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

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ethel Who? - The Ely Craft and Food Fair

So yesterday I ventured to Ely (again) to another fair. This one named after a saint I believed to be called Ethel Drader. What Ethel did to deserve a sainthood I'm not sure.  Maybe she made baby grows for blind one legged orphaned elyites before making the ultimate sacrifice and throwing herself on a knitting needle in an act of penance.... or something.

Or not.  Turns out it's not Ethel Drader at all it's Æthelthryth.  According to Wikipedia it's the name for the Anglo-Saxon saint known, particularly in a religious context, as Etheldreda or Audrey. I prefer Audrey, more 5th Avenue less Eastenders.  Seems she was an East Anglian princess - think I know a few of those, myself included - Fenland and Northumbrian queen and Abbess of Ely.   Either way she's the reason a whole heap of indie food and craft people gathered together outside Ely Cathedral this weekend to sell wares of various quality and usefulness. 

One stall full of beautiful paintings was ideally placed in the sunshine.  Bearing the type of images you have to look twice at to make sure they're not photos, they wonderfully captured the cathedral, woodland walks and Narnian street lighting. They were truly special, unfortunately my morning Jassercise class had clouded my vocab somewhat and therefore I voiced these thoughts with the inimitable phrase "I like lampposts".   Its a good job my chosen past time doesn't rely on being able to string a sentence together, painting an eloquent picture to properly describe what I've seen....Anyway!  Sustenance was required and I knew exactly where to go, the Gourmet Brownie Co.  

One brownie down and we had time to pootle the garden paraphernalia and were my extremeties even vaguely green I'd have spent a fair amount of cash here.  As I kill more than a cultivate we headed towards the great number of jewellery stalls instead.  Tom Foolery Costume Jewellery, Little Tinkers and one selling natural english sea glass jewellery were all present. Their items ranged from cute and quirky to beautiful but out of our price range.  


 

Other stands included those selling silk scarves and bags as well as the ever-so-English tombola and coconut shy.  Here I pay homage to @GirlRunningLate's killer aim and arm for winning a coconut and thank her for donating it to me.  Some stalls were more difficult to categorise.  Like Stuff (guess what they sell?) and after a while we felt 'the pull' otherwise known as a desire to visit Cherry Hill Chocolates.  Now also home to the one and only Jacks Gelato, GirlRunningLate proved her worth again by buying me an ice cream.

Now that's a good friend!


SHARE:

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The O My Bag Interview.


Until fairly recently Eco-Friendly/Fair Trade items were all smocks and boho styles.  Then came the H&M conscious collection and websites like Reformation and Zady.  Finally responsible clothing started to become available to the ethically minded fashion forward chick.  Looking for an eco leather bag however is still both a joy and, if I'm honest, an absolute pain in the hole. 
   
So I was pretty happy when I came across O My Bag whilst in Boudior Femme recently.  These bags are a soft luxurious leather and feel velvety smooth, as if they have been yours for decades already.  My favourite has to be the red Sleazy Jane, (below) as I've not seen its like before.  With sustainablity and fair trade being a major priority for this 5 year old company I wanted to find out a bit more and approached founder Paulien Wesselink for an interview and review.    Full disclosure they weren't as generous as some other brands I've worked with (meaning they didn't gift a product to me for trial) so can't do a review as I usually would.  However due to O My Bag's mindset, them being kind enough to answer my questions and give a 10% discount to my readers with the code themiddlesister  I wanted to give you guys the chance to find out all about them for yourselves - Behold the O My Bag Interview.
Sleazy Jane Red €279
What first drew you to handbag design?
Let’s face it, everybody loves a great bag! But I could not find the perfect one! What is actually key for a great bag? It has to carry all your essentials, and be carried everywhere in every occasion and be matched with every outfit in your closet. In 2010, I travelled to India to visit leather manufacturers with these points in mind. I wanted to set up a social enterprise that would not only become profitable, but also give back by approaching business in a fair, sustainable manner.  

How long does the process take from conception to completion?
The whole process takes about seven months. The first month is about the designing process. Then the next month is about sampling and the trip to India where we make samples and we deal with the pricing. The next four months is the production phase, where all the bags are being produced in the fabrics and shipped to Amsterdam. 

Popsicle Canvas Tote Yellow €59
Tell me a little more about the eco-friendly aspects of your business?
The leather is produced in a tannery without any harmful chemicals like chromium PCP and Azo dyes, and is called eco-leather. This is due to a cleaner, safer tanning process and reduced carbon footprint.  O My Bag’s eco-leather process is double the EU standard, making it twice as progressive and healthier for people and the planet.  The people that make the bags get the opportunity to establish a better life for themselves. Every O My Bag is created with love in a safe & positive atmosphere. Here fair wages are paid, benefits are provided for, education and training are offered, and women and minorities are given equal-work opportunities. 


Where did you get your inspiration for your current collection?
The current collection is the Suit Up collection. I wanted to give the working consumer and the man a bit more attention. So the business people and the man were put in the sunlight. 

How do you decide who gets the honour of a product being named after them?
A lot of the products are named after people I know. It could be that the person gave the inspiration for the bag or had some idea for the design or a part in the process of the bag. The Betsy, Ally, Jazzy Jess and Lou’s big bag are all named after colleagues but the Dirty Harry and Sleazy Jane are just cheeky names that work well with the look of the bag.

How would you describe the typical O My Bag Customer?

The typical customer is the responsible shopper, who cares about the fair-trade and eco-leather aspect of O My Bag, but who also loves an amazing leather bag.  The typical customer would be a working woman in her late twenties or thirties who would take her O My Bag everywhere, from work to a night out! 


Ally Bag Maxi  €199
What’s coming up next season for O My Bag?
Next season is all about the canvas leather combination with the colourful shoppers, the weekender bag and the exciting circular bag.  There will also be more camel leather colours since the summer is coming! 



What do you think? you likey?


The above interview has been edited somewhat, basically due to a few of the answers being a tad long!

themiddlesister discount code is valid until 10th June 2015
SHARE:

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cool, Cute and Pitch Perfect 2 - Anna Kendrick

Look I like dudes.  My husband, the Winchester brothers, dudes yeah? …. that said there’s this woman I’m having serious girl crush feelings towards.    Yes I too am a victim of the Kendrick Crush. 
 

I couldn't even tell you when I first fell for Anna Kendrick.  I saw her in the twilight movies - yes I watched them all, yes I agree they got progressively worse - and thought her normal, cute even but not someone I would pay that much attention to.  It may have been Up in the air when I first found her to be believable as something other than a high school girl with a crush on vampires and the like and it was all uphill from there.  The reasons are several fold: 


Pitch Perfect – Both 1 AND 2
I love films which pretend to be normal chick flicks but are actually witty, clever and properly funny.  You know that difficult second movie usually falls flat having not enough of what we loved about the first one?  Well PP2 is the exact opposite of that! it may be the best attempted at a sequel ever. It’s so un-PC that it circles round to being right-on as if you get offended by the remarks made you’ve missed that they’re poking fun at people who really do think this way. In Pitch Perfect Anna, yes we’re on first name terms now, plays at being cute, cool and flawed all at the same time whilst making me laugh.

That poster stance

So she didn’t go all sexy for the promo, big whoop! So glad she didn’t and so glad we the people have backed her all the way.  Making feminism more about empowering women than slagging off men is always gonna get my vote.

Tweets
That she wanted to kill herself when Spencer Pratt favourited one of  her tweets makes my need to meet her all the greater.  





Here are a few others that sealed the deal for me - Seriously people, this shit should be taught in schools.






Style 
Not sure if this is her or a professional but I wanted every single item she wore on PP2.  Not literally obvs, other than that the costs would render me homeless (chic but homeless) they would most likely fit a doll before they fit me..... Anyway!

That little kilt is so cute I could die.
Cups
The girl has given us all something else to think about when it comes to ‘girls’ and ‘cups’ than that video.  A friend of mine has taught me the actions (to Anna’s cups not the other one!), now I just have to get my hands and voice to work at the same time.  More difficult than it looks….



Personality
Aside from the fact that Anna is so darn cute you could just put her in your pocket, she comes across as such a doll that I need to find out what’s in her DNA that others don’t possess. Experiments are required! Not put-her-in-a-box-cut-her-up experiments (oh would you look at that I took it some place weird!)  Just someone do a test or study on how you stay grounded and funny. Who in your life taught you to gain or keep that quality which means you're famous and successful yet people still want to drink beers with you? Was it all your own doing, in which case kudos but also HOW?!  

These are questions I may never get the answer to but at least I have @AnnaKendrick47 - See she doesn’t even need a ‘the real’ or anything in her twitter handle, content with being 47.  LOVE HER!

Just so's I'm not out here all on me'own fancy admitting your #GirlCrush?

SHARE:

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

#LLBlogEvent

So a few weeks ago I went to a blog event hosted by JJ Miller of LoveLondon.co.uk in aid of Trinity Hospice which I would have posted on sooner but I was waiting for the official images from Ever Photography.   I also had to prioritise my collaboration with Emilie's Silver and the 20% discount code on my blog, but now we are rockin' and rollin' so I can tell you all about the evening held at Le Peep Boutique.

I went along with Emma of 100daysNoTV and Lauren from LoloLovett.  I researched the host, train times and where to go when we got there however oddly not the venue.  I don't know why but in my naivety I thought it was going to be a cute girly shop.   I expected pink stuff, shoes, some feathers maybe so when I saw a ridonkulous metal door with no sign and one of those slide back eye thingys you get at clandestine places I was a tad nervous.  Are we all to be sold into the write slave labour forced to create content for pantyliners or worse UKIP propaganda!  Luckily not, however the venue was a tad risque, case in point? the peep hole from the ladies to the gents - I kid you not! I wondered and then decided its best not to spend too much time thinking about what may have occurred on the leather seats in the bar.
Mirror on our side
And up close - view to boys loo!
But I digress...After our obligatory cup cake and free Lychee Collins we settled down to listen to those wiser than ourselves. You may think that hearing from people better at writing than I am, funnier than I am and making a living doing what I am would be depressing.  However ever confident in my ability to improve I was encouraged and inspired by the evening and this wasn't just because I'd had a couple glasses of wine beforehand.  First off was London Beauty Queen.


LBQ is so obviously a beauty blogger as she had that snow feckin' white perfect skin thing going on.  She suggested ways to grow our blog and with over 33,000 twitter followers she should know.  She also said that being sarcastic and blunt were her go to styles so hoorah, we're in good company.

She bangs!
Next up was Bangs And a Bun who suggested we should be posting approximately 5 times a week (gulp!).  BAAB had that cool "I'm so not British" vibe (she's Canadian) a dog called Stringer Bell - it doesn't get any cooler than that - and killer nails.  True she also runs marathons but we all have our vices eh? She spoke about building a brand and adding pictures of yourself to your blog.  How not to feel like a mahoosive twat bag when doing this is a workshop I'd love to attend!.   We've had a couple of tweet chats since the event and I firmly believe her kick Monday in the goolies blog post should be taped to everyone's head each Sunday night.

Rebecca Brown from Bloggers Lounge followed and I was genuinely surprised to see her looking much more youthful and less stern than portrayed in her Twitter image.  She spoke of mailing lists and engagement - something I so agree with her on, you may have 21,000 followers but if 20k of them don't interact with you they don't really count now do they?  She also made me think more about my images and suggested editing them across different social media channels.  All the speakers talked about being yourself,  however 'myself' has been called a harsh critic in the past... and that was from my own sister.  I realise now that comment made me tone my sarcastic self down a bit.  Unfortunately when I tone down my inner critic I also stop writing anything even vaguely interesting, I just don't have pleasant kind girl things bashing around inside my head and am terrible at faking it.  Those that have made a living from writing blogs say not to do this anyway so its no more Mr Nice Ally!

Daylight (or is it nightime robbery!)
OK grandma here has a couple of gripes.  Firstly I know we're in London but £4 for a tiny bottle of Schweppes lemonade is 'beyond the pale' (as I never say)! In part this is down to the 'discretionary service charge' but seriously? If I made minimum 50p every time I got someone a drink I''d be a darn sight more chipper than the bar staff seemed. Secondly whilst I met some lovely ladies there, trying to hear what they were saying was impossible due to the noise.  There's only so many times you can say pardon in a club before you give in and simply go "yeah".  Obviously then you start praying the person you were speaking with hadn't just asked you a question you'd regret answering possitively to like "so are you heavily into S and M then"? This really sucked as from what I did hear I met some lovely girls that night like Carly CCxx and PoppyAnd Bees.

Finally I heard that some girls didn't get a goody bag, which is odd as when we left there were tons still there.  The contents were like the good, the bad and the weird - Make up brushes? Good, cucumber water?  Bad... Sandwich box? A wooden spoon! eh? don't you give that to loser types?
I had expected a few brands to be there for us to chat to about collaborations, however all in all it was a good event and I've got some great connections from it.  I'm off to see if I can find any of your blogs on the #LLBlogEvent - if you wrote one do leave the link below.  Failing that I'll probably check out what BangsAndABun is harping on about this week.


SHARE:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Emilie’s Silver Review – with 20% discount code



When I first saw this line I knew here was something worth writing about.  Colourful and classy, Emilie’s Silver seem to be for a woman sure of her own sense of style.  With spot on tailoring the clothes are just different enough from the high street to stand out but not so much as to be purely for attention.   

 


I was happy to review the skirt I'm wearing as I saw it on the runway at the 2014 Cambridge Style Week.  Initially I had expected a zipper or fastener of some kind and for the skirt to be made from a more structured material, however the waist band is extremely comfortable and the pattern is so versatile.  All those colours means I can wear it with almost any top I own.



I'm loving the experimentation with the layers as well, it’s easily one of the best day to night choices in my wardrobe (just ditch the day's tights and flats for party time!).  I never used to embrace patterns and had I come across this designer a few years ago I may not have liked it as much.  You could say I am a well and truly changed woman, my style soul sister and fellow blogger (you can catch her's here) even went so far as to say this is the best item she has ever seen me wear.  Quite the compliment... I think!

Emilie’s Silver designs are available with bespoke made to measure tailoring and the price ranges from approximately £25 - £120 plus there are some ridonkulous bargains to be had in the sale at the moment!  To add to this you can also receive a discount of 20% if you use Thee Middle Sister code treat20 when you checkout.  Seriously, what are you waiting for?

To obtain your discount
This is a single use code valid until 15th June 2015 on all orders (including the sale items) of £20 or more.
Where is says ‘Add a note to your order’ copy the link to the blog post and add.
In the discount code box add treat20 

Checkout, enjoy your fabulous clothes and let me know what you decided to buy!

Yep, just mooching around the garden in my cool skirt and McQueens - as you do!

In case you're interested
Boots - Alexander McQueen
Jacket - Oasis
Hat - Ted Baker
Necklace - Claireabellemakes
Skirt - Emilie's Silver (obvs!)

SHARE:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Spotlight: Emilie's Silver - Designer



I’m two people when I come across a new designer.  One that wants to sing from the roof tops and tell everyone so that we can share in their fabulousness and they can become wildly popular.  The other person wants to keep very quiet so I can have individual gorgeous clothes that no one else can get hold of.  Currently, my nicer side is winning out and last week I met Jurgita Tendzegolskyte from Emilie’s Silver So called as Emilie is Jurgita's daughter and she and her husband (whose surname is Silver) plan to make the company into an inheritance for Emilie, like the family silverware. 
Maxi dress with cut out back - £70
Waiting in the reception at the Renaissance Hotel in London, I noticed a slight woman dressed in a pale Chanel-esq jacket and flowing skirt and knew this would be her. Coming over to say hello her slow soft accent was, at first, a little difficult to pick out.  Originally from Lithuania Jurgita was interested in fashion from an early age “I would cut up my mums old vintage dresses to make outfits for my Barbies” she explained.  However she experienced a constrained fashion scene saying “people (in Lithuania) don’t tend to experiment too much”.  
Figure fit dress with chain embellishment - £110
Continuing Jurgita advised “as we were occupied for so long there wasn’t much coming through from Europe so people made do with what they had”. It seems 'what they had' was an inner sense of how to make things look awesome and Jurgita saw much of this growing up.  She would alter the clothes her grandmother had made for her mum and that had then been passed to her “I had a few dresses that I really liked and I would cut them shorter and customise them” she advised.  Far from believing this held her back Jurgita thinks this upbringing could have been paramount to her finding her fashion voice “It pushes you a bit more as you couldn’t see a lot (of fashion) first hand”. 
Graphic print mini skirt - £30
Moving to the UK she began working as a seamstress but kept the desire to make her own clothes. Five years ago this desire became Emilie’s Silver.  The company started modestly enough in ASOS Marketplace “I made mostly one off designs just creating whatever came to mind”. Now designing her 4th collection and being stocked in two independent boutiques in Greenwich, Jurgita very much enjoys her work “its pleasing and satisfying when you can see the results and you think to yourself that’s amazing, I can’t believe I made that”.
Jersey and denim mini dress - £50
Plans are in place for a boutique in the next couple of years as she's wistfully says “it would be really nice to meet and greet the customers in one place” but ever relaxed Jurgita is cautious about when or if this will come to fruition “we’ll see what happens” she confirms. Asking Jurgita if she could see herself doing anything else her quiet, reserved voice became a little more defined “no it has to be this – this or nothing!” -  Thank goodness for us she chose 'this'!


Look out for my next blog which features a review of an Emilie’s Silver skirt and a special discount for all my readers! 

What you think of her style?


SHARE:
© The Middle Sister | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig