Makin’ Me Blush

Pink, a colour I think I have a love affair with. We’re on we’re off, I love it sometimes, loathe it other times. Right now I’m in love, but with a very specific type of pink, that is Blush Pink to be precised. I fell out of love with pink for a long time, it may have had something to do with the most coral of coral walls dominating my childhood bedroom, which I’m happy to say is now a mix of white and grey. I must say though I can’t bare the connotations of pink being a feminine colour, ‘boys like blue, girls like pink’, spare me, unfortunately we still are not past this view as you’ll notice if you enter any children’s section of a clothing store.

I am most certainly not the usual girly girl, as a child I wasn’t seen dead without a cap and jumper tied around my waste. I sit here now writing this in my Dad’s old belt, old jeans and old shirt, so my tomboy ways still live strong but yet I can’t steer myself away from the colour at the moment. It started with a French Connection backpack I bought when it was on sale and it’s grown from there. I’ve added it to my favourite colours to wear as it is a perfect introduction of colour without being too intimidating considering my usual colours consist of black, grey, khaki and white.

Chloé is a brand I love and happen to work with, I find myself channelling the ultra boho chic and 70’s inspired designs in my day to day life. Their mix of colours and shades is simply stunning and never far from Gaby Aghion’s (the brand’s founder) Egyptian roots. Chloé is a brand for women and only women however it can appeal to androgynous style (see the leather motorcycle suit from Fall Winter 2016) or to the feminine extrovert (see the widely talked about rainbow dress from the Spring Summer 2016 collection). The colour tones throughout the Ready-to-Wear, Leather Goods and Accessories are always a perfect mix and will make even the most die hard black clothing addict want to reach out for some blush. Give it a try this Winter!

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Backpack: French Connection. Phone Case: eBay. Glasses:Chloé. Perfume: Calvin Klein Sheer Beauty. Choker: ASOS

 

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An Evening of Fashion and Pure Inspo

It’s Friday! And the sun is shining, normally friday would involve some form of treat often in the form of a coconut milk latte or if i’m feeling really cheeky a soy pumpkin spice latte, naughty, this morning however it’s aloe vera gel, but hey not complaining.  This week I have gone from feeling heartbroken, standing in the shower crying whilst listening to the morning news, which sounded more like a narrated doomsday book, to feeling inspired and grateful.

I attended Hubdot Piazza of Fashion in association with The Pool (one of my absolute daily reads) it was a social event with flowing wine and neat canapes where guests are able to interact with one another and enjoy short and sweet stories by the evening’s speakers. Followed by an open mic session where anyone can take hold of the mic and tell their story in a 60 second slot, scary I know right, however everyone that spoke deserved their round of applause and cheers. The operative word at a Hubdot event is ‘story’, as Simona Barbieri  described during the introduction, you don’t ask people what they do, instead ask ‘what’s your story’ combined with the 5 dot system  you can meet new people and find out about them without the stigma of job titles. Depending on which colour you choose you can be matched with like minded individuals or other guests, who can help you in some way.

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It was held at Anthropologie, Regent Street store and as I approached the doors my heart was in my throat, I was sweating, hands were shaking, pure nerves. As it was my first event I had no idea what to expect, just walked in stripped as much RBF (Resting Bitch Face) away to produce a wide smile and hoped I could be somewhat charming through the sweat. I met a lady who immediately made me feel at ease and we headed upstairs for a well deserved vino. After a short while of meeting new faces the stories began and honestly I wasn’t prepared for how great they were. I had to take a step back and look around the room and just take in the power of the women surrounding me, if that doesn’t make a girl feel inspired I don’t know what will.

Highlights, if I had to choose, Sam Baker, Co-Founder, CEO and Editor of The Pool (one hell of a job title), explaining how she got to be where she is and how The Pool came to be, in a brief nutshell she was “tired of tw*ts”, she wanted to create something that truly spoke to women and my god has she done that. Orsola de Castro Founder and Director of Fashion Revolution  and her beautiful story of the shoes on her feet, handmade in Venice, over 80 years old and had made their way through three generations in her family. Lastly, Denise Tylerson on her recovery from cancer and the power of a wig to help someone build their strength and how you should “never let anyone tell you fashion is trivial”. Of course this doesn’t take away from any women that took the stage that evening, all were simply wonderful.

I walked out the door and headed home with one hell of a spring in my step and the feeling is still going strong, definitely my Girlboss moment for the week.  We are in difficult times, protests still fill the streets of New York as we all come to terms with the shocking results of this week but it is events, organisations and people like those I met, saw, listened to on Wednesday that help you realise what’s still good.

 

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Hubdot Piazza Of Fashion – 9th November – Sam Baker

The True Cost – A Review

Well it’s been a while! When life happens I guess other things get pushed aside as much as you don’t want them to, I do wonder about packing it all in selling everything and travelling and writing,  but that’s probably another story.

I managed to find time to watch a film that I was highly anticipating the release of, a documentary called The True Cost. Directed by Andrew Morgan, it is a film about the impact the new culture of fast fashion is having on our planet and the people behind the clothes. It’s a brilliant insight into the industry itself as well as first hand interviews with workers, including those involved in the tragic Rana Plaza disaster, factory owners and some of the people and companies who are trying to stop fast fashion, like Eco-Age.

I’ll be honest I buy into fast fashion, ashamed to say it. What I think when buying a new item of clothing which helps me feel that bit more confident, that bit better about myself is that it’s worth it, however would I be willing to pay a bit more for this, yes. In some instances a pay rise for some factory workers would mean the equivalent of a few cents added onto the price of a T-Shirt. But it’s not just about the money it’s also about the unbelievable impact on our planet. It takes the UK 10 minutes to throw away 7 tonnes of clothing; clothing which can’t be recycled, it will sit in a landfill polluting the land, not to mention the damage caused to the earth to just make the clothes in the first place. 

The film is well shot, narrated and beautifully edited and it will make you consider that £9 Cami. I’ll never stop buying clothes, however my tactics will change now, I will continue to turn to vintage clothing, reusing old clothes whether it be from my parents cupboards or the local charity shop or Beyond Retro. I also want to make a conscious effort to turn to responsible clothing instead of what’s convenient. As a nation we are wasteful, food gets thrown away without a second thought and now we are doing the same for the clothes. It’s up to the consumer to say to companies, we will buy carrots that aren’t the prettiest (side note, I also recommend a show called Hugh’s War on Waste, it illustrates just how much edible food is unused especially by chain supermarkets) and we will spend a few pounds more on clothing if it means an actual livable wage for someone and a safe working environment. This won’t happen overnight but to quote one of these guilty supermarkets ‘Every little helps!’ 

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Photo Credit @truecostmovie Instagram

Hot Feminist By Polly Vernon – Review

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Available from Amazon £10.49

So I’m back and bronzed from my Summer olibob in Hvar, Croatia, copious amounts of wine, great food and good times. I’d just like to note it is baltic, I am longing to dig out my black tights and jumpers now that Autumn has officially reared its ugly head. During my ten days of bliss I was accompanied by 7 friends and of course one of my Summer reads, this being Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon.

Polly Vernon is a columnist and style writer with a sharp tongue and sharp wit who rose to infamy with a controversial article on being thin….. and yes I am a curvy girl and no I don’t hate her. The book covers serious issues surrounding women’s rights but it’s an easy read in a sense that I felt I was sat in a living room with PV having a conversation about all the topics within the book.

Do I agree with every single thing she believes? No. For example, I don’t really appreciate cat calling or being called a chick, however one brilliant point PV makes is to pick your battles. As a feminist, your opinions and beliefs will always be questioned and argued by both women and men alike, I think the thing to remember is to know your argument and be prepared to debate when necessary and to not get riled up by the unnecessary.

I found myself regularly chuckling to the greatly described anecdotes (personal favourite is a 3 page description of the process of the leg shave), getting very involved in the various debates which take place between PV and her friends and inspired by her attitude. Don’t get me wrong, within the comical stories and remarks, there are also facts which will shock as well as a chapter on PV’s own experience of an attempted sexual assault which is deeply disturbing but empowering at the same time.

It is perfect for anyone who finds themself to be a feminist but doesn’t necessarily want to pick up a Virginia Woolf or Germaine Greer book, it’s well written, accessible and by the end had me feeling pretty good, pretty much like I would be pretty happy to share a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with Polly Vernon, well worth the read.

 

Career Girl Goals

Do you know just how differently men and women are paid?

When you’re in the office, ask your male counterpart what his salary is, firstly you’ll notice the sheer disdain that you dare break the boundary of work decorum, then if he answers you can do the math. Women have been entitled to equal pay since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, however there are still major issues 45 years on. The gender pay gap is still at 9.4% (Office for National Statistics, November 2014), which is actually an improvement of 0.6% compared to the previous year. David Cameron’s call this year to put more pressure on large firms to disclose their data is a welcome break as it is completely down to the companies ‘discretion’ as to how much they pay their staff.

Of course as a career girl myself I know I have to work harder and speak louder and be that ever bit more careful than my male colleagues. Is my blouse just slightly see through? Is my skirt too tight? If a woman gets promotion…… ‘Sleeping with boss ay?’ We’ve all heard it, there’s no denying. So reaching breaking those boundaries and reaching that career goal as women is more important than ever, whilst also having the added pressure of the size of your waist, marital status and the ticking clock within your ovaries. However, being the best at multi tasking, boy do women know how to do it.

For any woman you need goals in life, whatever those goals may be and here are some of my top career girls –

Annie MacManus (DJ)

I could start with Beyoncé or Angelina Jolie but I take my female role models a little differently. Born in Dublin and at 37 years old she has an ever growing empire, having started BBC Radio 1 in 2004 she has now recently taken over for Zane Lowe, making it 5 nights a week on (my opinion) the best radio station in the world. As well as this her AMP tour spans from Coachella to Glastonbury to Ibiza. All the while raising her young son with her partner, artist Toddla T. The curly hair, addictive personality and perfectly executed craft make her quite the lady.

Stella McCartney 

Famous surname or not she is one of the best designers, (first making her mark as the Creative Director for Chloé 1997) as well as being British she is a firm animal rights activist and refuses to use any fur or leather in her collections. A lifelong vegetarian and supporter of PETA, married with four children, an all round Wonder Woman.

Carol Jean Pentland (Mother to this lucky kid) 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she left Steeler nation and worked travelling the world eventually meeting her future husband. They had 2 children in a picturesque house in Johannesburg, before settling in England. Even with the odd judgmental look from other mothers when picking up her kids from school, straight from work, in a pencil skirt, heels and blazer with shoulder pads you could only envy, she was successful in work and now academia earning herself a top degree with highly credited work. Not to shabby I’d say.

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‘Selma’ – Thoughts and Review

There is always a list, which is ever growing of films I want to see, Selma (2014) was one of them. From watching its success at the 87th Academy Awards winning Best Song for ‘Glory’ performed by John Legend and Common (who also stars in the film) and rightfully being nominated for Best Picture, I knew this was one for the list.

I was finally able to watch it this weekend and it did not disappoint, aside from the beautiful cinematography, editing and performances by the entire cast there is one thing which stood out and that was the focus on the struggle. What I mean by this is that a film about Martin Luther King Jr could easily be crafted as a biopic, however what director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb established was a complete and total focus on what King and his group were able to achieve through one particular event, the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965 to secure equal voting rights. 

The march was successful and culminated in US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is hard to watch in places, as it should be, it is thought provoking, as it should be, it is debate provoking, as it should be. As soon as the credits began to roll a discussion ensued as to how much have we really changed in society?

The divides between, race, Religion, gender are still evident, (to say the least) in society. In the Fall Winter Collections of New York Fashion week this year white models covered over 79% of the catwalks, which is actually a slight (emphasis on slight) decrease on last year. Think about walking into a room of 100 people and 80 of them are white, you would think it was odd, would you not?

I remember once speaking up to a middle-aged white man on the tube who was nastily mocking the Asian train driver’s accent and at one point during our discussion he asked ‘So what, are you a Muslim?’ and I responded ‘What if I was?’ As if I had no right to care about a racist stood next to me, but that is the question, so what if I was? Would he have aimed his ignorance in my direction instead? Unfortunately another example that the work is never over, Selma displays one great victory, it will make you think and wonder what still needs to be worked on today.

John Legend, Common, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey marched in Selma for Martin Luther King Day. Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount PicturesRead more: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/oprah-winfrey-john-legend-march-in-selma-with-film-stars-for-mlk-day-2015191#ixzz3fU4ndAXo 

John Legend, Common, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey marched in Selma for Martin Luther King Day.
Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount PicturesRead more: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/oprah-winfrey-john-legend-march-in-selma-with-film-stars-for-mlk-day-2015191#ixzz3fU4ndAXo  

Long Live Longline

Can you even believe it the heat wave is finally here and of course the inappropriate hot pants, lack of T-shirt in the middle of a city centre and ‘health warnings’ are rife. What to wear today when you don’t necessarily want to go with the norm, or better yet what to wear to the all dayer in the pub garden this weekend? Well I have a new found obsession, the Longline.

It comes in various formats, T-Shirts, Dusters, Blazers, Camis, Shirts…. But it is the perfect item to turn any outfit around. Diverse in that it can be worn throughout the seasons, it comes in so many different ways that you can wear the style without getting tired and it is perfect for those I cannot be bothered days.

One of my favourite things about it is it covers my troublesome areas without being obvious, by this I mean my thigh and buttocks region. I always prefer to wear a longer top, unless I’m feeling daring (or I have already had a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc prior to finalising my evening attire) and decide to go for a black jeans crop top combo, however this is strictly saved for an evening out and wouldn’t be my outfit of choice for the day. I currently have 2 longline sleeveless coats and 3 longline camis but I’ve got my eye on a few more, namely pink and lilac ones, be rude not to now the sun is out.

Top tip, the sales are quite simply killing it at the moment, I just bought some sandals from Topshop for £7, (less than a double Gin and Tonic), so have a look out for any key pieces even if they are a size or two too big an oversized sleeveless longline blazer will simply have more of an androgynous look if it’s less fitted.

Happy Summer!

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Double Denim-mania

Denim, once a symbol of poverty, hard labour or in a more modern sense with rips/safety pins/political statement patches a symbol of rebellion and angst….. now a symbol of complete normality.

We all own it in one way or another and no doubt we all have our favourites, for me it is of course high waisted black jeans, perfectly suited for my body type and always a fall back for any outfit crisis. Then, going back a few years I have my ultimate ripped Abercrombie and Fitch light denim baggy and slightly flared jeans I wore so much in my teenage years the rips weren’t so much rips as gaping holes and my Abercrombie and Fitch (can you tell I went through a preppy stage?) light denim ripped mini skirt, I still hold onto them both waiting for them to make a big come back. Now the trend off of the 80’s is back, the double denim, once shunned by all those with style and taste and now back gracing the style magazines and flooded over Instagram and blogs alike. I never thought I’d say it but I am a fan, I confess!

There are a few ways to play it, keep it simple with a denim shirt and jeans, I personally team my Mom’s light denim shirt with a pair of dark Hollister (also from my preppy days but not so ruined) ripped boyfriend jeans, must add here that these are low-rise, not a trend I think I would like back too soon, so they are always worn with a baggy(ish) and long top. Or you could push the boat out that little bit further, try a triple threat, denim top, jeans and jacket if you’re feeling really up for it or one outfit I plan on testing this weekend (weather permitting) it’s a denim midi skirt and baggy denim cropped T-shirt, teamed with a pair of sandals. Keep it light with the accessories and make up otherwise you could find yourself more 80’s LA wannabe cowgirl than flaunting fashionista. Something simple like gentle make up and a matte red lip with loosely styled hair I think fits the bill perfectly.

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Sunshine Basics

BIKINI BODY READY?

ARE YOU READY FOR SUMMER?

GET YOUR BIKINI BODY IN TEN DAYS!

It may be a skyline filled with rain and grey cloud as far as the eye can see, however it is very nearly Summer and the bikini’s are rearing their ugly head from the draw under the bed, like the boogie man taunting you from the darkness. I’ve already taken the plunge, I had the most fantastic short break in Malta just a few weeks ago and that involved summer dresses and two-pieces. Safe to say, it’s a daunting prospect for most of us, myself included, with trips to the nearest common in mind, pool days and of course the next holiday (to Croatia) I have to remind myself that what may seem like a mountain of cellulite and whale blubber to me is nothing to everyone else. As women we now have an extreme stigma of beauty to up hold, this pressure is worse than ever with girls as young as 9 suffering depression and anxiety due to issues with body image. Really.

I’m not usually one to dress for my size per say, I own cullotes, shift dresses, men’s shirts all which shouldn’t be worn by those of a certain breast size, height, body shape. I plan on focusing on the positive, wearing what makes me feel comfortable and overcoming all those nagging insecurities, see ya, bye bye now.

So here is a mini hit list of some of my go to items of the Summer, the basics you might say…..

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Spring is in the air and there is a Spring in my step, cliché or not there is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a tree covered in full bloom flowers and the sky a wonderful shade of blue, but what lies ahead for the year for me. I think the phrase ‘time flies’ is simply all to real, I now go onto my Timehop and see reminders of a bungee jump in New Zealand three years ago or a fancy dress night 6 years ago with numerous photos taken in a less than presentable student flat. Now I like to think of putting some of my time into different things, although the next bungee jump is already planned for the end of this year, in none other than South Africa.

Of course on the cards are the numerous festivals coming up in the Summer, unfortunately no Glastonbury for me however I do think I will be partaking in an old favourite South West Four, just a stones throw from my humble abode, taking place on Clapham Common. The line up is unmistakably good, Faithless headlining Saturday, their first major London performance in four years I believe, not to be missed. Within my girl group of friends we have also been looking into Croatia, a place I’ve never been before but have only ever heard amazing things.

One thing thatapril 24 is special about London is that you’re never short of things to do that extend outward from the classic pub session (not denying however these will still be a common occurance). I remember last year having lunch and a prosecco cocktail, in the height of Summer, with my Mom before visiting the fantastic Glamour of Italian Fashion Exhibition at one of my favourite museums The Victoria and Albert, London. We spent a little too much money in the gift shop stocking up on books and beautiful prints as well as a miniature vintage Fiat 500 for my Dad to match his actual vintage Fiat 500. Previous to this I attended a lecture on Italian Fashion with a special focus on Salvatore Ferragamo, Shoemaker to the stars and if only all lectures in life had been like this one, so informative and fascinating. Next on the list is of course Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, also at the V&A, I’m hoping to fit in time to go to one of the 2 talks accompanying the exhibition too! (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 14th March – 2nd August, for tickets click here)

The other event I would love to attend which is slightly out of my reach is the Trust Women conference, a 2 day long event covering topics like Human Trafficking and Slavery as well as Women’s Empowerment and Special Focus talks. In light of some of the recent events including the tragic lost of over 800 lives in the Mediterranean Sea, these topics are more relevant than ever. With an advisory board that includes Cathy Russell (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues), Cherie Blair (wife to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, lawyer and founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) and Christie Turlington Burns (Founder, Every Mother Counts, filmmaker, author, super model) the event is sure to be a success once again. (Trust Women Conference, 17th – 18th November).

Funny how when you’ve finished education you eventually start to look back fort it, however this time I’m looking for more fashion trends and empowering women seminars rather than geometry and physics calculations.