Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Vintage Shopping With Farfetch

My love of all things vintage started when I was around 15 years old. My Grandma was moving house and sorting all of her old clothes, which she’d kept from the 1950s and 60s. By this point, I was already obsessed with clothes; to me being able to dress yourself and show your identity through what you wear was fascinating; so to see my Grandmother’s clothes that she had worn when she was younger, showed me another side to her completely. From beautiful evening gowns, with hand embroidered designs, to her collection of fur coats (which although I don’t agree with, you couldn’t deny the beauty of the things in the context of the time). To see the quality and unique designs, compared to my own mass produced clothes from the high street was a real insight, and I well and truly had the vintage bug.

Fast forward 13 years and I’m still rummaging through charity shops, and staying up all night searching ebay for those perfect pieces. I’m not going to lie, it can be incredibly time consuming, with very little pay back. I’ve not found anything worthwhile for a good few months, then I discovered the most inspiring collection on Farfetch!

If you’ve followed my Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve bought from Farfetch before. I was originally introduced to the site by a fellow blogger who managed to get her YSL bag at an incredible price; so when I was looking for my J.W Anderson pierce bag, I knew there was only one place to go. Sure enough, I found my bag, with a massive £300 off! This is due to the fact that the premise of Farfetch is to source your designer pieces from boutiques and stores around the world - meaning you won’t always be paying the same price, as each store prices individually, which sometimes equals a big bargain! You’ll also find pieces you wouldn’t be able to get in the UK, so it’s the perfect place for something unique. 

With all this being said, I’ve never noticed the vintage collection. I’d always been on to find my latest designer bag, or for some style inspiration (it has an incredible editorial section!). I could kick myself now, as I have been missing out! From Chanel to Hermes; the stunning, collection is curated from the finest vintage stores in the world, and certainly makes a change from rummaging! With jewellery, hand bags and clothes, there is a vintage designer piece for everyone. It did take me a while to decide on what I wanted to style up as there is so much choice, and to see the Louis Vuitton bags and Versace dresses - I was a bit like a kid in a candy store! I finally decided to go for this season’s must have - the blazer. I’ve never bought a vintage blazer before, and I’ve become obsessed with them this AW, so what better time to invest! In the end I went for a classic YSL; with a beautifully tailored fit, and sassy shoulder pads - I’d fallen in love. Each piece is photographed clearly, and you can see all the little details. Most vintage pieces aren’t perfect, so this allows you to buy with full knowledge of any imperfections. They’re also all styled up impeccably and with a modern twist, so you can envision how it would fit into your current wardrobe.

My blazer was coming from Italy, but only took 5 working days. It arrived in the usual Farfetch box (handy tip: if you turn it inside out, can be used for storage!). Inside, it was beautifully wrapped in brown paper, tied with the most stunning vintage silk scarf. I couldn’t believe the boutique had thoughtfully included a little gift, it was such a personal touch and I was over the moon! The blazer itself was better than I had imagined. The fabric was thick and in excellent condition, with only a one inside button missing (which had been shown on the site). It’s my new go-to piece for this season, and it honestly looks good with everything. 

My first (and definitely not last!) experience of shopping for designer vintage on Farfetch couldn’t have gone better. The quality and care that goes into choosing each piece is obvious, and the individual boutique went above and beyond to make the experience perfect. If you’re looking for vintage designer pieces, but are sick of the time consuming shopping, then head over to the vintage section and delight in the vintage goodness (you won’t be sorry!).


Sunday, 5 November 2017

French Connection Is Returning To Manchester!

It's safe to say that I'm a proud Mancunian; it's the city I've grown up in, work in, and still live in today. But it's also been missing a little something for the past few years, especially for a life long fan like me. When French Connection left Manchester, I was honestly heartbroken. As a teenager, my cousin and I used to get the catalog through the post (it was the early 2000s, no internet!) and speak for hours on the phone deciding what pieces we would be saving up for. For us, as teenagers, it was an aspirational, luxury brand! We lived for the French chic, yet simple designs, beautiful fitting jeans and the most perfect 'nice tops'. 

As we grew up, FC remained a place for us both to get clothes that we knew were on trend, but would also last; and although at the higher price point of the high street, it was a brand we just kept going back to. I shopped in the St Anne's Square store at least once a month, always popping in on pay day or when I needed some new denim (they have the BEST jeans!). So when the store closed, and although I could shop online, I found a little piece of Manchester had been lost. It's been a few years now, and despite regularly buying my  French Connection pieces online, I still miss the good old days of actually going in to store, feeling the material and getting help and advice from the sales assistants.

Along with my excitement of a collaboration with one of my all time favourite brands, I was also let in on a little secret...a brand new flagship FC store would be opening in the Royal Exchange in the city centre (just a few minutes from the old store). YAS. I literally could not contain my excitement, and I cannot wait to show you the new store when it opens in a few weeks. To celebrate, French Connection are working with several Manchester bloggers, and asking us how our style is defined by our legendary city. We were asked how Manchester impacted on our sense of style. I explained that my city has always been a place of individuality, a place to welcome everyone and most of all a place where you can be yourself. 

With that in mind, I chose an outfit from their new AW collection that reflected that sense of home and comfort, but also had a nod to some of the hottest trends this season. I knew I had to style this incredible oversized boyfriend coat the minute I saw it. It's a piece that has everything that I've come to know and love about FC; a classic, well made piece with incredible tailoring with a modern twist. I worked backwards from that and went with a must have polo neck, some cropped flare jeans and these stunning chunky black leather boots. I felt completely comfortable, stylish and most importantly myself in this outfit. Over the next few weeks, I will be letting you know more information about the new store opening, and when you can visit yourself! For now, you can browse the new AW collection online here!

UPDATE - The new store will be opening THIS Saturday (11th Nov) YAY!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Transitional Layers

I'm writing this post about 'transitional layers', on a supposedly Autumnal October afternoon - yes it is mid October, but in reality it's a sunny 22c WTF. Just as I thought I could bring out my wooly jumpers and ankle boots, the weather decided to have one last summer hurrah! There are now people walking around with bare legs and t-shirts - sort of a nightmare for a fashion blogger!

I shot this look last week, on an appropriate day for discussing what to wear when the days are getting shorter and the temp is getting cooler, yet not cold enough for big winter coats and hats. I'm talking layers. Oh yes; the magical way in which you can transform your outfit from on trend and fabulous, to sensible and weather appropriate. 

My Next mac has taken me through another season. It's just about a year old, but macs are still a big hit all round. Flattering, oversized and the perfect shade; a neutral mac will take you far! It's also, light, waterproof and pretty warm (told you I'm all about weather appropriate clothing #granny). I added the hat of the season, the trusty baker boy. They are everywhere, and although this one is from Zara, I have just bought a fabulous one from trusty Primark for just £4 - so if you're not 100% about the style, try a cheaper one whilst you get used to it.

Finished with my trusty ASOS loafers, Gucci bag and mom jeans, this look is my Autumn uniform. I'll switch between a beret (if I can get one that suits me...!), a polo neck and some kitten heel boots when it gets that bit colder; but a variation of this is my AW 'go-to' and is usually what you'll find me in these strange weather days!

Mac - Next (similar) // Jeans: Asos // Top: Zara (similar) // Loafers: Asos
Hat - Zara

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Golden Square Shopping Centre

Shopping on the UK high street is not all it’s cracked up to be. If you're a northerner like me, you have to be prepared; layers, flat shoes, and a waterproof coat (obviously). So this summer, it’s been a pleasant surprise to find out more about my local shopping centres; where you can find all the latest trends, under one (rain proof) roof. This weekend I popped up the M62 to Warrington, to visit the Golden Square shopping centre. It only took 35 minutes from Stockport, and is only 22 minutes on a train from Manchester city centre, so a perfect alternative to the busy Market Street!

I was invited along to find my new season picks from the fabulous selection of stores, and to give you a run down of what I bought. To be honest, I was spoilt for choice as soon as I walked in. The light airy centre had HUGE stores, most of which were set over two floors, and also boasts a fantastic outside courtyard where the main eateries are based. 

From high fashion faves such as Topshop and H&M to bargain central Primark; Golden Square has everything you need for a great day shopping. As usual, Topshop was first on my agenda. They had a great selection of new AW17 pieces as well as some current summery bits. As I go away at the start of September, I was drawn to sunshine slogan tees and all things gingham! I tried on some fabulous cropped ‘menzi’ trousers with a paper bag waist (SO flattering) and paired them with my absolute fave  ‘Mon Cherie’ bright red t-shirt (yass!). The girls in store were so helpful, and one of them actually followed my blog, which made my year! In the end, I stuck with my ‘need’ list and got some Gucci loafer-esque beauts - still a massive trend this season.

Next up was H&M. Now this store was massive. Nearly as big as the Market Street store, but so much neater and everything was in order (H&M can sometimes be like finding a needle in a hay stack). They had all the pieces that I had spotted online, and I immediately got myself over to the changing room! Tailored shirts and collar details are another big AW17 trend. Perfect office wear, or team them with some denim to balance out the look. This layered corset shirt was a dream. Flattering, comfortable and a high fashion look for just £29.99! I then moved onto this baby blue pleated shirt. I had so many comments from you guys on my IG stories, but for some reason…I left without buying it! I did however get a beautiful khaki shirt (colour of the season) and a poppy print, ballon sleeve blouse. My thoughts were that I could wear them more often and they would be more versatile in the long run (Mrs sensible over here!).

I spent the next hour wandering through the centre, buying bath bombs from lush (couldn’t resist), browsing the books in Waterstones and finishing off my trip with a hot chocolate (it may be August but it was 12c outside!) in the Thornton’s Cafe = perfection. I had a great time at the Golden Square shopping centre; it’s modern, full of the best high street stores and best of all is local! Thank you to the team for having me, I can’t wait to come back!

If you would like to visit the centre for yourself, then there is no better time than September when they have an amazing fashion event coming up! If you want to find your new season style and how to look like you’ve stepped straight off the pages of a fashion magazine then you need to get yourself over to Golden Square’s Look Book Live. The two day event – Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September - will take the key trends for the season and, with the help of an expert stylist, bring them to life using the centre’s new interactive giant fashion magazine. The event will be held at Golden Square Shopping Centre on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September from 11am to 4pm For further information please visit www.gswarrington.co.uk

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Basil And Bea

It's not often you find a shop that you wish you could live in (literally). But as soon as I stepped through the door of Basil & Bea, I knew I had stepped in to my interior #goals. From the all white, exposed brick wall, to the delicate glass globe lighting; the ultra cool minimal vibes shone through. Nestled in the beautiful Cheshire village of Hale, was this Aladdin's cave of high end, beautifully curated fashion and homeware. 

This little gem was courtesy of the store's owner, the lovely Hari. With a background in fashion and an incredible eye for interior design, she has put her heart and soul into creating a luxurious collection of clothing, accessories and homeware; with pieces that would be at home in larger high end designer department store, she has managed to bring a friendly, welcoming and villagey feel to the shop. You can tell Hari knows fashion. Every piece is not only current, but also classic. With designers such as Etre Cecile and Elizabeth and James, Hari has selected pieces that you can treasure forever and ever!

It was a true joy to visit last week, and I genuinely couldn't stop taking photos. Every corner was pure delight! From the scrumptious pink chairs, to the art on the wall (painted by her dad!), Basil & Bea is definitely worth a visit. It was great to meet a girl boss like Hari, who was not only lovely, but also driven and passionate about all things fashion and design.

For more information, you can find out more about Basil & Bea here.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Candy Stripes

British summertime; ahh the magical, mysterious season that somehow seems to last exactly one week in June and then is gone forever. Okay, so maybe I'm being dramatic, but up North, especially in my beautiful city of Manchester, we tend to get the rough end of the deal. Being a fashion blogger in summer is basically being a European blogger in early Autumn. You need layers, waterproof shoes and the odd coat.

But, as luck would have it, last month had a summery day - my immediate reaction was to obviously shoot some summer looks (the fun world of a blogger!) so I whipped out my super summer Zara 'candy stripe' dress and got out my camera!

Ok; so gotta be honest, this is a tad 'out there' for me. But I've realised that my style has changed so much since I started blogging 3 years ago. Not only have I become older, I've also become more confident in my style. I see high fashion looks and want to create them. I did get funny looks when wearing this dress in my little peak district village, but you know what, I felt great! The flirty feminine silhouette made me feel like I should have been in St Tropez, sipping a cocktail on a yacht (I can dream...). It's floaty and this disguises every lump and bump going; perfect.

I kept the accessories simple and chic; with my absolute dream J.W Anderson pierce bag and some simple black mules. This bag was a big investment, but I know I will treasure is for years to come (watch it be on ebay in 3 months haha!). It immediately 'designers up' a look, and considering this dress was under £50, I think it works quite well! 

Bag: J.W Anderson // Dress: Zara (similar) // Shoes: New Look

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Marketplace Bolton - Part Two

So after my amazing first visit to the wonderful Marketplace Bolton (my friends keep asking me about it, and are all dying to go!) - I spent the second weekend hunting out my top SS17 picks from the stores in the centre. As I mentioned, there is A LOT of choice. Zara, H&M, Warehouse, River Island and New Look just to name a few of my faves; so I knew I would have a hard choice to select just a few looks.

This week, I took my personal photographer (AKA Mus) so I managed to get a few shots of in and around the centre, and yes, more of that beautiful architecture! 

Outside the beautiful Marketplace's original door!
Dress - New Look 
Top - Dorothy Perkins @ Debenhams 
I started off in Debenhams, which I'd forgotten just how much choice you actually get in there! I went from this beautiful off the shoulder top from Dorothy Perkins, to shoes from Kurt Geiger and bags from Jasper Conran; all in one under one roof! They also had lots of fab offers, including 20% off selected bags, including the one on this blog (my absolute fave!). Although we're well into August, there is still lots of time to get some summer florals into your wardrobe. I'm not a massive fan of patterns, but this season, florals have been EVERYWHERE, so I finally gave in and chose this red number. Perfect with mom jeans or tucked in to a pair of skinnies, this top is perfect for summer evenings!

Taking a break in the airy hidden spaces in the centre.
Top - River Island 
Tope and Shoes - Next 
I also headed to Next, who I have had the pleasure of working with throughout my blogging career. I'd not been in for a while, so couldn't wait to get my hands on some new summer pieces. After long deliberation (serious first world problems here) I went with this beautiful eyelet detail blouse and some classic animal print flats. Both are perfect for right now, but can also transition in to late September, when we always get a little Indian summer!

Shoes - KG @ Debenhams 
Bracelet - Earnest Jones 
Bag - Julian MacDonald @ Debenhams 
Accessories were next on my list, and I found endless choices all over the centre. I decided to go for something that although is definitely on trend now, will also last you for years to come; this perfect Julian MacDonald black chain detailed bag - IN LOVE. It definitely has Chanel vibes, but this babe was under £50 - YES! I also popped in to Ernest Jones for some  jewellery inspiration. I could have been there for hours; the diamonds were to die for, Mus was getting worried! 

Being interview by Bolton FM!
The only place in the UK where 4 red phone boxes are all stood together - thanks Cathy for being the perfect tour guide!
As well as shopping, having a cheeky Nando's (in the poshest Nando's ever!) and learning about the fantastic events coming up at the centre; I was also interview by Bolton FM. This was very nerve-wracking, yet exciting and I felt honoured to be thought of as interview worthy! I genuinely had such a lovely few days with the lovely people at the centre, and felt like part of the family. In fact, Mus and I are heading back for the August Bank Holiday weekend for their food festival, which promises to be an incredible event! Thank you to everyone who made my time there warm and welcoming; see you all soon!

For more information about Marketplace Bolton, you can find all you need here!

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