The Middle Sister

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

Monday, 22 August 2016

Event Write up - Emily & Fin at Lilac Rose

Before I went on holiday* I was lucky enough to have been invited to an event at Lilac Rose for Emily & Fin’s latest range (as well as a sneak peak at their next season!)  Lilac Rose is featured highly on Independent Cambridge‘s Instagram site** and it’s one of my favourite shops to browse for beautiful things.  

As well as jewellery and gifts they sell some of the cutest clothes on the high street and my wardrobe gains another dress every time I can afford it.  Established in 2002 Emily & Fin started in Portobello Market and to my mind look to specialise in patterned, cutesy prints.  Feminine cuts with Peter Pan collars and flatteringly low backed dresses feature fairly heavily, its all very afternoon tea, punting on the Cambs or meeting the parents.  Perfect for Cambridge!

The Gorgeous ClashingTime modelling for Emily & Fin
Their website advises ‘we aim to work alongside like-minded businesses; visiting them regularly in order to build strong working relationships and guarantee best practice of manufacture and care’. Being environmentally friendly and trading fairly is high on my list of important aspects when I am thinking of brands so I love that Emily & Fin take this so seriously. 

I’ll admit to not being into clothes that are too busy and it’s taken me a good few years to be able to wear a pattern at all.  Ordinarily I would opt for block colours or nautical stripes if I’m feeling particularly outgoing. Recent months have seen me experiment more but some of Emily & Fin’s designs are a little too kitsch for my personal tastes.  I was however quite taken with a couple of their newer items.  I spotted a short, sparkly, black and silver jumper which would be bang on for those of us aiming for a 'Blake Lively-esq elegance with a hint of festive sparkle' look this season.  I'm really hoping it's stocked in Lilac Rose over the next few months.

Yes that's me and yes I've cut my own head off on purpose. 
The crowning glory though had to be their new fashion mac due out in January/February.  When I tried this on it was cut to perfection with a flattering length.  The pattern was strong but not in your face and would work a treat on one of those bright, cool days we may or may not get in the coming season.  The only drawbacks being it is by no means weatherproof, a little odd for a winter mac and the price is also a tad steep as well at 185 GBP.

Emily & Fin are a brand that whilst I may not have been completely blown away by, I am planning to keep an eye on the next time I visit Lilac Rose. It's been a few weeks so I feel a trip coming on soon.

What do you think of Emily & Fin’s Collection?

Some images kindly provided by Lilac Rose

*Arizona blogs coming soon I promise!
** which incidentally I take the images for and look after, #thankyouverymuch!


Monday, 25 July 2016

Love Bloggers. Hate Selfie Sticks!

Yeeeah, I think I hate the selfie stick. 

I first said this to my husband whilst a little inebriated and he, quite rightly, questioned the outburst.  Especially as being a blogger and huge Instagram fan I have partaken in the odd self portrait on occasion*.  However in the cold light of a sober morning I stand by my comment, not because I hate selfies but because I dislike how this particular piece of equipment has helped to alienate us from each other. Let me elaborate.

Take holidays.  There was a time when in a foreign country, if you wanted a memento to include yourself or your whole group in front of a well-known landmark you’d be forced to communicate with another member of the human race.  The search would start for a willing participant, one who makes eye contact and looked to be of a friendly demeanour.   You’d approach with open body language despite or maybe because you didn’t share their mother tongue. With a smile and a ‘would you mind’ gesture you'd hold out your camera - be it some old smart phone or an all singing and dancing, bells and whistles magic light box - and wait for the response.  More often than not they’d return the smile, take the camera and our photo quest would come to fruition**.

It meant we communed, if only for a few moments with those we seemingly had little in common with. On a personal note it made me more likely to return the favour when tourists came to my home town of Cambridge which they do, in droves! While technology can connect us it also divides.  We can visit places without interacting with people on even the most superficial of levels, we don’t even have to try and imagine the things that may connect us.  Isolation breeds fear and contempt so it’s a far from progressive situation we find ourselves in. Oddly, one place where selfie sticks aren't yet king is, believe it or not, blogging, more specifically Outfit Of The Day (or OOTD) posts. For that our friends become our comrades.

Generally, these entries are not something I include in my blog but I love to scroll through other people's imagining what I would do differently or what I love about the shots they have chosen.  My new found love of photography meant I jumped at the chance of spending the day with @Lifesacatwalk and @Clashingtime for their posts and am now only to eager to do more (so if you want a photographer to come along to your next one feel free to get in touch).

You wouldn’t get images like these with an extendable piece of metal attached to a phone and I most DEFINITELY wouldn’t have the friendships I now have with these brave, funny, interesting, intelligent, cool, daft and chic women.

Take that Selfie Stick!
A snail too, because #nature
*for 'occasion' read quite a lot
**Yes I know in a few instances said fruition would have been the camera getting pinched, but these instances were few and far between.  It never once happened to me.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Review: Cambridge School of Art Fashion Show - The Fusion

Recently I got my VIP invite to the Cambridge School of Art Graduate Fashion Show for the third year in a row, which makes me very happy.  These events are usually quite the peak into what tomorrow's inspirers envisage for the future of design.  Whilst previous shows were held in the futuristic surroundings of Duxford War Museum, Junction 2 for the 2016 show was quite the atmosphere shift… Cue small grumble, skip the next paragraph if you want to head straight to the review.

Unfortunately the welcome and organisation seemed a little lack luster in comparison to last year and gone were our, very much appreciated, canapes and bubbles on arrival. This may be my stomach talking but honestly by the time the show ended (8.30pm-ish) I was already aboard the starvation express, destination hangry town.  But enough with the moaning as I'm aware bloggers get a bad rap for this sort of thing and onto the important bits. Of the 17 designers these ones stood out to me (for different reasons):

Upgrade me
You know a designer is truly talented when you can see yourself in their clothes as with Pak Woei Chan’s garments.  As a Spring/Summer 2017 collection it had a theme but wasn’t all matchy-matchy, a real pet hate of mine.  The way the bright, vibrant outfits were sashayed down the runway showed a real understanding of form, material choice and what looks both individual and classy. My favourite collection.

A Touch of Stone
While the collection name doesn’t appeal* and I wont pretend they were all my cup of tea the outfit below really stood out. Atalya James' designs were warm and welcoming in soft, delicate colours. Perfect for that summer evening event when you want to be stylish and comfortable at the same time. 

An appealing collection for AW2017, chunky knit accessories featured heavily... in all senses of the word.  I felt the wear-ability had been sacrificed a little for impact though - how big a scarf do we need? I’ll chalk that up to over enthusiasm though, Amy-Louise Rowland is one I would look out for in a few years’ time when experience and (fingers crossed) success has shaved away the desire to stand out.  I’m looking forward to when she produces garments that aren’t so constricting.

The Other
As usual there is always one ‘controversial’ designer choosing to go down the see through path and it seems to be Micaela Mendes Sapinho’s turn.  Whilst it was at least in connection to the feminist issue and I salute the intention, I feel it’s getting a little tired. I’d honestly be more shocked if just once a runway show finished without my seeing the model’s mammaries!

Avant Garde
Hello feminine forward thinking inspiration.  Pastel patterns and ethereal materials flowed down the runway. True some were a little 'Hunger Games District 1' in style but the execution in Emma Pearce’s collection was flawless.  This is something I particularly appreciate, however the best thing about this collection was how exciting they were to view.  A delighted ripple reverberated around the auditorium from the first to the last offering.  Making us sit up and snap away on our *insert smart phone of choice* ready to upload onto *insert social media platform of choice* the minute the show was over.

Which it was far too quickly! in part I wonder if this was down to the model’s speed.  Some of them fair bolted down the runway, barely pausing at the end before stomping off again.  A little annoying as we wanted to study the clothes presented to us. Serious props go to Richard Tooley who had his work cut out for him to catch the images you see before you. 

Though it may not exactly sound like it,I really enjoy these shows and seeing what the students have worked so hard to produce is quite the privilege. If I get another invite next year I’ll remember to bring a packed lunch though!

Have you got a favourite?

All images provided by kind permission of Richard Tooley.

reminds me of the saying 'touching cloth' too much

Monday, 4 July 2016

Photography Post 2 (more nature shizzle)

OK so normal service will resume here shortly with a review of the Cambridge School of Art Fashion Show. However, for now it being Monday morning and the UK still reeling from the House of Cards style dip-shittery of the British politicians here's another nature walk post.  

And Breathe!


Thursday, 30 June 2016

Photography post 1

Just some images I took on a sunny day, back when things weren't quite so chaotic in my home country.

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