Thursday, 11 July 2013

Work Wear - How I Did It

It has been a long hard few weeks! I have been working as a Junior Press Officer for The House Group PR company based in Guildford as work experience. I really have been "working nine to five" (five thirty to be precise) as Dolly Parton (my birthday pal - just saying but is 50 years my senior) would sing.
As it was a professional office environment, the dress code was smart casual and as promised I (actually my mum or brother - explains the out of focus photos) took photos of my week's outfits.
Hair and Make-Up

I kept my hair and make-up fairly simple this week to look smart but professional.
I used No7 foundation, Boots lip balm, Rimmel blusher and eyebrow pencil, 17 powder, MAC concealer, Primark (I know... it's bad) eyeliner and Body Shop mascara.
I didn't really wear any jewellery this week, other than my earrings (gold studs in the first and second and a silver hoop in my helix) but I did always have my trusty (it came to New York and back with me) Topshop handbag. The bag comes with an attachable long strap but unless I use the bag for a long day, I don't use the strap.

My hair looks strange in this one but I am wearing Kurt Geiger shoes, Primark jeans, vest and chiffon shirt and H&M blazer.

I am wearing Primark chiffon top, New Look jeans and I wore Primark ballet pumps.
Unfortunately on Wednesday and  Thursday I was unable to get photos of what I was wearing but I'll give you the details below and once I am able to I will update the post with the pictures

I wore Kurt Geiger shoes, Primark black jeans jeans and cardigan and Topshop chiffon shirt.


Primark black jeans (previously pictured) , H&M top, Topshop floral shirt, Primark ballet pumps


Topshop shirt, Uniform Shop Dress and Primark ballet pumps 
Ideally, as I want to work in fashion journalism in the future, I would have liked to be more adventurous with my outfits this week but I felt neither over nor under dressed for work this week and most importantly I looked (hopefully) professional. Hopefully, if another work experience opportunity arises, I'll be able to post "what I wore" for a different environment.
Most importantly, I hope my pictures from this week have given you some inspiration of how to tackle a smart-casual dress code.
Top photo is not mine

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Champneys and Loch Fyne Guildford Review

This weekend, as it is my mum's birthday next week, I took her to Champneys Day Spa in Guildford for her birthday present! While I decided not to have a treatment (I'll wait until summer), my mum opted for an express pedicure as it is coming up for summer.

We were greeted very quickly and both offered a drink of either herbal tea (I had a lovely cup of green and jasmine tea) or water and were seated in the waiting area with plenty of magazines to read. We were then taken over to the manicure/pedicure area, where I was able to sit down and be with my mum while she had her treatment. There was a vast number or different shades of nail polish to choose from, with mum choosing a red shade called cherry.


The treatment itself looked very enjoyable and luxurious and the therapist was very professional yet friendly. After her treatment had finished, you are given the option to buy a nail polish of the exact shade that had been used in your treatment so touch-ups would be easy. I thought the service at Champneys was excellent and I will definitely return at some point.

We then went on to lunch at Loch Fyne, where they have an everyday set lunch menu, with two courses for only £9.95! Although I am not a major sea food lover, I thought the food and quality of service was outstanding and very good value for money. For starter I had Thai fish cakes and king prawn tagliatelle which were both presented and tasted lovely. Like Champneys, I will return again!

I hope that if any of you visit Guildford, you will give both Champneys and Loch Fyne a try!

Express pedicure - £25
Nail polish - £5
2 course meal - £9.95

Photos are not mine

Work Wear - How Can You Do It?

Next week I will be undertaking a week's work experience for a property PR company based in Guildford called The House Group. I am really looking forward to the experience, but one thing I am concerned about is the dress code - smart casual.
As many of you will know, it's always very difficult to get the smart-casual balance right. When is something too smart or when is it on the less professional casual side? As a general rule, I always prefer to be underdressed rather than over dressed, as I'm sure that like me many of you will have experienced the very uncomfortable situation when you feel far too overdressed for an event (for me, it my maternal Grandparents 50th anniversary party in a pub) and you feel very self conscious the whole time, which ends up ruining your day. But for work, or in my case a work placement, is it better to be overdressed than underdressed? Nothing could be worse for an employer than an employee turning up in an un-ironed, stained, casual outfit but nothing could be worse for an employee feeling very overdressed and out of place. But as everyone who knows me will know, I am very organised so have already planned my weeks outfits out (in my head) and dependent on the weather, hopefully I have got the right balance (tomorrow will tell).
The perfect smart-casual balance
For me, the best smart, casual balance will usually involve a blazer, dark coloured trousers or smart well-fitting jeans (stick with black or burgundy for jeans) or a skirt (appropriate length of course) and either a chiffon shirt or a smart plain t-shirt. Shoes are usually a bit trickier, especially if you are starting a new job (as you will usually not know what heel height to go for) so I would always stick with flats (ballet pumps, slippers or loafers) for the first day and be a bit more adventurous with heels as you get to know your role. Luckily for me, as I work in Kurt Geiger/Nine West, I am used to spending my weekends in heels, so I am fairly used to wearing them standing and walking for long periods of time.
Regarding hair and make-up, less is more! Of course you want to give off the best first impression but being caked in make-up probably won't be any better than turning up wearing none! With hair, stick with what you're used to, whether this be straight and loose, an up-do or curled.
But the most important thing to remember is to feel comfortable in what you are wearing!
At the end of the week I will post what I wore in the week and see what you all think. Have a good week!
Photos are not my own.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kerrie Luft

For my Textiles AS exam project, based on the art nouveau movement, I researched an amazing shoe designer, Kerrie Luft, as a critical study to help me with my design ideas.
Art Nouveau inspired collection
 Luft is a Luton born British footwear designer and a London College of Fashion and University College Northampton graduate, who in 2011 won the Fashion Fringe Accessories Platform which allowed her to embark on a 6 month internship at Roger Viver’s head office in Paris. While she was studying for her degree, she spent much of her free time at the Northampton Museum of Shoes while working on probation at Lulu Guinness and Patrick Cox.
How amazing are these?
Luft is said to gain her design ideas through her love of fusing technology with nature, and likes to incorporate architecture, furniture and 3D elements into her design. For all of Kerrie Luft’s shoes collections, her sole influence has been stylised floral and natural form imagery in the style of art nouveau. This is seen in the main feature of her shoes is the heels, where her designs can be seen to be heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau floral designs and style of drawing. This results in a very feminine yet modern design.  In an interview with Vogue magazine, she tells them how she creates her delicate titanium heels.
Kerrie Luft (left)
"I create the heels using computerised technology -  it's a prototype that's previously only been used in aerospace and dentistry" she tells us. "I use a 3-d software package which creates a design through layering the titanium heel. I came across the process while at university, and it made me realise the potential of using it in footwear. I wanted the design to look fluid and elegant and the technology helps to achieve that".
Who could resist these?
I don't know about you but I would die for a pair of Luft's heels, that were previously on sale in Selfridges (18th Birthday present maybe?) as I love the unique take on a classic pair of court and occasion shoes. Let me know your thoughts!
Luft's fashion drawings
 Information collected from links below.
Pictures are not my own.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Lauren Conrad - Why She Gets It Right

I love reality shows. The first reality show that I got hooked on was MTV's The Hills when I was about 11 or 12. I used to come home from school and immediately switch it on at 4pm. I don't know what it was about it. Perhaps it was the glamour of LA, the wealth and prosperity that I have dreamed of for years is why I fell in love with it.
Heidi, Audrina, Lauren and Whitney (left to right) on the Cover of Rolling Stones
But the one cast member who I, from a young age, admired the most was Lauren Conrad, who had also starred in MTV's Orange County whilst in High School. To me she always had impeccable taste in fashion, grooming, friends and boyfriends. In her book Style she quotes "I dressed myself for 5 years - and never repeated an outfit once." which to me seems very impressive. As with all reality shows, as a viewer, you never seem to know when a storyline is real or constructed, but to me that didn't matter. I got to see people with amazing taste (probably helped by a large salary) living a life that they loved.
So after I had read all of Lauren's novels when they had been published (they are actually surprisingly good) when her books Style and Beauty were published I knew I had to get my hands on them. They have been my fashion and beauty bibles since!
Beauty and Style
I have always been quite a safe dresser -  I like to follow fashion trends but I know when things will not suit me and Lauren also sticks with this rule. Style covers all areas of dressing, finding the styles that suit you, the art of successful shopping, accessories, beauty and lifestyle. If I'm having a day when I cannot think what I could possibly wear (even though I am lucky enough to have a wardrobe full of clothes) I refer to this book. It is always on my bedside table and if I have an event coming up, I will be sure to re-read the relevant chapters.
Guide to Shopping Chapter
Again, like with my styling I have always tended to stay reasonably safe when it comes to my beauty routine. Obviously we all have our slip up (blue eye shadow) and I even went through a two year stage between the ages of 13 and 15 when I would dye my dark blonde hair a very dark brown. Luckily I have now found that a light to mid blonde hair colour suits me best, although I am constantly tempted to dye it darker colours which always end badly (I had a week of dark blonde hair with a tinge of green last year) and I have a make-up look sorted for my week (school and my part-time job at Kurt Geiger).
I need one of these beanies
Yet Beauty has every single hair, make-up, skin care, you name it tip you will ever need and even if you feel comfortable with your routine, it is still a buy well worth it. In most sections there are step-by-step instructions with accurate photos which are unbelievably helpful (especially when I'm trying a new look out) are a clearly explained.
Perfect Everyday Make-up
The books, written by Lauren with advice from her stylists and hair and make-up artists, aren't there to make you feel inadequate but they genuinely set out to help people make the most out of themselves, whatever setting or situation they're in. All I can say is that I advise you to buy these books ASAP as they will also turn into your fashion and beauty bibles.
You can buy both Style and Beauty from Amazon, Waterstones , WH Smiths and other retailers
First, second and fifth images are not mine.

NYC 2013

After the ferry ride, I took my first ride on the NYC subway (after we all got lost trying to find the station) back to Times Square, where we finally got the opportunity to do some shopping and take lots of photos with the very lovely NYPD! Of course I had to do the touristy thing, and bought several NYPD tops, postcards and key rings and then went onto Victoria's Secret, American Apparel, Footlocker, Journeys and several other shops. All I can say is that I didn't some back empty handed!
That evening we went to Café Wah in Greenwich Village, and I took my first ride in a yellow cab. I loved the atmosphere of the live music venue and after the band had warmed up and found there was a large English group at the venue (apparently we are not considered to be British but "Englandites") they played much more enthusiastically. I admit, after a 2 long days plus jet lag I wasn't entirely impressed that the majority of out party got served their meal around 8pm and some of us didn't get our meal until 10:30pm but I'm a not a fan of American food anyway so it didn't make much difference. Eventually after watching Mr Omar (drama) and Mrs Thomas (textiles) dance the night away, we all decided to call it a night.
The next day (our second to last), we decided the best way to see New York was to walk around it, and I mean it felt as if we walked ALL around Manhattan. We went to St. Patrick's cathedral, walked the entirety of 5th Avenue, went to the Rockefeller centre and the Chrysler building and eventually made it to Grand Central Station where we stayed for lunch (I have never seen so many places to choose to eat from).
Grand Central Station
Our next stop was the Museum of Modern Art (or better known as MoMA). I loved this art gallery! I was able to see pieces from Monet, Van Gough, Warhol as well as sculptural and photographic pieces - if you are in New York, I cannot recommend MoMA enough!
We spent our evening going to dinner at Planet Hollywood which I found disappointing as it was overcrowded but the meal I chose (chicken caeser salad) was light and fresh. We then hurried off to Broadway to see Chicago! I had never seen the film or knew any songs from the musical but once it started, it surprised me how many of the songs I recognised (thanks to Glee I admit). The actors were all amazing but I felt that they could have needed microphones and the band did seem to overpower their voices at times.
Sadly when we got back to the hotel it was time to pack as we were heading back to London the next evening. However, we made full use of our last day by taking a very long walk (59 blocks to be precise) through Central Park to the Guggenheim museum. I really felt that I was beginning to know New York; I recognised so many places and iconic buildings and we were now able to navigate ourselves quite easily around the huge city.
Central Park
I was very disappointed by the Guggenheim. As I am not a huge lover of modern art, it is hardly surprising but when you are made to jump by a circuit of ringing bells it is hardly a good first impression. To give the museum credit, I did love it's beautiful design which enables visitors to make a circuit around all the different exhibitions, due to its spiralling design and I was able to see the Degas ballet dancers as well as Kandinsky work.
The Guggenheim
After a very fun filled trip, it was time to head back to the hotel, pick up our suitcases and head back to JFK. As we drove away from Manhattan and through Brooklyn, I was able to see why so many people fall in love with this beautiful city as I had many years ago. I was so happy that I was able to experience what New York had to offer and I can safely say I will return to New York again.
Links to places I have mentioned are below.
All photos are my own|pcrid|14441373915|pmt|e|pkw|affinia%20manhattan

Made in Chelsea: The End of Season Party.. or should that be Pardy?

Well what a season it has been for MIC.  Louise and Spencer broke up, Lucy and Spencer are dating, Louise and Andy are dating, Jamie has a girlfriend (by the way he acts you'd think otherwise), they won a BAFTA and as always there has been plenty of drama filling the empty gap between 10-11pm on our Monday nights.
So what really has happened in the award winning show? To sum how the cast members felt about what happened in the series, yesterday night Rick Edwards presented the End of Season Party, or as many of the cast members and their fans (such as myself) call pardy (with a "d" of course).
All viewers were keen to find out what has happened to the cast members since they left our screens, and I, like many other viewers, weren't entirely surprised to find out that Spencer had (yet again) cheated on current (now ex) girlfriend Lucy. Unlike many MIC fans, I have a soft spot for Lucy as I admire her for speaking her mind and I felt genuinely sorry for her as she appeared to be rather upset on-screen.
Spencer, Proudlock, Francis and Jamie (left to right)
 Moving on to the next relationship - Louise and Andy. Many viewers, cast members and Andy himself weren't exactly happy to find out that Louise had spent the night at a "friends" house (reportedly One Directions Niall Horan) in the last episode of the series. Yet when Rick Edwards were interviewing the couple, things seemed to be cleared between them, but myself and Lucy pointed out that it did seem that Louise appeared to be lying in episode 10. But I'm sure the drama itself will unfold.
The cast at the BAFTA's
 Compared to other end of season pardies (sorry I cannot stop myself), I was rather disappointed by the one screened on E4 last night. Perhaps it was the slightly awkward award ceremony or "Spoons" as Rick Edwards named it, or maybe there were less interviews with the cast than I would have liked. I was also disappointed that there was no mention of my favourite (and most fashionable) cast member Millie Mackintosh leaving to spend more time with future husband Stephen Manderson (better known by his stage name Professor Green) as she, until this series, has played a major part in much of the show's drama and storylines.

Binky, Cheska, Millie and Rosie (left to right)
 Many viewers (I know for myself this to be true) will miss MIC very much, but don't worry, Binky reassured us via Twitter that there will be a new series very soon!
The end of season party can be watched on 4od until next Monday
Images are not my own