What I Wore Today

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My name’s Bee and I’m a dress-aholic. Don’t get me wrong; I am not stating this to claim any sort of fashionista status, but more to confess that I actually find dressing up easier than dressing down. When faced with the bleary eyed pre-7am task of rooting through my wardobe, I inevitably sway towards my rack of dresses. Come summer or winter, it is just so much easier to pull on a single item and be instantly fixed up! I can then use any remaining early morning smarts to match it with one of my rainbow of cardigans or chuck on a couple of accessories. Whilst this sounds lazy; it usually ends up looking smarter than if I spend ages battling a jeans, shirt, jumper, trainer marathon outfit ensemble.

Prior to this year, I had never really thought of shopping in George at ASDA for dresses. The main barrier was that I don’t have an ASDA near me (Mozzas4lyfe) and despite being an online shopping fan, hadn’t ever thought of checking out their fashion offering. However as I write this blog I remembered that when I was 15 I had a school Christmas disco to attend and my mum took me to ASDA to buy my dress and even thinking about it now gives me tingles. It was a red tunic style dress (boy was I bolshy and brave, I wouldn’t opt for red these days) with lacey material over the top. I loved it so much that I styled it up after the disco by wearing it over a long sleeved black tee-shirt and flared jeans on a near-daily basis for about an ACTUAL year afterwards. So, it’s kind of nice that after living the same amount of years as my first George at ASDA dress (!) I am rediscovering them.

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So, this year my oldest school friend Becca is getting married and I am super honoured to be a bridesmaid. Luckily enough I get to return the favour a mere few months after her big day. I love thinking how if you’d told us when we were swapping notes in class and whispering in the playground at the age of 10 that we’d be getting married in the same year, and that year would be 2015, our kiddie minds would have been actually blown. Anyway, I digress, and the point is that Becca’s bridesmaid dresses are from…. George at ASDA. And they are GORGEOUS. I won’t spoiler too much here, but they are Audrey Hepburn cute little 50s frocks with pockets and perfectly flicky skirts. That said, I haven’t yet tried mine on, because the snow up north over Christmas quashed my plans of popping to Beccas for a dress up session (which I am slightly relieved about considering just how many Guylian sea shells I managed to consume over the festive period) I know this is a rambly explanation but bear with me! The bridesmaid dresses had sold out, so Becca wanted me to order another dress of a similar style from George to check it fitted ok. I logged on, thinking (terrible… forgive me ASDA!) that I would order any old thing, try it on, and send it back. Instead I found it super hard to even choose from the selection of lovely dresses and then ordered this floral beaut that will do perfectly for a snazzy work gala dinner I’m attending later this year. Sorted!

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In that weird way the world works, just a day later the lovely Lucy at George contacted me to say they wanted to gift me a dress and bag to share on the blog and wax lyrical about how dressing up is not just for the festive season. (It’s not!) What a twist of fate! Being extremely familiar with the dress selection I opted for this gorgeous brush-stroke effect dress. The pattern reminds me of abstract palm trees, and I desperately need an injection of summer in my life, and I am also really into the midi length at the moment. Too many of my dresses have gone down the route of being washed too many times and turning into X-rated bum skimmers. With a nice midi option, there is no risk of accidentally sharing my ass cheeks with the office, a fact which everyone will surely be grateful.

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(Can we take a moment to discuss my chubby elbows?! I guess you never really look at your own elbows, as that’s physically impossible, but wow. I didn’t realise they were actually dimpled like little smiley faces!)

The dress feels really versatile, whilst I love it with tights and boots and a blazer for a smarter office wear look; I think it’ll be great with sandals for some smart summer roaming too.

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I selected a beautiful croc textured & pink satchel big enough to fit all the bits and bobs I need for work in; which is pretty hefty. I then realised that I have basically committed a lifestyle blogger CRIME, in that I have never, not ever, done a “What’s In My Bag” post, despite the fact I devour them whole when posted by anyone else. So, for your noseying pleasure, let’s have a look at what’s lurking in my shiny new satchel:

1. Wallet: I take after my mum in needing the worlds largest purse to store the important stuff like bank card and driving license; but also my 1000 loyalty cards for everywhere I have ever eaten or drunk ever. There is also some random bits like my oyster card (aka all-my-money-sucker) a swatch of the fabric for my bridesmaid dresses (ee!) and some lovely photobooth photos from my two times in Vegas.

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2. Kindle & Book: Working in publishing I now have a reading list as long as my arm. This means that I constantly carry three forms of books; kindle (where I can save manuscript PDFs), a physical book and audio, as I subscribe to Audible on my phone. During the day I usually switch between all three at some point. At the moment I am listening to “The Woman Who Stole My Life” by Marian Keyes, which is my first Marian Keyes novel and I’m excited to see what all the fuss is about having really enjoyed all the interviews and blogs I’ve read of hers. I’m trying to broaden what I read (/hear?) this year, as it’s important, now more than ever, that I am familiar with a real range of authors, titles and genres. I am reading “What She Left” by T. R. Richmond; which is an exciting proof copy as the book isn’t released until April (I still get geekily giddy about these!) and is told through a really unusual approach to fiction in that it is all written via compiled diary entries, social media posts and letters. There is no straight narrative prose. Finally, on my kindle I am reading The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes and All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I’m a quarter through each and should probably stick to one and finish it… but I feel like they both require me to be in a certain brain space to tackle the tricky topics in each. My kindle case was a Christmas present to myself from Klevercase as Great Gatsby is my favourite book. Considering my kindle is 2 years old and has travelled around the world and back; getting covered in sand, sweat and sea… I’m so impressed that it’s still battling on and am currently awaiting the liney screen of doom any day!

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3. Mustard Moleskin: I keep notes in lots of places; in Evernote, To Doist and my actual notebook. I find having numerous places to tick tasks off makes it more likely I’ll do at least a few…

4. Vaseline: For a short, sweet period of time vaseline did an amazing “Queen Bee” honey branded tin. I should have loaded up because I instantly lost mine. The old fashioned label cocoa butter one is a runner up favourite though.

5. Pad lock & Underwater Headphones: I always have these odd objects on my person because I go swimming twice a week. The padlock is for my gym locker, and the underwater headphones have revolutionised my laps because now I can do it whilst listening to The National and Taylor Swift, and therefore never getting bored!

 6. Washi tape: Because you NEVER know when youre going to need to get crafty!

Okay so nothing earth shatteringly secret lurking in there, but even if there was you wouldn’t be able to find it beneath the 1,0000 kirby grips.

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I have lived in London for so long I have actually lost count. It’s either 6 or 7 years. Anyway, in that whole entire time, I have never been to Chelsea. I have skirted around the edges a couple of times, getting off the tube at Sloane Square & spying on the Sloane Rangers or going for dinner at the tail end of the Kings Road but I haven’t done Chelsea.

My friend Craig and I were chatting about this (and our guilty pleasure love of the channel 4 show Made in Chelsea) and decided that we would get a date in the diary to get serious glammed up and hit the Chelsea nightlife, and that night was Friday! Now, I have be completely brutally honest; I was looking forward to and dreading the night in equal measures. I had all these preconceptions (mostly based on MiC where I love to hate EVERYONE) and was expecting a night that filled with eye-watering prices, side-eyes from locals and generally feeling out of place and awkward and needing to dive into some serious amounts of shots to survive it. In reality, our night in Chelsea was actually one of the best nights out I have ever had, and so amazing that we instantly booked in a sequel just to revisit our favourite discoveries and hit some of the places we didn’t manage.

We set out on our Chelsea adventure armed with an actual itinerary (geeks!)  that was actually mostly based on discoveries from this helpful “where the stars eat and drink article ” I was wearing some of my highest of high heels so one rookie error was… there is a reason the Made in Chelsea bunch constantly get cabs everywhere. Chelsea is quite inaccessible on paupers public transport! The bus would have taken ages, so I got off the tube at Fulham Broadway, and then spent the next 30 minutes tottering and tutting at myself towards for not packing emergency flats to our first location which was Bluebird.

Bluebird is a beautiful building, which needs to be seen in daylight to really do it justice. White arches give the architecture a (fitting) bird-cage type effect and there is a bar, shop and then the cafe which is tucked in the corner. We settled down waiting to recoil in horror at the menu prices, only to discover it was SO reasonable. I had the best Club sandwich of my life (it toppled my previous number 1, The Warming Hut in San Francisco) and a huge portion of shoestring fries for £8! This gave us the perfect excuse to splash out on a bellini and a rossini to toast our night and the gorgeous surroundings. The Bluebird is an instagram heaven of decor; a plate sculptured wall, black and white tiled floor, just the right amount of kitsch and the service was also a dream. Not a side-eye in sight!

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After such a successful start we cynically pondered whether we had just stumbled into a Chelsea anomaly and whether the braying rah girls and bolshy rugger boys were waiting for us at our next location which we actually went off-piste (it was not on the itinerary!) and snuck into as it looked so pretty from the outside. Eight over eight is a beautiful art-deco look restaurant first and foremost, but the front is fondly referred to as the snug where those lucky enough to bag a seat can sit by the open fire slurping cocktails from their extensive menu. I was amazed that at 9pm on a Friday night we could just swan in and get a seat, but the bar remained just the right-side of busy and buzzy the whole two hours we stayed there. It was so cosy and the drinks were so good that we just couldn’t leave, and we also got stuck into some juicy tipsy gossiping at this stage. The theme to my drink ordering for the night was definitely martinis. At Eighty Six I sampled for the first time ever the rose petal martini, which was so delicious I could barely drink it as I didn’t want it to end. The prices were really reasonable again (especially if you are used to drinking in Soho like me) – martinis and classic cocktails were £8, house specials and fizzy cocktails were £10, and this included table service and they were obviously very professionally made. Far superior to vodka-rev standard. Once more the clientele were lovely. I even got chatting to a girl when she nearly left her scarf behind and although her accent was awfully-poush she was very friendly.

Lets also just take a moment to acknowledge the fact that I was dressed more like something out of TOWIE than a classy MiC bird. I just bought this amazing pink tutu dress in the ASOS sale and have been desperate to wear it with my clashing nude heels. I then thought since I was already pretty Barbie ish, I’d add my Pat Butcher leopard print coat and entirely give up on trying to fit in with the designer labels and just embrace my natural TOWIE.  I am a sucker for anything backless, and adore the silver shimmery straps on this dress, it makes it even more like a ridiculous tutu that you would wear doing primary-school ballet classes.

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Craig on the other hand opted for the Chelsea class, with a white shirt and black braces and tie. He looked pretty sharp and I was proud to be on his arm for the night! Our final destination for the night was Eighty-Six where after a few false starts and Google map disasters, we headed down to Fulham Road. The 10 minute walk took us past what I would consider the real Chelsea, beautiful townhouses and quaint streets dotted with antique lamp-posts. We took a few photographs outside our ideal homes and it was the only time we felt like lowly out-sider tourists! As we approached Eighty-Six there was a heavy door staff and I got the sudden fear that we’d be turned away for not being classy enough (!) but we were let through the velvet rope instantly and hit the bar for yet more cocktails. Eighty Six has a simple decor, bare lightbulbs and tons of plush leather sofas, and yet more toasty log fires. There were a labyrinth of stairs leading to other parts of the building but we were told that was to the restaurant (which I imagine is not cheap).  Standing at the bar I suddenly heard a whimper from Craig and followed his eyeline to the bar staff as we noticed he was wearing EXACTLY the same outfit as their bar uniform! I guess white tie + black braces really is classic. So he quickly whipped his braces down and pocketed them, and all was right with the world again. There always was going to be more chance that we’d see someone in his outfit than mine. At Eighty-Six we couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome. The chatty (fashionable) bar staff, the door staff and the other (mostly handsome men) that seemed to be dotted around. There was also a brilliant DJ who mostly played mwam-mwam housey stuff but did drop in Children by Robert Miles for a last hurrah, which I have alot of respect for!

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& With that, we tottered back up to North London, giggling frozen air into the cold night and exclaiming at our surprising Chelsea experience. As you can tell, I would highly recommend anyone to take a night out in Chelsea. I usually end up drinking in Soho and whilst it has a place in my heart, the crammed bars and drink queues and noise and chaos can get a bit much. I felt Chelsea was the perfect tonic, as it was still buzzy, busy and alive but there was always space to take a seat and settle down for a proper chat. Also the joy of Kings Road is that there is an endless choice of places to pop in for a drink that you don’t have to travel far from bar to bar and can be spontaneous about where to go. (Our map and printed itinerary was definitely not necessary!) I feel a bit mortified at the stereotypes I had bought in to, and have to remember that Made in Chelsea is a television show and not actual real life… even if it pretends to be. I’m very glad this post can be so positive and un-scathing! Although there wasn’t a Cheska or Binky or Spencer in sight… so I wonder where they really do go on a Friday night?

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(DRUNK!)

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Ok! I’m going rogue, and rather than my usual non genre ramblings this is going to be the closest I get to a fashion and beauty blog. I don’t know how you choose what to spend the pay day pennies on but I am so heavily influenced by the blogs I read. From nail varnish colours to tee-shirts to boots, I very rarely use anything except the fashionable folk I follow and read about to inspire my new purchases. I think I prefer to see things on a real life normal-sized girl (not an air-bushed sultry model) and get the real truth on how things fit so I know in advance whether to size up or down. The bloggers who have influenced me most recently are Rosie, Carrie, Kristabel & Vixpo with me making direct purchases after seeing items on their blogs! Obviously not everything is infuenced by blogs or I’d look like some weird stalker hodgepodge of other people, and my style is certainly unique and quirky (in both the best and worst ways!), so everything else is bought by the standard scrolling through ASOS or braving mega Topshop/markets & vintage when I have some shopping stamina.

I’ve really enjoyed wearing this outfit lately so here are a few details about what makes it such a hit. The reason I don’t usually post outfit photos is that I can’t stand still for long enough therefore I resemble fuzzy felt, as demonstrated below, and I also don’t have anywhere nice to take photos. These were taken in my parents house with beautiful Victorian wallpaper and chintzy 70s carpets for a backdrop.

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Blouse: Primark

Pink Knit: Zara

Owl Brooch: Ladybird Likes

Jeans: Topshop Indigo Leigh

Lace-up Boots: Primark

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I’m such a peter pan collar addict, and the combination with the sheer fabric and polka dot stitching meant I couldn’t resist this Primark blouse and have worn it practically every day since just switching what knitwear goes over it. The only downside is, WOW THE STATIC! You can’t expect the highest quality garment when you pay £8 but I also didn’t expect to turn into a walking lightening conductor. The shocks I give myself and others are so massive they make my stomach reel a bit afterwards. This hasn’t put me off though, just made me a bit more evil as I store up the static power and use them on meanies who shove me getting on the tube in rush hour. I really love this owl brooch because his chubby little face absolutely looks like he’s thinking “wtf am I doing on this sweater?”. Finally, I think I first saw these boots in black over on the very fashionable French for Cupcake (Claire)’s blog and they instantly solved my autumn woe of “but I live in brogues… what do I do with my feet when it gets cold and puddle-y?” so they are quite the outit staple as they look neat with dresses or jeans. Although, if worn for too long they appear to make my right foot go to sleep which isn’t ideal.

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Earrings – Accessorize

Nail Varnish Grey Day, Gun Grey & Blizzard Models Own

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I had an identical pair of earrings to these but the first night I kissed Nick (and we’ll end that story right there, nosey!) I lost one and have searched high and low ever since but never seen anything similar. I thought that ship had sailed and given up the replacement hunt, and have actually barely worn earrings since. Then on Friday I was skulking about in Kings Cross with time to kill as my train had been cancelled. Rather than rage about it, I headed to Accessorize to lurk amongst the gems and jewels and saw these straight away. The bee ring is actually the most I have ever spent on a ring (£26..) as I am so prone to lose them. I always take rings off when I wash my hands and so every ring I ever buy ends up being abandoned on a sink edge and promptly passing on to a new strangers finger. After 6 months, in typical form I have lost this bee 3 times, but always found it again (under my bed, pocket lining & under my work keyboard) so hopefully it’ll never leave me for long.

The one bit of outfit information that I shouldn’t gloss over is the fact that despite looks, this outfit is NOT warm! It may appear cosy but the jumper has a thousand holes as it’s sort of crocheted and the blouse is sleeveless. So hidden beneath is a Uniqlo heat-tech cami and a pair of  Fat Face thermal socks, fighting the battle to stave off goosebumps and stopping my chattery teeth.

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& Now the beauty bit. Aren’t eyebrows weird? You can’t think about them too much or you realise how un-symmetrical and caterpillar like they are, but I’ve recently learnt that keeping them in check is a very worthwhile face-investment. I am a total make-up dunce and stick to my very unadventurous ritual of liquid eyeliner and Bad Lash mascara and nothing more (although you wouldn’t believe it if you saw the giant make up bag of stuff I carry around just in case. Blue Barry M eye pigment that I last wore in sixth form college – just in case! Very questionable glittery eyeshadow that explodes EVERYWHERE BUT your eyes and makes my face look like a disco ball –just in case! etc etc) So for me to even think about adding something to my 2-minute morning beauty routine is a big deal. I need anything new to be fool-proof, quick and not look make-up-y.

I recently was picking up some new Bad Lash in Benefit when one of the (always so friendly!) staff asked me if I had tried Brow Zings and I said no. The name alone terrified me. But she gave me a demonstration and they have since changed my life (well, face). I’ve done a little before and after photograph above so you can see. My au-natural eyebrow is a bit of a patchy mess, especially given that when I was 16 I had it pierced. I was quite lucky/unlucky that being the third daughter in my family my parents were sightly over rules when it came to me and so I was the first person in my friendship group to get a wacky facial piercing and thought I was just biggest deal upon doing so. I remember getting the bus home from the piercing studio and everyone I passed looking at me. I sat there basking in the admiring glances, thinking about how alternative and bad ass I was, enjoying the constant… staring… until I got home and my mum politely pointed out it might have more to do with the blood oozing down my face, than the mega dope piercing. I am very fortunate that despite spending two years in a growing-out-getting-it-repierced-(what was I thinking?!)-cycle the scar really isn’t too prominent.

Anyway back to the wonder of Brow Zings! It’s a little case with one side wax and one side powder, and you use an angelled brush (worth getting advise on the right shape for your particular brow, oh and the right colour to match your hair) you dab the brush in the wax and powder a few times and then brush on. It’s so subtle that you don’t risk creating a Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth by mistake and can keep brushing and brushing until it looks neat and just… instant better! I would highly recommend Brow Zings and have been given NO encouragement by Benefit to spread the word (the gushing is all real) They are available in Benefit stores where someone helpful can give you a demonstration or online here.

 

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I definitely don’t count myself as any sort of fashionista and since the second most common comment when I interact with complete strangers (after you look like a vegetarian) is are you a student? I’m pretty certain the rest of the world agrees that my fashion ‘thing’ is generally being a bit higgeldy piggeldy and unpredictable. And permanently teenage. That bit is better.

But there is one thing that I adore, and will never ever stop adoring. And that is a BIG COLLAR.

Is there anything better?!

 

 

 

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Today is Sunday, and today is SUMMER!

I left the house in just a playsuit and cardigan, and didn’t feel a prickle of cold once. Even once the sun had set and I was pottering home. I walked 6 miles today, on the hunt for blossom and green grass and  beers outside and London Fields. Everyone I came across had wide smiles and the sky was blue.

Do you follow any of your favourite clothes shops on Twitter? I follow quite a few, as I like to keep a beady eye out for discounts and sales and the like. A few months ago I started following Tesco Clothing on Twitter, and I think I can definitely vouch for keeping their Tweet-er employed, as last week they posted a link to this gorgeous floral print playsuit that was reduced to £12. Within two seconds of seeing the tweet, I was on the website, selecting my size and purchasing before I could literally take another breath! It was ridiculous! Luckily my haste paid off, as I absolutely adore everything about this playsuit. The frills, the print and the length. I can’t wait to the degrees to nudge up a bit and wear it bare legged all summer long.

Something about the summer makes me want to ditch all my stuffy, stiff handbags and just stick all my worldly belongings into a tote bag. I don’t know why! I guess they are a handy size to shove a picnic blanket into, books, sunglasses, bottles of toffee apple cider etc into! This is my favourite one, I bought it at an Erol Alkan show and it always makes me smile.

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This dress is one of my favourite ever charity shop purchases. It was £3, and I’ve had it for 3 years, and probably worn it 100 times. It’s a great summer frock, although the slit up the back makes it a bit bum-skimmy so only for days when I will be mostly sitting down!

But… I haven’t worn this dress for over a year. And it’s all because, the last time I wore it, I BROKE MY FOOT! Isn’t that ridiculous, so ever since then, everytime I look at it hanging sadly in my wardrobe, it reminds me of cracking bones and hours in Whitechapel A&E (aka scariest place on the planet) and general trauma. Do you think you can be superstitious about clothes? I know people have lucky pants, pulling dresses etc… but what about when your connotations with an item of clothing are bad?

I think in the past if I’ve had clothes that were bought for me by ex boyfriends, I have probably jumble-saled them, but that is a little bit different. With bad-memory items, it’s almost like I’m scared that by wearing it again I’m bound to have bad luck. But, I’m being brave, and lets hope the day passes with all my limbs intact and I can break the curse…

I love the candy striping, the big tacky gold buttons, the pockets (of course) and the silhouette of pinched in waist and poofy skirt section.

To face the blustery big smoke I’m surgically attached to my H&M fur coat. I get pangs of pain when I realise Spring is coming and I won’t be able to snuggle into it for much longer.

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