Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fashion Good Enough To Eat

With Paris and New York’s fashion week stint already over, this month it was the turn of London to welcome the style elite to our shores. The fashion hungry were desperate to get their mits on a ticket, paps tried to blag their way past security, and A-listers commanded the front row; it was typically an event not to be missed in any fashionista calendar. 

As well as the six-day fashion extravaganza taking place in February, last month saw Mr Posh himself strip off all in the name of style. Thousands of flustered girls screamed their way through the crowds to get a glimpse of Mr Beckham himself as he launched his own range of figure hugging underwear for high street store h&m.

Aside from the hunky footballer getting the fashion pack all hot and bothered, we mustn’t forget the trends that barged their way to the front of Fashion Week and were thrust into the spotlight. Tribal print, military styles and florals graced the runway, but the trend on everybody’s hips was pastels. As a result, the high street is awash with soft candy tones as big name designers such as Vera Wang and Calvin Klein continue to egg on the summer with their cutesy coloured styles.

Even as the cold snap is sent packing back to the Antarctic for another year, the dull weather just doesn’t show signs of shifting. So what better way to bring on the summer than with a plethora of ice-cream hues and sherbet shades to indulge in? Forget black as the fashion packs go-to colour this spring, pastels are making a comeback. Pretty sugared almond shades of mint, vanilla, sky blue and lilac are the freshest colours to hit the catwalk and complement this season’s sweeping ladylike mood perfectly. Pastels 
Whether it’s skirts, shirts, shoes or jewellery, the pastel trend has wormed its way into every seasonal palette possible, giving you the chance to embed these soft tones into any outfit combination.

Don’t be afraid to whole-heartedly embrace this spring trend and combine different pastel shades in one sitting. Whether it’s mint green, soft pink or lovely lavender, there is so much to choose from. If you want to incorporate pastels into your casual every-day wardrobe, try some sherbet-shaded trousers with a basic white top and cream jacket. Alternatively, jazz up your outfit with a peach pastel coloured accessory; like a bag or belt. If it looks a little cold outside to brave the complete pastel look, try pairing softer-hued jeans with a cosy grey sweater and black ankle boots for a perfectly weather-appropriate winter look. New Look has the perfect selection of candy coloured jeans to help transpire the summer mood. 

For a night on the tiles, make a bolder colour statement by accessorising an all-black ensemble with a minty green clutch or citron satchel. Imitating styles from the catwalk, high street store Miss Selfridge has nailed this trend. For cutesy pastel dresses and flowing candy-coloured skirts, head to style-Mecca Topshop where there is a whole host of designs and shades to choose from .

Friday, 24 February 2012

3210 Room of the Future

A couple of months ago I was invited to review the Room of the Future in stylish Paris and I would need my head checked if I even considered turning it down.

One hotel that has gone above and beyond guest expectations is the aptly-named Room of the Future, at four-star Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse located in Paris. Created in collaboration with Microsoft, the room showcases the latest in cutting-edge technology and innovative design. Already fully-booked for its three month trial period, the hotel wanted to exceed guest expectations and present a number of different surprises to keep customers entertained.

The visionary room takes guests on a technological journey with features including a Kinect interface, Sensorit mirror based on Kinect technology, a fitness interface and a Surface multimedia table. Nothing like your typical bedroom, the high-tech space is decorated in vibrant green and white colours, with a red light that illuminates the bathroom. In-keeping with the forward-looking theme, the room also includes a new state-of-the-art bed system, which is hidden away from view until it is required. Room service and reception can be contacted via a Samsung smartphone and an Xbox 360 is housed in a cosy capsule that boasts views of the Eiffel Tower. With no traditional table and beanbags for the children to sleep on, the room stemmed from the idea of providing guests with a new digital experience, which has proved to be a huge success.

Man not included

Novotel is using the room to gather feedback on all the services and measure whether or not it would be a worthwhile investment to roll out the technology across the brand permanently.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

February photos #3

Day 11# Makes me happy: I love sausages. Sausage and mash, sausages on a pizza and pigs in blankets I love all combinations of the meaty goodness.

Day 12# Inside my closet: Stuffed full of clothes, accessories and shoes (all clean)

Day 13# Blue: The one product I cannot live without, Baptiste Dry Shampoo. When I fancy a couple of extra minutes of snooze, this quick fix is my lifesaver. A sprintz on my barnet and I'm good to go!

Day 14# Heart: These are my heart post-it notes that I use for little reminders to myself!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Sod the diet

So this weekend, the diet went well and truly out the window. When I say diet, it’s not a hardcore one, I’m not just eating carrots and sipping on wheatgrass to curb my hunger pangs, I’m just simply trying not to scoff my face with cakes, chocolate, cheese and biscuits which are thrust in my face at work on a day-to-day basis. I’ve also starting going to a step class to help shift a few pounds in operation lose-weight-before-my-boyfriend’s-mum’s-wedding. 

Friday night, I was elated at finishing another week at work so to celebrate I headed off to the pub and treated myself to a glass of rose and a big juice burger and chips.

Saturday I was Brighton bound, ready for a weekend of gossiping, babies and money spending. My afternoon was spent with Becky and adorable little Freddie, who even though he had a projectile vomiting episode, is still as gorgeous as ever and gave me lots of cuddles.
That evening, we graced Suzi’s house where a Chinese takeaway was on the cards and £46 later, we had decided on a variety of oriental dishes to tickle the tastebuds. Spring rolls, duck pancakes, chicken chow mein and shredded beef, you name it, we had it. I crawled into Emily’s bed around 12.30am, bloated and satisfied.

The next morning I was rudely awoken by Emily informing me in a fluster that pop legend Whitney Houston had died. The news snapped me back to reality and we frantically searched the tv channels for the full story. We played tribute to our childhood idol by blasting out Whitney’s greatest hits in the car, belting out her tunes at the top of our lungs and serenading the public with our soulful voices. 

We headed off into town, where much to Emily’s dismayed we shopped till we dropped and eventually after a four-hour slog found somewhere to have lunch. We opted for a light bite at Cafe Coho in the Brighton Lanes, where I chose a bacon, brie and cranberry Panini to add to the weekend’s calorie count. 

Diet starts again tomorrow, promise.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

February photos #2

Day 7# Button: The button of my favourite red jeans, which were a 24th birthday present from the rents.

Day 8# Sun: The view as I packed my car on Saturday morning to head down to Brighton for the weekend.

Day 9# Front door: My Brighton home - the Dartnell's front door. If the door could speak, pretty sure it would have a lot of secrets and memories to tell!

Day 10# Self portrait: I have officially reached a new low for this challenge - drawing has never been my forte and I think I look like a cross between big foot and a drag queen!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

In with the old...

‘Out with the old, and in with the new,’ is an age old saying that helps to describe a transitional period in people’s lives, but in an economic climate that is struggling, that is not always possible. Perhaps then, the way has been made for the shabby-chic trend of Vintage to make an impact on the fashion industry. Just as messy hair and ripped jeans became a stand-alone trend, less than perfect Vintage styles are making a comeback.

Vintage doesn’t have to mean granny’s old curtains or a shoddy Saturday morning jumble sale; vintage has battled its way to mainstream design and has earned a lot of respect along the way.

You only have to flick through your Sky plus to see the schedule being influenced by period dramas such as Downton Abbey and Mad Men, causing a stir with their elaborate costumes, and stately homes. They are loved for the dramatic storylines and the elegant class of their surroundings. People love to lust after an era with such decadence. Programmes like these have only heightened people’s desires to own vintage; unique pieces with an endearing appeal, much like key items from decades ago.

All this media frenzy has had a massive impact on the fashion industry. With celebrities and socialites opting for vintage styles in their wardrobes over designer splurges, vintage has rocketed in popularity over the last few years becoming more accessible and more acceptable that ever before. Creating something vintage is like haute couture original; nobody else will have the same thing. 

1. £20 2. £22 3. £17.99 4. £20
Consumers are as vintage hungry as ever, eager for pretty, fun, sentimental and quality items to whet their appetite. Unusual buttons, luxurious fabrics and antique jewellery, can all be used in a way that is inexpensive but beautiful. It’s these defining features that set the timeless styles of Vintage apart from the rest.

A prime example of a vintage success story is the mega brand Cath Kidston. After a founding a tiny shop in London in 1993, she re-worked the traditional English country house styles in a witty and clever way and was soon catapulted amongst some of fashions most influential. Another brand profiting from their vintage innovations are Cabbages & Roses. They typically mix signature vintage-inspired florals with contemporary, quirky prints, combining the timeless and effortlessly fresh.  

Vintage doesn’t have to mean pricey and it’s often items found tucked away at charity shops that prove the most stylish. The marketing messages hidden within the magic of vintage appeal to the fashion-hungry; phrases such as handmade and handcrafted resonate to style-orientated customers.

With the need to tighten those purse strings and consumers constantly on the prowl to snap up a bargain, vintage offers a way to recycle, re-use and re-create.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

February photos #1

Here is the first installment of my February photos...

Day 3# Hands: Me and Tom holding hands up in the air (my first attempt at being creative failed miserably!)

Day 4# Stranger: Caught this bloke unawares on a train from London Victoria to Streatham Hill

Day 5# 10am: Hangover fry-up consisting of bacon, muffins and scrambled eggs

Day 6# Dinner: Juicy chinese with prawns and noodles, probs about 1000 cals so the diet went out the window! Scoffed this in Westfield at Stratford City

Next four photos coming soon!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Girls just wanna have fun

So Saturday saw me and the girls paint London town red and don our party hats for Harriet’s 24th birthday. After a mad dash round Oxford Circus, side-stepping the Chinese tourists and dodging the dawdling shoppers in the race against time for a last minute outfit, we hopped on the train to Streatham. 

1. New Look £19.99 2. Aldo £23.98 3. New Look £7.99 4. Miss Selfridge £42
We got to Hayley’s flat and soon got into the swing of things when the rest of the girls arrived. A lot of wine, chatter, laughter and a couple of outfits later, and we were ready to totter into the night. Notorious for getting a little tipsy on just the one glass of pink, I welcomed Lauren’s party nibbles when we got to her flat in Clapham and munched my way through pizza, crisps and Percy Pigs. The wine began to flow and we got more raucous; singing at the top of our lungs and busting out our signature dance moves. Little did we know, the heavens had well and truely opened outside and the snow was now coming down thick and fast. But it would’ve taken more than that to get us to take off our gladrags and pop on our pj’s, so we hailed a taxi and headed off to the first bar. 

We ended the night bopping away to our favourite chavvy tunes, dancing round our handbags, surrounded by sweaty Londoners. Not forgetting the cheeky kebab I scoffed back at the flat before laying my dizzy head to rest. 

The next day we soothed our tender heads with a bacon and egg muffin spread and a dose of the film Bridesmaids, which had us up and dancing by the end. After mustering up the strength for a shower and a change of clothes, we set off in search of our next food fix. We then spent the next couple of hours hauled up in a cosy bistro in Streatham high street, chatting, gossiping and reminiscing, generally having a fantastic time. 

We were missing one crucial part of the eight-some though, and Becky Rowland was sorely missed!

It’s weekends like this that remind me how lucky I am to have such brilliant mates.