Thursday, 30 July 2009

How to Write 'How to' Posts on Your Blog

Image thanks to gilles chiroleu

I've been published for the second time over at Independent Fashion Bloggers offering up some handy hints for your fashion blog. This time I pondered How to Write 'How to' Posts on your blog (my first post a few weeks back being on the subject of Blogging Perfectionism.) Go! Check me out! And don't forget to let a girl know what you think.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Turn Something Old into Something New: 6 Ways to Accessorize

Look familiar? I must have about ten of these in varying dull colours sitting in my wardrobe just prime for customisation.

If you’re anything like me, you get bored, you get bored real easy, and clothes that have been in your possession longer than five minutes seem to lose their… cachet. So, how to spice up a boring wardrobe? Why, accessories of course! Not only are accessories cheap to buy, they can be easy to make, and the combinations of how to utilise them in shaking up our style can be endless.

Here are five of the easiest, cheapest, most on trend ways to spruce up your old apparel this season.

1. Corsages

SATC made them mainstream and we’ve been hooked ever since. With a mantra of ‘bigger is better’ a corsage is a failsafe way to make even the plainest of outfits worthy of stand-out status. Be different and give off a gothic vibe with this black corsage from Modcloth, or keep to the girly route with this pink offering from Dorothy Perkins. For the quirky and offbeat amongst you, this polka dot corsage from Monsoon is a must.

♥ Customising Hint: Try attaching a roughly cut piece of lace behind your corsage to give your chosen outfit a romantic, shabby chic feel. Smaller corsages can also be attached to your favourite string of faux-pearls for a budget way to imitate a hot trend.

2. Scarves

Great for those supposedly warm evenings of summer that have actually turned out to be undeniably chilly (welcome to the English climate kids!) A scarf is a practical way to turn a plain t-shirt into something far sassier. Lace and ‘bobble’ scarves like these from Miss Selfridge and ethnic prints like this one from Modcloth are some of the season’s top trends.

♥ Customising Hint: How about attaching a line or two of gold chain (available at jewellery making shops) in varying thicknesses to a bright silk neck scarf for an original, urban flair?

3. Brooches

A brooch or a collection of brooches anywhere from your coat collar to your handbag to the back pocket of your jeans is a great way to show of a little of that cheeky personality without being too ‘out there’ with it. I love this button brooch from Fancy Pocket, Charm Pin from American Eagle and Princess brooch from Oli – so cute!

♥ Customising Hint: With some cheaply bought pins and a hot glue gun – any little charm can become a brooch! Experiment with everything from Lego pieces to dice to Scrabble letters spelling out the word of your choice.

4. Bows

Though they may be a little girly for some tastes, there is no denying the simple elegance of times past that can be evoked with this most modest of accessories. This pink bow from Tallulah Tu and this zany example from Topshop will give a bright burst of life to a plain top, and this Marie Antoinette-esq black lace number from Dorothy Perkins is all glamour.

♥ Customising Hint: Try adding your own individual embellishment to a bow by gluing a cameo, button, bead, defunct earring or gem to the centre. Try to wear your bow in various ways: as a cheeky bowtie, on knee high socks, on the waistline of a plain skirt or fastened to the toe of some ballerina flats.

5. Belts

The flattering fame of the waist belt doesn’t yet show any hint of decline in the mass market, and we can see why. Added to a fitted or loose item, a waist-clincher is just what the doctor ordered for a new, sexy silhouette. How about this cute and bright option from Modcloth, this statement belt from Topshop or this elegant option from Yumi at Oli?

♥ Customising Hint: If you’ve got a real sense of adventure when it comes to customisation, cut each end off of an old leather belt and attach to either end of a rolled up silk scarf to make a stylish accessory that’ll beg the question ‘where did you get that?

6. Patches

Once the property of avid band fans, patches have gone mainstream with the help of re-emerged style staple, the blazer, upon which to adorn them (think preppy not punk). Be nicely nautical to raving-retro to game-gambler with one of these appliqué designs from Laughing Lizards.

♥ Customising Hint: Appliqué may be a little tricky for the layman craftswoman, but anyone with a little creative flair can put together a simple patch. Head to your local craft store and see what you can source; cut cute material into the shape of a star, bow, heart, leaf or flower and apply a few simple stitches or pick up some iron-on material to fix it to your chosen item.

The key when it comes to accessorising is to mix things up. Try adding a bow to your belt, or a corsage to your scarf, experiment every which way to make something old into something new!

Do you have any ideas to share? How do you mix things up accessories-wise to add budget pizzazz to your wardrobe?

Monday, 27 July 2009

Words to Live By #49

Images thanks to Zays Mom

"All you need is love,
love is all you need."

Lennon and McCartney

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Saturday Salute 25.07.09

These are the shoes I tantalizingly mentioned last week. I couldn't get an outfit together for them, they really don't fit well with my existing wardrobe... but they will, I tell you! I want to wear them with white lace hosiery and a vintage tea dress.

Summer is officially flying by, don't you think? Today was my mum's birthday so we went to the little market town of Narberth in Wales which is full of pretty, girly shops, and had a distinctly un-Welsh lunch of tapas. I also got a far too tasty Spanish hot chocolate which is basically warm chocolate pudding in a mug! Yummo.

And now for the links...

Are you a Money Making Student?

Hello cute stationary. Feed the addiction!

What do you think - Is our personality written in our handwriting?

Very cool, hammered flower and leaf prints.

Oh golly! A teaser-trailer for Burton's Alice in Wonderland. (I couldn't actually watch it because the internet here is so ridiculously rubbish, so let me know what it's like!)

Continue enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Style Psychology

Images thanks to jessica flavin and digital sophia

I’ve been thinking a lot on this topic just lately, about just what it is that causes us to wear jeans and a t-shirt over a bright mini-dress, knee high socks and a beret. I know the answers: anxiety, feeling accepted, being uniform, being normal. But where do these needs come from? And why are they restricting us? 9 times out of 10 when I see somebody out and about who is dressed against the grain, I support them, I think they look great; they add interest to my everyday scenery. So why do I restrict myself from wearing ensembles that are equally ‘out there’?

What is the psychology behind my sense of style?

There are many things that go through my head when I get dressed in the morning, and I’ll admit that ‘what will people think?’ is right up there with ‘does my bum look big in this?’ in fact, these worries are inherently the same thing. But, really, what will people think? I’ll never know. I might judge a glance that’s completely passive as a look of scorn, just as someone might tell me I look fantastic and actually mean the complete opposite. I can’t win with caring about what others think and, ultimately, it will always be what I think that shapes and interprets all the comments and glances anyway – like my own personal anxiety sieve. So why not focus just on what I think? Mine are the only thoughts I have control over, after all.

Generally, I’m quite experimental with what I wear and try to find interesting new ways to combine my clothes by way of layering etc. But, often, I am stunted in my style experiments by a particular worry: who do I think I am? I’ve never worn anything like this before; I’ll stand out like a sore thumb. I’ve caught myself doing this lately and questioned where it stems from; why don’t I allow my style to develop and change? In reality, no one has ever said to me (outside of school!) that something I was wearing was too eccentric, too unlike me, too much for the occasion, and, more times than not, I’ve been complimented. Sure, I might have had a few extra looks on the street, but it is up to me how I handle this attention, and what I take it to mean. If I want it to mean I look great, that I’m something special, that I’ve caught my public’s imagination – then it can mean that!

Why does my mind differentiate between one outfit and another as ‘me’ and ‘not me’ and why do I keep myself confined to these completely self-fashioned restrictions? Is it television? Magazines? The high street? The blogosphere?

Where am I getting the notion that dressing one way is better than another?

The truth is, the people who will judge me for what I wear (because this percentage will always exist) are likely to be the people that would judge me all over; for my opinions, my friends, my family, my career choices… In short, people I have no time for anyway, closed-minded people who sit so far out on the perimeters of all that I take to be good in this world, that to care one inch for their opinion would be idiocy like no other. People whom, admittedly, I probably judge for the way they are dressed - so what do I expect?

The people whose positive attention I will catch are the people I want to know; people who are prepared and excited to accept alternatives; people who see the personality in my attire rather than just an oddball. The people whose own attire I can celebrate and revel in.

Of course, by plotting my own style path, I am bound to make hideous mistakes, we’ve all seen Sex and the City and, certainly, Patricia Fielding did not always get it right; but that’s just the fun of it! C’est la vie! We wouldn’t pressurize ourselves not to make any mistakes elsewhere in our lives, we understand that this is part and parcel of growing and learning as people, so why put such strict reins on our fashion choices? How can we learn to dress in the best way for us as individuals if we are never prepared to experiment, to put our wildest ideas into action?

To slip under the radar in jeans and a t-shirt is easy. Like anything else worth doing, dressing up and doing it your way is difficult.

You’ll meet negativity, you’ll probably feel silly, but won’t the habit of asserting your personality be worth it? There is such a thing as dressing for the occasion, of course there is, but what kind of occasion do you want your life to be? A mundane and ordinary one, or and exciting and inspiring one? Any occasion is exactly what you make it.

Being and feeling ‘normal’ is a coin with many sides; would you choose a ‘normal’ career just because of what people thought? Would you simply have ‘normal’ friends because your most interesting friends got you too much attention? Would you sacrifice your dream home for a ‘normal’ two up/two down? In all situations, it is the people that do it differently that stand out, that make their mark, that earn the most of our respect and admiration. Doing it differently does not have to constitute doing it wrong; we must trust our own instincts to guide us. Life becomes a life lived only through the choices we make, how we choose to experience our everyday. Feel the fear, and then make the right choice for you.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Important Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking More Water

Image thanks to lepiaf.geo

I found these points typed on a small piece of paper in my mum's bureau. I'm not sure how factual they are or who wrote them, she says she got them from an old slimming group meeting. Nevertheless, they shocked me into action when it comes to drinking more water.

  • 75% of people are chronically dehydrated.
  • The thirst mechanism is so weak it is often mistaken for hunger.
  • Even mild dehydration will slow down the metabolism by 3%.
  • One glass of water can stop night hunger pangs.
  • Lack of water is the main cause of daytime fatigue.
  • 8-10 glasses of water a day can ease back and joint pain.
  • Dehydration can affect memory and concentration.
  • 5 glasses of water a day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79% and bladder cancer by 50%.

Just some of the many reasons you should be drinking more water. Go have a glass now!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Words to Live By #48

Image thanks to roger barker

“When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Audre Lorde

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Saturday Salute 18.07.09

Image thanks to seanmcgrath

Ciao! Some frolicsome fancies for you this weekend...

Check out these real-life time warp wives!

How has the recession affected your fashion blog?

This truly is an incredible love story.

Too cute - 26 Cakes Perfect for Geeks from Larissa Meek.

If you live anywhere near Bristol in the UK (my home town!) you should definately consider the Banksy exhibition.

And now, goodnight sweetheart.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Winners: Charade Summer Style with The Original Doll

Has it been two weeks already? Golly!

Thank you for all of your lovely entries, I'm so pleased to be choosing four winners instead of just one. I've allocated the prizes roughly to match with the winning outfits as it seemed the fairest way!

It was a tough decision but, without further ado, in no particular order, the winners...

Winner Number One - 'Urban Emo' by candicitten

I liked this one because it was quirky and inventive and the addition of the Vespa really evokes hot, city afternoons buzzing around town. This set wins the oversized flower bracelet to add some innocence to it's dark stylings!

Winner Number Two - 'Indigo Gold' by hellocestmoi

This one I chose for the dreamy use of colour; stunning blue with muted browns make it a stand out everyday outfit for summer (great for festivals too, with the boots.) This look wins the beautiful rose pendant.

Winner Number Three - 'Wild' by Samantha

I chose this set for the seamless accesorizing and strong country and western concept. I'm a sucker for any outfit involving cowboy boots. It wins the sweet Alice band.

Winner Number Four - Summer Fairytale Fashion by Aik.C.

I loved this look for it's over-the-top glamour and whimsical theme, great for a fancy summer event. I thought the glitter ball earrings were a perfect prize for this glitzy set.

I chose all these guys as winners for the obvious time, effort and creativity that had gone into the sets, well done to them! Please email me with your postage details and I'll pass them on to the guys at The Original Doll. And don't fret if you didn't win, there are tonnes of gorgeous bargain pieces to be bought over at the site, so check it out and make sure to bookmark:

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Picking Your Luxuries: A Guide to Living Lavishly with Less

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while now, I think it’s definitely one of those core Charade posts, one that stands for all ‘a fabulous lifestyle on a student budget’ entails. It’s easy for me to get sidetracked into writing primarily about style, or saving money in practical ways, but it’s the idea of bringing these elements together into focused and flourishing existence that is why I started this blog in the first place. So, here we go; a guide to living lavishly with less.

When you’re surviving (however stylishly) on a budget, you’re never going to ‘have it all’; five star penthouse? Chauffeured limousine? Overflowing Chanel wardrobe? Hmm… not so much, but that doesn’t mean you should get into a habit of scarcity and lacking, because to become too accustomed to the scrimping and saving lifestyle is to beat any chance at abundant living. Trying to have it all might fail you, but picking your luxuries might not.

Ultimate Luxuries

Our ideas of what constitutes a luxury are all different, for some of us, travelling the globe is the meaning of life; for some, the latest fashion and style rule. Some think good food is next to godliness, whilst some prefer getting sozzled on great wine. A personal trainer might make your day, or a shiny new laptop; perhaps a stonking CD collection is your idea of heaven, or regular Swedish massages. My point is, there are tonnes of ways to lap up the luxury in your life, and not one of them can be called a luxury with any more validity than the next; it’s all relative.

So, what’s it going to be for you? For Sex and the City’s Carrie, it was shoes; for Paddington Bear, Marmalade Sandwiches; for my sister, Cath Kidston; for me, five star hotels (the Bellagio for my 21st birthday? Yes please.) What feels most luxurious in your life? What has you starry-eyed at a mere mention? Choose it. That’s your ultimate luxury, your one, unashamed, frivolous necessity, for which you openly celebrate with not a scrap of guilt. Don’t let other people’s opinions of how you should spend your time or where your money should go affect your choice. It’s your life, after all, and whatever it is that gives you the dizzying warm and fuzzies is absolutely worth the investment. You deserve it.

If your ultimate luxury is a small one (Lush products every bath time, a complete Audrey Hepburn DVD collection) then choose two, choose several, choose as many as you can to fit within your budget.

The Luxurious Mindset

Now that you’ve chosen an ultimate luxury, let the feeling of opulence reach its loving arms around your life and squeeze all the goodness out that it can. If you can afford only one ultimate luxury, that’s no reason to allow the rest of your existence to pale into mediocrity alongside it.

Try to look at your whole life as a series of little luxuries, from your first cup of tea in the morning, to a few drops of lavender on your pillow at night. Appreciation is the sole source of worth within any luxury, why not up your appreciation of the day-to-day? Let your whole life be a luxury.

A Word of Warning on Luxury

The luxurious mindset is not living above your means; I’ll never recommend getting into commercial debt (credit cards and bank loans) to feed your fetish. A luxury stops being luxurious if you’re ruining the rest of your life to support it, and a gift that’s worked hard for is a gift that means a million times more.

Remember, too, that there are such things as long-term luxuries and the longer you have to wait for them the sweeter and more special they become. Having a savings account might seem like the most yawn-worthy activity you can imagine, but when looked at as a gleaming pot of gold to fund your dream French chateau, it starts to sound a little more interesting.

Moreover, a luxury is not an addiction, neither must it be simply hedonistic or materialist – it can be time spent with your family, or improving your knowledge on a certain topic, playing an instrument well etc. In other words, a luxury is what you make of it, hence why we can call anything a luxury, if we have the correct mindset.

Alternative Luxuries

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

There are a whole host of life’s luxuries that won’t cost the earth but, paired with your ultimate luxury, will make a life lived cheaply feel just as rich as any other. Why not scribble down all the activities you really enjoy - however sinful, silly or superfluous they may seem - and then strive to make them feel lavish without blowing your budget.

If dining out takes your fancy, instead of paying for expensive trips to restaurants, take turns with your best pals to host over-the-top themed soirées at every occasion possible, getting dressed in your best even if it is just pizza fingers and fizzy wine… A great night without the hefty price tag.

If fashion is your bag, you don’t have to spend all your time drooling over the big labels; be your own designer and get into some crafty customization. Not only will you stand out, but you’ll be tapping into a stream of creativity that would otherwise be dulled by the ‘looks’ imposed upon you by the fashion big shots. A luxury if ever I heard of one.

If travel tickles your taste buds but you can’t afford to fly just now, discover the touristy delights that lay upon your own doorstep. Wake up at 6am and get the first bus to anywhere, seeing how far you can go on a day ticket. Take a camera, a friend or a lover, and look at your own vicinity through new eyes, imagining yourself to have come from a climate or landscape of the complete opposite. Buy a tacky souvenir and a postcard.

Love lavish spa and beauty treatments? Spend a day in your dressing gown self-grooming. The act of lovingly treating yourself to face-masks and pedicures can actually be luxurious on a whole other level next to having a stranger perform them for you; you can really check in with yourself, get lost in your own thoughts, heal, care for and treat your own body in the specific ways that only you can know how. It’s called ‘me’ time for a reason.

A Final Word

A luxury, however big – living in a ‘happening’ city, a pristine vintage collection of costume jewellery, a Chihuahua – does not, cannot and will not define you. You define you, whether you live in a palace or on pennies.

The frank truth is, if you can’t be at all happy with your present situation, you’re unlikely to be happy with your future, however sparkly and spangled it may potentially be. It’s important to strive for better, I positively encourage it, but it’s also important to love who are right down to your shoelaces, and the life you live all the way into its little curious quirks.

Luxury is an attitude, an opinion, and therefore it can be dramatically altered. You may think only the lifestyle of a millionaire could ever be entitled ‘luxurious’, I say, I live on the measliest of measly budgets right now and still find luxuries all around me; indulging in my grandest passion/hobby/career as a writer; finding my favourite cherry and cinnamon tea in an obscure health food shop; a fluffy hot water bottle on my feet on a cold night; dressing up for nobody but myself; singing ‘Hey Big Spender’ ridiculously loudly in alternative keys (complete with burlesque-style wiggles) whilst having my morning wash…

Sure, these things don’t stop me wanting fancy new gadgets and gizmos, exotic holidays, pricey pamper treatments, fashion must-haves… (I could go on!) But whilst I can’t afford to treat myself to these things, I find luxuries elsewhere. I’ve never been one to go without, and you don’t have to be either.

Attention: I'm announcing the winners of Polyvore competition here tomorrow, so if you want to enter there's still one last chance!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Words to Live By #47

Image thanks to i.anton

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
AA Milne

Believe it baby, it can be easy to forget.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Saturday Salute 11.07.09

Image thanks to migraine chick

So, you'll notice I didn't post my Salute last week, apologies! The internet here in Welshland is really slow, making everything I do blogging-wise take twice as long. Major bummer and very off-putting. Hopefully I can make up for it with these juicy links...

Make your own no-sew bows for hairpins and whatever else takes your fancy, either with ribbon or fabric. Nice and easy looking instructions. I can't wait to have a go, there's some pink gingham lying around here with my name on it...

Danielle LaPorte has notes to my 20 year old self. If you want to be as cool as she is at 40 (hell, I know I do) you'd better listen up! "Your heart...your heart...your heart is where it's at."

Hello handbag of my dreams at nearly half price, you will be mine! Update: The ultra observant and extremely generous people from spotted this declaration of love and are offering an extra 25% off all items throughout July! Just drop the code 'JULY25RP' when you're at the checkout!

PluginID asks How Much of Life are You Actually Living? Looks long and wordy but definately worth a read.

Posted anything tasty on your blog of recent? Come across any cool sites? Lusting over an online bargain? Tell us about it!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Still Time to Win With The Original Doll!

Just a little nudge to let you know there's still time to win one of these four insanely cute accessories from, just by having a play on Polyvore. If you're new to Polyvore, it's easy to sign up and is honestly the most fun you can have on the internet without anyone taking their clothes off.

If you've already entered, enter again, for twice, or even thrice, the winning potential! If you've got an old set that perfectly defines your summer style, by Jove you can rename it and enter that! Don't miss a chance to get something fabulous for free, that's got to be any true Charadette's dream!

Here's a little more inspiration from yours truly:

Stripes Galore Along The Shore

Product Information

Has beach volley ball ever looked so good?

Wild At Heart

For the sacred of spirit, the hippest of hippies, a look that'll see you through festival after festival.

Sexy Spy in St Tropez

For the stylista with a score to settle, complete with voice recorder to catch that vital evidence!

Remember, the only rules for entry are:

♥ Get your Polyvore on, showcasing your idea of summer style.

♥ Begin your look's title 'Charade Summer Style - '

♥ Include a brief explanation of your look and a link to the competition in the notes section when publishing.

♥ Leave a link to your contribution in the comments section of this post (the original competition post.)

Go on, give it a go, you've got nothing to lose and a whole lotta' cute to gain!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Eclectic Aesthetic 08.07.09

Top Topshop
Glittery (yes, glittery!) Cardigan Primark
Birdcage Skirt H&M
Flower Headband H&M

Just a little dress-up session I thought I'd share, after all, it has been a while. I bought the most darling shoes yesterday, and I mean darling. At £25 they were the best bargain of my year so far. The problem is, they're more aspirational than practical when it comes to the rest of my clothing. In other words, I have next to nothing to wear them with. Plus, they're more Autumn/Winter than height of Summer. Though, I am not perturbed, and will attempt to get them into an outfit for your viewing pleasure a.s.a.p (as opposed to this look where I am noticeably shoe-less, I'm afraid I have no explanation for this faux-pas...)

I've also managed to snap up a whole heap of unspeakably cool vintage clothing which, due to my minimalist wardrobe endeavours, I shall be selling on very soon (after a very fun photo shoot to remember them by, naturally. ) More on that to come...

Over and out.