Friday, 30 November 2012

New purchase - GAP jumper

Wool jumper, £34.97, Gap. Leather trousers, M&S. Studded leather brogues, New Look
Apologies for the weekend dodgy photography - it was too rainy to venture outside! This is me, standing in the corner of our study which we're yet to furnish...thinking a great Danish shelving unit or maybe just a good chest with lots of drawers so we can store our bedding?

Anyway, this is about my new jumper. It's from GAP and it's in the sale. I LOVE IT. I bought it a size too big so it feels boyfriend-y and has a good length (in fact, the perfect length to pair with leather trousers as no one wants to show the top area of a tight leather pant). It's super soft, washes well and I think I have worn it almost everyday that it hasn't been in the washing machine.
Contemplating buying it in navy and grey, too.

Dolman cable braid turtleneck, was £49.95, now £34.97, Gap

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Interiors Obsession: Neon Signs

I love neon signs, when we went to Las Vegas earlier this year, I made sure we visited the Neon Boneyard (now known as the Neon Museum)in Downtown Vegas (if you are planning a trip, you MUST go) - it is where all the old neon signs from the Vegas we reminisce about - the original Ceasar's Palce sign, Stardust (as above) as well as the sign from The Desert Inn, the Hotel which tried to evict Howard Hughes after he overstayed his welcome. His response? He bought the Hotel.

I am thrilled to see that Neon signs are now becoming a cool interiors craze - I love the idea of owning my own neon sign with a special phrase - but what to write?

Acne store - Peace, Love and Sale (@miraduma Instagram)
Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Union Jacks, image from
Tracey Emin's famous Neon Art
Chair by Lee Broom
This store, selling neon signs, just opened up by my work on Beak Street! Here's my work colleague, Marisa Georgas

Now you can buy your own Neon Sign:

To buy, from £90, The Letter Room

Available from Merles Vintage at Etsy
Looking for a large sign for an event or wedding? Prop stylist Hannah Read Baldrey of Couture Craft Blog told me about the website Vowed & Amazed where you can hire giant letters or the word 'Love' for an event! Much less hassle and you don't have to worry about where to store the letters afterwards!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Guest Edit:

When I was asked to do a Guest Edit on Kabiri online, one of my favourite jewellers, I jumped at the chance. As a stylist, Kabiri is a great boutique to find new designers and last minute jewellery for they also stock some of my favourite designers: Ginette NY and Vanryke.
I was recently talked through the collections by Nathalie Kabiri herself, and found her so inspiring. My favourite quote from her was that 'Boring jewellery doesn't sell for us'. It has to have an edge, a quality that means it can't be easily copied on the High Street. I was also shocked to learn how ear cuffs were a huge seller - I've still not caught onto that trend, obviously!

See my edit on Kabiri: The Journal
Some of my tops picks for under £100:

Enelle London rose gold studs, £49, Kabiri
Dogeared Gold-plated necklace, £62, Kabiri
The website has also recently had a facelift and is looking great. However, if you are ever in town, you should definitely check out their stores. There is one on Kings Road and on Marylebone High Street - both perfect locations for a day out with a spot of lunch and not too crowded this close to Christmas!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Competition Winner: £100 voucher for POP The Fashion Store

Okay, so it is time to announce the WINNER of the £100 voucher to spend in POP The Fashion Store!
I asked you to send me your top frugal tips this winter and I had such brilliant responses, thank you to everyone that emailed.

And the Winner is......

IONA MILLER for her hilarious money-saving tip. The fact that it made me laugh out loud was definitely a winner, I think Iona should also be up for entrepreneur of the year! Here was her tip:

"I am a complete shoe lover, as well as a baker. So, I bake cakes and bring them into the office, where I have a 'shoe fund' and people can have a cake in exchange for a little donation into my shoe fund! Slowly but surely, I am building up a little day those Charlotte Olympia 'Dolly' courts, will be mine!!!"
Worth saving for...'Dolly' court, Charlotte Olympia
So congratulations Iona - I will be in touch via email to discuss details. And if you have any queries instore (or advice on how to spend the voucher), Kaisa Larkas (the store owner) will be happy to help.

And now for the five runners-up with excellent tips (a very little something will be heading its way to you also):

Alex Worland
"This Christmas, I will be making my own wrapping paper – using big rolls of brown paper (which you can buy quite cheaply at the Post Office or in supermarkets) and then using a rubber stamp (I have a star and a Christmas tree) with gold ink to brighten it up.  I like to use real fabric ribbon to tie the presents up.  It’s quite simple, and the paper is more recyclable than the plastic/metallic stuff which often gets used, so it’s cheap and better for the world, too!"
One of The-Frugality's recently wrapped presents, using Knot & bow neon stickers to decorate brown paper from 99p store
"My top frugal tip recently has been finding alternate uses for items I already own. For example, I had a two-drawer box from Muji which I was using to store earrings. Some of them hadn't been worn for ages,  so I had a clear out, gave some to charity and stored the others close to where I get ready each morning. I'm now using the drawers to store my everyday make-up. I've also used empty candle jars to store make-up brushes and cotton buds." 
Sarah Kerridge:
"Anyone who know me, knows I'm obsessed with the perfect cup of joe, so this year I will be gifting people with my own personal coffee beans. I've bought cheap brown paper bags from ebay and will be filling them with coffee beans, along with vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks for an added festive flavour, then sewing the bags closed with red cotton, and finishing with a homemade stamp or sticker (still to be designed!)"
Love these Kraft bags, £0.99 for 10 on eBay - might be buying some of these for my wedding!
 Gabriella (I thought this was so clever and savvy!) 
"I listed each credit card expense from 2012 and at the beginning of October, with whole 9 months of available data I started doing some analysis. I realised I spent a lot of money in a fashion shop near the office buying little things.
My objective for the winter will be to go home immediately at the end of each day and use the money saved to buy something gorgeous (like a real leather yellow bag that I want since forever) in a real shop!"
"My frugal tip is to get the 'Stumble Upon' App, which I did last night. I came across amazing pages and gifts you can make for under 5! With christmas coming up and an extremely large family - 10 nieces/nephews and 5 brothers/sisters, frugality is the way forward. I am especially looking forward to making photo tiles - basically print photos and stick to ceramic tiles and glaze - they look fab on the website - I will be trying next week"
Well I DID download this App (it's free!) and it is great! It basically helps you find great websites - and you can select what topics you're interested in so you only get shown info that is interesting to you! The crafts section is particularly good!
And that concludes the runners-up. So sorry I couldn't include everyone in today's post  -there were so many other good answers! Hana taking her own teabags into work, Beccie switching all the bulbs in her house to LED, Fiona investing in a seamstress to give new lease of life to unworn clothes, Amanda for completing online surveys (need to look that up!), Fera for making gingerbread + biscotti for people as presents and Becky for making her own crafts to sell at a fair.

All your answers have inspired me this week and I am so appreciative that people took time to email me. I hope you also got something out of other people's tips :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

People That Inspire me: Darcey Bussell

I admit it, I've never been to the ballet and never really been into dancing but something has come over me lately. Last christmas, I watched 'Darcey Bussell Dances Hollywood' on the BBC, where Darcey danced all the major dances from the musicals such as 'Good morning' from 'Singing In The Rain' in one sequence, without stopping (see it on Youtube here)and I was transfixed! Obviously trained as a ballerina, I was amazed how she could transfer her skills and perform this impressive tap dance, without breaking into a sweat!

When I had the opportunity to meet her in September (only a few days after the 'Strictly Come Dancing' couples were announced - and right in the middle of London Fashion Week for me), I was thrilled to find she was as charismatic and charming as she comes across on screen. And I had a few jealous friends who have had the lucky chance to see her in the ballet...

Although we did also photograph her in a gorgeous sequin Burberry dress, we chose to use this shot (which I love) in a masculine tuxedo from Hoss Intropia with a felt top hat from James Lock.

Darcey, photographed by Chris Floyd for Red Magazine at One Aldwych
Velvet blazer, £211, HOSS Intropia

Thursday, 22 November 2012

*Cheap Xmas Present Alert* (and its unisex! Well, kind of)

How chic are these lambswool jumpers from Uniqlo? Perfect present for dads, boyfriends, husbands etc....or as an oversized style for you. And the best bit? Only £14.90!

Available in an array of colours, £14.90 from Uniqlo

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

30% off EMU Australia 22nd November

Okay so I may not have always been a fan of a sheepskin boot personally but I understand that needs must and they DO make great Christmas I'm going to tell you about a little discount that's happening at the EMU Australia Pop -Up Store on Lambs Conduit Street 22nd November 2013.
They are offering each customer 20% off each purchase in the pop-up store and then a further 10% off if you check-in on Facebook when you enter the store!

Take this flyer in with you instore
I'm going to get myself a pair of these:
Talia slipper, £70, EMU Australia
My sister is getting these (for walking the dog):
Platinum stinger, £150, EMU Australia

And what about these for little ones?!

Croc kids boot, £65, EMU Australia

Monday, 19 November 2012

Living Room Update

We have finally finished re-upholstering our chair. We found it on Gumtree for free back in May last year, we just had to collect it from Battersea and we were so excited! It was exactly the style we wanted, however, it had been poorly looked after...Horrible red silk had been staple gunned all over the frame and foam and we pretty much had to pull them out by hand, sand it down and start from scratch.

I bought some foam for the cushions and we paid to have it upholstered, costing us roughly £80 overall. But now it has finished off our little reading corner - by the books and next to the cd player where we can sit and stare out of the window and daydream...

Before...sorry I don't have any photos of the awful red silk!

After...we obviously went for grey fabric...! Found it in the remnants bin in John Lewis, £12 for almost 2 metres rather than £25 a metre.

Almost finished....

In its new home...

The accessories really make you want to get cosy. Cushion: Jonathan Adler. Blanket: Seasalt
Blankets are a great way to keep warm after the heating has clicked off timer, I love nothing more than curling up on my chair with a blanket over my lap. This blanket is from Seasalt, a company in Cornwall, and I think it looks rather Scandinavian, don't you think?

Lambswool blanket, £75, Seasalt

PS the company is also ethical, sustainable and uses organic fabrics!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Compare, compare, compare

A few years ago, my partner and I had just started living together and we were burgled. And we weren't insured. Luckily for us,having no insurance made us realise that we didn't really have anything worthwhile insuring (the burglars didn't even bother leaving with much!): a rented flat with borrowed/temporary furniture and no 'stuff'.
Now we've bought our own place, we've accumulated proper, grown-up's furniture and have a stand-alone computer - not just a crappy old laptop we'd work on in front of the TV. 
Home insurance isn't just a luxury, it's become a necessity. And it's not cheap. Suddenly I'm one of those people who has started to compare home insurance.

It's become a huge part of everyday life now, and the luxury of the internet has meant we can all spend a bit more time getting the right deal for us. I was gutted when I finally opened a Lovefilm account and the following week found that Vouchercodes were giving away £20 M&S vouchers when you started! So my advice (if you want it!) would be to spend a little time finding the best deal possible and you will not only have peace of mind, but your bank account will thank you too.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

*New Purchase Alert*

£30 off these shoes instore now.  Jeans from PAIGE Denim

Shoes, were £60, now £30, from Office. A bit like the Chloe boots we've seen so much of, but in shoe form. They feel like an updated version of my New Look studded brogues. Let's face it: I love a sturdy flat and a stud.

Chloe 'Susanna' studded boot, £850, Net A Porter

Friday, 16 November 2012

Weekend in Birmingham...

Hat from Sweden, Coat and bag: Zara, Leather skirt: H&M, Neon sweater: Marc Cain, Tights: Falke, Boots: Office
A few weekends ago, I visited Birmingham to see some university friends. We studied for 3 years here and loved every minute of it. Birmingham often gets a bad reputation, but I love it. This photo was taken outside the magnificent Selfridges in the Bullring Shopping centre, the exterior was based on the sequins of a Paco Rabanne dress! Every single shop under the sun is here and I always make sure I stop by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (which is free admission) to get some inspiration.

Ever on a budget, we booked our tickets through Red Spotted Hanky, which I love as it's fuss-free with no admin or delivery charges - we managed to get a return train ticket for £12 each. We stayed in a Pod Hotel called Nite Nite, which is basically a bed, plasma screen and bathroom - it's really clean and if you're only staying one night, it's definitely worth it - we both stayed for £42 between us.

In the Pod room!
When staying warm is top priority, make sure you wear a statement jumper to fight the dreary weather:

Angora jumper, £140, Jaeger
Wool jumper, £24.99, New Look
Cashmere panel jumper, £110, Whistles
Wool jumper, £20, Next

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