Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How to Tie a Head Scarf

I always get asked how I do my head scarf so I thought I'd put up a little tutorial on how I do it. (Hilary Alexander once complimented me on it!)It's a great look for when your hair is just too greasy and you don't want to batiste it (I usually let my hair get really greasy before I bleach it) or if you've got a dye job gone wrong and need to nip to the shops to get more dye to fix it (you wouldn't believe how many times that has happened to me)

First of all you need a scarf that is big enough. This doesn't work if the scarf is too small. You might need a small safety pin too. My smallest scarf is 60cm.

I put my hair in a bun before I do this but you can leave yours down. When I had a bob I didn't need to tie it up. 

Fold the scarf into a triangle. 

Put the middle of the longest edge at the back of your head and bring the corners forward to the front of your head. 

Tie the corners together once. 

Pull the back point over the top of your head. 

Tie the back corners over the top of the front point. 

If they are quite long, like mine, tie them in a bow.

Lift up the two flaps and fold them over each other. Safety pin them down, don't accidentally pin your scalp.

And that's pretty much it!

Let me know if you try this and how it works out for you.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tile Print Skirt

 I feel so new season in this skirt - I know it's terrible, it's finally hot enough to wear the best of my summer wardrobe and I'm already moving into autumn. I just love these tile prints so much and the colour on this skirt is amazing. It's from primark as usual and the fabric isn't the nicest but the print really is. 

The cut of the skirt feels kind of sporty although I probably should have bought a size bigger but I didn't try it on (who queues for the changing rooms in primark?!?) and then I was so eager to wear it to work I just ripped the tags off the next morning before I even considered that I'd need to swap it. Never mind it doesn't look so terrible and for £9 who can complain. 

I took these photos in a patch of grass in front of my house (I suppose you call it a verge) that someone has planted a million wild flowers on. They are bee friendly ones I think and I'm so glad they did. They make me feel happy when ever I walk past them. I got really annoyed when some careless jerkwad drove their car over them and they are a little flattened in places from all the thunderstorms we've been having in London lately. I've been really resisting picking any to press because they look so good and I don't want to ruin them for everyone else. 

I wanted a picture of the cat in the flowers but I think maybe he's afraid of bees because he wouldn't sit in them. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

That's Some Good Squishy

Another all primark outfit -oops, such a looser. I just love this cool Bart Simpson tee though. It was only £6 although the turn up on the sleeves have come undone. And my skirt was only £3 in the sale. 

I've had my converse forever, since I was 16 I think, but they are still going strong. Another pair of shoes it was well worth spending extra on. I still remember buying them, I got them on a trip to London (I grew up in Manchester) and I wanted to go to Poste Mistress in Covent garden to get some converse no one back home would have (I don't think office owned it back then). My granny bought then for me and was surprised they were £30, she said 'they were only £10 last time.' She meant 30 years ago when she'd bought my dad a pair.

I wore this casual outfit for a walk around Holland Park although when I was there I felt like maybe I should have worn a flowery dress. There were so many flowers everywhere and in the sunshine it really made for a lovely afternoon. 

Whenever I go to Holland Park I always think of when I was doing my dissertation on debutants and I watched a documentary and this man was talking about a party he was at and kissing a girl in the bushes in the garden. Then he just said - that's holland park now. Imagine Holland Park being your garden!

I wanted to go to the Japanese Tranquillity Garden because it was on Buzzfeeds top 18 hidden gardens in London - so it's got to be good right? And it was. There was a waterfall and koi fish and a peacock wandering around. They only thing that ruined it were all the people who missed the sign that said children weren't allowed to run about and play they had to be quiet. I can imagine in the week or on a less sunny day it's a really peaceful spot. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Zoo lates outfit ideas

Going to zoo lates at London Zoo is one of those things I've wanted to do for years but I never get round to booking the tickets/don't have any money when they go on sale and then before you know it they are sold out.

I should probably explain what zoo lates is for those who don't know. Zoo lates is basically a party at the zoo. There's bands and cocktails and a silent disco. And animals. Who doesn't want to go to that?!?

 Every year I say this year is the year we will do it and don't but this year I've actually got tickets booked! Yay! So me and my friends were talking about dressing up as animals for the occasion (initially ones beginning with the first letter of your name but there are only 2 animals that start with 'N' - newt and narwhal and both have flat Voldemort faces) but since it finishes at 11 and we will probably go somewhere afterwards (cough*simonds*cough) people were not so keen in dressing up. So I have made a wish list of animal inspired outfits appropriate for a night out at the zoo.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Guide To Charity Shops in London: Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a favourite part of London for me and not just because I used to work here. I avoid the market on a Saturday like the plague because it's so full of slow walking tourists, taking photos of the Portobello Road sign and asking where the blue door is. If you have to go on a Saturday I recommend going before 8am. All the charity shops are open on a Sunday anyways. If you're in the area on a weekday, one of my favourite London secret places is Books for Cooks on Blenheim Crescent which not only has every cookbook under the sun but they also try out all the recipes from the books, so if you get there at about 11.45 you can get a delicious 3 course meal for £10.

This charity shop is great if you're looking for something to wear to the office. It's all very middle of the road in here. Lots of Zara and Boden. The pricing scheme seems utterly bizarre but I've actually got it figured out - they have heard of some designers thus a Stella McCartney Dress priced at £69.99, but not others - Chloe and Marc Jacob trousers for £9.99. They seem to know their high end high street, but it is a little odd to see a pair of Jack Wills (£9.99) trousers priced higher than a pair of Jil Sander (£8.99) ones. Especially when a pair of Primark jeans is £5.99.

Prices: Zara top £5.99

Trinity Hospice
20 Notting Hill Gate, Notting Hill, London, 

This charity shop is more like charity shops used to be - hiddledy piggledy and full of random stuff. However those charity shops tend to be cheaper and this one is not - maybe because of the location. They had quite a few designer shoes last time I went in at about £60 each which isn't bad, but then a H&M dress is £11. They have a half price rail and the other rails usually have a lot of stuff that has been marked down.

Prices: Forever 21 top £14

Cancer Research

183 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London , W11 2ED

This is one of my favourite charity shops in the area, maybe in London, I've has some great bargains from here. They stock a lot of good quality high street stuff, no tatty clothes here. I also know that they ask companies to donate unwanted samples and things that they can't shift so there's a lot of new in here. I once got a brand new Dorothy Perkins top for £3.50 and I have a friend who got Urban jeans for £10. And there isn't an abundance of Primark either. They have a good vintage section at the back. Not much in the way of books and bric-a-brac. When I last went they had a bunch of new pineapple studios stuff in and a fur coat from the 20s. The prices here are pretty reasonable in my book and I once saw a pair of Prada shoes in here for £20.

Prices; Topshop Dress £8, H&M Top £4, Vintage dress £10

10 Elgin Crescent, London W11 2HX

I'm less keen on this charity shop, mostly because of the prices, I think their a little steep for what they are especially with the Cancer Research just around the corner, but it's still a favourite in Notting Hill. They do have a better selection of designer and higher end stuff than the Cancer Research. It's always worth a look though because occasionally they mark the stuff that isn't selling down to half price and I've seen a Lacosse polo down to £3.50 and a Luella (for target) jacket marked down to £28.  There isn't load of bric-a-brac or books here either. There's an Oxfam books up on the Portobello so I doubt there's much point for these two charity shops. This charity shop is worth a look just for their truly bizarre window displays. I read somewhere that they are 'open to interpretation' which I took to mean 'WTF?'. Seriously they once had a mannequin wrapped in fabric lying at the bottom of the window. I mostly can't tell what they are going for. (Pro-tip for VMing your charity shop -don't try to be clever, just put two of your best/most eye catching outfits in the window or pick a colour theme and stick to it) And if you're on Elgin Crescent you have to check out Rococo Magazines, for one of the best selections of magazines I've ever seen.

Prices; Topshop Dress £18

Fara Baby/Child 
39-41 Ledbury Rd, London, London, W11 2AA
I don't have a baby/child so I have basically no interest in this charity shop and no gauge on how good it is. If I did have a child though I'd buy all it's things from charity shops and car boot sales because kids break everything anyway.

245 Westbourne Grove London W11 2SB

This is one of the more expensive charity shops in the area, with a Dorothy Perkins skirt being about £14 and a Miss Selfridge dress for about £16, but if you're looking for high-end high street or a few designer bits this is your charity shop. They have lots of Joseph, Hobbs, Max Mara, Maje - basically the shops that are the other side of the road, where the locals shop. An LK Bennett dress is about £35 and an Acne top is £39. Not many knick knacks in this shop either, but it's great for accessories with a leather belt coming in at about £6 and a handbag for about £15.

Traid Bayswater  
 61 Westbourne Grove London W2 4UA

I love a good Traid especially when they do an everything £2 (or sometimes everything £1) sale. This one is pretty much your standard traid with a mix of second hand, new and vintage. Like all Traids I can not figure out how they decide the prices on the vintage with the prices ranging from £12.99 to £35 for a vintage dress. The pricing on the new is more expensive than the second hand with a new Topshop skirt at £10.99 and a second hand Topshop coat at £15.99 which makes sense. This one also has a separate rail for all the designer stuff so it's easier to find, but priced accordingly with a McQueen dress for £89.99.

Prices; H&M Top £5.99

Mary's Living and Giving
177 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2SB

You aren't going to find a top for £4 at Mary Portas's Living and Giving, but then you aren't going to find any old Primark stuff either. It's a really lovely shop, even if it wasn't a charity shop. And it's much better than it's Barnes branch. Most of the stock is designer or high-end high street and the staff obviously know their labels so there's no mis-priced items. But with a Lulu Guinness handbag for £50 , you're still getting an utter bargain. They also get a lot of new stuff, last time I was there I got a brand new Lazy Oaf tee for just £12. I'd really recommend this place if you have an event to go to, but are on a budget as a lot of the fancy dresses are hardly worn (probably donated by the type of woman who can't be seen at an event in the same dress twice).

Prices: Miss Selfridge top £16.99, Jil Sander trousers £85

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A Guide To Charity Shops In London: Preface

It's something I've been meaning to do for ages; write about my favorite charity shops in London. Some of my faves get a few name checks in my outfit posts but I've never really written about the best places to go for what etc. A common tip is to go to a affluent area where the donations will be more expensive/less worn. Whist this for the most part works, I've seen some awful stuff in Richmond, raggy clothes I wouldn't even donate, let alone buy. I have also read that the big charity shops move stock around, with all the best stuff going to fashionable areas (ie East). Which makes sense, in posher areas the residents don't want to buy from charity shops and in more normal areas people aren't willing to pay extra for/have never heard of Dries Van Noten. This actually makes one of my top tips for a bargain to seek out smaller and local charities shops, where they haven't got the facilities to shift stock around London or even keep hold of it for too long. They tend to have lower prices and a bargain rail to get rid of stuff that's not selling.

Lots of charity shops are over run with Primark stuff. I can never bring myself to buy Primark in the charity shop, looks like I'm a label snob in that way. I also hate it when Primark/George/Florence &Fred stuff is priced up at what it probably cost new/more than that. Overpricing in Charity shops is something that bothers me. I understand that they are there to make as much money for their charities as possible but if something is just too expensive for me then I'll walk out of the shop with out buying anything and the charity doesn't get anything. I guess it must be a hard balance to strike as they don't want to under price themselves. Most charity shops are run by savvy people now, rather than the little old ladies of stereotypes who wouldn't know how to price Prada. That doesn't mean you can't pick up the odd bargain design  find and it's all the more pleasing when you do (Hello Jil Sander wool trousers for £7 in Wood Green). Sometimes I actually feel really guilty when I get a mega bargain, I feel like I've stolen from charity! I quite often see rare items with a little print out from eBay next to it, showing how much it goes for on eBay and what a bargain you're scooping, which if you ask me is fair play. They've done their research to get a fair price. A lot of charity shops know they can charge more for Topshop and Asos. I hate when they want the same sort of prices they'd charge for designer (yes I've seen a Topshop dress priced the same as a DKNY one). I will usually mention in my guide if they know they can charge more for certain high street labels. I think that £6-8 for a Topshop top or skirt is pretty average with another brands skirt being £4-6. Some charity shops have clicked on to vintage too, I love it when they have a separate section for vintage stuff. This usually means paying extra but it's so much easier that I just don't care. Some think people will pay hundreds for something that just isn't that great. And some charity shops it's best to think of as vintage shops with a good feeling about giving some money to charity as that's what they are in terms of quality, selection and price. And some charity shops look at a big shouldered bright coloured 80's dress or a super ugly Christmas jumper and think 'who'd want to buy that?' and sell it cheaply. I'll also tell you what charity shops I think are like that. I'll try to write down prices for items so you can gauge how expensive the shop is. I've also started to notice a lot of charity shops getting in high street design samples, which are usually a good purchase and sometimes you can figure out where they were supposed to go. 

So my first guide will be for Notting Hill.

Do you have any good charity shops to recommend or have you written a guide to charity shops? Is there a part of London you think I should write about? Please share, I love a good chazza shop.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Crop Top, Denim Shirt

Another sunny day trip to Greenwich. It's such a nice place in the sunshine but then I think most of London is. It was almost too hot a lot of the day to wear my denim shirt (which is from select). The boy said I looked 'very nineties, like Kelly kapowski' which I don't think he meant as a good thing, but I took as a massive compliment. 

My crop top I got for a £1 last summer in a charity shop in Mornington Crescent which isn't there anymore. I didn't actually expect this cat skirt from H&M (yes, I have the dress too) to be high waisted enough to wear with it because I don't want my tummy sticking out, but actually it's worked pretty well. 

And my lilac juju jellies are still going strong. I basically wear socks and sandals every day now, I don't know what I'm going to do when it rains...

I was in Greenwich with my mum and auntie so I thought it would be nice to go to the fan museum again. The tea room experience was only slightly marred by the fact that the woman working this time was rude. But the man in the shop was very nice and gave my mum a scroll with the 'secret language of the fan'. The exhibition was entirely different this time making a second trip worth it, although I do wonder just how many fans they must have in their archive. The exhibition was of 20s fans which I really enjoyed. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Wildfox For Less

I love Wildfox and they do some really amazing look books, but at £100+ for a jumper they are waaay out of my price range - even in the sale. Fortunately the high street is as inspired by the brand as I am. Here are some of my favourite things for a fraction of the price that remind me of Wildfox.

And here are some things from Wildfox that I just love but can't find anything similar. Maybe it's time to start saving. 
Another way of getting Wildfox for a bit cheaper is if you're small you could probably fit in some of their kids line. There's no VAT on children's clothes and I've seen them in Harrods - they definitely look big enough for someone smallish to fit into.

And if you love Wildfox as much as I do, you should check out Wildfox founder Kimberly Gordon's blog - she posts all the time images which she loves and inspire her - and I'm always pinning them!

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All items gifted to me by a company will be clearly marked as such. Certain links within blog post may be affilate links. I only work with companies that I like and fit the aesthetic of the blog and am always honest in my opinions. I'll never say something is good, just because I didn't pay for it! I alway try to credit the correct owner of an image, if I've used yours please let me know.
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