Monday, 31 August 2009

Words to Live By #54

Image thanks to Nicholas Kennedy

"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves."
Lynn Hall

P.S. Today is your last chance this month to save 10% at Modcloth with the code 'Charade10' and 20% at Fashion In Store with the code 'Charade1'. Happy shopping!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Saturday Salute 29.08.09

Image credit unknown.

Just a quickie!

Did you know I can read?

Want all the hottest fashion editorials in one place? Fashionation has you covered.

Pret A Portobello is the fashion market on the net with all manner of pretty to boast.

Aimee Marie tackles Life on a Shoe String: Interior Design.

Pablo Neruda has captured my heart:

Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.

- Pablo Neruda 'And because Love battles'

Also, check out my sister's new blog M.A.D ♥ ♥

Kisses for your weekend!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Eclectic Aesthetic 22.08.09

This is what I wore over the weekend to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen all summer. I have a real fascination with vintage hair but rarely have the patience to attempt it, so I was lucky enough to employ a gorgeous girlfriend to do it for me - and take pictures. She is the queen bee of vintage style so I was honoured to be a canvas for her talent!

You may remember the fringe I had cut a couple of months back, well, it's now got to that awkward growing-out stage where all I ever want to do is pin it back, but how could I complain when it looks this swish?

I loved this outfit too, the dress was a real steal at £15 from Primark, and this is the first chance I've had to wear it. The two of us were definitely meant to be - it was one of those situations where I found it all alone, in a rack of ugly office skirts, in my size, and then preceded to float as if on a cloud of joy around the store, amidst many a gasp of envy. The pictures don't quite give you the full idea, but anything pastel peach and layered has to get my vote.

I wore it with another great find that's not pictured - a vintage white leather clutch purse that set me back a mere £3.99 in an Welsh charity shop - and felt completely Carrie Bradshaw tottering off to a local wine bar with it in hand. I'm definitely letting my style skip happily into vintage territory from here on out, so I will keep you posted on my finds and adventures!

On another note, I'm off to Milan next week! Tuesday morning to be exact, and will be away for 10 days. Do not quake at visions of a ghost-town Charade however, as I will be scheduling the usual line-up of posts to keep you occupied. And, on my return, expect many pictures and hopefully an ultimate budget guide to the Italian city of style. Would anybody be interested in a post on packing tips? I'm going to have to seriously educate myself as I'm limited to strictly one piece of hand luggage for the whole trip...

Ciao for now!

Looking to procure more classic vintage fashions? Don't have the money? No worries, hop online and find care free payday loans. The best part is, they're available at any time!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Your Ultimate Guide to Starting University or College

vintage brown leather suitcase
Image thanks to Stacy Michelle

It’s that time of year again, when an army of hot young things will descend upon their university towns of choice and begin their journey into the overwhelming, wonderful, romantic, scary, challenging, best years of their lives. Whether you’re keen to fit in, get great grades, maintain your relationship, or simply make the most of your dorm room, I thought I’d round up all the articles I’ve written on the subject as an ultimate guide to starting university or college.

Health & Living

♥ If you’re worried about how at home you’ll feel at college, read my article on Creating a Sanctuary: How to Make the Most of Your Halls of Residence.

♥ Need a guide to that most fearful yet fantastic first week at university? Then see Live to Tell the Tale: How to Survive Fresher’s Week.


♥ If you’re nervous about fitting in at university, check out The Art of Making New Friends and When Unfriendliness Strikes...

♥ Afraid that going away to college will affect your long-term relationship? Read The Lure of the ‘Young, Free & Single’: University and Long-Term Relationships.

Money & Technology

♥ Money management not your strongest point? That’s going to have to change with the help of my Money, Honey series!

♥ Planning to work part-time whilst at university or college? Then you need to know How to Ace Your Job Interview.

♥ Stumped over which laptop and software will best suit your new student lifestyle? See my series on Student Computing on a Budget.


♥ Actually planning on getting good grades at University? See my tips on How to Write Better Essays.

♥ Too many distractions? Give yourself the boost you need with my article on Quit Wasting Time: How to Avoid Procrastination.


Starting university and striking out independently might mean that fashion slips a little lower down your priorities list. But it doesn’t have to, if you’re clever. See my tips on Your Autumn/ Winter Wardrobe on a Budget.

Hope this helps if you're school-bound! Good luck to everyone taking this exciting step.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Words to Live By #53

Image thanks to clickflashphotos

"Things do not change; we change."
Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Saturday Salute 22.08.09

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

Aloha! Please peruse at your pleasure:

Champagne Living have Back to School tips plus a chance to win $100!

I just discovered Eclectic Eccentricity Jewellery and all I can say is: Golly. Gosh.

Frugal Bon Vivant helps you enjoy the good life on a budget - and we love that, do we not??

I love the style of the We Were Damsels girls.

Check out The Get Started Now Guide to Becoming Self Employed from Zen Habits.

I'm too in love with Sarah's Loft.

The Telegraph has 10 Ways to Survive University.

The Chic Fashionista offers tonnes of practical style advice.

Kind Over Matter
says 'Have you ever left something beautiful for a stranger to find, have you ever found something beautiful yourself? We want to see it.' It's one of those utterly lovely blogs you'll get addicted too very quickly!

Antler Mag is also totally drool-worthy.

And that's your bumper Salute! Now on to more thrilling things...

The Charade goody bag giveaway!

It was really not easy to randomly figure out a winner on this one, let's say there was a pen & paper & a lot of tallying involved! I did make it a little bit complicated for myself, but I got there in the end. You are all such incredibly sweet things that I wish I could send out 50 goody bags. But, alas, I'm in no position for such frivolity - maybe next year!

The lucky winner this time was... Aury! Super congratulations Aury, the goody bag is yours, all I need now is a delivery address, so get it to me a.s.a.p. via

I started this giveaway week with the aim to say thank you to my readers, and you've all been so overwhelmingly fabulous, I now feel I have even more thanks to give! I am grateful beyond words for your support and enthusiasm. I'll set to scheming more ways I can show my appreciation... but for now, I hope your weekend is being lovely to you. See you next week for a return to normal articles and such; the real start to a brand new year of Charade!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Charade Goody Bag Giveaway!

Image thanks to therainbowraider

*** Competition Now Closed ***

And so we meet the last giveaway of this fabulous week of freebies. But don't fret, because this one is super special.

I was going to take a few pictures of the gorgeous booty I've gathered, but then I figured: won't it be far more exciting for the winner to receive a big box with their name on it, with no idea what to expect other than excitement? Like a real present from me to you!

What I can tell you is that the total value just tipped over the £30 scale and there is a strong theme of pink & sweeties & cupcakes & beauty & glamour! Hopefully, it will show the winner just how much I wanted to give something back to my wonderful readers.

A million thank you's to those who have entered so far; you're all complete diamonds, ain't no doubt about it! Your commitment really helps me see a future for Charade - but there is still a little time for those who haven't entered yet. Tweet, blog, Facebook - use whatever platform you like - just let your friends and followers know about this last giveaway and it could be all yours! Leave me a message about your link on the original birthday post, or else it'll get a little confusing!

The winner of yesterday's Americas Basics prize was comment number twenty six... Rae! Well done, Rae (FYI: I love your name) I'll be emailing you imminently.

I hope you're all starting your weekend early in true Charade style. See you here tomorrow for a bumper Saturday Salute to make up for a week without it and, of course, the final winner announcement!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Americas Basics Giveaway!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

It's here, the penultimate giveaway of the week, number six... This one is only open to my US readers, sorry rest of the world!

Just what is Americas Basics?

"Finding cute tops and trendy clothes has become our passion and obsession. We love giving girls confidence by making them feel comfortable, because after all "Self confidence is the most attractive quality a girl can posses" and when you love how you feel you always look great. We are doing the hard work for you and constantly on the lookout for the most trendy clothes and cute clothes to inspire our beautiful collections. Life is basic and searching for the perfect cute clothes should be too... Our selection of basic cute clothes is put together to help you always feel sexy, comfortable, and confident. Go ahead and wear our basic, cute, trendy clothes and let your confidence shine!"

"Life is Basic... Love Yourself" - Americas Basics

What's the Prize?

This is a real score. Americas Basics want to send you back to school in style. How? With a bundle of their gorgeous clothes to see you through Autumn and beyond; keeping you warm, keeping you stylish, keeping you basic!

How to enter:

US entry only. This is your last chance to win this week via comment entry, so why not give it a shot? Leave your comment, plus email address if you'd like me to contact you as soon as you've won, or check back tomorrow to see if this big prize is all yours! Enter just once, I'll pick the lucky winner at random.

The winner of the Suzy Smith 'Rhianna' clutch was comment number fourteen... Alice! Congrats! Drop me a line with your postage details, Alice, and I'll pass them along to Fashion In Store:

Tomorrow is your last chance to win with my surprise Charade-themed goody bag, kids! If you've linked to this giveaway week or posted the banner then make sure you're around tomorrow because the prize could be yours. And it's quite good, I'll have you know.

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Fashion In Store Giveaway!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

It's time for giveaway number five... I'm afraid this one is only open to my UK readers - sorry everyone else!

Just what is Fashion In Store?

An online boutique stocking my current handbag obsession: Suzy Smith, a 'Designer collection oozing catwalk style and quality'. Currently with a massive sale on (can you say 40% off many of their styles?!) If you thought designer and affordable wouldn't be seen dead together, think again. Visit the site now.

What's the prize?

This is good, this is really good. Seriously, I almost kept it for myself people. The 'Rhianna' clutch is an 'adorable oversize clutch with large retro bow and cool piped detailing' measuring 14 by 26 cm and worth £21! This bag will make any ordinary outfit exceptional.

How to enter:

UK entry only. Leave a comment, email address too if you'd like me to contact you, or else check back tomorrow to see if you're the winner! Enter just once, winner will be chosen at random.

The winner of yesterday's Jesophi 'Dream' necklace is comment number eight... Sparkly Stars! Well done sweetcheeks! I'll be emailing you shortly. If you like what you saw of Jesophi, she has free shipping on for two whole weeks! Get your cute butt over there.

Hop on back tomorrow for the biggest giveaway yet!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Jesophi Giveaway!

***Competition Now Closed***

Phew, this week is flying by! Here's giveaway number four...

Just what is Jesophi?

Run by the lovely Sophia (based in Montreal but originally from Mexico) Jesophi is one of the sweetest little etsy stores I've come across in a long time. Sophia started making dolls whilst studying graphic design and now sells beautiful jewellery, her own photography and illustrations, plus her curious, costumed 'potato kids'. Everything is handmade using both new and vintage materials. See her etsy shop here, or check out her blog.

What's the prize?

Today you could win this whimsical necklace, helping you hold your dreams close to your heart. This pretty necklace measures 10 1/2" including the charm. The word 'dream' and the chain are in a gunmetal finish, with a little pearl and a small gold bow.

How to enter:

You know the deal by now! Leave a comment and an email if you want me to contact you, otherwise you can skip on back same time tomorrow to see if you won! Enter just once please, winner chosen at random.

I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of entries to win yesterday's This Charming Girl prize - the most comments I've ever had on a post here at Charade. Loving the enthusiasm people! The winner is comment number twenty three... articrobot, congratulations! I'll be emailing you shortly.

Remember to keep entering to win the surprise Charade goody bag (which is shaping up quite nicely with some great treats) by posting a link where you can to the original birthday post. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support from those of you who have already posted the banner. Hope you're having a fantastic week!

***Competition Now Closed***

Monday, 17 August 2009

Words to Live By #52

Image thanks to clickflashphotos

“There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.”
Po Bronson

Wow. A year's worth of Words to Live By. That feels nice.

Share the Happiness: This Charming Girl Giveaway!

***Competition Now Closed***

Is it just me, or do each of these giveaways just get more and more fabulous? Hello number three:

Just what is This Charming Girl?

"Launched in October 2006 by designer Jacqueline Currie, This Charming Girl is a range of vintage and contemporary jewellery offering a refreshing alternative to what's available on the high street. The diverse collection includes necklaces, brooches, earrings and rings created by recycling vintage pieces and combining them with new parts. Full of adorable treasures and knick-knacks, each limited edition design is inspired by something different and the collection ranges from romantic charms, beautiful cameos and vintage lockets to an eclectic mix of pendants sure to be talking points when worn. This Charming Girl is based in Glasgow, Scotland and has been featured in several magazines and blogs - see the press page for more information."

What's the prize?

Oh boy, oh boy, this is one enchanting treasure. Large Russian goldplated "Amour" charm with gold plated cut-out heart and tiny gold rose with faux pearl suspended on an 18" gold plated chain. Charm measures approx. 25mm x 25mm. Worth ten whole English pounds!

How to enter:

Rules for the week, dolls: Leave a comment, email address optional, otherwise check back tomorrow to see if you've won. Enter just once. The lucky winner will be chosen at random. Hope you're enjoying all this freebie madness!

The winner of yesterday's Virginia Kraljevic's 'A Room with a View' print is comment number nine: JennTRC. Well done girl!

Apologies for the lack of 'normal' posts so far this week, I'll have your Words to Live By up later. Don't be disheartened if you've been entering the competitions but haven't won anything yet, keep trying because your chances are high and there are some delicious prizes left. Happy Monday!

***Competition Now Closed***

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Virginia Kraljevic Giveaway!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

, it's giveaway number two time.

Just who is Virginia Kraljevic?

"At age six, my heart told me I wanted to be an artist and, over the years, an actress, writer, photo journalist, window dresser, Audrey Hepburn, interior decorator, entrepreneur, baker, librarian, crafter, stylist, and even Jessica Fletcher (as played by the lovely Angela Lansbury). Because of my heart, I am happy to report that by the age of 26, I had already partaken of each aforementioned profession in one way or another (except librarian, but managing your own company leads to lots of filing, reading, and telling your dog “shh”). Okay, okay, enough about my heart (but I love you, heart. I heart heart forever). Essentially, I grew up in a New York suburb of Westchester County, sampled 47.3 million+ learning experiences along the way, had a few key epiphanies, and now find myself appreciating life, nature, and art more than ever."

How delightful is she?! In short, Virginia is a wonderful artist selling her beautiful and original prints in her etsy store. You can also check out her main website here.

What's the prize?

Today you can win the enchanting print pictured above titled 'A Room With A View', an 8" x 10" professional digital print of an original ink drawing. The centered image measures approximately 6.75" x 2.75". The beautiful paper used is acid free, bright white, and 100% cotton rag. The print will be signed and packaged in a protective plastic sleeve and crush-proof envelope.

How to enter:

Same deal as yesterday, ladies! Leave a comment saying what you gotta say, email address optional, otherwise check back tomorrow to see if you've won. Enter just once. The lucky winner will be chosen at random. Get to it!

The winner of yesterday's CovertCandy giveaway is comment number five: Marie! Who rather aptly said "Someone's got to win... and I suppose it could be me! :)" - too cute. Go ahead and set up an account on CovertCandy, Marie, then email me letting me know the email address you used on the account so that the site can credit you with £20!

Everybody else, don't forget to link or post the banner from the original birthday post to your own slice of web space to be entered in to win the surprise goody bag that I'll announce on Friday. Kisses.

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Share the Happiness: Covert Candy Giveaway!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Okay, giveaway number one is go!

Just what is Covert Candy?

"Put simply - You don't have to pay for clothes!

We are constantly buying new clothes with our hard earned cash when we really shouldn't have to. Why? Because the clothes we want are lying in other people's wardrobes not being worn, and the clothes we no longer wear may be exactly what someone else is looking for.

CovertCandy does something about this situation by providing a trading platform so you can swap clothes you don't want - earning yourself credits. These credits can then be used to buy clothes from other users. Meaning you get clothes for free!"
Find out more about how it works.

What's the prize?

Just sign-up for an account, email me your details, and I will alert CovertCandy to grant you £20 of credits absolutely free; that means you can start getting gorgeous second-hand and vintage clothes before you've even loaded up any of your own!

How to enter:

This week is all about me showing my gratitude for you lot being so darn fabulous! For that reason, entry is easy as pie - just leave a comment. Anything from 'Give me those credits!' to 'I ♥ Covert Candy!' to 'P.S. Charade is the best!' Whatever you've got to say (all nice of course!) you'll be entered.

Leave your email address if you'd like me to alert you if you win, otherwise, I will be announcing the winner same time tomorrow and you can check back to see if it's you (and enter the next comp!)

Please enter just once. The winner will be chosen at random.
*** Competition Now Closed ***

Good luck!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Happy First Birthday To Charade!

I say, has it really been a whole year? By gum, it has! Yes, last August 14th I took the plunge with my first ever article on A Levels: How'd You Do? 288 posts later and here we are, the site and I have grown and evolved in a big way.

Running this little blog has honestly been the most enjoyable, fulfilling, exciting, proseperous and progressive thing I have ever done, and I enjoy every day of it more than the last. And, ladies, that's nearly all down to you! I'm truly humbled by all the positive, enthusiastic, appreciative feedback and support I get from you all.

Here's how I've chosen to say thank you:

In honour of your general awesomeness, I thought I'd offer up something special for my first anniversary week... Seven days of glorious giveaways! I've twisted a few arms and got a host of genuinely rocking businesses to cough up their goods absolutely free, just for you! Plus, I've got a special giveaway goody bag from my own fair hands!

On Saturday (tomorrow) the first giveaway is a very special one. Covert Candy, the revolutionary clothes swapping site are offering you £20 worth of free credits to get you started trading in their growing community. The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 15.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.

On Sunday win this whimsical print titled 'A Room With a View' from the outrageously talented Virginia Kraljevic. The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 16.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.
On Monday you've got every chance of grabbing this stunning 'Mon Amour' necklace from This Charming Girl worth £10. The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 17.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.

On Tuesday there's another cute accessory that's prime for the picking! This time it's your 'Dream' necklace from the darling Jesophi. The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 18.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.

On Wednesday Fashion In Store have done us proud again and are offering you your own little slice of Suzy Smith in the form of the simply fabulous 'Rhianna' Clutch worth £21! (Only open to readers in the UK.) The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 19.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.

On Thursday we've got a big prize from Americas Basics who want to send you back to school in style with a bundle of their great quality essentials! (Only open to readers in the US.) The competition will begin at 12.00 GMT 20.08.09 and run for 24 hours. Entry will be via comments.

On Friday there'll be a very special giveaway from me to you; a surprise goody bag that I'm currently conjuring including an array of hand-picked delights roughly to the value of £30. This competition will run all week starting now and entry is a little different:

Link to Charade from anywhere on the web, letting all your friends in on this fabulous freebie-week, so that I can check it out via a link left in the comments section of this post. A straight-forward text-link from your blog or twitter will score you one entry, but to triple your chances of winning you can post the birthday banner to your blog or website for three entries!

(for true size see above)

Code for Charade First Birthday Banner:

Paste this into the body of a post on your blog or page on your website for three chances to win my surprise goody bag! You're free to alter the size if you'd like to paste it to your sidebar - just as long as it's readable.

Any questions? Birthday wishes? General small talk? Email me because I love hearing from you. Otherwise, pop back every day this week to drop a little comment that might bag you a big prize.

Happy Birthday to Charade!

*** Competition Now Closed ***

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Sunshine, Suzy & I...

Something exciting happened today. My adored Suzy Smith handbag from Fashion In Store arrived! (Remember I mentioned it here?) So, naturally, I dragged my man out into the garden for photos.

If you squint (or click) on the above you might be able to see the little froggy that hot-footed it onto my right ankle and whom I discovered (and subsequently squealed in panic at) seconds after this shot! Hello Mr Frog:

(Yes, that's one big lollipop.)*

I'm so in awe of this bag, it's one of those 'I knew I loved you before I met you' situations (tell me I'm not the only Savage Garden fan?) Being a fashion conscious student is tough, so finding a great quality, well designed, practical, affordable handbag that rates this highly on the scale of hawt has completely made my year. And not only does she look great with these summer outfits, but I know Suzy's going to brighten my days come Autumn/Winter too.

Fashion In Store stock the whole line of Suzy Smith, plus other sweet brands, and are currently offering you, my lucky lot, your own personal 20% off discount code! Just enter 'Charade1' at the checkout point until the end of August. Honestly, don't pass this offer up, ladies, these bags have personality. Need proof? I'm still lusting after these beauts:
Ok, I've been looking for a layered bag like this for, oh, let's see now, my whole life? So on trend it hurts, perfect for the everyday, yet glam enough to dress up; a winner in versatility! Your budget will be proud of you for this multi-tasker.

This sweet little swing bag wants to be mine, it does. Just the right size for those days when your arms just aren't up to carrying a big handbag and in my colour too! (Yes, coral is now officially my colour.)

No LBD/Cocktails scenario shall ever be the same until I have this little style-bomb by my side. Cutely compact and just screaming femme fatale glamour.

One final note: I LOVE SUZY SMITH AND I WANT THEM ALL! Don't disappoint yourself, go and get one too.

* Kindly refrain from mentioning my distinct lack of tan, I'm going to Milan next month to address the situation!