Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Saturday Salute 27.02.10

Image thanks to yyellowbird

Hello treacle, how are you?

Me? Well, I'm pretty tired, and I've got a podcast to do for a certain bunch of blog readers that I love very dearly, so I'll keep it brief.

8 Steps to a More Professional Blog because, come on, we totally all have one now. 

If you want celebrity style on a shoestring then Frugal Fashionista has you well and truly covered.

Positively Present will keep you busy for hours with her list of over 50 articles you should read now.

I'm loving all of Elizabeth Lau.

And, on another aesthetic note, I'm utterly hankering after this too - is it too much of a splurge?

And that's it. See you back here Monday? Yes? It's a date.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Eclectic Aesthetic 24.02.10


Just a little outfit from a few weeks back. Very few times do I actually feel like what I wear portrays my aspired-to style, this one, however, really did what I wanted it to. Hope you like it, treacle tarts.

Coat, Blouse and Shorts ♥ H&M
Scarf ♥ Warehouse
Jumper ♥ Primark
Tights ♥ Joy
Bag ♥ Suzy Smith
Shoes ♥ US Urban Outfitters (bought way back when I went to Vegas - I love them!)

I'm such a busy bunny at the moment, I wish I had time to post everyday like last month but I'm just rushed off my feet! Rest assured, though, that there are plenty of exciting things coming along for you all in the near future, I'm even hoping to start a new blog... More on that soon!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Words to Live By #79

Image thanks to foxandfeathers

“If you strive for happiness, you’ll never find it. Happiness is only found in the present.”
Steve Pavlina

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Saturday Salute 20.02.10

Image thanks to fox and feathers

Hello my Saturday starlets! I hope your weekend is off to a fab start. Mine, sadly, is not. I have a heap of work to get done for the coming week and found out this morning that my sister had a bad accident yesterday - though she is hopefully fine now; please all have good thoughts for her! Here is some due distraction in the form of the week's links:

I recently discovered The Blog Paper and think it is definitely worth sussing out.

Sense of Fashion is also a pretty awesome concept.

I love this article on Being Yourself from Crazy Sexy Life.

Pretty, pretty Lovely Clusters. (No, not the cereal!)

Oh, and loyal Charade reader, the Eternal Voyageur is having her first ever giveaway!

P.S. If you've recently requested an article for Charade and have not seen any sign or mention of it, please give me a reminder on this post - I've totally lost track of them! The two I've currently got in the works are 'How to Define Your Style' and another on how to catch up on work when you fall behind. I'm really keen to respond to requests, so please don't feel like I've ignored you, I've just been deeply unorganised. Any requests from now on will be logged and put in to action a.s.a.p!

Now I must continue with my Journalism assignment.

Love,

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Asserting Your Independence Even in the Best Relationship

Image thanks to elizabeth welsh

Being in a long term relationship can be wonderful. Having a partner to come home to after a particularly hard day, cuddle on those particularly cold nights, and form ambitious plans for the future with, is a joy in life that appears to be one of the major aims of western culture. And you can see why: independence in a woman drips with negative connotations: old maid, spinster, crazy cat lady... You get the picture. So daunting is this picture that, to some women, being in a relationship can seem like the Holy Grail; our ultimate goal. You only have to watch a few episodes of SATC to get a taste of that.

Offering it up on a Platter

As a result of our persistent cultural hunger to ‘pair up’, once we do find ourselves in a long-term emotional partnership, we are more than willing to dish up this independence to our new found prince charming on a platter: ‘take it, it’s yours, that’s so not me anymore.’ Often we do this subconsciously, without even realising it, until (perhaps) the proverbial rug is pulled beneath our feet and we find we have placed all our eggs in the wrong basket.

The Different Forms of Independence

Giving up your independence comes in many forms, and your idea of what this entails may be significantly different to that of your friend, or your mother, or you grandmother. It can be financial, arguably the most dangerous and quite probably the most impractical form of submission from independence. It can, of course, be emotional; it can be in terms of security, for example, one of the big reasons that women stay in even the worst relationships is because they feel they have no other option.

Splitting the Atom

The point is that this should never need to be the case. Just because you are in a relationship and your partner is part of your life, they need not be your whole life. This is a vital thing to remember. Repeat it with me:

‘I love you, and you are a wonderful part of my life, 
but you are not my whole life.’

You wouldn’t jump from a plane without the security of a parachute; don’t jump into a relationship without the security of a life that can and will exist with or without your partner, however scrumptiously charming they are.

Isn’t this all a tad cynical?

Many amongst you will be asking: who wants to think about life without the person they love? Surely, if you’re thinking about that, you’re not really made for the other person? What about trust??

All valid points, you might even imagine I’d been hit hard by a break-up to form such a sceptical opinion, but that’s not the case. In fact, I’ve been in a serious relationship since I was eighteen, moved in together after a year and some days still can’t believe my luck. The fact is, I don’t feel I’m being sceptical, I feel I’m being sensible. Who can honestly say they’re not going to change one iota of themselves in the next forty, fifty, even sixty years? You can’t say that, it would be lunacy, and your partner can’t say that either, even if they want to. A male relation of a friend of mine was married for years and had two children before deciding to get divorced and undergo a sex change... His wife didn’t see it coming; perhaps he didn’t even see it coming.

Hopelessly Devoted?

You can be devoted without being hopeless and you can be committed without being one-dimensional. Don’t miss out on life because you’ve got lovers’ blinkers on. You’re an individual above everything else, remember that. You lived without your partner and you should always feel you could live without them again, even if you would prefer not to.

What’s more, a relationship between too independents often brings a stronger bond. Too heavy a reliance on one another can contribute to the building of resentment, pressure and perhaps even claustrophobia in a relationship.

When you each have separate pursuits, you enrich the other; you excite and inspire the other. You give much more to your partner, and to yourself, if you maintain yourself as an individual. You are never just ‘the Mrs’, ‘the other half’ or, heaven forbid, ‘the ball and chain.’ You are a single entity, and your partner, however wonderful, is lucky to be with you each day, and vice versa. Don’t take a great relationship for granted by depending on it too heavily; revel in it rather than solely rely on it.

♥ ♥ ♥

What are your thoughts, love-bugs of the world? Do you feel independent in your relationship? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? What does being independent mean to you? Get talking!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Words to Live By #78

Image thanks to sasha w

"I believe in wishes and in a person's ability to make a wish come true, I really do. And a wish is more than a wish... it's a goal that your conscience and subconscience can help make reality."
Michael Jackson

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Lingerie on a Budget: 10 of the Sexiest

♥ Clockwise from top left: 1. Vintage Cameo Basque £12 Peacocks; 2. Red Satin Knickers $3.80 F21; 3. Vintage Lace Bra $44.50 AE; 4. Lace Thong $12.50 AE; 5. Nude Ribbon Bralet $36 Topshop; 6. Blossom Diamante Bra £12 New Look; 7. Lace and Satin Thong £5.00 New Look;  8. Miso Ruffle Pants £4.99 Republic; 9. Lace Triangle Bra H&M; 10. Red Lace Thong $30 Journelle

Depending on your idea of sexy, because, of course, sexy is totally subjective (personally, I find the pretty lingerie a lot sexier) the above collection may or not press your buttons. There's no denying, though, that it's a bit Moulin Rouge, a lot minx, and with a dash of wow-ee.

Nifty, Sexy Lingerie Tips


♥ Like pretty lingerie, the sexy stuff takes a bit of extra care, but a lot of you have been saying you just don't get around to hand washing. Go for items with a sheen effect, in lycra or satin, without too many small detailings, and they should last much longer being machine washed.

♥ Keep your sexy lingerie separate and special, in a spare drawer, box, or even a small vintage suitcase. Add a scented pouch of something like lavender and it will make your sexy selection that much more special to wear.

♥ Whilst it can be difficult to wear them under clothes, some basques and corsets can actually be worn on their own with a pair of slim fit jeans on a night out, if you're minx enough! Might as well let your sexy investments multi-task!

♥ Things like basques and corsets could always be hung up in your wardrobe to help them keep their shape. It might also remind you to wear them a little more often ;)

Do you go in for black lace and red satin? Are you a stockings and garter girl? What care tips do you have? Do tell! 

Happy Valentine's day! See you for WTLB tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Saturday Salute 12.02.10

Image thanks to klaireebearr

It's Valentine's weekend cuddle-puffs! And, as you read this, I am enjoying a couple of quiet days in the New Forest area of the UK. Me and the beau are staying at a bed and breakfast, taking a six mile woodland walk (with, hopefully, a well-deserved pub stop) and going horse riding - fun, action and most likely a great deal of smooching. I will be sure to take some snaps to share (well, probably not of the smooching...) What are all of your plans? If you don't have anything major going on, perhaps these links will get you in the loving mood regardless:

Fleur Avenue shares some heart art (a fun copycat-craft for the big day?)

Do you know The One Thing That Makes Love Work? Lifehack does. 'Loving someone is scary, confusing and unpredictable, and the catalyst to making a choice to freefall is a big bag full of courage. You have to trust yourself to feel your way through and you have to forget about the old rules you’ve set... '

If you're a writer who writes about writing (!) then Unready and Willing are having a guest post giveaway. A pretty cool concept and a fun bonus for your blog readers this weekend.

Positively Present shares How to Heart Your Job. Valentine's doesn't just have to be about people-love!

And, lastly, cutey-pie Jodi of If You Never Did, You Should is hosting a very tempting giveaway where you could win a t-shirt, a camera, a book and a locket ring. All you have to do is share a fun and adventurous photo - the perfect excuse to do something wild this weekend!

Oh, and because I really do love you all, I wrote a silly poem:

Valentine's is a day
Much like any other.
That is, of course,
Unless you have a hot lover.

Though, if you're smooch-free this weekend,
Please do not pine.
Be your own hot date
And have a jolly good time ;) ♥
 Kisses, hugs and abundant cartoon bubble hearts,

Friday, 12 February 2010

Lingerie on a Budget: 10 of the Most Practical

♥ Clockwise from top left: 1. Soft Cup Plunge Bra $34 Journelle; 2. High Waist Lace Pant $16 Topshop; 3. Multi-Way Wonderbra $28 John Lewis; 4. Black Two String Thong $7.50 AE; 5. Seamless Back T-Shirt Bra $29.50 AE; 6. Black Lace Hipster Pant $6.50 Old Navy; 7. Black Strapless Gel Bra £24 Debenhams; 8. Seamless Thong $45 (Not strictly budget, but you could find a cheaper version of the same deal!) Net-a-Porter; 9. Black Seamless Bandeau Bra $5.99 Charlotte Russe; 10. Seamless Nude Short $26 Journelle

As you can see, practical underwear doesn't have to mean greying, cotton basics - you can look chic and sharp if you shop right. All these pieces look great and yet still do what underwear really should do; they work comfortably under your clothes. 

Nifty, Practical Lingerie Tips:


For me, nude underwear is really the most practical as you can wear it under any colour. Make it seamless, and you're on to a real winner. 

Practical lingerie should feel the most like not wearing lingerie at all, so keep that in mind when shopping. Get correctly fitted, choose skin-friendly, breathable materials and consider how well the piece will work under clothes. 

The more functions you can get out of your underwear the better; bras with multi-way and removable straps will make a great investment (removable padding is a real bonus too!) 

The vintage charm of high-waist underwear is in! Make the most of it while you can and start wearing that fitted dress with confidence.

So, let's be honest, practical lingerie is what we probably wear the most. What's your most fabulously functional piece? What style can't you live without? What have you been buying for years? Share all!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lingerie on a Budget: 10 of the Prettiest

In light of Valentine's day, I thought I'd bring forward a little miniseries I've been scheming about for a while: lingerie on a budget! Today it is the prettiest, tomorrow, the most practical, and on Sunday, the sexiest ;)
- enjoy!


Clockwise from top left: 1. Light Blue Balconette Bra £30 Monsoon; 2. Frill Thong £3 Peacocks; 3. Pink Ruched Bra $8.80 Forever 21; 4. Seamed Satin Bralet $50 Topshop; 5. Embroidered Soft Bra $23 Journelle; 6. Lace Frill Knickers $8 Topshop; 7. Ruffled Shorts $38 Net-a-Porter; 8. Premium Frill Ribbon Knickers $12 Topshop; 9. Purple Contour Bra £22.50 John Lewis; 10. Lace Trim Shorts $35 Otte

I love the colours, styles and fits in this set - all you need to add is a silk robe, heeled slippers and perhaps a string of pearls!

Nifty, Pretty Lingerie Tips:


Always hand wash pretty lingerie, if you don't, you'll pay the price - lace will fray, elastic will wear, and the subtle shades will dull. It's worth five minutes out of your day, girlfriend!

♥ There's something utterly shabby-chic about pretty lingerie, so don't feel you always have to buy/wear it in precise sets - mix and match!

♥  Don't sacrifice comfort for pretty. Trust me, I've done it, and there's no point whatsoever in a gorgeous bra sitting unworn at the back of your underwear drawer because you can't stand wearing it. Always try on where possible, and be practical about what you'll actually get use out of.

♥  Pretty can be sexy too. Your fella will get as much of a kick out of subtle pastels as you do, as long as you feel good in what you're wearing. Don't think you can only be hot stuff in a red thong and nipple tassels because, if you're comfortable in your pretty lingerie, you'll be sexier than ever!

Do you have a penchant for the pretty? What's your favourite set like? Any underwear care tips to share with the group...? We'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Monthly Must-Haves: February 2010


As spring nears on the horizon, it can be harder than ever to accept the nipping, icy weather of February. What better way to distract ourselves, then, than to have a day completely dedicated to smooch-tastic love and affection? That's right, I'm sure you haven't missed the fact that Valentine's day approaches at a pace. Enjoy these themed treats and perhaps make the perfect purchase for your first love (that's you!) Enjoy:

1. The Satchel. I love the look and essence of a beautiful satchel, but a great deal of the time I find them a little too masculine: all metal buckles and rectangular edges. That's why I was jolly pleased to find this dinky little saddle bag in the girliest of girly pinks from Miss Selfridge.

2. The Graphic Tee. So cute and so appropriate for Valentine's day, my favourite detail has to be the little heart pocket on this tee from Delias. Plus, it is now on sale!

3. The Sweet Treat. Do you remember these from school? I sure do - sticky fingers galore! Re-live a little of the past with a box of these whimsical indulgences to share around on the big V. day care of Candy Warehouse.

4. The Hosiery. Ah, I want them so bad. I am such a tights fiend right now, but my best ones keep getting wrecked, should I make another investment? I know this gets said all the time, but I really do think these tights from DP would make the most simple of outfits a wonder to be worshipped.

5. The Shoes. It is a constant battle for me (and I am quite sure I am not alone) to find shoes that are both heart-flutteringly stylish yet comfortable and practical for every day wear. I think my mission may be complete with these KIKI low Mary Jane's from US Topshop. Notice that they also match perrrrrfectly with the saddle bag; that was no accident my friends.

6. The skirt. Another style issue is that, though I am constantly well-stocked for tops, bottoms seem not to be my strong point - I can never find good ones! - making outfit construction nothing less than a daily pain in the neck. So, when I find versatile and delicious bargains like this striped skirt from Warehouse, I find it very hard to control myself...

I hope you enjoyed this month's finds! Will you be exercising the plastic on any particular pretties this February?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Words to Live By #77

Image thanks to lanuiop

"The best place to succeed is where you are with what you have."
Charles M. Schwab

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Saturday Salute 06.02.10

Image thanks to foxandfeathers

And we find it is Saturday again! How time does elude me...

Well, well, Hello Mr Fox.

Positively Present says don't wait for love: 10 ways to love yourself now.

I just love this, watch the whole thing because the last scene is the most precious!

Lou and Lee do incredibly cute felt hairbands. 

How to get rid of stuff you don't need - made me chuckle.

Also, here is what's being said about my new podcast in case you would like to purchase it (I promise they were not paid or in any way bribed to be so wonderful!)

"I loved the podcast, it was great! I have to get up at 5.30am for work at the moment, and so this was exactly what I needed to make those dark, early mornings slightly more bearable." - Lizzie, Reader

"I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVED the podcast. It was so good. I don't really have a problem with getting up in the morning, but the part about creating morning routines was so helpful! Also, you have the cutest voice + accent ever. I've already listened to it three or four times. And yesterday, when I wrote a list of things I was grateful for at the moment, I included the podcast. That's how much I love it!" - Greta, Reader

Make my weekend and possibly yours with just £1: Learn to Love... Waking up Early.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

How To Transition Your Look From Day to Night

Image thanks to sabine davis

This is a guest article by Kaleigh from everycollegegirl.com
.............................................................................................................................

True story: one evening sophomore year I found myself in one of the most popular night clubs in town...wearing a cardigan and sneakers. Trust me, this is not what I would normally choose to wear for a glam night out. Unfortunately, the night evolved in a way I wasn’t expecting, so I wasn’t prepared to end up where I did. Case and point: every college girl should always be ready for an impulsive night out. I've come up with a few simple tricks to make sure you’re always prepared for those spontaneous trips to the tavern.

Hair

If you’ve had your hair in a pony tail all day and don’t have immediate access to a straightener to iron things out, the best option is to leave it in the pony and just add a few tweaks to “party” it up. Take your hair out and shake it out upside down, scrunching with some hairspray (or damp hands, if hairspray isn’t available) to add texture and volume. Flip your head back over and pull it into a high pony with a few pieces (or your bangs) hanging down around your face and the nape of your neck. Slide on a cute sparkly headband or clip and you’re ready to go.

Makeup

Most girls wear more subdued makeup during the day than when their out at night, and we don’t want to lug our whole train case of cosmetics to a friend’s place if we’re not sure where the night is going to lead. No worries, if you’ve got a cream blush, a deep, creamy mascara, and an eyelash curler, you’re set!

Curler - $17 Sephora, Cream Blusher - £25.98 Nordstrom, Mascara - $28 Yesstyle
1. The cream blush punches up your cheek colour to give you a glowy look that will really  sparkle in any photos. You can also smooth it onto your lips as a tinted gloss, and apply to the centre of your eyelid to really make your peepers pop.

2. The eyelash curler is essential for amping up your makeup. For extra hold, warm the curler under a blow dryer (or hand dryer, รก la cheap-restaurant-washroom) before curling—but make sure it’s cool enough to touch with your fingers first: singed eyelids are not a great way to start the evening, and these guys can heat up fast!

3. Now, take your creamy mascara and apply it to your lashes using the tip and swiping back and forth. Then, fan out your lashes with your brush the traditional way. This adds extra product to pump up your lashes for a more dramatic evening look. Next, take the tip and dab it to your finger or a Q-tip, smudging a little of the colour to the outer corners of your eyes: voila! Instant eyeliner!

Clothing

If you’re not sure where the night will lead, the best advice is to either bring or wear a cute, sparkly top underneath your more casual outfit. Pair this with a simple pair of dark wash jeans and flats for a seamless transition from dinner to dance floor. Don’t forget a pair of glam earrings to finish the look!

Jeans - $145 Net-a-Porter, Top - $19 American Eagle, Shoes - $70 Gravity Pope

Pack your emergency arsenal: a cute hair accessory, cream blush, lash curler, mascara, party top, and blingy earrings, and you’ll be prepared for anywhere the night might lead. Something every college girl should know.
............................................................................................................................

Kaleigh  is a third year English major based in Ontario, Canada . Her dream job would be editor-in-chief of a fashion publication. Everycollegegirl.com covers topics as varied as how to change a tire, to how to do a keg-stand, and everything in between. 

If you would like to write for Charade please email your ideas to me: megan@charadestyle.com I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Introducing: The 'Learn to Love...' Podcast Series

Image thanks to klaireebearr

[NOTE: The Learn to Love... podcasts are not currently available. Back soon!]

I've been planning this for what seems like forever, and it is finally on the road. Curious of what it is all about? Read on...

The Concept


Nearly all of us strive to be better, and we have proved how well we can do with the Make Your Life Amazing series, but, often, there are annoying barriers that stand in our path. We are all human, after all, and we cannot be perfect at everything, so when it comes to waking up early, or being organised, or keeping fit, we may struggle or feel overwhelmed.

That's where the 'Learn to Love...' series comes in. It's time we tackle these niggling issues, combat them once and for all, and shimmy on ahead into the life we picture ourselves enjoying. These podcasts will not be a reeling off of ideas already expressed on the blog, no siree; I have strived not simply to encourage you, but to be completely practical too.

Each episode will be stuffed with realistic, straight forward advice, divided by subheadings, with a scattering of extra tips called 'Love Notes' and a ten point summary to finish, so that you can digest all the information easily, or even print it as an action plan.

The Podcasts


Every one of the twelve podcasts will be at least 3000 words (that's around 20 minutes playing time) and come combined with a PDF version of the article being spoken, so that you may follow along or print and save it for later.

The Price


Each episode in the series will be available for just one shiny Great British Pound. That's right, just £1. And, what's even better is that twenty pence of each sale will be gathered up and donated by me to the Look Good, Feel Better campaign, so that all the hard work we're doing to improve ourselves can have a positive impact on others who are doing the same.

Praise


"I only listened to a few brief moments of each podcast but I am already in love! Your accent is so adorbz & from scanning the PDF's, I feel like I'm really going to get something valuable out of them. Longer review when I'm finished - but so far, I'm super impressed!" - Erica, Reader

"I absolutely LOVED the podcast. It was so good. I don't really have a problem with getting up in the morning, but the part about creating morning routines was so helpful! Also, you have the cutest voice + accent ever. I've already listened to it three or four times." - Greta, Reader

"I´ve listened to the whole thing twice, and will definitely listen again - many times! You´ve struck the heart of the matter, addressed my psychological attitude towards saving and spending. Very solid and sober advice there, thanks...I´m thinking of buying your first podcast too, although I don´t really have a problem with waking up early, but this one is so good that I want to miss anything! I´m already awaiting your next podcast!" - Eternal Voyageur

What do you say?


Are you along for the ride? Great, let's get started. 

Learn to Love... Waking Up Early - £1.00

Add to Cart

Learn to Love... Budgeting - £1.00 
(click here for teaser)

Add to Cart

Learn to Love... Organisation - £1.00
(click here for teaser)

Add to Cart

Learn to Love... Eating Right - £1.00
(click here for a teaser)

Add to Cart

Learn to Love... Keeping Fit - £1.00
(click here for a teaser) 

Add to Cart

Learn to Love... Your Personal Style - £2.00  
(with a bonus 1000 words!)
(click here for a teaser)
Add to Cart

If you have any hiccups with buying/downloading the files (they are .zip containing both the PDF and MP3) please email me and I will do my very best to help: megan@charadestyle.com

I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts and feedback! 

Monday, 1 February 2010

Words to Live By #76

Image thanks to yyellowbird

“The sorcery and charm of imagination, and the power it gives to the individual to transform his world into a new world of order and delight, makes it one of the most treasured of all human capacities.” 
Frank Barron

I had hoped to get the first 'Learn to Love' podcast live today, but no such luck. Tomorrow, my pretties! Hope you are excited for Charade-y goodness right to your ear.