Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Shout Out!

Well, I have a little bit of exciting news... I've been featured as this week's 'style expert' on the fabulous site 'What Celebs Wear' :D Their website keeps track of great celebrity product picks, brands and trends, and I've found them to be an awesome resource for my own celebrity blogging over on Catwalk Queen, Shoewawa and The Bag Lady :)

Given that I'm fairly new to the world of style blogging, I'm extremely stoked! If anyone makes their way over here from What Celebs Wear, a big hello to you.. I hope that you enjoy my personal musings, and don't forget to check out the awesome Shiny Fashion sites for your daily fix of style!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's a bird! It's a plane! No? It's.. sunshine???

Yesterday, Dave and I had the pleasure of travelling to Edinburgh to spend the day with my goodly friend Nat from London (ex Brisbane). We had a fabulous day - with (gasp!) actual sunshine(!!!) that lasted about five minutes, but the clear skies stayed right up until we left the Chinese restaraunt where we had dinner. Speaking of which, I'll take this opportunity to plug Dave's absolutely amazing photography - the photo you see here is of some of the fun-fair rides that are currently on Princes Street by the Scott monument. Stunning, no? You can see more of his inspired photography (he's REALLY good, I promise!) at his blog!

Nat was in need of some assistance with accessorising (I'm apparently her guru), so we spent a fabulous few hours trawling H&M, Dotty P's and other stores for accessory bargains. As well as her own pretty purchases, I managed to spend far too much money - but all well spent, I think!

I bought a big scarf from Dotty's, which unfortunately isn't avail online, so I can't show it to you. It's woven acrylic (wool makes me itch), with a base colour of brown, and the check pattern running through it is yellow and pink. Sounds odd, but looks pretty :) It was also thick enough to keep the heavy rain running down my neck when we did a half-hour walk through Edinburgh to find our car, so it's a big win on that point! One of my buys that I can share with you is this lovely gold faux-snakeskin clutch, which was a bargain £9 (with a 20% discount). It's lovely and soft to touch, a good size, and has a detachable strap for convenience. It was the first thing that caught my eye as I walked into the store, and it's so lovely, I couldn't leave it behind!

I also picked up a couple of cheap necklaces at H&M, a gorgeous blue and gold woven shawl, a nice wintery, double-sided shawl/scarf, and hit the jackpot in their sale section with a gorgeous belted, hip-length, trench-like coat, and a sheer floral blouse (that looks great under a tank top). Ah, shopping. *So* my cardio :) (which is probably why my legs absolutely KILL today!)
(Oh, and do note! I didn't buy any shoes! Yay!)

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Smashing Outfit!

If you read my posts over on Catwalk Queen, then you'll have already read this. However, I am incredibly proud of this outfit, and spent literally six hours (maybe longer) putting it together, such is my love for The Famous Five. I've actually been re-reading the series, to keep my spirits up in this awful damp weather that's been persisting down (as they say).. and so I've decided to cross-post it here :)

Despite growing up in Australia, I was raised on the best of twee English author Enid Blyton's books, with a particular love of The Famous Five that continues to this day. With Isabelle's fabulous TV and book-inspired blogs over the past few weeks; coupled with Susie Bubble's recent Blyton musings, I've found myself hankering for a bit of jolly English adventure! Unfortunately, the unceasing rain, too cold to venture out in, has hampered my efforts; so I've channelled said longings into an outfit instead...

With any vintage-inspired Blyton outfit, the trick is to use classic British fabrics or patterns, such as tweed and houndstooth, coupled with plenty of knits and layers with some modern twists. Starting with a base of sensible merino wool tights in charcoal, £20 from My Tights, add cropped pants in a checked fabric, £30 from Miss Selfridge for a lovely twee look. To create some warmth, wear a charcoal, sueded, long-sleeve top, £12 from Dorothy Perkins; layered under a sheer houndstooth blouse, £35 from Topshop; and rounded off with a gold pointelle cardigan, £25 from Miss Selfridge. Cinch it all together with this gorgeous half-moon-buckle belt with tiger clasp, £12 from ASOS; and add a girly touch with this elegant vintage-inspired brooch, £10 from Dorothy Perkins. To round off the look, these classic, mary-jane styled flats in patent black add a quaint touch, £20 from Dorothy Perkins.

Of course, if you're going to be adventuring in this nasty weather, you're going to need something extra to keep you warm while you wander mysterious moors in search of adventure! This fantastic checked trench should keep out the cold, £75 from Miss Selfridge; and for a classic 1940s English look, team with this aubergine scarf (£10), knitted beret (£6) and long leather gloves (£20) - all from Dorothy Perkins. To complete your outfit, pack a generous picnic (big adventures mean big appetites), have a super time, and don't forget Timmy!


Monday, November 20, 2006

M&S Win the House Cup!

Seriously. How YOWZA! is this dress? I came across it while putting together a party outfit for under £100 for Catwalk Queen, and my jaw just dropped. It's not cheap at £79, but it's not a bad price compared with similar dresses at places like Wallis and Monsoon. And it's from M&S. M&S!

They are doing some seriously amazing work with their recent lines. Whoever's behind it is genius, and if sales were flagging a few years back, I doubt that they are now. Even their ads are getting better - I've loved the series of ads starring Erin O'Connor and Twiggie, particularly their most recent 'Bond' one. They're inspired.

I want this dress oh-so-much. Here's hoping I've a lotto win coming to me :D

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tamara Henriques Wellies and Rain Shoes

I've already blogged about these fabulous wellies over on Shoewawa, but I love them so much that I had to mention them here.

Considered the designer wellington boot, Tamara Henriques has created a diverse line of boots and shoes designed to keep your toes warm and dry - instead of my pet hate - damp and freeeeezing.

My favourites are the kitten heels and ballet flats (particularly in plaid and floral), and all of the boots are lined for warmth. They're definitely a great change from the green welly brigade style you see on avid gardeners; and they're more chic than the garish prints on the high street (which I'll admit to liking sometimes ;).

The kitten heels are quite dainty, and they'd be particularly fabulous for wearing on the way to work, so you're not sitting in soggy shoes all day. They're priced at around £50, but there aren't any stockists listed in Scotland, so I can't try them on to find out if they're as fabulous as they look! Guess it's going to be eBay all the way!

A Heartily Good Day!

Yesterday, I had quite a marvellous time meeting a friend from the Blogosphere, who'd come all the way from Canada! I truly marvel at how small the world has become with the Internet, and am always quite pleased when my 'net and 'irl' worlds collide :)

Aaanyway, we spent the day wandering around Glasgow, making purchases - as Shopaholics tend to do - and picked up a few bargains along the way! I am the happy owner of some EXTREMELY cheap earrings (£1 for 3 pairs!) and a houndstooth necklace (£2) from Primark (they're even cheap in Aussie dollars!!), some ballet flats (more vengeance shoe purchases, care of Office) and some bits and pieces to jazz up some outfits (a brooch, a bracelet). All in all, I didn't spend that much money, but I like to update my style with inexpensive accessories and shoes which are less expensive than buying a whole new wardrobe. I also - rather happily - got to use a 20% off voucher at New Look, passed on by another Shiny Forumite, Jemstar :)
On the way home, we stopped in to the cinema and caught Casino Royale, and I must say - I was impressed. I liked Pierce Brosnan as Bond, for sure, but Daniel Craig was great! Not so many gadgets, and lots more action, more fluid.. I'm not sure all Bond fans will love it, but for me - I liked that it was more raw, more real - much less staged and cartoonish. I've rewatched a couple of the other Bond films in the last few weeks, so Pierce is fresh in my mind.. and (gulp) I've decided I prefer Daniel Craig! (don't kill me! go see it, instead!)
And to cap off the day, my elusive shoes from Office arrived! (I actually had begun to believe that they never would). Three of the four fit a charm, and one's a little tight on the toes, but should be able to stretch it out a little at the cobbler's, but we'll see.. might return 'em instead.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Today I Love... Matalan! (and ASOS)

Ah, Matalan. You may be hit and miss a lot of the time, but yesterday you won the house cup! After all my troubles with Office, I needed some retail therapy without the troubles, so Dave drove me to Matalan to have a look around.. and boy, did Matalan come through! I picked up a lovely Missoni-esque scarf in pink tones for £5, some lovely leopard print ballet flats for £8 (and they're slightly furry! cute!), and TWO (yes, two!) bargain pairs of jeans. I have SO much trouble finding jeans that a) fit and b) actually look halfway decent, and I found TWO! The last pair of jeans I bought in December 2005.. and I've been on the lookout since, so I'm pretty chuffed. One's a black pair with diamante detailing on the back pockets, and another in grey-blue also with diamante details (what can I say, I love sparkly stuff!). They were a bargain £12 and £16 each, and I couldn't be happier!

As for loving ASOS - they (and I) have been having a 'wings' moment of late. Birds, angels, scary bodiless wings - you name it, they got it! So I thought I'd post a couple of my favourite picks for you here! The first, above, is a lovely pearlised bead and diamante wing bracelet by a new brand ASOS have picked up - Mikey. It's quite dainty, and at £20, it's not too bad a price!

Also funky - but not so nice a price, sadly - is this colourful 'bird necklace' by N2 By Les Nereides. This necklace isn't something that I would usually go for, but I think it would make a fabulous accessory for beach-wearing.. or just for brightening up a winter's outfit! And it's shiny.. and I wants it, preciousssss.. if you're rolling it in, it's yours for £75.

Last, but not least, is this lovely sparkly, shiny, beautiful, holy mackerel do I want to add it to my wardrobe scarf! Ok, so it's not the be-all and end-all of scarves, but the wings SHIMMER and SHINE! Oooh, if that's not spicing up a plain scarf, I don't know what is!! I'll be keeping an eye on this baby, in the hope that there's some kind of random price drop along the way. I'm always cold, so warm things like scarves and socks and hats are favourites now that the mercury's dropping. If you love it as much as I (rather obviously) do - it's yours for £20!

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Love A Peep-Toe...

One of the girls on the Shiny Fashion Forum asked for help today to find a shoe to suit a rather lovely strapless gown that she'd just bought. As soon as I saw it, I knew what she needed.. peep-toes! Now, I'm not always a fan of toe cleavage (a little's ok!).. but I do love painted toes just peeking out of a glaaaaamorous evening shoe!

The first that caught my eye was the elegant black mid-heel stiletto by Dorothy Perkins. Satin in an evening shoe is very luxurious, I think - and the jewelled embellishment lifts the shoe's look into divine loveliness! In fact, I thought it so lovely that I also had to show you the same style in silver grey, both a bargain £25!

Another style that caught my eye some time ago was this beautiful purple suede diamante peep-toe. It's probably not your run-of-the-mill peep-toe, as the detail is more of a strap than simply an open toe; still, she's rather droolworthy, don't you think? It's a little more pricey at £65, and she's called 'Grow' by Carvela, available at Kurt Geiger.

Finally - yet another long-term fave (I told you I love peep-toes!!) is this gorgeous indigo and lace court from Topshop. Now, I know everyone goes on and on about the fabulousness of Topshop, but to be honest, I've bought very few things from there. I tend to find that their fashion - while on trend - is a bit overpriced.. so I was rather surprised to discover that these pretty peepers were only £35!

Now.. pop these on your feet, and dance into the sunset, ladies! Happy endings all 'round!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What's Your Era?

I think that everyone has an era that they identify with on a fashion level (and a personal level), and for me, it has always been the 30s / early 40s. In terms of fashion, it began as an era of sleek glamour, big bands, whimsy, eccentricity and romance - and ended as an era of practicality and strength. I'm also drawn to that era historically, as well - there's something about the war effort in WWII, the Blitz, the rage against the dying light and the 'mateship' that has become part and parcel of the Australian way.

One of my favourite films in recent years was Mrs Henderson Presents - a Judi Dench film about London's Blitz and one woman's plight to provide adult entertainment for demoralised troops. It was from there that my interest in shoe styles of that era was re-ignited, and so, I thought that I'd share some of my favourite shoes with you here.

There's been a real trend towards the 'dance shoe' style of late, and I rather love this suede and matte leather version from Office (above) - aptly named 'Tilly' - for £40 (not a bad price, either!). It would also fit nicely with the current 60s trend, because I think it would look particularly lovely with tights and a shift dress.

Another pair of shoes that caught my eye were these striking dark green 'birds nest' shoe-boots - also from Office, for £59.99. This shoe has more of a 40s vibe to it - it's a little more utilitarian, less glitzy, less adorned, but still beautiful. I'm crossing my fingers it gets reduced in a sale...

This pair of leather ribbon-tie 'dance shoes' have been on my wish list for a while now. I can imagine teaming them with a pencil skirt and fitted, ruffled blouse for some old-world glamour (just add red lippy!). They're a very reasonable £35.. and maybe, just maybe if they're reduced in the ASOS Christmas clearance, I can buy them in very early 2007, thus not breaking my non-shoe-buying vow ;)

(Though, that said, Office are still stuffing around with my order - and I'm NOT impressed!! So if they don't arrive soon, my vow may well be null and void!!!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Oh, Lin&Leo, How You Taunt Me...

I'm in the market for a laptop bag, but I don't want just any bag.. I want a Lin&Leo. Unfortunately, with their added popularity has come an added price, and at £169 it's WAAAAY outta my budget! How I long for the lovely, leather, pocketed beauty.. but unless you're out there reading this, Lin&Leo, and want to give me one pro bono - it's not going to happen.

So I need to find a replacement. Thus begins my quest.

I've trawled the archives of The Bag Lady and Shiny Shiny for Laptop bags, but I'd rather a bag that looked like a handbag, and the best ones on Shiny always seem to cost more than I can afford. A leather bag would be fabulous, and I don't mind buying a cheap laptop sleeve and slotting 'er into a not-specifically-for-a-laptop bag. I'm flying long-haul to Oz in a few months, so I really want the bag to fit cabin regulations and all the other paraphernalia you take on a flight. But at the same time, I don't want a bag that looks luggage-y - and I'd love a bag that would be suitable for work (and even for not carrying a laptop) would be brilliant! And did I mention that I want all this for under £80?

So, is this but a pipe dream? Should I just beg, borrow or steal £169 to buy a Lin&Leo?

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Little Black Rain Cloud...

I've been feeling vaguely unsettled for a few days. I'm not really sure what it is, but there's this anxiety and uncertainty resting upon my shoulders that I can't seem to shake.

There's a lot going on just now. I'm spending a lot of time working on my blogs for Shiny (I'm a perfectionist, can't help it!).. I have friends and family in troubling situations.. My bank account is in the worst state it's been in for a few years.. I got my first lightly snerky comment on Shiny, and it's bothered me more than I like to admit.. We partially buggered up Dave's visa application.. I'm waiting to hear about a full-time job.. Office totally screwed up my order and have only fixed it today (took 9 days)..

Yes, shoes always come into it.

I suppose all of that negative stuff has been building up, and when I write it all down there's a lot more going on that I realised. It just sucks that I can't shake that icky feeling. I've really been enjoying things of late - FINALLY started to like being in this country (yes, it took 10 months, shuddup) - so I'm feeling a bit pissed off about this 'blergh', frankly! I'm not sure what I can do. Eat more vegies, drink less caffeine, do all those happy mental exercises and breathing strategies that I would give to my counselling clients. Isn't it funny.. my career is based on helping people to get through their problems - but it always seems so difficult to do the same with my own!

I suppose that's the paradox - isn't it. When it's YOUR problem, it's harder to deal with, because you're a part of the problem.. and it's not really a BIG problem, I'll admit.. it's nothing like some of the things I've gotten through in this ol' life of mine. But the thing is - I just want this little black rain cloud that's hanging about to leave! I'm sick of the rain! Bugger off!!

(and.. wow! Almost a completely non-shoe-related post! My apologies to all shoe-lovers out there.. I'm sure you'll cope with one shoe-less day! (God, will you, though? Mmmshoes, the elixir of life..)

hovering under the honey tree.
Only a little black rain cloud,
pay no attention to little me!
Everyone knows that a rain cloud,
never eats honey, no, not a nip.
I'm just floating around over the ground,
wondering where I will drip.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sugar, Sugar (Boots).. Honey, Honey..

Sometimes it feels like I'm always a few minutes (or years) too late. Today, I was poking about the Shoewawa archives checking that some shoes I want to blog about weren't already there, when I stumbled upon these rather cool 'Origami' boots, by a US company called Sugar. I absolutely love my cosy Uggs - I don't care how many people hate them, I'm an Aussie, and I'm allowed to love them! - but these were a stunning step up in looks. And they're a darn sight cheaper, too!! (Uggs £150, Sugar £40ish).

Unfortunately, being about a year late, I've not yet found any stock available in the UK. There are US stockists who might well have stock, but of course they don't ship internationally, so that boat's sailed.

Fortunately, unfortunately - in my internet travels, I've just stumbled upon these scrummy 'Morigami' boots (More-origami, they're taller, see!) for $78.95 , and they're an even prettier print! The only thing is that as a short, curvy girl, they'd probably swamp me completely, transforming my hourglass figure into a big blob on legs. In the immortal words of the Toyota dog: "Bugger."

Finally, sealing the lid on my shoe coffin (undoubtedly my death will be shoe-related, so it's fitting), I found these houndstooth boots for $73.95. You know I'm addicted to houndstooth, don't you, Sugar? Well, you're a big bunch of meanies! Yes, you! Oh, but fear not - I still love you and want to fill my shoe rack with your boots. Sigh.

Shoe addicts just can't win.

(Oh, and let's not forget my vow of no more 2006 shoe purchases!)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty...

Oh. Baby.

Guess what I got for my birthday from Dave's lovely parents :D Well.. if the picture doesn't give it away.. They got me The Little Mermaid on DVD :D:D:D:D

I have - seriously - been waiting to get this film on DVD since about 2001, when Disney released it on DVD without advertising it, and in such limited release in Australia that it was impossible to find. You could pay $150 on eBay for a pirate copy, sure.. but as much as I think pirates are cool (yo ho ho!), I won't buy pirated DVDs.

So I waited, and I waited, and I hoped - I thought in vain - for Disney to pull their socks up and re-release it properly (or to find some little indie store with a copy in stock). You see, Disney have had a stupid '10 year release' clause since forever - where they'll only re-release additional copies of a film on video / DVD every 10 years.. I'm not sure why they did this, because it only encourages RAGE among fans.. but it seems that they may have lifted it :D The Little Mermaid was due for re-release in 2011.. way too long off.. but they've been nice to me.. they've heard my cries.. and it's here five years early :D
Yes, I may be 25 now (well, there's no 'may' about it... I *am* 25) -- but I still love my Disney (and my stuffed toys.. snerk!). I am SO happy about finally owning TLM :D It's my second favourite of their classic 80s/90s animations - Beauty and the Beast being first (gotta love a bookish heroine).. and I can totally relate to Ariel, with her gadgets, gizmos, whoozits and whatsits galore! Reminds me of my ever-growing shoe collection :)
Unda-da-seeeeeeeeea.. Unda-da-seeeeeeeeeeea... :D (*sashays into the distance*)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oh, the passing years..

I have but a few minutes remaining before I officially clock a quarter of a century on my odometer. I wanted to mark this occasion with some kind of philosophical, thought-provoking post; but as per usual, I got distracted by MSN and browsing fashion sites, so this wee post will have to suffice :)

I've enjoyed the last 25 years immensely, and am looking forward to embarking upon the next quarter of my life (and beyond!). I have many dreams yet to fulfil, but feel proud of those things that I have already achieved. Life has certainly taken many unexpected turns these past few years - but this rollercoaster of sorts has been well worth the ride.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Winter's Gig...

When one of the girls over at the lovely Shiny Fashion Forums asked for some advice about an outfit to wear to a gig this December (in the c-c-cold), my mind went into Get Her Look mode, and I decided to put together a budget(ish) look from one of my high street faves, Dorothy Perkins!

Julia's specific requirements were that the outfit would keep her warm; that it would give her some height (she's a shortie); and that there'd be sufficient storage for her camera, mobile, chupa chups (omg, so cute) and her telephone number (to throw to the band ;). I scoured DP's website to put together a look for £150 or less, and came up with this number!

In terms of my reasoning behind the outfit..

It's simple to wear, but has a quirky rock-ette edge with the studded belt, diamante 'Rock Nation' t-shirt and the cute button-detailed scarf and gloves. The wool coat would be enough to keep her warm, it's in a classic shape that won't date, and would be easily removed once inside the venue. The lovely ankle boots would add a bit of height - but not so much as to foster sore feet - and the straight-leg jeans would tuck nicely into the boot for toasty toes. I added a beret for warmth (and because I just love berets), and a functional yet glam little cross-the-body bag for all her bits and pieces.

The unfortunate side-effect of said outfit?

Now *I* want it! :):):)

Hill-Walking + Erins = Owies

Oh, how I wish I'd had these on my feet this afternoon. Sadly, my normal walking shoes didn't do me much good. Let's just say the score's Scottish Hills 1, Erins 0.

Now, hills in Australia aren't that hard to climb. Most of the ground is hard, from years of heat; they're not terribly rocky; and if there's a hill, there's usually a decent path to walk on. Scottish hills, on the other hand, consist of many rocks, a lot of mud slapped on top, lots of weird squidgy grasses, reeds, a few ickyicky slugs, and a LOT of water.

When Dave suggested we go for a walk, I thought he meant on a path / road, so I was up for it.. but then he sneakily threw in the 'oh, there's a pile of stones over that (HUGE) hill that I really want to photograph', and Erin - silly, silly Erin - thought she could take the hill. After puffing and panting up the 50 degree slope, I was feeling pretty proud.. Heck! I even made it to the other side of the hill! The OTHER side! Oh, yes.. despite the intermittent rain, gusty breeze and sludgy ground, I DID IT!

Unfortunately, that was only the half of it. You see, when you walk up a hill, you also have to walk DOWN again. After an hour of walking, I was starting to feel a bit tired and sick of hills, so to buoy my mood, I started singing a nonsense song about walking (I sing a lot of nonsense songs.. very 'whistle while you work'). Of course, while singing , I was still walking, and although multitasking is great skill when you're at work.. it's not such a good idea when it comes to Scottish hills.

To cut a long story slightly less long, this little Erin went arse-over-tit (as the saying goes) down the hill, landing awkwardly in a small stream! Wet, rather angry, and swearing never to walk a Scottish hill again, she limped sadly home, and now REALLY hurts. Everywhere. No joke.

Lesson learned, oh God of Scottish Hills. Don't go walking there unless you're a super-hero, or you have a pair of these!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I've been naughty...

"Oh, the humanity," said my credit card morosely.
"What are you trying to do to me?". "I'm trying to make my feet look shiny and happy, CC," I said, showing her a picture of some beautiful purple suede platforms. "I see," she said, smiling. "I understand completely!"

As you may have gathered, I've been a bit bad. You remember those Office bargains I showed you yesterday? Well, they're winging their way to my home, along with these majestic beauties, as we speak. I mean - they were already half-price, and then one of the girls on the Shiny Fashion Forums had a 20% off code.. and, well.. that's when all hell let loose ;)

I've promised myself that this will be my last shoe purchase of the year. I mean, I've purchased gazillions since I arrived in the UK, but they'll all come to good use, I promise! Ah, an addict I am. But then, I guess you'd probably already figured that one out! In one year, I have accumulated enough shoe-y goodness to - literally - last a lifetime. I have plain shoes, statement shoes, tall shoes, short shoes, comfy shoes, VERY uncomfy shoes, boots, shoe-boots... [sings] Oh, the list goes ever on and on.. up from the door where it began...

See? Shoes, they make me happy! They make me break into song! You can't buy that kind of happiness.. or rather, you CAN! And I'm a weirdo, this I know.. but I have VERY stylish feet!