Saturday, 31 May 2014

Nerdsville Book Club #One: Eeny Meeny, by M.J. Arlidge

Available on Amazon here. Also available on Kindle.

A couple of months ago, some of my fellow bloggers and I were tweeting excitedly over our love for Literature, so when there was the suggestion of a book club, I couldn't wait to get started. I'm so excited for the first 'Nerdsville Book Club' write up!

Charlotte chose the first book as she'd heard some great things about it. The book is Eeny Meeny, by M. J. Arlidge, and the basis is thus: Two people (who know each-other) get kidnapped at a time. They are taken to various secure places and a phone goes off. There is either a text message or voice message, all with the same message - there's a gun with one bullet and they have to decide who survives.

Now, sitting here happy and safe in my bedroom, admiring the blue sky, I'd say now that I wouldn't/ couldn't harm another person. My option now would be for the two of us to meet our maker without picking up the gun, not letting our abductor win.....I say this sitting here happy and safe in my bedroom, admiring the blue sky. Who knows how someone would feel and react in that situation? Who knows how the person you've been kidnapped with would react to that situation? There surely needs to be a great deal of trust in the other not to cave after days and days of solitude with no food, no water and barely any light. In truth, we can never say for certain if we'd be capable of killing another human being, knowing that was the only way to live. Our natural instincts is to survive, right?!

All the captives face this (fictional) reality and not to give too much away, but at least one of each couple is left behind. All are educated people with their lives ahead of them, but faced with their own mortality turns them into entirely different people; it's not that they're bad or evil, it's simply that they are given one option to live. That's what I really enjoyed about the book. All the circumstances and level of relationships are different. Would it be easier to use a gun against a work colleague you barely like than your romantic partner? Does having (seemingly) nothing to live for make it easier to take the bullet? Then there is of course the aftermath. Each surviour has to deal with the consequences of their actions, has to look themselves in the mirror and live with the decision they have made. It’s an unenviable circumstance and not one that I think I could live with. All these subjects are all touched upon in the book.

Helen Grace is our heroine detective who has to solve this crime, and as many of us, she has her own demons to tackle while trying to function day-to-day. Helen depicts someone without a care in the world. She depicts someone who has it all together and shows very minimal emotion in her everyday life; but again like most, she has an outlet. My personal outlet is to either write or runaround with my camera, taking pictures of familiar places I know and love – creative escapism is my outlet. Helen is a strong and stubborn woman on the outside, but with a troubled upbringing and an uncertain love life, she has to decide whom she can trust and open up to. A great, relatable segment from the book sums this up and in truth, sums up humans as a whole – even if we daren’t admit it:

“There are countless moments in the average life when you have to decide whether to open yourself up or bury yourself deep. In love, at work, amongst your family, with friends, there are moments when you have to decide whether you are ready to reveal your true self.”

In the end, Helen loses more than she could have imagined and as this is series, I’m sure some of these will be talked about in the next book.

I also found this story relatable because it’s set in Southampton, UK. Books of this nature are usually set in America and for someone who was born and raised in England, there is a natural detachment. But with Southampton, not only is it familiar, it’s also the language and dry sarcasm only a Brit or someone whom has lived in the UK, would understand.

For me, the scariest stories are the ones you could actually see happening (28 Days Later immediately springs to mind). The author creates a set of circumstances that any of us could genuinely be unfortunate to find ourselves in. They are a set of circumstances that really makes the reader think about their desire to survive and how far they’d go to do so. We can all sit in our safe environments shaking our heads at the mere thought of picking up the gun, but if it meant it were you starring down the barrel instead.....

What would you do?

Check out the reviews from my fellow Nerdsville crew:

‘til next time!

Love and hugs,

Thursday, 29 May 2014

My Heart Belongs To Alice

Hi guys,

I had a few days off a little while ago, so Charlotte and myself headed to Islington to hunt for some vintage finds and vinyl. Goodness me, the vintage boutiques were utterly gorgeous with an array of beautiful, genuine vintage wonders, but we were stunned out of every shop at the expense! I remember a time when you would go into one of said shops and walk out with some amazing pieces, for pennies. Sadly, vintage is so vogue at the moment, the prices have increased to ridiculous levels. You can still find some great items (and I have been really lucky to find loads recently), but you have to work for it!

Thankfully we're girls whom also love to window shop, so even though our purses remained closed, we still marvelled over what we would buy if we could. We then went on a vinyl hunt because if you saw my turntable post, you'll know that I am now a fully fledged turntable nerd, and thus, need to increase my vinyl collection. We headed to a few charity shops and found some goodies - and I was thrilled to find some Bowie!
We also ate loads at Five Guys, drank yummy, fruity drinks at Costa, and even managed to squeeze in some outfit pics - a very productive day! This Alice & You dress is a stunner. I spent so many visits on the ASOS website deciding which dress from the range I wanted. My eyes kept falling on this adorable heart-shaped print dress. With new brands I haven't tried, I tend to size-up through fear of the dreaded 'independent brand fabric cuts', but they didn't have the next size up. All was not lost because they did have one single dress left in my "usual" size so I took a punt and ordered it; I'm happy to say it fits like a dream and I'm so glad I decided to get it.
Dress: Alice & You (via ASOS)^
Cardigan: South (via Very)
Leggings: South (via Very)
Boots: Simply Be^
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
Ring: Dorothy Perkins^

At first I thought the black and white clash of the dress print and stairs would be too much, but looking back, there's such an awesome 60's vibe to it (Twiggy, anyone?!) and Charlotte as always, made me look like a rock star.
So cute!

We had to chase a woman down the street to take this picture ;)

It was a great day and the dress was nothing but comfortable throughout. I will be purchasing many more Alice & You dresses in the future.

'til next time.

Love and hugs,

^ - denotes an item which is no longer available. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

You Had Me At Polka Dots

I'm getting to a point where I'm running out of polka dot themed titles! I wear so much of it and if you're a regular reader, you'll see that my love for polka dots is never ending.

This is another to add to my polka dot folder. I saw this New Look dress on the ASOS website and couldn't add it to my basket fast enough! It's light weight which is great for this time of year, and it has the cutest tie sleeves. I'm usually one to wear cardigans or shrugs throughout the year, but dresses like this make them irrelevant and is a blessing in the warmer months. (NOTE: In future I will be denoting items no longer available with ^).
Dress: New Look (via ASOS)^
Belt: Simply Be^
Leggings: South (via Very)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
Hair Flower: ASOS^
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins^
It has an elasticated waist, is double layered for a floaty feel, and hits just on the knee on my frame. I love this and wish they did more colours in this design. I finished the look with a pair of leggings, sunglasses and a cute little flower for my hair. I wore this to a blogger event and dinner with the ever lovely, Charlotte, and the elasticated waist came in handy as we ate so much!
Such a fab, springtime outfit.

'til next time!

Love and hugs,

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Vintage Old & Vintage New

Hello lovelies!

So way back in April, the lovely Caroline of Curvy Wordy fame and myself headed to the V&A for The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition. I was so excited when it was announced this exhibition was coming to the V&A and I had no doubt I would absolutely love it – and I was right!

The exhibition mainly focuses on haute couture, and each decade is a reflection of the sign of the times. The pieces from the 1940’s are subtle in structure and colours; it was more about durability and practicality due to being a time of hardship after the Second World War. The 1950’s and 1960’s is where the glamour really starts to shine through – flamboyant, vibrant, sexy, well tailored and indulgent. America came to town and thus, brought the Hollywood stars and glitz which rejuvenated Italy, not just creatively, but also financially.

My favourite pieces came from the 50’s and 60’s (no surprise there!), and Caroline and myself were literally gushing at how incredibly beautiful the dresses were – sequins, silk, draping, bone corsets, embroidery, it just went on and on. The exhibition isn’t just about the 50's and 60’s, and actually spans from the 1940’s to 2014. The earlier pieces were again my favourites, but seeing outfits from as little as a few months ago was also a joy. I have plans to go again to this wonderful exhibition and I will no doubt enjoy it just as much as the first time. Unfortunately we were not permitted to take pictures of any of the collection, but you can see a taster of what treats await you in this great article by Fashion Globe Magazine, including a simply breathtaking Walter Albini silk/nylon dress from 1973 *dress swoons*.
©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Whenever I go to the V&A I always feel the need to dress up as going in jeans just wouldn’t seem appropriate (not that you will ever see me in jeans!), so I was looking through my wardrobe and saw the perfect dress for such an occasion.
Dress: Phyllis Doll Dress, Collectif
Shrug: eBay
Leggings: South (via Very)
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
The stunning V&A building from the courtyard where we took our pictures.
I feel like a proper grownup in this dress. It’s so elegant, classic and mirrors the late 1940’s with it timeless shape and colour. I love the cross over bust as it allows ample room my large bust and can be easily adjusted according to the occasion. Being 5’1”, the dress is a fabulous length on me and I only wore leggings due to it being a bit nippy that day, but leggings will be left behind with the increasing temperatures. Talking of temperature, this dress is so breathable as it’s made from 97% Polyster, so I will have no worries about overheating under the sun.
I literally couldn’t have picked a more perfect dress – vintage old and vintage new.

‘til next time!

Love and hugs,

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pixie Maxi Challenge No.2 - New Look & River Island

Hi guys!

So this is the second instalment of the Pixie Maxi Challenge. If you missed the first one you can view it here

This time I headed to New Look and River Island. I found some really lovely dresses. But, er, I had a small (pun totally intended!) problem with some of their lengths…it is important to note however, I'm 5'1" so results will obviously be different depending on your height.

This strapless dress is the lightest dress ever! I felt really comfy in it and had loads of room for a size 16 due to the elasticated waist under the bust. As much as I like the print and the dress, I’m someone who gets quite hot and sweaty, so would worry about patches with the material. Also, as you can see from the pictures, it’s far too long on me. I would need to get quite a bit taken off to avoid tripping over myself! It comes in sizes 6-16 (I'm wearing a 16 here) and made from 100% Viscose.

This is also strapless and has a shirred top so you’d be fine to size down with this one….in fact, I think I could have sized down further. The print isn’t what I’d usually go for but I thought I’d use this opportunity to try new prints and shapes to see if I fell in love with something out of my norm. I like this dress, but don’t love it and again, the dress is far too long on me. It comes in size 6-16 (I'm wearing a 16 here) and made from 96% Polyster, 4% Elastane.

Flower Print Dress, £19.99
Unfortunately this dress isn’t online. I don’t know if it’s down to no longer being in stock, but it’s not on the website. I love this! The colours and the print are great, it’s floaty and I felt super comfortable in it. But there is a problem....a rather ridiculously huge problem – the length! I couldn’t quite believe how long this dress was! Nope, I didn’t pick this up from the tall range; this is a main range size 16 and it’s a dress and a half on me! It’s such a shame because I would have bought it in a heartbeat otherwise.

How cute is this dress?! This is the only dress I really fell in love with from the Inspire range. The print is gorgeous, and I could definitely see myself wearing this and feeling utterly happy. It’s not as long as the others, but still a bit too long for me without being altered. This might be a payday purchase if there are any left – they’re selling very fast! It comes in sizes 18-30 (I'm wearing an 18 here) and made from 100% Viscose.

It’s a shame I couldn’t find this one in a size 18 in-store because the 16 is too small over my tummy. The length is good, it has spaghetti straps, and the bright coral is definitely not something I would have gone for usually, but I’m loving it on me! I may pop back in after payday to see if I can find myself an 18 before ordering. It comes in sizes 6-18 (I'm wearing a 16 here) and made from 100% Cotton.

I couldn’t not try this dress on, the print demands it! In truth, I’d never wear a dress with this print, but I was really interested to see how the shape looked on me. I’ve concluded this shape doesn’t really do much for me so I probably would veer away from as it’s very straight despite the split at the side, but the length isn't too bad. It comes in sizes 6-18 (I'm wearing a 16 here) and made from 95% Polyster, 5% Elastane.

This coral is a lot more subtle than the first dress and looked great on (dress also comes in back). It’s really light and I really like the fact it has spaghetti straps. It’s slightly too long on me though, but the tie waist would help with that. It comes in sizes 6-18 (I'm wearing a 16 here) and made from 100% Viscose. 

So there you have it. Nine maxi dresses and unfortunately, only one of them are the right length from my pixie frame. The final instalment will be up next week so keep an eye out for that!

'til nex time.

Love and hugs,