Monday, 31 August 2015

Falling in and out of love and Urban Exploring

With my round specs, tight beanie and camel mohair coat, I was close to calling house on hispter bingo. After accidentally dressing like I was about to gut some fish (the weather certainly was fitting for it) it was off to a press day where I could totally feign this whole "I woke up like dis" cool. It was the quip of "You look like an urban explorer" that made me realise, crap, my shell's cracked.  I have become a facsimile of all I  have ever mocked. Woe and betide etc etc etc.

Jokes. I was flattered. I've long wanted to master that whole no-effort chic thing which I see all those young, hip urbanites work, but never quite reaching the bar. Look, I'm kind of a hot mess. Most of the time I can't see my bedroom floor, my memory is like a sieve (if it's not written down I will forget it) and I can't remember the last time I cooked a hot meal. Any illusion I give of being a put together adult person is most welcome.

Coat - Boden
Jeans - Boden
Shoes - Boden
Bag - Boden
Top - Topshop
Necklace - Claire Barclay Draws
Glasses Iolla
Hat - Aymee Charlton

And for me, that means looking like someone who is off on adventures. While one could argue the merit of sparkly shoes for day trips, I'm all about a life with a little bit more glitter.  I'd been in a pretty deep style rut recently which led to a weird spiral of generally wanting to burn my wardrobe to the ground and start again.  Which, by the way, I obviously didn't. I feel like I'm writing an advice column on spicing up your sex life here but..."sometimes it's the simplest changes that can help reinvigorate a relationship." For me, that's new accesorise. It makes my wardrobe feel shiny and new once more and keeps things fresh.  So don't worry about all big statement pieces as way to shake things up - a little bit of effort and some slight tweaks are all you need to fall in love (with your wardrobe) again.

That got weird, real fast. Now where did I put those midi rings?


Friday, 28 August 2015

Nouveau Prep and Keeping up with the Classics

The girl can't help it. For all my goth girl leanings I can't help but be utterly enchanted by nouveau riche Americana. I'm talking full blown prep school, Ivy league, WASPY goodness. Alongside books on goths, new-romantics and harajuku girls I've got "Get Ivy" and "A Privileged Life: Celebrating WASP Style." While I was smearing thick greasy eyeliner on in abundance, I was dreaming of a school with proper uniforms. I wanted the long tartan skirts, the blazers with the latin motto and the roll down socks. I had (and still to an extent) this romantic notion of prep style. While culturally problematic (the whole WASP acronym gives me the heeby jeebies) there's no escaping the timelessness of a good button down shirt.

I may never quite fully embrace a wholesome, clean cut, all-american style (a thick Scottish brogue and dyed hair will do that) but that doesn't mean a girl can't play dress up. So obviously I went to the home of flawless prep style, GANT. Time for a dressing room montage. Cue the music.

All GANT except
Denim Skirt and Glitter Slip ons - Boden
Necklace - John & Pearl
Glasses - Iolla

Betty & I were invited to the Edinburgh style to live out all our preppy girl dreams. The store is gorgeous and has the feel of an American University. It's all very classic. I can't say enough good things about the fit of their jeans or indeed my suprise hero piece - bomber jacket. Everything is super high quality and has a wonderful weight to it. The real highlight though has got to be the Gant Shirts. They've been the cornerstone of the brand and for good reason. The fit is impeccable. My tried and tested method? No boob gap. Seriously, this is like the holy grail of shirts for me. What a treat. I felt so neat and pristine - so naturally I had to unbutton it and tie it in a knot. Sorry Gran, will take more than an afternoon playing dress up to refine my rougher edges.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Bride x Tested: Confetti and other alternatives

Of all the things that could cause heart-ache on the run up to my wedding, I did not expect it be confetti. And yet, these tiny pieces of paper have kept me up. Does my venue allow it? Is it bio-digradable? Will the tissue stain my dress? How much will I need? The questions racked up from the rational and operational to the straight up insane. Is £200 too much to spend on paper? Could I really dry out my own flowers?  This my friends was my bridzilla moment, fretting over paper shapes. I wanted those god damn confetti pictures, and by god I was going to have them.

In the end I realised I had created this giant confetti shaped monster. It had become a much bigger deal to me than it really needed to be. I knew I wanted lots of bright coloured confetti and that my venue allowed it, the rest, I could work out. I cannot tell you how much time I spent on etsy looking at custom confetti packs as I searched for the perfect colour blend and shapes. I had to keep my sanity and budget in tact and instead opted for making my own. No one else cared about the perfect glittery shapes that I had been obsessing over and if I gave up on my dream of unicorn poop, I'd be okay. Instead, I sat down with the OH and all the tissue paper and got tearing. It wasn't the uniform hearts, circles and stars that I had originally imagined. Turned out it was even better. It was like a big old rainbow explosion. It was a super fun afternoon with the boy and it cost less than £5. In the end, we had ALL the confetti and more to spare. While I get DIY-ing isn't for everyone, there is few things simpler than shredding confetti.  I feel like I've put one demon to rest and can carry on enjoying wedding planning.

Confetti Alternatives:

Bubbles: Friendly in most venues, make beautiful photos and you don't need to worry about the clean up. Make your own with the hand of some fairy liquid or hit up your nearest pound shot.

Sparklers: One for the night owls who want a late send off. Adds a bit of drama to the evening and perfect for Wintery weddings.

Smoke Bombs: I LOVE smoke bombs. Big bursts of colour are perfect for lots of dramatic photos. Perhaps not the most guest friendly but amazing if you're looking for fancy ass photos.

Don't want to make your own:

The Sugar Stop Co make my favourite confetti ever in the best blends. From Unicorn Poop to Mermaid Dandruff they make the most magical bright coloured confections a girl could ask for. For the bride who would rather die than DIY make sure they are your first stop.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Wool Wander: The Importance of British Wool

It seems like only a short few months ago that I was cradling baby lambs down the borders of Scotland, and now I was on my way to Cumbria to see the process of sheep to shelf. In short, Lamby was all grown up, and she was getting sheared.

It seems bizarre that only a short few years ago the coats of sheep cost so much to clean after shearing it was more economical to burn or bury them. Happily, the British wool industry is ensuring fairer prices for farmers, happier lives for sheep and more uses for different types of tweed. From soft cashmeres to coarse tweeds, if it can be shaved, it's getting sheared. It's all about using our natural resources and creating beautiful and varied wool.

A city girl at heart, it was a real treat to visit the country and find out exactly where my clothes come from. Seeing how well the animals are treated (and how relieved they seem after a good shearing) just added to why I want to support the British wool industry. Some coats could weild up to 2kg of wool which was then sorted up for various quality. We were lead through the entire process by designer and shepherdess Alison O'Neil. From rearing to shearing to designing her garments, she truly is the finest example of from sheep to shop.  Her designs are heavily influenced by the farmers and shepherds around her, made with a thick coarse tweed that endures even the roughest of British Summers (and Winters too.)  Everything was produced within only a short few miles of each other with natural fabrics being washed and spun at the local mills before being sold on.

It's not all fashion design as local wool was also adapted into furniture, textile and arts and crafts. Local boutique "Herdy" has received global acclaim with their mix of super "kawaii" (they're big in Japan) designs. From their limited edition victorian teddy bears (constructed by the only handmade teddy bear factory left in the U.K) to crafting kits featuring British wool, it's never been a better time to be working with sheep in the U.K.

Wool Wander continues to explore the British Wool Industry, the design chain and how it's developing within the fashion industry. Our wee island is already putting out some of the finest laces and textiles, it should be no suprise that we're already caring out quite the niche for wool too.

Photos: Stew Bryden

Friday, 21 August 2015

Karen Mabon: Nowhere to go but Everywhere

I've not so much drank the Karen Mabon Kool-Aid as downed the whole bottle.  From falling in love with a little designer called Red Brick's designs in Edinburgh back in 2012, to getting her to design my wedding in invites (yes, really) my love for Karen Mabon's work knows no bounds. 

Her latest collection "Nowhere to go but Everywhere" once more immerses you in Mabon's colourful, eclectic and fanciful universe that's jam-packed with details. Inspired by wanderlust, fancy dress and far-flung trips around the world, the latest collection escapes the confines of the teenage bedroom for her previous collection and into a world of high-octane adventure.

"Nowhere to go but Everywhere" takes us from the streets of New York to the wild west then straight to the National Ballet. The real hero piece for me however in this collection has got to be the puppies in costumes. From little lobster poochies to actual hot dogs, it's a sure fire way to any animal lovers heart.

Karen Mabon is without a doubt one of the most talented and exciting young designers working in fashion right now. With a collaboration with Dawn O'Porter (yes, the Karen trousers are named after her since you asked) and shortlisted for this years Scottish Fashion Awards, Karen Mabon is getting ready to blow up in a big way. Her scarves are the epitome of wearable art and you'll find once you've had one, you'll fast want to have them all. This is one designer you definitely want to get behind.

Photos by David Anderson

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Flowers and Stripes and Wardrobe Musings

My favourite kind of clothing are the ones that more often than naught can be mistaken for pajamas. From oversized t-shirts, baby doll slips to vintage nightgowns that wouldn't look out of place in a flake advert, if it looks like something I can wear to bed, you can bed I'll wear it out the house. It's what made me fall in love and buy these printed trousers from Zara. They seemed like the perfect lounge wear and were perfect for floating in to the office when I wanted a day of zero-effort-effort (try wrap your head around that.)

Top & Shoes - Primark
Trousers - Zara
Bag - Baia
Neckace - Boden

Now I'm not saying I'll be taking my tiger onsie out on the streets any time soon but I have some gorgeous vintage nightgowns that are just aching to come out of retirement. There's a particular mint green dior one that hasn't been out since fashion week a few seasons ago and with a big old belt and some red lipstick makes me feel insta-glam without having to do very much at all. Putting restrictions on when and where we wear clothes is boring anyway. Tutus to the supermarket, negligee to brunch, me, I'm game for everything.


Monday, 10 August 2015

Bride x Tested: On the day Support

Being a busty bride has it's trials and tribulations. It's pretty much like the entire wedding industry is against you from the out. Low backs, strapless, halters - anything in this above an E cup is already hard enough to find on the high street. Throw it in with bridal wear and you've got got a whole new set of hurdles to jump over.  Luckily, you can have both functional and beautiful lingerie that will carry you through whatever your wedding day can throw at you. From dainty little slips of lace for the boudoir to a modern day girdle, ladies, I got you covered.

The "slip in to something more....comfortable."

Everyone needs some wedding night lingerie and if there was ever a time to splurge on underwear it's now. It's easy to have these glamorous wedding night lingerie aspirations, but practicality wise, this is more likely to see your honey moon. It's the kind of underwear designed specifically for the bedroom. The straps aren't adjustable and it's hardly the most supportive, but damn, if it isn't pretty.  Pretty bras always make me super happy, even when I'm not wearing them, just knowing I own them makes me feel good.  You don't have to break the bank either. I got the Agent Provoceteur Maddy set for a steal by playing it fast and loose in sale time. I picked up my set for under £60 which was way under my budget. Not bad right? Pair with a peignoir for the ultimate in glamour lounging.

The party piece:

As an F cup, the idea of any deep plunge seemed like a distant dream. I'm a dancer on a night out. I'm not someone that exactly can forgo a bra for a night out, let alone a trip to the shop. Wondebra are known for making the single best strapless bra I have ever worn in my life, so it only makes sense that they would bee behind the super low plunge for larger cups. There is a considerable amount of support in the side so while you might be on the move, you're boobs sure won't be.
Available at House of Fraser

The body suit:

This is a bit more realistic to what most brides will wear on the day. Well, at least  for me it is. I need a low back with a halter top and support, and thankfully, Ultimo were the answer. It needs a little bit of adjusting on the straps but otherwise is comfortable and keeps everything where it is supposed to be. It is the ultimate smoke and mirrors wedding kit. 
Available at Debenhams

This is really only scratching the surface of bridal lingerie but for me covers the main trouble shooting points if you're E cup or above. If there's one thing you shouldn't be worrying about on your wedding day, it's if you're feeling supported, so invest in some good foundation pieces and you'll be covered until the small hours.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Bride x Tested: The D Word

When I got engaged I noticed a dramatic shift in the adverts that appeared in my day to day feed. Gone were the fashion adverts trying to legitimise £700 shoes, instead replaced by homeware for those all important gift lists and, inevitably, diet tips.

The thing is healthy eating is great for both inside and out, and a wedding can be a wonderful reason to help you shake up your routine but it also shouldn't be the sole reason for changing yourself. And yet there is an entire industry targeted to shaming women into losing weight and shed the pounds for their big day. It isn't just the adverts though. It's everywhere. From the dress stores and restrictive sample sizes to the friend that asks innocently "How's the wedding diet going?" - it's not malicious but has steadily become integrated within the industry. But that doesn't mean it has to be part of your marriage.

It's all fair and well preaching the good body positivity word but in practice it's so much harder. What should be a day to look forward to becomes riddled with anxiety, neurosis and can become all consuming. It's taken me time to have a better attitude towards food, and I'm not entirely sure I'll ever have a healthy relationship with it but so far I've managed to keep myself from being totally suckered in. I've handled it by eating fresher, healthier meals, drinking less and trying not to go out as much. It's far less dangerous than weighing the butter for your toast or "praying at the porcelain altar."  I still keep track of everything I eat, and all the exercise I do and I still feel awful when I go over my count, but I'm not going to let it define me, or my wedding day.  

The key thing really though is to surround yourself with positive people, who make you feel good. Being kinder to yourself matters. Try implementing self love (no not that kind you in the back) into your day to day routine. This could be taking half hour to try some yoga or cuddling up with a good book in a fancy bath - candles and all. So often we relate our self worth to the way we look and these small acts of self-kindness go a long way to making every day a little bit easier.

At the end of the day there is no "bad" food and "good" food, just positive and negative attitudes. I'm not suggesting we all go out and live on deep fried oreos or sustain ourselves on green smoothies, but it's about finding balance. I'm not going to let the wedding industry make me feel guilty for eating or pressure me into trying an unrealistic diet to become some skewed version of the perfect bride. At the end of the day, if you're a bride and you leave the day married to your OH, well you've pretty much checked the only boxes required to meet "perfect bride" criteria. 

Until then, I'll be over here enjoying my macaroni cheese.

Things you need in your life:

Rock n Roll Bride: Weight Loss and Weddings - Essential follow up reading for brides to be
Gala Darling: Radical Self Love - A book every woman needs in her book shelf. Currently sold out but if you can get your filthy little paws on it, totally life changing. 
Yoga with Adriene - Her yoga for depression and 30 days of Yoga series is wonderful. Plus occasional cute dog.
And for those looking for a community, somewhere to vent etc - The Rock n Roll Bride facebook group, which is essentially filled with some of the most inspiring, creative, wives and brides to be out there.

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