes I forget to think about the people I leave behind, but this song brings me back to them.


13. The Source [feat. Candi Staton] - You've Got the Love
Say what you want about Florence and the Machine, her version of this is very good. But this is The Source's remix of Candi's original and - for me - it's just so much more soulful and uplifting: 'When food is gone, you are my ddaaaiiilly meeeaat'. Plus, it's the last song in the last season of Sex and the City.

14. Adele - Hometown Glory
I was listening to this on the plane on the entertainment system. I have to admit to getting a bit emotional over it, but in a good way - it paints such a perfect picture of London for me. I also listened a lot to Make You Feel My Love because I love Dylan's songwriting and Adele's voice.

15. Eva Cassidy - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
First off, this version actually accompanies me everywhere (as I may have mentioned before, it's my ring tone), but again, this was a flight-home song. I remember sitting on the flight home and feeling so happy-sad, as I was going home to be in time for my Mum's wedding. It's just such a beautiful song and has been a favourite of mine since I was teeny-tiny

16. Lights - Last Thing On Your Mind
I love love love Lights. I don't know why this song in particular is travelly for me, but it gives me a sense of freedom, I guess. If you're not already into Lights, find a few of her songs on Youtube. 

17. Augustana - Boston
Ok, so I didn't go to Boston. But I totally could have done. Again, the theme is kind of... breaking out, doing your own thing. Plus it's beautiful. Like I can't stress how beautiful it is.

18. Plain White Ts - Hey there, Delilah
If you don't love this song you probably don't have a heart. Or maybe have just heard it one too many times. It's the perfect soundtrack to being separated from the person you love because you're pursuing your dreams, though.

19. Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (2004 Version)
For some reason, to this day, this song makes me think of Tokyo. Maybe it's the synths and stuff, maybe it's the innate coolness, maybe it's the sense of complete longing that I associate with Tokyo. (I cannot stress how much I love that place, for real). It's also a fantastic song.

20. Moby - In My Heart
Ahhhh, this song inspires me so so much. I think it's one of the songs (along with Read My Mind) that made me turn around and go - I'm gonna save up some money, fly to the other side of the world, and just... do that for a while. The chorus section gives me actual tingles, I swear. I love Moby so much, and 'Why does my Heart Feel So Bad?', 'One of these Mornings' and 'I'm not Worried at all' are just a couple of his songs that could have been included on this list. He was very prominently on my travelling playlist. 

It's just occurred to me that I've totally left off my anthems for when I interrailed around Europe, so I guess that's another Music Monday post in the making. (Yes, I'm still trying to make it a thing.)

Hope you enjoyed the playlist and that maybe they inspired you to take a chance and hop on a flight somewhere amazing.

Ciao for now,

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Please Mr. Postman

One of my faaaavourite things is when a lazy day is unexpectedly lifted by a surprise knock at the door. It's nice when it's a friend or a boyfriend.

Not so much when it's a delivery of books for next semester, you're not dressed and you have to run down 10 flights of stairs before the delivery guy leaves because your intercom doesn't work. So you end up in the street with no make-up, slippers on, and your hoodie on backwards.

BUT it's worth it when the delivery is something exciting. Like my latest delivery from ASOS.

I'm pretty sure I've shown you most of the items I ordered on the blog before, but here they are in all their glory.

I got a mixture of full-price and sale pieces because I don't really judge on price, but on how much I like things. If I can sniff out a good bargain (which I often can, a talent I apparently inherited from my Nana), well, that's just a bonus.

I got a Mischa Barton clutch that was reduced to £12. I love the detail of the clasp & think the label's really pretty. The fold-over feature also means it's deceptively big. And I totally fell for the whole have-a-bag-made-by-Marissa-Cooper thing.

A gorgeous pair of ASOS tan pumps for about £40. They are a perfect colour, so comfy (so far) and hitch me up to big-girl height. Or at least slightly nearer to average height.

I also got this dress for about £40. I love it, it's very flattering on and suits my figure, but I'm not sure how 'me' it is - it looks a tad corporate, maybe. But I reckon it just needs styling up, it's such a cute dress!

Image 1 of ASOS Contrast Hem Ponte Shift Dress
Image from

And finally, this black velvet one-shoulder playsuit. I was slightly worried about this being unflattering. The equation velvet + playsuit + big bum was not computing in my head, but actually the pleats & flare of the shorts, the corsetted-looking underneath and the draping of the one shoulder make this ridiculously flattering. It was reduced to £16 so I make that very good value!

Image 4 of ASOS PETITE Velvet One Shoulder Playsuit
Image from

I also wanted to share a couple of other treats with you; a pair of Morgan de Toi heels I got for £19 from TK Maxx (don't judge, seriously) in Leeds, and a pair of Oscar by Oscar de la Renta sunglasses for £15 - because we all know about my love of designer sunglasses. Love love love!

(P.S. Oscar de la Renta might just be the only high-end designer with a shop online sale section on their website. I very much appreciate this, even if I still can't afford anything on there.)

If you've got any new things recently (especially in the sales), enjoy!

Ciao for now,

Saturday, 15 January 2011

In the Primer of Your Life

Favourite Things + Make-Up Posts = Primer.
I don't happen to study maths anymore (thankfully), but that's the equation that just popped into my head. I promised some make-up posts (see?) & I'm currently doing quick(ish) 'favourite things' posts. Because exams are happening, in case I hadn't moaned about that enough yet.

Primer is something I'm relatively new to; I got my first one a few years ago on a whim.

The idea is it serves almost as a 'base coat' for your make-up, providing a smooth surface from which to work and making your face stay in place better, whilst adding radiance.

I only really wear it for nights out though, partly because I don't feel it's necessary every day (especially not if you have a good moisturiser) and partly because it's not the cheapest of items. Sometimes in the Summer though, I will wear it instead of foundation/concealer as it's so light reflective and I hate to wear full make-up in the heat.

I've heard good things about a few primers, such as ones from Smashbox at Sephora, Bare Escentuals, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent - these links should go directly to the product in question. Depending on your tastes (ie. more youthful, mineral-based, or more high-end), one of these might be for you.

However, I'm here to talk about my favourites and my absolute favourite primer is by one of my absolute favourite make-up companies, whom you should expect to hear about over and over again on this blog: Benefit.

Their 'That Gal' primer is great for my paler skin as it's got a pinky sheen to it, it glides on to your face, is light and reflective without being shiny (actually, it keeps you quite nice and matte), and it smells gorgeous. Kinda like strawberry shortcakes or something. On their site, it's rated 5 stars by reviewers, so I can't be the only one!

Plus, Benefit packaging is always really cute.

Benefit "that gal" Brightening Primer
(Image from

Besides, doing a primer post allowed for a very easy pun in the title. Apologies for the laziness.

One last point - primer can also be used as a more subtle highlighter. Everyone knows that using white eyeliner on your bottom lid opens up your eyes & makes them appear bigger, but it's not the most subtle look so dabbing primer along the bottom of your eye achieves a similar effect more appropriate for daytime.

Similarly, after applying the rest of your make-up, dab primer in the arches of your brows & the inner corners of your eyes to open them up and make you look more awake, in your cupids bow to make your lips poutier, and down the centre of your nose to make it appear narrower - all in a nice, subtle way.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Badgley Mischka, Nice to Meet Ya

Another post about favourite things. Every single January we are bombarded with statistics and statements about suicide rates in January, how it's the most depressing month, the poorest month, yada yada. One of my favourite ways to beat the post-Christmas & New Year Winter blues (because, let's face it, those are the best things about Winter anyway) is to start looking forward to Spring & Summer. Particularly wardrobe-wise.

This year I find this particularly exciting, because so many of the collections are just my cup of tea. (And you must know how much I like tea by now.)

Uptown Twirl recently did a great post about Valentino's S/S 2011 campaign, all chiffon and movement and embellishment and delicate details. It is in short, amazing. Find her post here.

espresso news71c Fashion Advertising
Valentino S/S 2011 Campaign
Image from

This got me thinking about another designer's line that I'm very, very excited about, which I stumbled across on I've since heard that Rumer Willis is the new face of Badgley Mischka, but I'm not here to give an opinion on that. (And I can only apologise for the quality of that source - Badgley AND Mischka, seriously?)

My point is, I am seriously over-excited by every single piece in the Badgley Mischka line. I am in love. Here are some of my favourites (although honestly I'm tempted to just give you all of them). All images from


Now, I wouldn't say it's anything groundbreaking, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The pastels, the details, the nudes and tans, the accessories, the silhouettes and lines, and the fabrics really make this look kind of divine to me, in the literal sense. If I wanted to feel like a goddess, I would most certainly choose one of those gowns. I also love the more casual looks. And honestly, with the opportunity to spend a year in Singapore, what else would look as chic in that level of humidity?

If I could afford to, I would buy every single one of the items above in a heartbeat. They're just the right balance of the romantic and the tailored, the relaxed and the couture. I like to think they suit my rather feminine, girlie style whilst still being grown-up. And we all know how important it is to combine styles, right?

See the collection in it's entirety here. Honestly, you want to.

So I'm off to revise some more, but I'm thinking my new-found romantic interest will keep my spirits up for a while.

Ciao for now,

The Cakewalk

Hello, hello. Hurried post today. Favourite things still. Translating Old English isn't one of them, surprisingly.

All of my favourite things so far seem to have been food-based, and this one is no exception. I have a super huge sweet tooth, so I love cakes and biscuits. (Fortunately for me it means I also love fruit so I haven't ended up whale-size.)

Some of the best cakes I ever, ever had were in Tokyo. They make sponge cake as light as air over there. Really tasty air. It's insane.

Cake display in a Tokyo department store's food hall.
(The green melon flavour one up top was my favourite)


I may be drooling a little
just looking at this.

If we could have afforded these, we would have
been all over them.

Ready for the eating.
Look how soft and fluffy and creamy!

This is a very embarrassing picture of me loving cake a
tad too much, in my lovely Tokyo apartment from b-site.

They also love macaroons in Japan. This is the window
display of the Pierre Herme store near Omotesando.

When I'm home and wanting a cake-fix though, I am all about the cupcakes. I bake quite a lot myself when I have time, but if I'm going to buy them I get them from buttercup cake shop, who have branches around London in Westfield, Kensington and I think now in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

Some of my own, lovingly-decorate cupcakes.
A very good way to waste a Sunday at home.

A selection from buttercup. Nomnomnom.
See here for prices. This box cost £28.

Flavours (from top L): peanut butter cup, fantasy, mango, rose,
passion fruit, chocolate, red velvet, bannoffee, carrot, vanilla,
banana, peanut butter. 

They were started by an American lady (because we all know Americans do cupcakes best, just look at Sprinkles) and are so fresh and so yummy with the best icing, a huge variety of flavours, and the softest sponge. I love them.

My favourite flavours are fantasy, red velvet, vanilla, banana, or anything fruity.

Excuse me now while I go and wipe the dribble off my chin.

Ciao for now,