Thursday, 29 September 2011

A place of my own.

I have neglected this blog a little over the past week, and for that I apologise. I've been entirely occupied by my move up to university and freshers week, but hopefully as things settle down I will have more time to update. I have a few more interviews in the works, and once I get my timetable sorted I should have more time to hunt out locations for shoots.

I love my new bedroom, it's bigger than my room at home and I have a double bed. I've been collecting stuff to decorate the walls for a few months now, and I'm so pleased with my new bedding. Here are the photos!

Things have been very emotional the last few days, mostly because I have ended up suffering a cruel bout of fresher's flu. I think I'm slowly recovering, however it's tough feeling so ill away from home without my mum to make me soup. I'm coping though, tomorrow is our main fresher's event - The Big Pirate Blowout, so the thought of that is keeping me going.

That's it for now really, I need to go cook myself something warm and comforting.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, an interview with Cass E.

Today marks the birth of a new feature on my blog, a weekly interview with someone I find inspiring. My intention is to talk to someone different each week, whether it be regarding writing, craft, fashion or art, and to share their stories and insight with my readers.

First off is Cass E, a member of Lookbook since February this year, with a growing fan base and a whole host of playful, clean cut looks.

Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm Cass, a harmless, faceless, shameless little girl who is rather fond of dressing up. I like video games, playing violin, and being spectacularly ignorant about everything. My age, face and location are under wraps in order to preserve my privacy and pacify my paranoia.

Where are you from, and how has it influenced your style?
I've lived in UK all my life, but my parents are Chinese so I'm what you can call a banana - yellow on the outside, white on the inside.
My mum has always been a very respectable dresser, which I hope has rubbed off on me since I always go clothes shopping with her. My sister is a complete tomboy, which is why I probably stayed one too, until about 3 years ago. Consequently the clothes and especially shoes I wear usually have some degree of practicality.

Tell us a bit about your approach to fashion?
People say not to judge a book by its cover, but we all do anyway because the cover is one of the first impressions we get of something. In reality I'm a exceedingly unremarkable nerdy nerd, but through fashion I can fool myself and others into thinking I'm quite interesting, really.
But also, fashion is a game. I like matching colours and textures. And I like prancing round feeling pretty.

How would you describe your personal style?
I'd describe my style as matchy, girly, and innocent. Sometimes I will go for comfort, with graphic t-shirts with matching Converse or boots (I am a total matching Nazi - thank you, dress-up games...), or I will go romantic with flowery dresses and the like. I used to wear lots of blacks and greys, especially in the winter, but nowadays I've got to have some kind of colour, and I really like the warmth and sophistication of browns, creams and beiges.

Do you have any fashion icons? Who do you admire?
Since I've gotten into fashion, I've started noticing the attire of the Doctor's companion, Amy Pond. I think she's gorgeous - she's feisty and free and so effortlessly cool in personality and in style.
I suspect my childhood 'fashion' icon was probably Cardcaptor Sakura, with her humungous van of spectacular (and completely fantastical) costumes. I have practically the whole series in Chinese dub and it's great!

What are your favourite fabrics to wear?
For most items of clothing, my favourite fabric is probably plain old cotton, kind to the skin. In contrast to my plain preference of fabric, my shoes absolutely must be leather, if it looks like it - I always splurge on good quality footwear, because I will be walking in them after all. I also like me a bit of lace and frills, though I don't tend to wear that sort of thing.

Do you have a favourite item of clothing right now?
At the moment, opaque coloured tights are my best fashion friends. I've dark red and dark purple ones and they are just perfect for the glorious Great British weather, as I'm sure you'll know, and are great with dresses and boots.

What items are you lusting over at the moment?
This is going to sound pretty peculiar but I'd really like some waxed or leather boot laces. This is because I recently got some sturdy but marginally manly lace-up boots which I've been wanting for a while, and they've got hiking sort of laces right now and I'd like to replace them with more stylish laces.

Tell us about your ambitions?
Let's see. When I go to uni I want to be in its orchestra. I want to marry some awesome smart-ass jerk. I'd like to be in a place where I can look back on all the people I hate and think, 'I'm so much more than you now.' I want to be content.

What's your favourite quote?
Chanel's words "A girl should be two things; classy and fabulous" is most definitely my favourite fashion-related quote, as it rings especially true nowadays with girls dressing, acting and being so trashy and repulsive at such early ages. Otherwise, "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" is a great one to keep me chuntering along.

My life will be forever autumn.

Yesterday I did my last minute university shopping with my mum and boyfriend, and whilst enjoying a panini and crème brûlée macchiato in Starbucks we got into a conversation about War of The Worlds, hence the lyrically inspired title of this look.

I also had a mini shopping spree in New Look, a shop I have a love-hate relationship with. Because it's so popular you always run the risk of buying an item that everyone and their mum ends up owning, however it is pretty good value for the quality and design. I also visited Topshop yesterday, and nothing jumped out at me. I definitely think that New Look has done this season best as far as the British high street is concerned. I bought a pair of burgundy shorts with black piping, a peter pan collar vest with a cute monochrome sausage dog print, a navy blue Grecian party dress with capped lace sleeves, and the Pu detail sheer blouse featured in today's look.

I'm also wearing my favourite new skirt, as featured in my post about Tyto Boutique and Gentle Fawn.

I do love the Pu details on the blouse. Sometimes I feel that my looks can be a little too soft, and it'subtle additions like this one that give it a slight edge.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Bloody nights at the toyshop.

Intriguing title? It happens to be a mash up of my three favourite books by the woman who single handedly rekindled my love of fiction and fantasy - Angela Carter.

Her richly descriptive prose is simply unrivalled, and the stories she weaves are so intoxicatingly decadent (and more often than not straying into the macabre). The matter of fact yet charming manner in which she deals with risqué themes makes her books terribly addictive, and the world she paints is vividly lavish. Her talent for creating an utterly believable world, right down to the gritty details, is astounding. Even more so is her skill for implanting elements of fantasy into these worlds.

Perhaps I am a little biased, falling into the exact category of independent young women that her books are tailored to, however I still feel the need to sing her praises. It makes me smile that after struggling to find a set of stories that truly captured me, I eventually found it in the works of a woman who died the year I was born. Of course it saddens me that we will never have the honour of reading new work from her, however it warms my heart to feel I am continuing this remarkable woman's legacy in my own small way.

If you want to read about great winged women, grand circuses, mysterious toyshops and twisted fairytales, I highly recommend that you hunt down some of her books. You won't regret it.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tyto Boutique and Gentle Fawn

Today my dad left for London, and as I'm leaving on Thursday it was the last time I'll see him for a good month or so. We went for a lovely lunch at my favourite restaurant where they do the most fantastic mussels, following which we did a little shopping together in Falmouth.

As it happened, in the end I didn't have to go far to find a shop perfectly suited to me. Just along from the restaurant I discovered Tyto Boutique, and I fell in love almost instantly. It had such a lovely feel about it, and it took mere moments for me to find a skirt that I simply had to buy.

This skirt by Gentle Fawn is everything that I have been looking for in a skirt for autumn, and whilst it may have been a little pricier than I'd usually go for it was an investment well worth making. I bought it one size up from my usual size so that it hangs more delicately - I can tell I'm going to be wearing this one a lot!

I'm starting to think that it may not just be this skirt that was a good find, but Gentle Fawn in general.

I found this on their website.

"Gentle Fawn is a contemporary and imaginative line of clothing that speaks for people who follow their own paths in life. Our style is clean and modern, with details that give each piece of clothing distinctiveness. Overall aesthetic reflects a strong sense of fashionable edge, but never neglects the bit of charm that sets us apart from the rest."

I don't think could have worded it any better. To say the least I shall be keeping an eye on their collections from now on, and visiting Tyto Boutique whenever I'm home from university!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Find me down by the blue lagoon.

I regret that there are no additional photos from today's shoot - it was one of those occasions where it was hard to find two good photos, despite taking over a hundred.

The jumper is by Mizumi, and I just love the colour, it's probably 80% the reason I bought it! My mother paid for it, on the basis that she thought I needed some 'student clothes' for when I go to uni - apparently if I wear my camel cape or blue lace trench coat then I won't fit in, or at least that's the way she sees it!

I bought the outer skirt from Urban Outfitters in 2009, and the petticoat is from American Apparel. The belt came with my feather print skirt from River Island, and the shoes came from London Rebel two years ago.

If you have a spare moment, please vote for my video in HSBC's 'The Bursary' competition. The winners will get a £15,000 bursary to help with university, and I could really use it in my struggle to get one of my novel manuscripts published.

If it makes you any more willing, my entry is animated and features a rather charming goldfish!

Just go to the A-Z list under 'L' and my video is called 'Lindy The Under Water Fish and Other Tales'.

Thanks in advance to all of your who do, it means the absolute world to me!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We grabbed the camera and went for a walk.

My boyfriend and I have had a lovely lazy day together, making scones, having cream teas and going for a long walk across the fields together. It's been perfect.

Snow White top - Zara
Layered skirt - Urban Outfitters
Denim jacket - Second hand
Shoes - London Rebel
Boater hat - Next
Bag - Jasper Conran//Designers at Debenhams
Sunglasses - Boyfriends

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I feel like the love child of Twiggy and Marie Antionette.

There are a couple of stories behind this look, although I guess it all stemmed from a sudden urge I had last night to makes a collar for a dress that I never wore. My sister is the seamstress in the family, so she let me raid for scrap pile of fabric and borrow all of her pins, needles and threads. She offered me use of her sewing machine, however I decided I'd rather sew it by hand. Once I'd made the basic shape I added a cameo pendant that I'd lost the chain for.

 It was also an opportunity to try a new hairstyle. I wanted all of my hair off of my shoulders to showcase the collar so I parted my hair into two thick braids then crossed them over one side of my head, pinning as I went. By this point, feeling a little like Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola's 'Marie Antionette', I decided to add my flower headband. 

The camera featured in the photos has great sentimental value to me. It belonged to my grandfather, who died when I was seven. I only met him a few times before he died and when I started studying photography a few years ago my father passed the camera down to me. It's one of my favourite possessions, and although now redundant for taking photos, it makes a charming prop.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Warm autumn evenings.

I've always loved this time of year, when the seasons are in limbo between summer and autumn. This is the kind of outfit I seem to end up living in during the in-between seasons; layers of light chiffon and romantic shapes.

I found the top whilst shopping the other day in a second hand shop, it's nothing special but pairs nicely with almost any skirt. The skirt is one of my favourites that I bought in the sales at River Island, I've half worn it to death over the summer.

The bag is from The Oxford Satchel Company, my boyfriend bought it for me last Christmas and it's been my college bag ever since. It's just perfect for me.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Apple and blackberry whoopie pies.

I apologise in advance to those of you with no interest in baking, as the chances are this blog is not only going to be a place for my fashion musings, but also a venue for a few of my original recipes.

Today, the oh-so-hipster whoopie pie. However all food trend judgements aside, these Amish treats really are indulgently delicious. I mastered macarons earlier this year and whilst I do love them, the process of making them is admittedly long winded. Whoopie pies are far more basic yet equally satisfying, and possibly have wider scope than the macaron for creative reinvention.

Right now we're in the middle of blackberry season, and whilst apple and blackberry crumble is all well and good it does get a little repetitive. So here is my recipe for autumnal apple and blackberry whoopies.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 whoopies)
400g (14oz) plain flour
1tsp baking soda
1stp baking powder
100g (3 1/2 oz) softened butter
230g (8oz) granulated sugar
1 free range egg
1/2 vanilla pod
125ml (4 fl oz) milk
150g (5oz) blackberries

For the filling
1 apple
250g (9oz) icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3 and prepare two baking sheets.

First prepare the fruit. Slice the apple, leaving the skins on to add pretty pink flecks to the filling. Blend the sliced apple to make a chunky purée, and leave aside for later. Wash the blackberries thoroughly before also blending well.

Sieve together the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, add the egg, butter and milk, and cream all of the ingredients together until smooth. Add the blended blackberries and the seeds from half a vanilla pod (you can use 1 tsp of pure vanilla essence, however I prefer to work with real vanilla). Mix the blended fruit and batter together until combined.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the blackberry mixture onto the prepared baking trays leaving enough room for them to spread, flatten lightly with the back of a spoon, then bake for 15 minutes until firm to touch.

Whilst the cakes are baking, sieve the icing sugar into the apple purée and gently combine the two with a wooden spoon. Cover and leave in the fridge until the cakes have completely cooled.

Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack before assembling with the apple mixture. I served mine with a little extra apple filling on top, a few blackberries, and a dusting of icing sugar.

And there you are, a perfectly autumnal treat!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Fresh start approaching.

Perhaps not the most glamorous start to a post, however I feel it's appropriate. I'm moving up to university in Bath in two weeks, so today I did a little shopping to prepare myself. The first photo is of what I bought today, the second is the stuff I've already bought for my house share, the third is the more fun stuff, the hamper my mother bought me as a leaving present and the fairy lights I treated myself to. The fourth photo is of a string of memories that I've made for my new bedroom. I thought it would be nice to preserve the memories of this time while I can.

I also bought some new clothes today, although only a few. I bought a lovely big turquoise cable knit jumper ready for winter, a cute pink angora cardigan with lace embellishments, and a simple cream tank top with a lace panel. No pictures for now, however I'm sure they'll appear on Lookbook soon enough.

A few months ago I made a string of Shakespeare bunting, by printing out pages of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet then cutting them into flags and pinning them to a length of twine with tiny wooden clothes pegs. I was going to sell it, however I've decided to be self indulgent and keep it for my room at university instead!

Speaking of being crafty, yesterday my boyfriend and I decided to make an apple and blackberry crumble. It was a dreary, rainy day and we were lost for what to do, so we picked some berries, made the crumble, then settled down for a long afternoon of Monopoly and cuddling on the sofa.

All in all I have to say that these past two days have been pretty perfect, and I'm definitely feeling quite chilled in the run-up to my move to university.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The story of a skirt.

The star of today's look is my mint green pleated skirt, which started it's life as part of a rather cheap dress which I bought on ebay for a measly £1. I tried to style the dress in it's original shape, however had little luck - the top looked cheap and was very unflattering.

So out came the scissors. I wasn't going to give up on that beautiful pleated skirt because of the ugly top, so I cut away the top half of the dress, fixed a few stitches into the hem of the skirt, and here it is! A seemingly new skirt which I can now pair with whatever top I desire!

The tee shirt I chose to wear with it today is from H&M, however I bought it on ebay for under £5. Overall this is a very cheap outfit, the most expensive item being the shoes which are really nothing special. My boyfriend bought the necklace for me, and altered it to get rid of a few tacky charms that were attached to the chain. I bought the hat from Next at the beginning of summer, I'd been hankering for a good quality boater and it fitted that definition quite nicely.

And there it is, a lazy outfit perfect for exploring the outdoors in the early autumn climate!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Two new looks for the changing seasons!

So it's been a little while since I've posted here. I wasn't sure if I was ready for a fashion blog, however over the past six months I have finally decided that I want to give this blog my all. My love of fashion is as strong as ever, I just haven't been recording it in the way I used to. That, I can now tell you, is over.

My summer has been long and lazy, full of days at the beach and endless afternoons with my boyfriend. I have a confirmed place at Bath Spa university to study English Literature, and have found a place to live outside of halls. In July I also wrote my second novel manuscript.

However now that the seasons are changing, I'm being drawn back to my photography and interest in fashion. Maybe it's because I prefer the fashions of the new season, or it may just be that autumn light has always been my favourite light to shoot in - whatever it may be, here are my two new looks.

This one, styled appropriately on the last day of August, was quite simply inspired by the arrival of my new dress from the Yumi outlet sale. It's from their summer collection, however I can see myself styling it for Autumn more fittingly. Cable knit tights, little laced boots, and a new leather jacket perhaps? I'm already excited!

The hair style is a new one for me. Since growing my hair out I've been forever practising new styles, and braids are so versatile. Maybe a little too 'Heidi' for normal day-to-day wear, however I enjoyed wearing it for the day, especially with the delicate dress. I almost felt like I was in a period drama.

This was taken earlier today, with my lovely boyfriend standing in as photographer. There were two sources of inspiration; the hamper (which was a gift from my mother) and the scarf with arrived with dress from Yumi. The other components have all been in my wardrobe since spring, however I liked the new edge the scarf gave them.

Hopefully I'll now be updating more often, watch this space!