Friday, 30 March 2012

JLS live!

So last Friday not only was I blessed with a day off, managed a bit of a lie in and had my car serviced, I also hopped on a train down to London to go to see juicy boyband JLS in concert at the o2.

Accompanied by my partner in crime Mumsy, who had borrowed my CD prior to the event in an attempt to learn some of the songs, we got to the capital about 3pm and proceeded straight to Oxford Street to dabble in a spot of shopping. After trying to persuade mum that I really did need that gorgeous top from New Look and failing miserably at getting some money spent on me, we mooched across to Carnaby Street. 

I showed mum my dream place to work, women’s magazines headquarters and then stopped in Covent Garden to rub shoulders with the rich and stare at passers-by. After a quick pit stop and paying through the roof for a glass of coke, we headed to Prezzo to fill up on some carbs.
We had a wild goose chase on the tube before finally arriving at the o2 and we found our seats among hordes of screaming 10-year-olds – I fitted right in. So for the next two hours we whooped, cheered and blushed at the boys thrusting movements, while bopping along to the tunes. 

We collapsed in a heap at home around 12am, with sore throats and achy feet, but it was all worth it – we had a fab day.

Even after being ribbed by my friends and work colleagues for my taste in music, I am carrying on my obsession with young boybands and have booked tickets to see One Direction in concert next year. I think you can guess I am extremely excited! 

The next day, what better way to start a Saturday morning than with the sun shining and a batch of fried egg on toast to calm my rumbling tummy.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spring has sprung!

From pop superstar Rihanna embracing her inner designer and announcing plans for her debut fashion line, to the world watching the two first ladies step out in their wardrobe choices as they bond over cucumber sandwiches; last month flew by in a fashion flurry. 

With sightings of the illusive sun being reported all over the country, it seems that spring has finally sprung and with it comes an abundance of style gold. As well as the women gearing up to tackle a new season of trends, it seems they also take charge when it comes to scrutinising their partner’s attire. According to a new survey, two thirds of women admit to picking out work clothes for their other half, and add style-dictator as another string to their bow. Avoiding a wardrobe disaster is definitely top of the agenda for us gals, and having a fashion faux-pas on our arm is not an option. Even Goldenballs himself admitted that he and Posh took a wrong turn when they stepped out to an array of flashing bulbs in matching leather Versace numbers about a decade ago. But with a plethora of new spring trends to dive into head first, you won’t want to be hiding in the shadows with your new purchases. 

As the weather gets warmer you will find yourself wrapped in heavenly fabrics, adorned with vivid colour as well as indulging in soft neutrals. Creamy neutrals accessorised well can give you a very feminine look; classic and comfortable. The usual staples are in full flow this spring; monochrome, lace and flashes of red transpire as key trends to count on. Florals take a new spin, mixing prints and clashing colours as seen at Mary Katrantzou are the way to get your flower fix this season. Henry Holland at Debehnams has a great selection of eye-catching designs to help nail this trend. London Fashion week also saw the return of tribal print, geometric patterns and bold shades as Donna Karan and Burberry took to the catwalk and has now filtered through to high street store Miss Selfridge to give their interpretation of the trend. A new spin on tribal print is the rise of the pyjamas. No, high-end designers haven’t finally cracked and it doesn’t mean donning your five-year-old cotton PJs, but rather swanky, matching and highly patterned trousers and button-down tops. Christian Dior and Stella McCartney led the way on the catwalk, with paisley print loose-fitting trousers and now high street store River Island has brought out its own relaxed styles. If you don’t want to go for the full-on bedtime story, try wearing pyjama-style separates with a plain top or trousers or a jumpsuit that prevents the outfit from becoming too baggy. 

Another new style to emerge is the rise of the peplum. It won't make you look thin, men don't find it sexy and it gets crushed on public transport, but it has become a high-street hit. In celebration of the female silhouette, curves are accentuated and the result is a sculpture and sleek look. Every high-street retailer put one into production this season to ensure their visibility in the trend pages, but few would have backed the peplum as a commercial hit. Added to dresses, tops and skirts the extra piece of material can be worn in numerous different ways and as long as it doesn’t ooze a frilly bed valance look, then you’ll be onto a winner. Seen on the catwalk in soft shapes at Yves Saint Laurent or bold statements at Jason Wu, H&M has a fantastic selection of peplum styles, guaranteed to suit your style. So with peplums, pyjamas and floral print already on the shopping list for April, dressing for a new season has never been so much fun. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Stella Goes for Gold

What better way to win a sporting event than in high-end designer gear? Launched last week in London, the official team GB outfits were sporting a patriotic look and designer Stella McCartney ensured the athletes stepped out for the Games in style.

In collaboration with Adidas, the stylish ensemble is typically skin-tight and proudly shows off our national colours of red, white and blue. 

It took fashion mogul Stella two years to put her final ideas onto cloth and is the first time in history a mainstream designer has been recruited to design the Team GB kit for 900 athletes competing in 46 different sports for the Olympic Games.

A world away from designing for the catwalk, Stella admitted she had a brief moment of panic when presented with the mammoth challenge.

“I started out with some crazy ideas; neon fish; metallic gold; fluorescent, for God's sake,” the 40-year-old told Grazia magazine.

“There are eight different bodies for each sport, each with their own set of rules and they all have a say.

“Of course you can't do parallel bar work with a suit full of sparkles,” she added

During the design process, Stella spent lots of time talking to the athletes about their individual requirements and tried to adapt each outfit to suit.  

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

SamCam Takes the High Street to the US

It seems that nobody does it better than us Brits and that was certainly the case when SamCam stepped out next to her American counterpart on her recent trip across the pond.
Instead of opting for high-end designer gear, she embraced her English roots and dressed head to toe in British brands.

Flying the flag for British designers, Samantha Cameron chose to dress in a Burberry coat, Joseph trousers and L.K. Bennett shoes for her debut outfit on the first day of her husband's U.S. state visit.

The Prime Minister’s wife didn’t compensate on style with her wardrobe choices and was spotted the next day in a bang-on-trend brightly coloured ensemble, as well as donning a pair of high street retailer Next shoes for an official state dinner with the President and his First Lady.

The fashion industry took heed and admired Sam Cam’s eye for style as she continued to represent British designers in a Victoria dress by Mrs Beckham herself.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bake sale success!

Monday was the day of the long-anticipated Bake Sale at work and I make my baking debut with my goat’s cheese and caramelised onion tarts. Being greeted in the office with a table full of sugary treats and savoury specialities rivalled my best day at work ever; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a buzz on a Monday morning.

As people tucked in, my tarts were going down a storm and by 11am they were completely sold out! I even had an email pop up in my inbox from the company MD complementing my ‘absolutely delicious’ tarts.  

Safe to say, the diet went out the window that day! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Northampton Weekend

Once Friday hit last week, I was out the office door and on the road, stereo blaring singing Katy Perry at the top of my lungs and on the way to Northampton. After a quick stop-over at the rents to grab a kit-kat and make a withdrawal from the bank of mum, I made my way to Tom’s house for a night of food and loving. 

The next day we embraced the mild weather and had a wander round Harrold Country Park. I think the rest of the town had the same idea, because it was jam-packed with dog walkers, kids and experienced hikers, but we had a lovely time and Tom even made a new feathered friend. We even attempted a game of poo sticks, although I think Tom spent most of the time staring at his own reflection in the water, rather than keeping his eye on his own contender.

A big night then followed as Tom’s mum’s hen night had finally arrived. The wedding is in April and I’m picturing something of similar grandeur to Wills and Kate’s big day, so am tempted to go all out and treat myself to a fascinator a la Victoria Beckham. 

So with only around 4 weeks to go, Tom’s mum invited 15 of her nearest and dearest to celebrate her last big night out as a single woman. After the first drink, I had already gained a pink sash, a badge and slightly blurry vision as we headed off to dinner. Wearing sky high heels probably wasn’t my brightest idea and before I knew it, I was making friends with the pavement as I fell arse over tit onto the floor.

The night ended abruptly for Tom’s mum after a Sambuca shot pushed her over the edge and she spent the next day in bed, claiming she was going to die and have a Whitney Houston episode in the bath. With the hen gone and Tom joining the festivities, we went on to party the night away.

Sunday we woke up with sore heads and dry mouths, but the sunny weather persuaded us to move from our pit and make the most of the day. We met up with my parents for a spot of lunch by the river and ended the weekend on a high.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bring Back Retro Food

Forget gorging on posh nosh like sushi and steak sarnies, old family favourites are making a comeback to the dinner table. From scotch eggs to pie pops, hearty British snacks such as these are popular once again and I’ve never been so happy to get to grips with a food trend. Being an avid sausage fan myself, (no pun intended) just the thought of a meaty-inspired snack makes my mouth water and nothing makes me want to ditch the diet more than a treat from the picnic basket. Whether it’s a sausage roll, scotch egg or Cornish pasty, they are all set for a revamp and a revival and I will be happy to indulge whatever the weather.
Inspired by the cake-pop trend, pie-pops look set to be the latest craze in instant food to warm your tum. The miniature pies on sticks are guaranteed to be causing a stir at parties and trendy restaurants as quirky, eye-catching appetisers. These gourmet snacks on the go will be a busy person’s treat, so I’m certain I’ll grab one next time I frequent the wonder that is Liverpool Street station and opt out of a Burger King.

Another food trend that is predicted to be big business and brings light to my life, is doughnuts. Forget gritty, rubbery supermarket stuff, a fresh doughnut is a thing of joy. A deli in New York has been wowing the Yanks with fresh, organic beauties in flavours like blackberry jelly, panettone, creme brulee and coconut cream. It won’t be long until these sugary sweet delights ooze their way over to our shores and into our bellies, upping our fat intake and teasing us at the hips.

The latest hot specialty bakery treat to be in vogue are Canelés, a custardy French pastry that have been duped the ‘new cupcakes’. A favourite in Bordeaux, made from an egg-yolk-enriched crêpe-like batter that’s baked in copper molds lined with caramel and beeswax. Don’t be put off with the addition of the latter, one bite and you would’ve forgotten all about the hairy-winged creatures that helped on the production line.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sew your own

When purses strings are tight and no excuse can justify a blow-out at Topshop, why not don your creative hat and try your hand at a spot of sewing? Thanks to the growing popularity of the make-do-and-mend culture and the first sewing cafe opening in the heart of Paris last spring and causing a stir on both sides of the channel, people everywhere are fuelling their creative passion and getting handy with a sewing machine and thread.

With Parisian fever translating into businesses in the UK, sewing cafes are popping up all over the country, like here and here, and it’s never been easier to learn how to customise your clothes and recycle old favourites. The cafes work in a similar way to internet cafes - offering customers the chance to hire sewing machines by the hour - not computers - while tucking into coffee and cake. What once might have been seen as old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy has now been catapulted onto the fashionista radar and become a quirky commodity.

Plus, Victoria Beckham had to start somewhere right?

Even these celebs have jumped on the bandwagon and confessed to kicking back with a creative project or two.