Thursday, 29 December 2011

Presents and pecan pie

I thought I would share some of the thoughtful gifts I got this Christmas. Because let's face it, that's pretty much what everyone is doing, just playing with their presents. I finally got myself a copy of 'Luella's guide to English Style' which has been imperative to my fashion forecasting work I just handed in.

Finally got my hand on some Cath Kidston mixing bowls which all slot nicely together like russian dolls.
An Estee Lauder red lipstick to replace the lost lipstick of a few months back! I don't think I go a day without wearing some sort of lipstick. Unless it's a really bad day.

Quite hilariously too I got given this American cooking book - which actually has some fab recipes, (once you get used to the measurements being in 'cups', and everything drowning in butter). Once such example was 'Imperial Inkeepers Pecan Pie'. I can't help but pronounce it like 'pee-kaan'.

It tastes amazing and it's now my new favourite thing to make. Even made the pastry from scratch. Impressive stuff I know!

Now to ponder the thought of starting a diet in January...


Monday, 19 December 2011

Sticky toffee pudding

Yesterday I had possibly the best sticky toffee pudding ever. Hell, even the best pudding. It was the most warming, gooeist, yummiest dishlicious pud I've had in a long time.

And it was made by none other that my own Mother! She nabbed the recipe from Delia's cookery book from the 80s or 90s (not positive which one) but there is no way any other sticky toffee pudding could beat this recipe.

By chance though, after settling down and watching 'The Roasts of Christmas Past', I noticed the very same recipe bubbling in the oven in true 90s fashion. Sweet.

I should of really taken a photo to complete the transition and show you just how GOOD it was, but these 'vintage' ones will have to do.

The documentary however is a good comical look at the past 60 years of the 'TV cooking' phenomenon. From the pioneering Marguerite Patten's make do and mend recipes, Fanny Cradock's glamourous and questionable delights to Delia herself on the simple how-to's, its a clever indication of the relationship between Britain's two favourite things - food and television.

Finally, back to 2011 now - I recently involved myself in a live webchat with Nigella Lawson with Stylist magazine and she luckily answered my question about student cooking. I asked what was the cheapest meal, she replied:

'Hi Harriet, when I was a student, I was the Queen of Onion Soup. I bought a huge sack of onions from the market and endlessly feeding huge crowds of people without spending much money...'

I believe I can say we are now officially best friends...


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Singing Christmas tree

Literally no other way to make you feel more festive than taking a trip to Longleat Safari Park. The beautiful grounds are decorated with England's first singing Christmas tree, surrounded by gift stalls and the usual array of over-excited children.

Needless to say we stood around like them, often joining in for a little jig and giggle as the tree sung, quite literally the best selection of Christmas tunes. Nothing sounds better sung from a tree than the Home Alone theme. Fact. Don't believe me? Watch it here.

Having a cup of hot chocolate in the Orangey was also a real treat. Warming you up after spending so much time outside with all the animals. Managing to fit it all in one day was quite a skill looking back.

Now to continue the countdown towards Christmas. I've been hand-making/decorating a lot of presents this year. I'll be sure to show you how you can make your gift have a more personal touch to it.


Monday, 5 December 2011

Loosing my mind in third year

Sometimes I like to decorate the eggs in the fridge for no reason at all...


Monday, 28 November 2011

Working 9 til 5

Firstly - a bit of apology on the lack of posts this month.

I am definitely understanding the true meaning of third year thanks to the overwhelming amount of work.

It seems all I am doing at the moment is sleep - library - food, in whatever order I choose! But I have got a few things to be looking forward to this Christmas to make up for all the hard work.

This weekend I'm off to Longleat - yes the safari park with the monkeys - for some well deserved giggles and good food with friends.

For New Year we are also escaping again to a little cabin in the South of Wales to have a right laugh in our onesies and drink copious amounts of Wine.

But for now - I have to continue my hunch over the Mac to get all this work completed for hand in which is only a couple of weeks away. One of the things I've been creating is a blog - funny I know as I enjoy this one - but do take a look if you are interested. It's called 'Keep calm and just graduate'... I've also been developing a beautiful sketchbook and reliving the fun I used to have in college, basically cutting and sticking, but predicting a trend for 2013. Looks fab so I"ll photocopy some page for you to see in due course.

Speaking of college I managed to un-earth an image I sketched about 5 years ago. Shame I don't sketch half as much as I used to. It used to be a way for me to relax and occupy myself when I was younger, now I find I don't have the time! Maybe something for the Christmas holidays I can look forward to again?


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Daddy bands are back

Yay! Well it seems like that big bands of the 70s and 80s are making a comeback, thanks to the success of the boybands of the late few years.

The rumours are true, Black Sabbath are re-uniting after 33 years to headline Download festival, along with a load of gigs and a new studio album! They held a very exciting countdown on 11/11/11 which was to celebrate the first album since 1978!

It's hard to believe their most successful song 'Paranoid' was from so long ago and defied what Heavy Metal is meant to be.

On the subject of re-forming, Duran Duran are also making a comeback! Their new song 'Girl Panic' has a fantastic new video. Leading supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford play the part of the Simon Le Bon and others, being interviewed about the 30 year gap. Watch the models cause havoc around the newly opened Savoy Hotel with a delectable 80s vibe, fast drumbeat and power love lyrics so synonymous with the Duran sound.

The Daddy bands are back!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

The 1900 house

One thing you have to know about me. I’m a closet historian. Secret geek.

I love to learn anything about the past – whether that be Tudor, Victorian or Edwardian, I try my best to soak up every fact and quote of the times. Guess I just find it fascinating what life was really like for our parents and grandparents growing up, and further back still. My Auntie is convinced we have traced our family tree back so far we have royal blood flowing through our veins! Good to know…

To satisfy my history craving at the moment though I’ve been watching ‘The 1900 House’ on 4od. It was actually shown on Channel 4 over 10 years ago, but as a child I used to love it. So it was time for me to re-live it all again but actually understand more what was going on. Well I was 9 with the first broadcast, as so was one of the family members who moved in, Joe.

Things that stood out for me that was synonymous with the era of the time was the ‘cut throat razor’, ‘the range’ and the family struggling to get running hot water. Some of the many arduous tasks typical Victorian families had to suffer with.

The Bowler family that took part made it so fun to watch, probably because they felt familiar and reminded me of the last time I watched it. They were in the renovated, gas lamped, dark Victorian terraced home for three months, which is all captured in a 10 part episode, big brother style.

Probably the funniest part of the whole thing was watching them ‘get back to modern life’ with their cd players, chunky windows computers and landline phones. Just going back 10 years is enough difference, let alone 100.

Apparently the family now are living in New Zealand for a bit. Already tried finding them on Facebook.

Mind you, here’s a great little spoof on the whole project here, The 1980’s House with the Fat Boy Slim family…


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ghosts and disappearing lipsticks

What a weird few days we've been having. The first few nights at Sophie with the bumps and noises in the night have turned into frights we are convinced is a ghost. Little did we know that things we're about to get scarier. Worst time possible as everyone gets excited for Halloween, we battle the scary season already in the house.

Firstly though, which probably isn't as mysterious as my other stories is that literally every one of my lipsticks disappear. Well, only the expensive ones, so to follow tradition, the beautiful MAC lipstick above decided to jump out of my bag at the Rihanna concert - not impressed.

How do I begin to tell you that Sophie is haunted? Well, a few sleepless nights ago, I kept hearing knocks in the bathroom, so I convinced myself that the window was open. So I made my way there to close it to find it is already closed. Hmm. The knocks continue until Vicky and Sarah burst into my room at 3 in the morning to tell me they've heard a chair being dragged outside Sarah's window. Spooky enough...

Vicky's beau is also convinced at becoming face to face with a woman in her bedroom. He passed it off as coats to help Vicky sleep, but admitted the truth in the morning. Eek!

To add to it though, Sarah's iPhone has an app that records her sleeptalking, she always listens to them in the morning, except this time it has recorded was seems a conversation with someone in the room. It can be clearly heard of Sarah talking about meeting at a place, then a voice interrupts her saying 'oh absolutely', then you can hear Sarah saying 'yes yes'. I beg you to try and listen to it and make sense of it, because we definitely can't.

Also, this advert for Paranormal Activity 3 (see it here) whereby the little girls play 'Bloody Mary' is giving me the jeepers. I can just imagine us laughing about 'Sophia the friendly ghost' whilst she's probably sitting in the corner.

I will leave you with these thoughts for now...


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Judy's affordable vintage fair

Sunday brought around an exciting trip out for me and Sarah. Admittedly she had to force me out of bed to go there in my hungover state, which I then came to realise was actually a horrible cold. But once I was there I was so glad I came.

Just a large hall in Southampton University was dedicated to the many stalls and tables of small businesses and collectors giving you a glimpse of the past. From Levi jeans, Christian Dior tights and satin gloves, to American motel keys, vinyl records and 50s teacups, it was a feast for any vintage enthusiast.

Whilst the music of the 50's played (click here to get in the spirit), we made our way to the jewellery section, whereby Polly Pocket necklaces, pendants and chunky rings distracted us from the sheer size of the event. First thing I decided I must have in my life is an issue of Votre Mode from 5th January 1950. Not for its valuability but because I was drawn to the delicate illustration on the cover that will make for a picture to either be hung on the wall or re-used for another project. I suppose if I actually learnt some French I could read the issue as well, too bad I learned German for five years instead…

I then discovered my second purchase, which is the most beautiful vanity case from Pixie of the 1960s for only £18. The lady that was selling it gave me a great story on how her Auntie Betty is slowly ‘loosing it’ at 80 years old, so they are gently removing items from her house to sell on! Luckily for me, I became the proud owner of it. True to its vintage roots, it stinks of must, but after some gentle care it should become more socially friendly. Although its going to be used a memory case, for well… memories, but I’m so tempted to use it to store my lady things for the many weekends away I get whisked away on... er hem.

Purely because I took £40 with me to grab some bargains I decided it would be a great idea to purchase some scarves. I managed to find two very soft and light silk scarves to bring some colour to my usual outfits of black. I’ve been looking for a while between finding some in a charity shop or blowing out the budget on a McQueen special. Glad I chose these two beauties though.
On the final sweep around the stalls I glanced upon the jewellery hanging from the shelves and thought this necklace pendant would be a fabulous addition to my pathetic collection. I’m not quite the jewellery collector; I wear two rings, which belonged to my Grandma, and a gold necklace with a teddy bear pendant from my christening when I was about 18 months. So this is a lovely piece that reminds me of either a Nurse’s clock or something out of Alice in Wonderland. Either or is a good image.

This fair travels about quite a lot, you must find out when it will be seeing you soon here:


Friday, 7 October 2011

Trend prediction S/S 12

What’s going to be the big trend of S/S 12 I hear you ask! Well the answers are there, they are either predominately loud or quiet and sly. I thought I would share my view of what I believe is going to the trends to start investing in for next summer.

Of course when everyone thinks of next summer, the Olympics come into the forefront of everyones minds. But there is a reason for this, as most fashions reflect the environment it is surrounded in, so this fantastic athletic event is of course going to impact the trends of next year and even now.

Think structure, athletic references and materials, graphic prints and twists of antiquity…

Unique S/S 12

This elaborate creation reflects the sharp cuts and dramatic lines similar to that of Olympic stadium and body armour of the Egyptian antiquity, all wrapped up into a swimwear style ensemble that mirrors the dress of swimming athletes. Not to mention the sun visor cap.

David Koma S/S 12

This collection is divided as an ‘ode to modern tribalism’. I believe that the graphic prints seen, reflect the shattered glass font of the Olympic logo, along with the structured edges of the archietecture that is surrounded the whole event.

Amanda Wakeley S/S 12

Dramatic with a heavy offence of an athletic feel. Serious black ‘racer’ vests dominates the collection that challenges the balance between modern sportswear materials that allow movement even though the whole creation appears restrictive.

Jasper Conran S/S 12

This beautiful flowing dress with a block colour of orange to me conjours up images of traditional Grecian dress, which is of course the birthplace of the Olympics. Expect a lot of lengths and high empire lines that will reflect this. The dress is also accompanied by a statement side spilt and opposing headband creates a cheeky nod to the sporting event.

Antionio Berardi S/S 12

This ‘Romance infused’ collection includes a high empire line which again reflects that of the Grecian dress. Of course this is a repeated style of a few seasons back that is interesting to note.

Rachel Marie J 22 year old photographer and model.

The focus on the trend prediction here is on the dress that is worn by Rachel Marie J from It’s a manipulative graphic play on the British flag which is continuing from the Royal Wedding that will now stretch towards the patriotic British Olympics.

Rejecting the recent invasion of womanly curves and 50’s pin ups for the floral summer, the body shape that will dominate next summer has been suggested by comments in the forum.

‘The narrow hips of the athlete; the strong hamstrings of the gymnast/dancer; the powerful shoulders of the swimmer; the toughness of the boxer; the lean worked abs of all of them. Neither laziness nor bloatedness - lean, fit, muscular and ready for action.’

Of course these depictions are subject to alter, and be disrupted by micro trends, but the biggest sporting event to happen to Britain next year is bound to affect the colours, materials and trends in our spring/summer dress.


Images courtesy of

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tanning in October?

Who would of thought that getting a summer tan in October was possible? Here I am admiring my tan lines from a few days lazing in the summer garden at Sophies. We finally managed to get the lawnmower to function, so the grass is a perfect level for the blankets to be laid out whilst we enjoy some ice lollies.

(Who is Sophie?)

I quickly produced some the other day with apple and cherry squash with Haribo. Refreshing, although the frozen Haribo is quite questionable...

Also be given my timetable for this term, seems it's getting more generous as time goes by. Monday and Friday off - whilst only a few lectures in between on the other days. Think I'm going to have to motivate myself that some of these days are going to have to be spent in the library.

Going back to the weird Indian summer we've had this week got my and my housemates thinking - isn't it about time they shifted the months according to the changing seasons? I'm almost positive that every April brings an influx of great sunshine, as does September. I always have memories sitting in school sweltering underneath the blazer in the new classes. Would this actually work though? Or would the cheeky British weather trick us all again with our change?

Time for more ponderous thought in the garden, next to the indescribable fermenting apple tree...


Saturday, 24 September 2011

End of AllAboutYou...

Today is a sad day. I've had to say goodbye to people who I've worked with for three months. It's pretty much been the job I'd be elated to have after I finish Uni, so it does seem a bit bizarre to do it in the opposite time.

I am now fully fledged in the art of Google SEO. Ok that might be a lie, but I am so much more closer to understanding it and making it work for my ability. It's much more complicated than I thought, but using it everyday has brought me nearer to understanding the little bugger.

I can just tell I'm going to be writing title's, teasers and HTML scripting in my sleep. Next week is going to be shock as my alarm clock normally set for 6.40am is going to be switched off. Not sure how I feel about that, might take some time to get used to it all again. The thought of freshers is scaring my slightly - out most nights with little sleep. I could barely do it the first time two years ago, let alone now after three months of work which has fully trained me to act like the 21 year old I should be. Or is that meant to be the other way round?

But I suppose it is high time that I crack on with the FMP (final major project = end of my life) and get back into a rhythm of exercising. My poor running shoes have been neglected, and working in an environment where cookies and cakes are delivered to my desk without hesitation has been a slight downfall to say the least.

All I can do is hope is that today won't be the last time I walk through the infamous National Magazine Company doors. But for now I need to motivate myself to enter the Uni library, in which I call the 'learning oven'. The lack of air conditioning they have in there is against all human rights.


Monday, 19 September 2011

Dalmatian print..?

Wearing animal print is on par of myself slipping into something glittery. Neither happens or will I attempt to change that, until I stumbled across the many outfits worn during LFW by celebrities. See you later Kat Moon and your leopard print of yellow of black, dalmatian print is parading its bold spots with pride. The safest way to wear this has got to be accessories or one statement piece like high waisted shorts or heels, I can’t quite see anyone pulling off a dalmatian dress without looking like a rubbish interpretation of Cruella (dressing up as her must be done with professional effort).

Faux animal print that is quirky and different appeal to me far more than more repetitive and familiar prints. For me it compares to a cocktail on your lunch break. Refreshing and naughty – it sets it apart from the norm and ultimately boring.

Watching the Unique show of S/S 12 online is a great example of what is to come with their gold motif and metallic garments, creating a difficult pattern to mix into your wardrobe. After their show of A/W 11 finally revealing themselves into the stores, it's hard to resist the spots. Looking forward to collaborating the new Tutankuman inspiration into my style but for now it's all about the dog print. So, if anyone refers to any type of wild cat being the new fashionable print, I'll be sure to throw a spotty bangle their way.

Plus I've always preferred dogs...


Monday, 12 September 2011

The red jeans

I wish I understood the meaning of being happy with what you have. I know I am blessed with the many things I do have, and own. But whether that's the material girl inside of me calling out, to quote a terrible song, or a fashion fiend, I just seem to enjoy holding a spider diagram (very apt for this month) inside my head with ideas of new clothes to collaborate with my existing wardrobe.

Note these beautiful jeans below. I'd like to run through my thought process right now as I stare at them...

Mmm. They are beautiful. I could wear them with my black ankle boots. Definitely could wear them with my poncho. But does coffee match red? Who cares. I would make it match my mickey mouse t-shirt from when I was nine if I had to. Mmm they are proper delicious. Dress them down or up? I think they deserve both. Urgh, for £75 they deserve to dress themselves. Maybe I should just dip into my overdraft, who needs food and nights out at the pub? Oh wait that is all I am doing at the moment so that definitely would not work. Check eBay for lovely people selling their pair that don't fit them. Horrible people haven't posted any. Who wants Primark jeans off eBay? Are they even allowed to call them jeans with the minimal amount of recognised fabric? Mmm look how pretty and cherry red they are...

You see, I could go on for hours dithering about whether to purchase an outfit or not, 98% of the time I just give in, and roll around in my happiness for a good long week, until I spot something else I must definitely own.

So you see, I think I have successfully explained my method of consumption, and will now continue to do what I do best - resist buying for a couple of weeks, then give to the red devil that is temptation.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

London Fashion Week 2011

So the time has come for another round of fashion week, and you can hear the buzz in the air especially as it is only a few days away. From next friday to the wednesday, at every hour, each designer will take to their stage at Somerset House to produce the exciting array of their creations of S/S 2012.

Working in Carnaby Street, (mans fashion capital) allows me to be a forefront of any events, such as the street catwalk, and witness the many shoppers who suddenly transform from their dowdy autumn jackets, to their luminous heels and carefully chosen blouses and contrasting lipstick.

I want to say I'll be keeping up with the shows and contributing all my opinions here, but this year it seems they have surpassed such an amount to keep up with. Working behind the scenes at my first (and last) fashion week in 2009, taught me the extreme pressure and work that goes into each and every one of these productions. We had a least 5 or 6 shows a day, in the Fashion Scout area, and even that was a lot of pressure. Hats off to the ridiculous schedule, and I will watch from afar, from all portals of website extravaganza. Not to forget eagerly awaiting my invitations to the shows...

Needless to say, I am excited to see personal favourites such as Christopher Kane, Mulberry, Louise Gray and Matthew Williamson showcase their collection.

Then it's time to relocate our attention to Milan...


Thursday, 8 September 2011

The dress

So it was exactly 19 weeks ago that Wills married Kate at Westminster Abbey and there I was standing right next to 'the' wedding dress of the decade.

I didn't really know what to expect as we slowly shuffled around Buckingham Palace, side-stepping past exquisite paintings and refraining the need to touch the gold painted furniture, until we made it to the ballroom, to see the dress eerily placed on a tiny mannequin. Effortlessly trailing with respectful lighting, the dress looked magnificent. It was then that I realised that I definitely did not appreciate the full craftsmanship that went into this stunning design.

Sarah Burton, now leading the McQueen brand with pride and tenacity, created this beautiful gown with direct instructions from the Duchess herself, along with an army of helpers to intricately place it all together.

From the official Royal Wedding website itself, it describes the dress materials and main attributes..

'The dress is made from ivory and white satin-gazar (stiffened organza). The shape of the skirt, with arches and pleats, echoes an opening flower, and the ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry - a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs. The back of the dress is finished with 58 gazar- and organza-covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops. The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace. The train measures 2.7 metres.'

'The Duchess’s wedding dress reflects the work of skilled craftsmen and women from across the United Kingdom. The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872. The lace was produced using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered on to ivory silk-tulle to create a design that incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. Each lace motif, some as small as a 5-pence piece, was applied with minute stitches every two to three millimetres.'

''The bride’s veil, made of layers of soft, ivory silk-tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, was also embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. The veil was held in place by the Cartier ‘Halo’ tiara, which was lent to The Duchess by The Queen. The tiara is formed as a band of 16 graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds, each scroll being divided by a graduated brilliant with a large brilliant at the centre. The tiara was made in 1936 and purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King. The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.'

It was fascinating to learn of the extreme effort that went behind the production, and this is so apparent when looking at it close up. I also couldn't quite comprehend how small this dress was. The waist is astonlingsly small, 22 inches to be precise. To put it in some perspective, I'm 27 inches, and Victoria Beckham's famous size zero is 23 you can imagine how this dress looked quite surreal, almost fit for a porcelain doll, rather than an English woman.

Needless to say, the dress was fantastic as it eerily stands behind clear glass, with dim lighting recognised for the preservation of our most treasured and historical garments of years before, rather than a modern design. But thinking about it, this dress is sadly never going to happily live in Kate's wardrobe like most of our traditions, it will always be remembered and admired behind a window.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cellardoor Magazine - Issue 7

Quick posting today, after the complete failure of a published article last week with a different name attached to it, less said the better, I have good news to another that was correctly posted!

Cellardoor Magazine have released their seventh issue, with some fantastic features, beautiful graphics and with intelligent quirks that make it their own.

Take a look at page 83 for my own contribution, 'Create the perfect Shabby Chic look'.

To view the magazine click here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Friday, 2 September 2011

Topshop rant...

I hate to say it, but Topshop is no longer my favourite place to shop. I know I'm possibly one of the last people to notice the appauling materials and manafacturing of the clothes but that doesn't change how headstrong I'm feeling at the moment.

Simple T-shirts, tops and jumpers have risen in extreme prices. I can't even justify paying £35 for a top that is sub-standard in materials. It bobbles, fades and eventually looses its thickness. I've already lost a maxi dress to them due to quite embarrassingly finding out they were going see-through.

Most of the things I own that goes up on eBay is also Topshop. When it is no longer fashionable and the material has gone past all dispair, I have no choice but to pass it on. I've also had a number of items that have needed fixing, due to seams or extra's falling off.

Not to forget my purchase of a £70 coat that did not even keep me warm. I actually have a few items from Primark that have stood the test of time far longer!

So, if I am going to keep my word and shun Topshop for a while until they sort themselves out, which is highly unlikely, my replacement is Zara. Oh Zara why have I not noticed your beautiful tailored, long lasting, soft and fashionable clothes for nearly half the price?

I bought two fantastic tops from there this week during my lunch break. Working on Oxford Street is an absolute nightmare for money savers! But great for replacing all the Topshop rubbish in my wardrobe. These two tops were simply tagged as 'basics' but they exceed the quality seen in the high price ranged clothes in Topshop. Absolute winner for me.

Now I am not condemning them completly - their lookbooks, leather goods and makeup range is all pretty amazing. I just have a right peeve at the moment with their overpriced clothes!

It might be the location of the store that I visited that held the best saught after items - but I hope the one local to me in Southampton matches up as I spend all my student loan in there this year!

Do you agree?