The Middle Sister

The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Favourite Fashion Designer, A Fantasy post

I’ve been an Alexander McQueen fan since I first discovered that not everyone has to buy their clothes from the high street. I've read his biographies - Blood Beneath the Skin being my favourite -  and my first piece of designer clothing was one of his scarves*.  I’ve worked my way up to owning a few more items (yet more scarves, boots and a bag) and almost wept at the wonderfully curatored Savage Beauty when it came to the V&A.

But recently, I’ve found some of McQueens' offerings a little lacklustre and dare as say it bland?  Obviously with Sarah Barton at the helm things were bound to change but unfortunately not to my liking, something I'm sure she's oh-so-cut-up about. It seems I’m in the market for a new fantasy favourite designer**

Not sure where to look I googled 'who is my favourite new designer'.  As luck would have it I stumbled across this quiz on Who What Wear and decided to see what they thought.  Just a few short questions later (Daphne Guinness is my style icon, yes I do hate Birkenstocks and yes I can picture myself saying ‘I don’t think there is ever a wrong time for a polka-dot’***) and volia! I was assigned... Tom Ford.
Now obviously I know of Tom.  He has burn your retina beauty...


although is a 'tad' gay.


but to be honest I hadn’t spent much time studying his designs all that much, so off I popped to Net-a-porter for a quick introduction and the first thing I saw was this:
A one-shoulder cashmere and silk-blend sweater! Why it's the exact top I had been searching for since last winter… and at £1,120 it's only a mere £1000 out of my price range...


Oh well! 

Tom’s style seems, to me, to be edgier than Victoria Beckham, less in your face than Jean Paul Gaultier and more chic than…. any/everyone else.  

After the epic Selfridges trip I took with my style soul sister (which you may well hear more of in the coming months) the shopping beast inside has well and trying awoken.  Looks like me and my bank balance are in serious trouble!

Take the test and let me know which designer you favour?

*Yes it does count as clothing...Yes it does. Because I say so! 
** Fantasy because I’m still an administrator/trainee photographer and my monthly salary fluctuates between 'can just about afford a magazine that shows me pictures of designer shoes' to 'could maybe afford a pair of designer shoes if I don’t pay any other bills, eat nothing and sell a kidney'.
*** Although come to think of it, I was thinking of a polka dance, not a polka dot… Anyway!

Gifs from Giphy,
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Monday, 13 March 2017

Fashion Week, Norwich

Last week was a lesson in powering on through. 

After suffering from a virus that left me thinking my brain was trying to escape through my skull by bashing itself against the inside of my cranium* every time I stood up, on Thursday I limped my way to Norwich.  I had won a competition to be one of the photographers for their Fashion Week and to say I was nervous/not feeling in tip top condition would be an understatement.  However I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity to try two genres of photography I had yet to explore, Portrait and Fashion.


Greeted by the House photographer, the completely chilled not-at-all-lovey Paul John Bayfield wasted no time in making us feel comfortable and included. He lead us backstage and told us to get stuck in where we snapped away at models in various states of perfection and wearing more Charlotte Tilbury make-up than you might see available to purchase in Selfridges. 




 This was a proper butterfly in the stomach moment with the anticipation and excitement building as the models went from every day lovely to sparkly eyed vixens.  Some of the girls has exquisite faces, you know you’re in the presence of real beauty** when even the Lightroom's 'clarity' setting reveals not one wrinkle! 


Being competition winners meant we received special status and were basically allowed to run a muck in all areas and Paul was on hand to give advice and guidance throughout the process.  He even seemed a little jealous of our freedom as he encouraged us to try different angles, look for prop images and generally lark about.  I'm pretty sure we carried out his instructions beautifully. I'm an AWESOME larker!



For the ‘real’ show the music and lights became more intense and the spot we picked in photographers stand or ‘pit’ proved to be of vital importance.  Luckily I managed to get some decent images even if I do say so myself.



 

With the first show over, an eerily quiet period ensued.  The buzz of the lights and chatter of people disappeared as they foraged the Norwich streets for food or just enjoy a little downtime.  But it all revved back up again with a few extra gears for the final show of the night.  Again Paul was on hand to ensure we were OK when some of the other photographers that arrived seemed a little put out by our presence.  


I took this opportunity to try a few experimental shots and whilst the results weren’t quite as good as I hoped, I loved seeing the show from a different angle.  Like a kid watching their parent’s party from the staircase this view was special, if only to me.  To be honest, I preferred shooting the slightly more obscure shots to those of the actual show, with one possible exception...


Hard life eh?

*by that I mean I had a headache
**by that I mean youth

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Friday, 3 March 2017

Embracing International Women’s Day

Fuuuuuuck its March already!  



March means many things to me. It’s when I really start hunting for signs of Spring, decide which Easter egg I’m getting* and on the 8th day of the month celebrate International Woman’s Day.

Here’s where I admit to being a bad feminist and say I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to IWD for many years. Obviously I laughed at how hard Richard K Herring had to work at advising twittards there was an International Mans Day (November 19th) when they got all bejiggedy about how unfair it is but that's it.

However this year with the rise of Trump and the metric fuck-ton of intolerance that followed I wanted to dedicate a post to the day. Because there are incredible women everywhere, I mean take Ashima Shiraishi**, the first women to climb a mountain with the cutting edge grade of V15.  From what I can gather V15 means its particularly difficult and can take several days.  She’s also the youngest ever to achieve a climb this tricky, did I not mention that she’s only 15?

This year IWD has a campaign #BeBoldForChange highlighting five ways we can all work on equality.  Each area has several additional aims we can pledge to do, being an awkward sort I’ve decided to pick and choose from each of the five and give them all a go.  

To be honest I've no idea how I'll do but something am definitely up for is going to see Embrace at the Light Cinema on 8th March.  This documentary follows Taryn Brumfitt exploring the global issue of body loathing.  


I feel lucky to say that I honestly haven’t hated my body since I was a teenager, however with 91% of women feeling differently this is an insanely huge issue. It seems learning to love your body is quite the struggle especially as we get older and it’s no coincidence that I’m thinking more about this issue as I hit a particularly big birthday in January.

I'm of the opinion if we spent half as much time learning to accept ourselves AND our bodies as we do trying to look younger or achieve perfection we’d be a great deal happier*** and a damn sight richer!  

There are still spaces left for this event so if you want to come along we’d love to have you.

Can you relate to these issues?
What are you doing for International Women’s Day?



*may have sampled a few of those already, purely for research purposes you understand
**slight change of subject alert
***not exactly a ground breaking thought but I’m pretty sure that’s not what you come here for! 



Gifts from Gify
Embrace Trailer from YouTube

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Review: Bould Brothers Coffee House

I'm not an expert at many things but one thing I do know is what a blogger or freelancer wants from their coffee houses, Cambridge's coffee houses to be specific. So I'm writing a series of posts where you can find out the cool, the quirks and the que? aspects of our independent coffee connoisseurs.  What better place to start than the newest coffee kid on the block,  Bould Brothers.


 The Cool
  • Coffee and conversation is the boy's motto and they seem to take this quite to heart.  They are so enthusiastic, naturally discussing the ins and outs of life with everyone they come in contact with.
  • The decor has all the charm of an English tea room with the chic metropolitan finishing touches you'd expect from a modern Cambridge establishment.  
  • They have a loyalty reward card, always a plus!
  • The coffee itself is smooth and delicately flavoured... or it was when I visited.  I don't doubt if you wanted something a little more slap-you-in-the-face-fantastic they'd be only to happy to offer recommendations for more intense loving taste buds. 
  • Their barista and latte skills are top notch, that coupled together with the decor means its a very instagramable place.
  • Their logo, a clever black and white silhouette showing the outline of 2 men (the brothers themselves I believe), is sleek and understated.  Similar to those optical illusion images that were popular way back when.
The Quirks
  • The lamps upstairs have a rustic, vintage look but for my requirements are too low.  When I banged my head sitting down (and standing up) I got empathetic smiles from the other diners.  A quick straw poll of each of the tables concluded every one of them had also banged their heads at least once, possibly every time, they stood up.  
The Que? 
  • A pet hate of mine is getting lattes in a glass rather than a cup.  I can't help feeling somewhat short changed when this happens as the coffee seems to cool more quickly and it looks as if you don't get as much. 
  • An unfortunate interjection from a customer did sour my appetite for a return visit, not something you can blame the boys for but unwanted comments or pompous interruptions do not exactly give you the warm and fuzzies!  
  • The wifi is weak, seriously so and at the time of posting their website seems to be having a few issues. While it works from certain smart phones, there are some issues from their google search and for pc users*. They may well be fixing this as I write** however while I have contacted them find out and ask a few questions getting a reply is proving tricky.
  • They don't seem to respond all that quickly and they don't have a twitter account.  I find twitter invaluable when it comes to corresponding with brands and bloggers alike so this is a little surprising to me.  
A poll I carried out (on twitter) inspired by Bould Brothers decision to forgo this platform showed 80% of those that responded use twitter for business either 'all the time' or 'quite a bit'.  Novi, another coffee house in Cambridge, advised 'we like to be where our customers are'***.
These issues, I believe, could well be teething problems and the friendly attitude and beautiful latte art I received on my visit means I'll likely give them a second chance to make a first impression.


I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

*Its not just my pc before you ask, I've had outside confirmation!
**they are! not sure if this is cos they have seen this or just noticed by themselves!
** Now thats a respnse that smacks of common sense. 

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Monday, 13 February 2017

Valentines Round Up

Gah! 
So Valentines Day is tomorrow which means its Galentines Day today.  A day to celebrate your friends and buy yourself nice things.



Obviously tomorrow is a day we all hope to get nice thing from other people. On the off chance your beau forgot, or was just plain lazy or didn't think about getting anything until this very second (rude!) here are a few ideas I had for presents from around Cambridge:
Byard Art - Aldona Juska
Country Traditionals
Bowns - Tara Jarmon

Burwash Manor - Manor Florist
You're Welcome!

Gif from Gify
Images from @TheeMiddleSister
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