Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Summer Beauty - Ark Invigorating Body Scrub

Picking up from where I left off in my last Summer Beauty post.....Every year I vow that I will make a concerted effort to groom myself thoroughly in preparation for the skin exposing sunny months. Unfortunately laziness inevitably sets in and I find the prospect of getting into bed far more appealing then a few extra minutes slathering on lotions and potions etc. I always see women and celebs that appear to have flawless legs, ones that have such a silky sheen that it creates the illusion of a slimming white stripe down the bone of the leg where sun hits it. Unfortunately the reality of a newly shaven bare leg for me is rashy, porous, with a cut or two, dry knees and cellulitey thighs... sexy huh!

So before shaving and to add to my new leg beauty regime ( alongside Paula's Choice and cellulite products) I have been using Arks Invigorating Body scrub. With Loofah, Multifruit Acids and Mint is great for reviving dull, dry looking skin which is caused by our bodies shedding skin cells every day. They recommend we use the rejuvenating scrub 1-2 times a week to restore the skin’s health and balance (but I feel mine needs some extra attention so I have been using whenever I shower). The natural sloughing particles gently lift dead cells and remove debris from the surface.

This is one of the satisfying products where you see and feel results straight away. My skin feels incredibly soft and blemishes that often appear on my chest,upper arms and calves have noticeably reduced.

ARK Invigorating Body Scrub £23.65 (200ml)

Summer Beauty - Paula's Choice

As followers will know I have been spending the last few weeks testing out beauty products to prepare myself for a trip abroad... I hasten to call it holiday as it seems to be filling up with more and more work daily!

I have always envied the people who can achieve the appearance of silky legs so one of my main targets was to at least try and reduce the dryness and dull nature of my pins.
So, the obvious step was to take up applying lotions regularly rather than the usual when I can be bothered/when I remember....

I've been rubbing in Paula's Choice skin revealing body lotion, I use to verb 'rub' because it is not a cream that sinks in without manipulation, it takes a bit of time to work it in a bit....which is by no means a negative thing as it almost convinces you that it must be doing some good to be that rigid a lotion which is robust enough to tackle my extremely hard skin.

I found my skin was much smoother to touch after just one application and it has continued to improve with the duration of usage. I suffer with bumps after shaving my legs and with its antioxidants and anti inflammatory agents it does appear to soothe these although DO listen to the instructions and avoid using right after using the razor.... it does sting quite a bit if you choose to rebel!



Proud Tonight-Sophie Ellis Bexter hosts benefit

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has announced that she is hosting a one-off benefit concert at London's Proud Gallery tonight. The show will raise funds in support of the young son of Ellis-Bextor's friend Billie, a make-up artist who tragically died last year, aged just 31, following a long battle with a brain tumour.

As well as a live set of sparkling pop from Ellis-Bextor herself, the night will feature performances from acclaimed female comedy duo The Aspidistras and rising country-rockers Sinead and the Dawnbreakers. DJ sets will follow, including an exlcusive set from the XX’s Romy, as well as an auction with items on offer from Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Sisley, PPQ and Harrod's Urban Retreat.

"I wanted to raise money for Luis as he's a wonderful little boy who's been through so much, but who doesn't have a lot. His mother, Billie, was a brave, gorgeous person who I miss terribly. The show on the 29th won't just raise money for her brilliant son's future, but give those of us who knew her a chance to celebrate her memory." Sophie Ellis-Bexter


Achieve Pop Star Tresses...

How adorable does Birthday gal Jessie J look here.... I won't go into the merits of the humble dungaree now ( I have had heated discussions with male colleagues about dungarees, they detest the things!)... but I will comment on her new do.

I have admired her impossible shiny blunt fringed bob, knowing I'd never be able to copy the look unless I invest in a quality wig.... That said, with the vast amount of appearances on stage and TV of late Jessies hairstyle could have been labeled predictable, so I was pleased to see her sleek new look this week.

If you want to copy her style and don't have the length of hair to achieve it naturally you can fake it with the Love Hair Extensions Clip in Ponytail in Alice or Silky Sue £30.99 each.

Available in 16 different colours ways enabling you to find the perfect colour match, each style is available in either drawstring with comb pins or crocodile clips for easy application. Every pack also includes an easy to use step-by-step guide to help you get the look.... an essential addition for someone as cack handed as myself !

Head to www.lovehairextensions.com for the perfect A List up do without the hairdressing skills of a professional!


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Virgin Trains - Bloggers Challenge Update

So this next week myself and Edward are off to Liverpool. I had bought a VIP Dinner and Champagne for two on Groupon, but unfourtunately on close inspection they restaurant in question is only available on the weekend, which deems it useless for our Wednesday visit.
So, tomorrow my mission is to find an alternative place to fine dine. I will be bring lots of meal vouchers with me for the usual establishments, Nandos, Wagamamas and Pizza Express so we can have a hearty but affordable lunch.
I have arranged guest-list for a gig which is taking place in the city... I'll give you a clue... They are recent Kerrang cover stars!

There are lots of cultural things that I will attempt to drag Ed to, against his will... like Tate Liverpool and the Anthony Gormley sculptures at Crosby Beach.

I have sorted an extremely good valued place for us to stay.. this resulted from tweeting and emailing round to find good offers.... and a bit of bartering. I once saw the financial expert Martin Lewis on GMTV talking about how many unlikely things are negotiable and how we should dare to haggle a bit more... doing this via the computer is much less cringe worthy than face to face.... if you get denied they can't see your uncomfortable reaction!

I'll let you know what else we end up doing on our trip after Wednesday! xx

Make Me Up

You'll have realized from the drama that surrounded my recent dye-job that I am not one for drastic beauty treatments or regimes.. I don't even risk fake tanning in case the result leaves me looking jaundice or as if I have an infectious skin disorder... and that's for a mere few days. You can imagine that tomorrows semi permanent treatment may have me feeling a tad apprehensive. As a natural blond by eyes lack definition without make up... I am being generous with this description, the most accurate would be that I look haggered, almost as if I have taken part in a sleep deprivation challenge a la Chris Moyles. With my less than perfect skin I feel unable to pull off the no- make up, fresh faced thing, so for summer I was looking for a way I could have the appearance of someone alive and awake, without the risk of running should I be frolicking in the sea (or sweating profusely).
I have tried the home eyelash dye kits which are fine in terms of result but messy for a clumsy fingered beauty amateur such as myself. I have also had my eyelashes dyed professionally and even more impressed with the result of that treatment, yet still found myself adding layers of mascara and eyeliner... which kinda defeats the object!
I'm hoping tomorrows Eyelash Definer treatment with Tracie Giles might leave me with an effect that allows me to step out of my house with confidence sans eye make- up.....
I'll update tomorrow evening with some pics!! Wish me luck... I'm hoping my 'after picture' won't be one of those pictures people Google when looking to gross out their mates... with my extensive list of allergies you never know what could happen!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Music News: Björk unveils Biophilia, a brand new music & multimedia residency at Manchester International Festival

I always revel in the kooky, quirky or original, and it is an undeniable fact that Bjork falls solidly within these brackets. Her delicate voice and haunting composition also accompanies one of the best music videos of all time (in my opinion).. Chris Cunninghams treatment for 'All is Full of Love.' I love it so much that I shaped my university dissertation around it, writing about all things Cyborg related... sorry I digress, lets get back to the big news....

The enigma that is Bjork is returning to the UK after a painfully long three years. Her residency will include live performances of new songs and the introduction of companion apps, invented instruments and more. She will be at MIF (Manchester International Festival) for six intimate shows in the striking space of Campfield Market Hall for audiences of 1800.As well as showcasing tracks from the forthcoming Biophilia studio album lucky audience members will witness performances of her genre-defying back catalogue which will be reinvented via a small group of unique musical collaborators. The show will feature a range of specially conceived and crafted instruments, among them a bespoke digitally-controlled pipe organ; a 30 foot pendulum that harnesses the earths gravitational pull to create musical patterns - creating a unique bridge between the ancient and the modern; a bespoke gamelan-celeste hybrid; and a one-off extraordinary pin barrel harp. These devices make visible some of the physical processes that are the subject matter of tracks.

So what is it all about I hear you say??

The concept of Biophilia is to tackle where music, nature and technology meet? Through the work she explores this complicated and fascinating question, which has resulted in her most ambitious and exciting work to date in her incredibly illustrious career. A multi-media project encompassing music, apps( which will be available via iTunes and the App Store), internet, installations and live shows, Biophilia celebrates how sound works in nature, exploring the infinite expanse of the universe, from planetary systems to atomic structure.

After the Manchester performances have been completed the live show will be moving on to other major cities all over the world, so international readers keep your eyes peeled to see if she is gracing your city with her incredible presence!

MIF will also be working with young people in Manchester to explore the musicological, scientific and technological ideas behind the project. In a series of educational workshops schoolchildren will be given the unique opportunity to experience the world of Biophilia first hand, and to immerse themselves in the endlessly rich and inspiring place where cutting edge technology, music and nature meet. For more details visit www.mif.co.uk

'Its an honour to be working with Björk to help her premiere these ambitious live shows and we look forward to taking this residency to key cities around the world', says Alex Poots, Festival Director.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival.

Produced by Manchester International Festival and Björk.

With thanks to the Museum of Science and Industry for their collaboration and support.




THU 30 at 20:30


SUN 3 / SUN 10 at 16:00

THU 7 / WED 13 / SAT 16 at 20:30

Björk will be on stage at 16:00 and 20:30

Tickets £45 (no per ticket booking fee; transaction charge applies)

Concession available

Box Office: www.mif.co.uk / Quaytickets +44 (0) 161 876 2198


Monday, 14 March 2011

Interview with Sean Mackin of Yellowcard

Yesterday afternoon I headed to Brixton Academy to meet Violinist extraordinaire, Sean Mackin, of punk heroes Yellowcard. After announcing their return last year they have finally reached our shores and put an end to the itchy feet and frustrations of their devoted fans, playing a pleasing set following one of the UK's most promising acts, Young Guns, and before headliners All Time Low stormed the stage with their joyfully juvenile banter and impossible catchy pop-punk.

I wanted to find out more about their 2008 'indefinite hiatus' and their new seemingly optimistic record 'When You Through Thinking, Say Yes.' Sean was also kind enough to tell me what he has been doing during the break, what it's like to work with top producer Neal Avron and what music is currently floating his boat.

If you can't wait till the 21st March for the release check our their first singles from the album, 'For You and Your Denial' and 'Hang You Up'.

I was lucky enough to get to stay for the show after our chat. I felt a warm sense of pride watching Young Guns command the stage with such confidence . The glee they felt from the playing such an iconic venue, one that they have all attended for so many years as audience members, was obvious.... lovely to see a band obviously appreciating and reveling in their hard earned position. Another warming of the cockles was achieved when witnessing the crowd embracing Yellowcards' return with such vigor, even the new material which has not yet had time to gain classic status was answered with enthusiastic bouncing and clapping.(For your information they are sounding better than ever). All Time Low rounded the night off perfectly with their trademark brand of feel-good youthful joviality and everyone left the venue looking pretty chuffed with their night of music.


Interview with Marla for Dropout UK


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Jump in The Sack - Sports Day for Comic Relief

Wednesday night myself and colleague Edward headed to East London and to the amazing Village Underground venue for Cafe Directs 'Jump in the Sack' event for Comic Relief.
The night would see celebs, journalists and us normal folk participate in retro fete antics, most notably a good old fashioned sack race.... Ed managed to get away with being a heckling spectator but I thought I'd get stuck in, even if I have a habit of embarrassing or injuring myself in public are arenas! As well as enjoying the musical delight of Roll Deep and their classic tune 'Green Light', we boogied on down to Matt Horne and Ronnie Joices choices on the decks, while munching on scrumptious homemade cakes and candy floss.....the best accompaniments to beer in my book!

Congrats to Andrew Soar for his part in putting together this cracking night!

New friend Corey from Free Like Birds

Perhaps the most energetic host of all time, Jeff Leach, guiding a pensive looking Philip (aka Pants-man from The Appentice) to the startling line...
Still commanding the crowd...

The lovely Big Brother winner Josie lines up aside against Hollyoaks hottie Gemma Atkinson

Josie struggled in the sack..
It didn't take long for Jeff to lend a helping hand!

The Podium
My dry run in the sack

Time for my race..... Who knew you could look so 'special' in the sack. Despite my second to last place I felt like a winner... there was no injury or face plant and I came away with a lovely rosette... all in aid of a good cause too!


T-shirt Hoarder...No. 4

Dead Heroes Clothing http://www.deadheroesclothing.com/

T-shirt Hoarder...No. 3

House of Holland http://www.houseofholland.co.uk/

T-shirt Hoarder...No. 2

Urban Outfitters


Sunday, 6 March 2011

T-Shirt Hoarder...No. 1

I have promised to do this themed post for a while... I have finally had time to do some pics in some of my favourite tees...
I will try and post one a day...
Here is Numero 1.

I bought this in 2009 when I was in LA from a great little shop in Hollywood called Pop Killer... still on of my faves

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Spread your wings and prepare to fly...

One of my favourite necklaces.... a family heirloom made from a real butterfly wing...

All That Glitters.....



The Cat Deeley advert is clearly having an affect on me......

Tumblr Time!!

I have put off joining Tumblr for years because so much of my life is already governed by the internet, social networking and blogging. Unfortunately I have to admit defeat....

Follow me here!


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Time To See Who's Really Good In The Sack.... (all for a good cause of course!)

A Night at The Sack Races for Red Nose Day

When I first saw an email land in my Inbox with the bold words 'Jump In The Sack' I thought, 'Oh great... another dating spam mail reminding me of my single status' or even worse a sexually charged mentalist on the look out for some action. Thankfully, it was of a far more innocent nature, albeit with the PR, Andrew Soars tongue firmly in cheek.

I don't know about you but I enjoy any excuse to feel like a responsibility-free youngster again, so when the mist of intrigue cleared and I realized I was actually being invited to watch and even take part in a Sack Race I felt a tinge of that childhood pre-sports day nervous excitement ( although this instance, however unwise, is likely to be combined with a bevvy or two).

The ingenious London Comic Relief event is being held in conjunction with Cafédirect, a social enterprise that was originally set up by Oxfam almost two decades ago to support millions of small scale tea, cocoa and coffee farmers across the developing world. As the company's plantations are in Kenya, they are doing 'Jump In The Sack' races in the original coffee bean sacks, direct from the company's Kenyan plantations. Most importantly all the money raised during the night will be going to Comic Relief.

We are used to seeing celebrities looking enviably cool, so rather than looking brooding or sexy it will be refreshing to see some of them on their knees... from falling during the race I mean! Music acts in attendance so far are reported to be the hotly tipped Dog is Dead and Roll Deep with funny turns delivered courtesy of Jeff Leach and T4s Rick Edwards. After the week I've had I'm in the mood to let my hair down in a big way, thankfully It sounds like the night will require my dancing feet too with Jameela Jamil, Gemma Cairney, Mat Horne and Ronnie Joice spinning tunes on the decks.

It's a sad case of affairs when a race is the the only sort of sack related action one is getting , but it should be a right old giggle and beggers can't choosers !!

The event takes place at Village Underground on Wednesday 9th March from 7-11pm

Head to www.cafedirect.co.uk/rednoseday


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

One to Watch... Holly Spencer

When did you first realize you had a passion/talent for fashion and design? Who/what has been your main source of inspiration?

I first realized my passion for art and design art a very early age of about 10. My Grandad was a passionate and incredible artist and he inspired me at this young age. In the war he used his art to survive when captured by the Japanese by exchanging artwork such as making birthday cards etc then exchanging them for food. Without these exchanges for food I doubt he would have survived the extremely harsh conditions of the camps. He then later worked for ITV in the early years of television painting backdrops etc. It was him that brought me my first professional artist kit of drawing paper, pencils, oil paints and canvas. So this is when it started.
After filling sketchbook after sketchbook at the age of about 13 I later discovered in the cob-webbed attic an old singer hand sewing machine. Messing about with the machine and working out how to thread it up I started to sew random bits of fabrics together. I one day decided to make a hat and figured out a way to produce fleece hats really quickly. I made them all for my friends and then started selling them making custom made fleecey hats for everyone.
Once people realized I could sew hats then turned to clothing alterations. My brother was always very unique never and never liked wearing the same clothes as everyone else. He would make me adjust every pair of his jeans, customizing them to his style and personality. I then had orders from his friends to customize their clothing. My poor little singer hand sewing machine could hack it so I then upgraded to electric. It was at this moment I decided I wanted to design clothes but also the textile for the garment.

My whole family are very creative and have always supported me throughout the years but I have also gain inspiration from designers, artists, musicians and what I see everyday around me.

What were the themes behind your final collection?
Before I started to design my collection I visited Malaysia noting down what was around me by drawing and taking photographs. I decided to use my trip as part of the theme for my collection.
The major theme behind my collection came from the inspiration of dried flowers. I started collecting flowers and pressed them. I mixed the delicate pressed flowers with colourful inks creating collages. These gave a perfect canvas to design my textiles and also portrayed intricate detail and an array of elegance, which inspired me to how to design the shapes and style of my garments.

How does the design process go for you, does it start with an idea.. then sketches (describe)
You can kind of see how my design process as I stated above. I see what around me is inspiring and I take it to the next level artistically producing collages, sketches and photoshop. From these design I produce textile and garment designs, and then finish it off with some sort of embellishment/ applique twist.

What are the main things that features on your mood boards ( films, music, celebrities, art, fabric)
My mood boards usually contain images of inspiration, colour, outcome and sometimes a forecast of future colour and trends.

What did you find the hardest part of the process from start to finish?
I found I had done so much research and development I have a real tough time deciding what textile designs to use for what garment designs. Designing the textiles and garment was brilliant however for the time scale we had for the show it was hard to cram both designs in. We were pushed to do very simple garment designs to make it easier however I wanted to try and gain just as much knowledge of garment construction as I i did textiles design. I made more work for myself and it was a real challenge but I managed to pull it off with in the deadline.
A real hard part of the process of this collection was the funding. I only had the funding from Uni bursaries and loans to fund this collection and this was by far not enough. We have to pay for absolutely all materials from digital print to paper. It was very expensive from the very beginning to finish. I really think art and design related courses should get more funding for these more hands on courses.

On the day of your final catwalk show was it chaos behind the scenes, any nightmares happen backstage??

The stories I had heard of the past shows gave me some tips on not what to do, however it was chaos with all the designers nervous for the show. It all went smoothly though, no nightmares or dramas.

Who are your favourite designers?

There are so many designers these days and so many have produced some outstanding pieces that have been an inspiration, however the main designers that I have really taken a liking to I would have to say are Christian Lacroix and Vivienne Westwood. I really like Jean Paul Gaultier for some of his more Costume related designs. And There have been a few pieces that Alexander McQueen has produced that I have loved.

Your designs appear to be extremely feminine, would you ever dare go down the androgynous/masculine route?
Yes I would definitely go down the masculine route. In this collection I have aimed to produced garments to make women feel elegant and beautiful and would love to go down the male route in the future, and produce a collection for males. I have all brothers and no sisters and grew up with my brothers friends, adjusting there trousers etc to make them unique. I really think there is a big market out there for male design and many sides of the masculine design in which I could portray a collection.

Do you have a muse?
I cant say I do have a muse. I guess I am inspired by women such as Vivienne Westwood etc who back in those days when she first started out, when it was men who thought they ruled and she shined through and started quirky revolutions of there own through fashion, for example her punk era.

If you could choose anyone to wear your designs who would it be?
Hmmm I think I would be honed if any well known celeb wore one of my dresses down a red carpet. The garments I produce are made to make someone feel beautiful and in the spotlight so would be perfect for these kind of events. I would want just any celeb to wear my garments though I would want them to really have a talent, an amazing actress or singer perhaps.

The structure of your pieces would work very well on the red carpet, do you see this being the main draw of your work?

This is the main draw of my work yes, My pieces are couture and individual and they are perfect for red carpet events. However I would also like to design some ready to wear collections which could be worn at other events.

Would you ever consider bridal wear?

Yes of course in fact I have an order for a wedding already. I can provide Unique bridal dresses which just have a little more quirk than the bog standard wedding dress. I find that most bridal dresses are all the same kind of style, a woman's wedding day is the spotlight for her, her red carpet day so finding the best dress to suit the bride is crucial.

The fashion world can be notoriously cut throat, does anything worry you about a career within it?

It is very notoriously cut throat yes and very competitive. I have had a huge response from my designs already and am designing some more for an upcoming show at the Hilton Metropole. The design/producing part of this business is no problem, its having financial backing that worries me the most. I am totally solo and have no support which has been the tough part of my extending collection which I am currently producing. This has been by far the hardest and most worrying thing about this career so far.

What are your plans for 2011?

I am currently extending my current collection for the Fashion event Top Model UK/ Fashion international, which is being held at the Hilton Metropole the 26th March 2011. I am showing along side established UK and international designers so this is a huge step for me and real learning curve.

I recently worked in India on a work placement designing so have made some good contacts in which I have made use of for the extension of my collection. I am having my new pieced produced in India as they have the skills to produce my designs with the use of more detailed embellishment, thread, bead and sequin work.

For my new jacket designs I have designed the complete textile and had the design woven with silks and cottons at the Design Bureau which is based with in the University College of Falmouth. I have then sent this fabric to India where I am combing the woven fabric with designs I have produced for interesting embellishment/applique work.
Their will be a lot of useful people attending this show from buyers, merchandise, spotters etc so I hope to gain some good contacts and hope to have some orders of my garments for shops. I would not produce anymore than about 10 of each garment though as I want to keep a unique and limited addition to my designs.

From this show the best thing that could happen is a job offer so I could gain some experience of the business side of fashion and textile design. I feel I have skipped a few spaces in my career by producing garments internationally and showing at big shows. Therefore I think it would be good to step back and work within a company to learn more about the ins and out of the industry.

However going into a company to work does not mean I will stop designing my own stuff, I will continue to produce collections every year until I become established in the design world.

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