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

Monday, 31 March 2014

THE #TMI Tag

We used to do these as simple emails but it’s been a while so a blog post tag sounds like a good idea. Deep breath, and in we goes #BrutalHonesty!

1. What are you wearing?  Really?  Grey joggin bottoms, a maroon top and my father Christmas slippers.

2: Ever been in love? Properly? Yes once, puppy love? Twice!

3: Ever had a terrible breakup? Yeah cos most break ups are all sunshine and ice-cream! 
My first was pretty crappy, got sent home from my job (shop assistant) three days in a row for sitting on the floor and crying in front of customers.  Apparently being served by a snotty dribbly wreck of a girl doesn’t make for a pleasant retail experience, who knew?

4: How tall are you? 5’4 ish

I Like New York
 5: How much do you weigh? 10 stone something I think, I don’t believe in scales (not fish scales, those are real enough) 

6: Any tattoos? Yes my first one:  see blog post here…

7: Any piercings? Two lobe piercings on each ear and a belly button piercing that doesn’t get out as much as it used to.

8: OTP? I’m old so I had to look this up, (it’s One true Pairing, meaning your favourite combination of characters/couple in the 2 dimensional world
) erm erm Sheldon and Amy from Big Bang Theory maybe?


9: Favourite Show? Isn’t this like choosing a favourite child?  Sherlock, Big Bang Theory, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Sex and the City, Real Housewives of BH (I’ll just leave now shall I?) Vampire Diaries, the list is endless.

10: Favourite bands? Paramore, Haim are pretty cool, Lissie, Lana Del Rey (I know not a band but music none the less).  Kings of Leon and while I am new to them, am pretty stoked about seeing Pearl jam in July! Music in general is fab.

11: Something you miss? Safe travel.
I like the Sea
12: Favourite song? Oh COME ON! You may as well ask if I want to cut off my right or left arm? Grrrrr This is what makes us girls or Ride by Lana Del Rey, Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve, Unfinished Symphony by Massive attack. 

13: How old are you? 37

14: Zodiac sign? Capricorn

15: Quality you look for in a partner? Loyalty and comedy.

16: Favourite Quote? Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, look it up and watch the film, it’s a classic.

17: Favourite actor? Ryan (Gosling or Reynolds) or Sandra Bullock.

18: Favourite colour? Turquoise or purple.

19: Loud music or soft? Both and often, see answer 10.

20: Where do you go when you’re sad? My bed, shopping, for a bike ride, sometimes just the loo. Anywhere to be alone really.

21: How long does it take you to shower? Wow really?  #WhyThisQuestion? Well ok around 10/15 mins.

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Between 20 mins and 3hrs depending on where I am going and what I can be bothered to organise myself into.  Style has become something I think more of as I’ve gotten older.  I used to hang around in my school uniform all evening when I had better things to do with my time (like climb trees or kiss boys) then worry about what to wear.
I Like Autumn
23: Ever been in a physical fight? Nope and I would be a massive wussbag if I ever found myself in that position I’m sure.

24: Turn on? Physical? Strong arms, smile, nice eyes. Personality? Integrity, humour, non-hypocrisy
.
25: Turn off? Physical? Bad breath.  Personality? Being overly into their own looks, bullies (physical or verbal, they both suck) ignorance, mean-spirited people that can’t be happy for others.

26: The reason I joined Blogger? I like the answer I saw on a different one of these recently ‘wanted to do a brain sneeze on the internet’! Basically I wanted to be able to write what I want when I wanted.  

27: Fears? Not being understood, people hating my writing or not finding it funny/heart-warming etc. my husband dying horribly in a massive car crash, flying isn’t a bowl of cherries for me either, there’s quite a few!

28: Last thing that made you cry? An (ongoing) problem with a ‘friend’ got to me.

29: Last time you said you loved someone? Last night. To my husband, he was quite surprised I can tell you.

30: Meaning behind your Blogger Name? I wanted it to represent something that’s integral to being me.  I have two sisters (guess where abouts I was born?).

31: Last book you read? Set This House in order by Matt Ruff, its bloody good!

32: The book you’re currently reading? None, I usually get disappointed quickly after a really good read so I take a little break.

33: Last show you watched? True Detective.

34: Last person you talked to on the phone? Some dude who ordered a book that hasn’t shown up.

35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted? One the said sisters (in q30). She’s really rather marvellous at being supportive and I’m very lucky she’s related to me!

36: Favourite food? Ooh this could take a while, hang on no it won’t, its cheese.  Any kind of cheese.  Cheese is the food of the Gods.

37: Place you want to visit? More of Italy, Canada and USA

38: Last place you were? Work.

39: Do you have a crush? Constantly, but only on famous (therefore not real) people!

40: Last time you kissed someone? My husband this morning.
 
41: Last time you were insulted? When that ‘friend’ I was talking about before (see q28) ignored my trying to sort things and has since gone a bit postal on me.

42: Favourite flavour of sweet? Caramel or butterscotch.

43: What instruments do you play? I used to play the recorder in school and can hit the triangle with pin-point accuracy.  

44: Favourite piece of jewellery? My diamond earrings from my sisters or wedding/engagement rings.

45: Last sport you played? Does Pilates count?  If not probably rounder’s, and probably when I was in school.

46: Last song you sang? Mean by Taylor Swift or one of the new ones on the Lissie album.

47: Favourite chat up line? Can I have your cold? 

48: Have you ever used it? No, and it wasn’t said to me, was said to a friend by the man that was to be her husband.  They have a baby on the way now, it’s all fairy-tale endings in my world!

49: Last time you hung out with anyone? Not counting the man that I vowed to spend my life hanging out with, at a gig (Band of Skulls)  in London.

50: Who should answer these questions next? I’m going to leave this as an open tag :) If you read this you are tagged. Yes, you.

If you’ve been tagged you must complete all the questions and then tag someone or someone’s if you please. To let them know that they have been tagged please leave them a note on their most recent post to go to your blog to find out what to do.

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Carrie on - A review of the Nordstrom SJP Shoe Collection


As Carrie, the main character in Sex and the City, she had a serious shoe collection/addiction. So it was sort of a no-brainer for Sarah Jessica Parker (she of the sparkling eye and uncanny ability to not just run in heels but do so as if a bear was after her) to have her own shoe collection here in the real world. 

And as it's been nearly a month since the release of the line sold exclusively at Nordstrom, those of us that spent several fashion filled years with Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda have had a chance to look them over, so I figured it was time for a proper shoe review.  Just what are shoes designed by the woman who played the greatest lover of footwear since Imelda Marcos (except way nicer!) like?

First the really good news is they come in half sizes which for me especially is a Godsend. SJP and her co-creator, Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus III have included an array of colours, fabrics and fastenings to the 25 designs all of which are made in Italy from high quality leathers and materials.  Pretty much anyone that loves shoes is likely to fall for at least one pair.

Straight away my favourite was the Diana named after our own fair queen of people's hearts as it has that patent beauty I desire as much now as I did when I was 10, shall I never grow up?  The angled strap gives this shoe a bit more edge than your average Mary Jane, it's a classic in the making.


Next on my want list is the Bobbie.  Straight up Springtime, that mint colour will brighten any wardrobe.  It's available in Coral as well and will (I think) look great with pastel or neutral outfits.  This one screams 'I'm a girl, Isn't it great?'.

Now the not so good news, the price.  While it's not as cha-ching as a Louboutin tag, its not far off, and paying £125.33 for a flip flop is not something I'm (nor indeed should you be) want to do.  And if you are in the UK there's yet more woes as the tax is pretty hefty:
Shipping:GBP 23.69
Duties & Taxes:GBP 97.29

There are a couple of disappoints in the collection as well.  The Maud just didn't float my boat at all and I fear the less graceful of us (i.e. moi) would find our tootsies squeezed uncomfortably between the gaps of the Carrie 'only just' capped pump.



Overall though, as a first collection for shoe lovers out there it's quite exciting.  Yes, a shoe collection can be genuinely exciting... yes it can....don't argue ;op

And there are some sparkling examples of dainty and delicate design. A foot fetish fiesta if you will that has me edging ever closer to hitting the 'Add to shopping basket' button.  Maybe closer to payday!

Images kindly supplied kindly by Nordstrom Meida Press Release
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Monday, 17 March 2014

Tiers of Joy! - Afternoon Tea Time

Selection of Cakes
Growing up in the 90’s meant that, for me at least, afternoon tea was a non-existent pastime.  I’m not sure who first decided ‘freshly made sandwiches, little cakes, tea and champagne? yuck!’ but they affected a whole set of 20 something’s who balked at the sight of a china cup.   Luckily these past few years we’ve realised sitting in beautiful surroundings eating beautiful things is really rather fabulous and many top notch hotels offer just such an experience. One that I had been particularly hankering after was The Grove (near Watford) and the other weekend I got to go.

First things first, yes I had to work out what to wear.  Luckily ever faithful ASOS was on hand.  With with my McQueen bag and Manolo Blahnik shoes (sorry, promise the namedropping will cease now) I was good to go.

Passing grand tree-like chandeliers with fairy lights emitting from the branch ends and plush furniture fit for Marie Antoinette, we were lead to our seats and given the extensive tea menu.  And it just got better from there on, the sandwiches were so dainty and cute that you didn’t realise you’d just wolfed down about half a loaf until your stomach told you so.  

And they Just.  
Kept.  
Coming.  

No matter how many we gorged the waitress was always on hand every few minutes tempting us with another batch.
Ever refilling plates of treats

When we eventually were done with the savouries, sweets were given our full attention.  Bite size chocolate cakes, mini red velvets, banana and walnut slices, cream cakes even tiny trifles were all beautifully presented.  Two pots of palate cleansing Jasmine tea and two glasses of champagne later we were suitably stuffed, and hadn’t even considered the scones.  Here the staff came to our rescue by packaging them up (with a few extra cakes) to take away with us.

Speaking of which, I have to mention how lovely the staff were, personable yet professional they really made us feel at home. Even when I, ever so ungracefully, FULL ON choked on the mini trifle, they were quick to respond and eager to help.  You can imagine the scene can’t you, a piano gently tinkling in the background, several tables of ladies happily enjoying their time and me retching away like an old hag with bronchitis in the background, tranquil no? It’s a credit to the ladies that served us that they retrieved water for me whilst keeping the other diners satisfied, minimising my embarrassment.

Cheers!
The staff at the bar, where we had yet more champagne, were equally kind and attentive.  Plus they had that cheeky repartee which made the whole event one of the nicest experiences of my adult life.  I’d go back in a flash - if they’d have me that is.  I may need to forewarn them so they can have the first aid on hand in case I go into convulsions again!
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Cometh the Style, Cometh the Women

As any of you that have read my tweets (@theemiddlesis) recently will testify I have, for some time now, been harping on about something called Cambridge Style Week.  This event which had its first unveiling last year was a sharp gasp of clean air to the fashion and style concious Cambridge set, and was such a succes it's back for more.

This time around Cambridge Style Week occurs the same week as Vogue Fest (so bang on trend!).  Nicky Shepard, the event organiser, graciously agreed to answer a few buring questions I had about style, the event and how the fashion industry is changing...

1.So how did CSW come to be?
NS: Myself and my two co-founders had thought that because Cambridge has such a great art culture and wonderful boutiques that it needed a fashion week to showcase it.  So we made one!

2. What types of businesses are being included this time around? 
NS: We have women’s wear, men’s wear, children’s clothes, Lingerie, Swimwear, PJ’s & Loungewear as well as Shoes, Bags, Glasses and jewellery!

3. Any named brands we might recognise?
NS: Modish, Baska, Boudoir Femme, Cuckoo Clothing, Hobbs, LK Bennett, French Connection, John Lewis, Debenhams, Prohibido, Podorak, Russell and Bromley, Rigby and Pellar  - and many more!

4. If you could pick one designer or brand that you think will be coming into their own this year that is featured in CSW, who or what would that be?
NS: Asia Prusinowska of PAYSA Wearable Art.  She was spotted as a student last year at CSW and off the back of the coverage of her dress was invited to show in Amsterdam.  She’s had a whirlwind year, including showing at LFW a few weeks ago, and is ready to show with us in a few weeks. She is definitely one to watch!

5. How would you say that Cambridge Style week compares with the four main fashion weeks?
NS: We seem to be moving towards showcasing new and emerging designers.  As well as showing collections from the Cambridge School of Art’s Fashion Design course, we are showing other designers who are new to the UK.  Also, many of the boutiques in the city have new to the UK designs, and we are pleased to be showing those as well.

6. Do you think there is room for more Style and Fashion businesses in Cambridge?

NS: Yes, definitely.  That is what we are here to  do, I’d like to see CSW help to drive the economy in Cambridge to support more style and fashion related businesses.  I’d love to see more of the Fashion Design students able to stay in the city and find work in the industry. There is room for some of the big producers to set up here as well.

7. Do you think it is important that each city has its own Fashion/Style week?
NS: I think it is important that Fashion and Style are accessible to ‘regular’ people.  (Amen to that I say!) We are a bit different to LFW because we are customer facing, we are about what is immediate in the next season, and what we can buy straight away.  That personal and immediate interface with the retailer is really important, and it empowers stylish women to take control of their own look.

8. What word would you say best represents Cambridge Style?
NS: Individuality!  You just have to look around the city to know that people will dress the way they want to, but that they also want to look good. That is what CSW is about, helping people to find their personal style.

9. How would you respond to those that say the business of Fashion is elitist?
NS: It has been.  I think the fashion industry is going through a big change at the moment.  Fashion Bloggers and social media have meant that the industry has to change.  Which it is, but slowly.  But I also think that in the clothes we wear, there is more than ever a range of prices and many of the high-street shops have a good range of affordable trends.

10. Would you say style is something you can learn or does it need to be something you are born with?
NS: It is definitely something you can learn!  I’ve been working with Suzie Rice from Style Heaven to learn to dress in a way that reflects who I really am.  I think there are lots of things that Stylists know that if we learned them at school we’d be much happier.  I can’t believe the difference it has made to learn a few tips.  Style is about reflecting who you are inside.  It isn’t about wearing a colour because it is on-trend, it is about knowing what works for you, and putting the trends to work for you! I do believe that if a women feels like she looks good, then she is more likely to go out and change the world!

What a quote to end on! With free wi-fi at the University Arms Hotel (where Style week will be held) and the Tweetwall, which means a live twitter-feed will be available on screens and on the Cambridge Style Week website as well, the event is sure to be a highly exciting time for any attendees.

Look out for my blogs on the weekend shows in a few weeks time, A smorgasbord of style awaits us!
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Monday, 10 March 2014

Style is as Style does...

So all these red carpets (and judging of what is worn on said red carpet) has me thinking about style, the four major fashion weeks have come to a close but there are still many other events in other cities.  Vogue Fest for one and (more locally for me at least) Cambridge Style Week both fall at the end of March as well as a myriad of smaller fashion weeks splattered throughout the year.  These events bring forward people that give a lot of thought to what they wear and I wanted to know what the people who are most important in the world of fashion have to say about style.  Not the Anna Wintours or Cara Delevingne's but the real go-to guys in the fashion world, you lot! And it seems many of you have rather a lot of beautiful quotes about it...

@KrisEvilCupcake (twitter name not her real name, I suspect) thinks Style is 'particular features of your outfit that make you stand out from others, a particular way you dress/look' while Somdyuti Datta Ray a student and blogger at www.stilettosandtequila.wordpress.com says 'to me, style is how you interpret something and add your own touch to it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, or their personal style in this case. It's just how your perceive it'.

Bloggers and business women alike feel similarly, Lavinia E (a fashion writer at the website http://thegirlwiththepaintedpout.blogspot.co.uk/) thinks 'style is how you interpret each piece and trend in your own unique way'.  The idea that style is subjective is true to Chloe Johnston, Founder at CJ Tours LLC as well 'Style is the way in which you present yourself, it embodies your confidence, and helps express your personality'.  
CJ Tours - CJ Tours LLC

I remember working in a shop many years ago and the workers and owners were very much lead by the latest trends.  Thankfully now there are managers like Allison Richman from http://www.bebe.com who thinks 'Style really is just doing what you want. Embracing your interests and perspectives and just meshing it all together in how you present yourself. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you, it's basically expressing yourself in a form that other people can see'.

Whilst having a personal style is a relatively new concept to me and I would never have allowed others opinions to change what I wore, its comforting to know that in this 20-teenage the attitude to fashion and style is so much more open and freeing than I remember.  Stylistas of tomorrow have a lot to look forward to.

Look out for an interview with Nicky Shephard, Event Organiser of Cambridge Style Week coming soon!
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Monday, 3 March 2014

Its only the Flippin' Oscars!

Seriously, the red carpet season is over already? Like a bad boyfriend it saunters in after making us wait For. Ever, bestows a couple of gifts upon us (Lupita Nyong'o) and then just buggers off!  No I Love you, no forwarding address, just disappears leaving us both exhilarated and a little lonely. No matter, we will struggle on, however, just before we go to pastures new there is time for a look at The Carpet of Red Carpets. First lets get the men out of the way...

Gotta mention the white from Ryan Seacrest and Jared Leto.  Leto doing his best buddy Christ from Dogma (did you know he was 42? Me either!)  Then there's Pharrel, not in white but having such a laugh with everything he wears (shorts, hats, who cares wear what you want eh Phar?) So onto the ladies...

The Meh's
So you can't always get it right and these guys didn't really deliver (for me anyway)



Lupita Nyong'o - Prada
While the colour is lovely, the headband works and she seems like such a sweetie, the plunging front just does nothing for her.  Unfortunately her chest is just too manly to pull it off, if she had kept the Ralph Lauren Golden Globes outfit for tonight she'd have, hands down, been Best Dressed.  Totally glad she won the Oscar though!

Elsa Pataky Elie Saab
It's not just me is it, this is a bit weird right? while I applaud her bravery and I love the colour, with the likes of Ms Wilde also on the carpet and also pregnant it just doesn't measure up.

Viola Davis - Escada
Ugh, don't you just hate it when you like a person and want them to look so cool and then they come out on the red carpet and its like, oh.  It's just not my cup of tea, if she likes it then fair enough but I'm a  little disappointed.

The Goodies
 Olivia Wilde, Valentino
How gorgeous is she! 7 months up the duff and still looking so beautiful.  Love her eye makeup, the hair, that jewellery, the pocket! its all just 100% knock out.

Charlize Theron - Dior
This has such a great silhouette and, being a model before an actress, she can make anything look good but the see through straps are a little off putting, I'd have loved a bit more bling there instead of that odd 'illusion' strap. Damn that's a hot necklace though!

Emma Watson - Vera Wang
Hot hot hot, Obviously it's the face that makes this and even the most simple gown is gonna look good on this girl.   Love that she did a high neckline and bucked the 'flesh showing' trend.

Jennifer Lawrence - Dior
While I am tears BORED of Dior on Law (ooh I just realised that rhymes, ha!) this is a great dress on her.  The hair is a little too Jane Fonda for me but word to the wise, THIS it how you wear peplum.

Sandra Bullock Alexander McQueen
Well this is just perfect.  It fits so well and she really knows what suits her, she is my idol and looks gorgeous.  She would have been best dressed but for one girl who looked damn hot and actually took a little risk so just pipped her to the post...

Kate Hudson - Atelier Versace
Kate hit the nail right slap bang on the head with this old Hollywood gown which is perfectly tailored.  She's got the right hair style too.  I am totally obsessed with capes so this is, for sure BEST DRESSED.

Liza Minelli - Halston
OK not to slag off a legend but this isn't great is it?  There was a small nip slip and its all a bit too pyjamas, but kudos for matching her hair stripe to her outfit colour.  For everything else however its a WORST DRESSED.

So that's it. Red Carpets. Done!  what the heck am I going to blog about now? (I'll find something don't you worry!)

All images are from Vogue except the Just Jared (that you can see) and Leto/Seacreast which is E! Online.

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