Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dip Denim

 I have never been particularly creative with clothing and apart from basic sewing skills I have never tried to expand on what I know. After ordering some Levi jeans in wrong sizes though I decided to dabble in altering them and possibly selling them on. I have found that handling bleach without gloves was not such a smart move, but I am pleased with the end results from the first two trials, as show above. 
I will keep the blog updated with the two new pairs that I'm working on now, unfortunately I left them pegged on the washing line and did not notice that it is pouring down, so they will both have to wait until tomorrow.
Marble effect high waist Levi shorts

Dip Dye Levi 550 High Waist snug fit shorts

Unique Levi Shorts

Friday, 29 June 2012

Spolit For Choice

I always seem to have too many things that I want an never enough money to buy them, these are a few things that I just could not resist trying on during a recent visit to Meadowhall in Sheffield. What are you all wearing this summer?

Moonrise Kingdom

I wish that I had got round to this sooner, three weeks ago I went to see Moonrise Kingdom, another fantastic film from my favourite director, Wes Anderson. Anyone that knows me is aware of my love for The Darjeeling Limited, so in my mind Moonrise Kingdom was always going to lag behind my personal favourite.

With an incredible and very talented line up of well established actors, such as Bruce Willis, Edward Norton (who I still expected to start a fight) and Bill Murray, along with the striking Tilda Swinton and convincing mother at breaking point, Frances McDormad it was a surprise when new faces stole the limelight. The incredible performances are given by newcomers Jared Gilman, playing Sam and Kara Hayward who plays Suzy.

The story of Sam and Suzy pulls at the heart strings of anyone who has experienced young love, it is unexplainable and certainly never logical. So when they decide to run away together on an island just off the coast of New England, mishaps involving scouts, affairs and a tent on a secret beach make this beautifully directed film a must see.

The sixties fashion is accurate and you can't help but fall in love with Suzy in her red dress as she carries her kitten in a wicker basket. Her long socks and large collars somehow portray a childlike innocence, that she remedies with an ability to convince the audience that a girl of her age is capable of such unwavering love.

Today I'm Wearing

Today I have been wearing my purchases from yesterday and could not be more pleased with them.
The jacket, shirt, sunglasses and hat are from Urban Outfitters in Meadowhall. Urban Outfitters has just opened it's newest store in the Sheffield shopping center and rivals the size of its' flagship on Oxford Street. 
 The leather ankle boots and handbag are both Topshop, black shorts that can't be seen here are from Zara and the tights are from Marks and Spencer.
Topshop £75

Urban Outfitters sunglasses £15 shirt £42
Has anyone else had some splurges that you know you bank balance couldn't deal with but have cheered you up immensely?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Little Fishy Fish

I know there are some concerns with Fish Pedicures but after spending two weeks walking around Tenerife I couldn't resist trying it and desperately needed it. There were plenty of cheap looking places with insanely low prices but quite frankly sad looking fish. So I picked somewhere a tad more expensive and considerably cleaner for the treatment.
It was actually far better than expected, with the very capable woman exfoliating my feet and legs followed by rinsing them down and covering all small cuts with tape. That should stop the supposed spread of infections, but that was not even a concern once my feet were in the water.
It's really quite weird having over a hundred little fish swarming to eat away at your dead skin but after 25 minutes of laughing at the tickling sensation, the result was pretty amazing. Far better than any pedicure I've had and no need to humour conversation with anyone while trying to relax.
I've been recomonded to go to Zoola Fish in London and there is no doubt that they are going to be seeing me in the near future.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Crown and Glory Interview

This week I had the pleasure of talking to Sophie King, who runs Crown and Glory. I cannot thank her enough for her cooperation. All images courtesy of

It’s tough starting a business; it’s even tougher doing it on your own in a recession. Sophie King found herself out of a job after finishing a degree in Photographic Art at Newport University, South Wales, and decided to expand on her creative hobby of making hair accessories. A year and a half after creating her own company, Crown and Glory, Sophie is looking to the future of her brand and couldn’t be more thrilled about the challenges that lay ahead.

 As I sit and look at her headbands, I can’t help but notice the intricacy and hard work that has clearly gone into every piece in the collection. Currently working from home doesn’t faze Sophie, “It’s suited fine until late - with minimal outgoings and no pressure from the risks associated with having premises so early on. I do hope to move into a studio or such like soon, though, especially when Crown and Glory gets to the point that I am able to begin hiring.” The idea of Crown and Glory clearly gets her excited, with a five year plan in place her future is a bright one, “I hope to be at the heart of a bustling studio filled with creatives all working on Crown and Glory's latest collection, a company that values UK production, an exemplary customer service record, and wine o'clock on a Friday - oh, and a studio cat, of course!”

 Sophie understands the value of hard work and dedication, after finding herself temporarily out of work her creative talent kept her busy and her spirits hopeful. It wasn’t long before she realised that Crown and Glory was more important to her than just a hobby, it was something she was willing to risk her wellbeing on. “By June 2011 I had progressed Crown and Glory to a level where I took the chance and decided to call it my job - the prevailing reason being if I didn't give it a proper go, I'd always wonder 'what if'?” Taking the risk clearly paid off, she is buzzing with enthusiasm and it soon became obvious why.

 As we talk about the possible expansion of Crown and Glory, Sophie makes it clear that Cornwall is where she intends to stay, “Cornwall boasts a wealth of untapped graduate talent. ‘Unlocking Cornish Potential’ help Cornish graduates find entry-level positions, and in turn help SME's create graduate level positions within the region, by funding and mentoring.” As I clearly look puzzled she kindly explains that after four months of research she found out there were funding schemes she could apply for, and thankfully for her the ‘Graduate Business Start Up’ fund helped her get on her feet. For twelve months Sophie received funding and mentoring via the European Converge, “Most people don’t realise that funding is available to them, they just need to search these things out as they aren’t common knowledge.”

 Talk turns to how she copes being a one-woman business, if she finds it tough, it certainly doesn’t show. Like so many small designers there is a wealth of competition which sadly has come to light, “I've come across copycats is by absolute chance - don't Google yourself, kids! It's hugely frustrating to see entire product lines being cut and pasted onto someone else's website - of course there's being inspired by someone's success, which is flattering, but point blank ripping off another designer's hard work is disgraceful”. Sophie can be putting in 80 hours a week of work to meet demand which adds to the frustration, yet she rises above it all, “Of course it's an industry wide problem, so to be perfectly honest, I deal with it by ensuring I'm concentrating on new product lines and improving my brand. I try not to be too precious about it, but I focus on the fact that I will always be one step ahead of the game when it comes to copycats.”

 I can’t help but be impressed by her organisational skills and ability to work all the roles that a company needs, “I love what I do but working myself to the bone is not sustainable. Of course this does not just involve fulfilling orders - I do all the PR, marketing, housekeeping, accounts, admin - I attend business workshops, networking events, press days - designing and researching new product lines, tea making and cleaning to name but a few.” I find it hard to say I do anything even slightly comparable to her, but she takes it in her stride and is incredibly modest when I tell her how impressive that is, “Well I do love what I do”.

 I have my eye on a beautiful pale blue fascinator for a summer wedding. It ties in with S/S pastel obsession that has dominated the runway and high street. For thirty pounds in my eyes it is a steal, “Thankfully I think the UK market at least is definitely beginning to understand the difference they can make if they just spend a few extra pounds and support small businesses. Some of my items are more piece work, so while the actual creation doesn't take long at all, you have to remember the time and effort that goes into resourcing for that item, photographing and marketing it and costing. Some of my more intricate pieces and bespoke orders can take several days to allow materials to settle properly and glues and paints to dry before adding the next layer. It’s really varied, which I love.”

 I ask Sophie about keeping her company on trend; whether she tries to tie in her lines with the seasons, or whether she creates the lines as inspiration comes to her she thoughtfully responds; “A bit of both, really - although the products are trend led and for S/S 12 we first launched the main line as a cohesive collection in one go, I'm always adding to it in response to product popularity, customer requests and suchlike. I think this is important for an online store as it keeps the product lines fresh and ensures great traffic, too.” It is incredibly refreshing to see a woman as young as Sophie to be so passionate about her career, but being a career she has forged from scratch there is clearly a personal determination to succeed.

 Her inspiration comes from everywhere, which she is worried sounds cliché but as she talks about her favourite piece (“Of course I’m not allowed favourites..”) the Whole Lotta Rosie headband, it’s obvious the positive feedback and happy customers are only going to keep spurring her on to bigger and better things.