Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Take, take, take your time.

On the immensely shallow scale of things, is there anything worse than someone buying you a gift that there is no way they could get right? I realise this is an incredibly selfish sentence, but it's still... sort of true.

I'm struggling to think of examples of this actually happening to me - probably a good thing as I risk offending people - but the one item I'd most fear receiving is a new watch. I've worn the same watch for 8 years - huge testament to Storm's manufacturing! And apart from the logo falling off and a few scratches, there's nothing wrong with it, other than I'm just bored of it (EIGHT YEARS, ffs).

What irritates me is that every watch I seem to see is bloody CHUNKY. It's one of those frustrating situations when the entire world seems to like one thing and I... just... DON'T. It's The Streets being number one all over again (WORST LYRICS IN THE WORLD). Seriously though, there's nothing wrong with chunky watches, but they're just not for me. I actually think my current watch is TOO chunky. (If you're thinking 'Dude, show a picture of your current watch already!' it's in every single outfit post I've done, knock yourself out.)

I've managed to find a few on ASOS that I actually like, which is a miracle. It's rare for me to list the price being too low as a negative aspect of something I watch, but I do worry about £20-30 watches lasting. Although, I change the rest of my jewellery constantly, why shouldn't I mix up my watches too? It is tempting to put that £100 or so I'd spend on a watch-for-life towards these three beauties, instead...

 

Very, very tempting....
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Sunday, 28 August 2011

When the day met the night.


I love a challenge, especially a creative one, so when Clippy London asked if I fancied customising one of their bags, I jumped at the chance. Their products are so simple, but so effective - Calypso Rose, who came up with the brand, actually became London Young Business Person of the Year a few years ago, because they were so popular.

I love this concept - they create bags and other bits and bobs (even umbrellas!) made up of clear plastic pockets so you can add your own pictures, drawings - anything - and create something completely unique to you.

I debated what to do for a while - there are so many possibilities - but in the end I decided to keep it simple. I printed off two photographs that I'd taken onto A3 paper, measured them out carefully and chopped them up. And voila: a windowpane effect bag that I know no one else has. With a day side, and a night side!

   
I'm already thinking about other ways to customise it - I'd love to do a Friday Frocks version (just with pics of the dresses - not of me IN the dresses, now that WOULD be the height of narcissism to carry that around, ha!). But I love that I can change this as often as I fancy. I went for the 9 Pocket Tote Bag - it's lovely and big, and very sturdy, perfect for lugging around all my bits and bobs!

Clippy are launching a competition soon where readers can vote for their favourite customised-by-a-blogger bag at their Facebook page. If I win, I get prizes to give away to YOU - so go and 'like' their page and I'll let you know when voting starts. In the meantime, I see a couple of my favourite bloggers have already got their bags up on their blogs - check out Michelle's and Bee's!

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?


I don't think my dress sense is all that flamboyant - sure, I get some people saying 'Sorry, you don't even OWN jeans?' in disbelief - but I do like an outfit that people talk about. Every time I've worn this colourful little number (which, granted, is only twice) I've had people coming up to me saying 'OOOOH! PINEAPPLES!'

Yes, people. Pineapples. I love this print so much, it makes me pretty shocked that I've never owned an edibly patterned dress before. It's by Ruby Rocks - I only discovered them recently and love all their playful prints. I'm in love with this spotty number (which I've posted about before!).

But I was actually sent this by Simply Be - yep, the plus size retailer. Being completely honest, I don't consider myself plus sized (I'm a 12-14), but when they offered to send me a dress, I was curious to see how it fit. And I liked the pineapples. Also, their clothes start at 14 - many of them actually at 12, so you really don't have to consider yourself plus size to shop there.

There are very few shops that do ranges from tiny sizes to larger sizes - sure, some of them do a plus size range, but it's always a lot smaller than the rest of the range. I actually think it's quite divisive, in both sides of the scale. I've known slightly larger girls who were scared to go into Topshop and Miss Selfridge, but similarly, I always feel a bit unwelcome in Evans, even though I like their jewellery and want to try out their range of wide-calf boots (and they just stare at me in Long Tall Sally, because I am neither long nor tall. But Sally is short for Sarah! One out of three ain't bad! Actually, it's only 33%, but who's counting?). And I wouldn't say that Simply Be is totally breaking down the borders between plus size clothing and non plus-size, but they're certainly trying to cater to people of various sizes by starting their clothes at a 12, and approaching non plus size bloggers. And trying is good.

Necklace - Topshop
Shoes - Marks & Spencer (old)

So how did the dress fit? Well, it was cut slightly more generously than I'm used to, but that was good! My top half actually felt decent - normally unheard of in a v-neck. And because of the belt, I could pull it tighter anyway, so it being a bit big didn't matter. Plus, pineapples.

I wore this to my niece's birthday celebrations, of which I was, as ever, Official Cake Maker. I couldn't resist trying out a giant cupcake - epic, no? My niece's reaction was amazing when she saw it - she was speechless. Totally worth it.


Plus, red shoes that I love, and will continue to wear, even though they're ridiculously uncomfortable for flats, and - AND - a pineapple necklace that I picked up in the Topshop sale just after I got this dress. Pineapples, you guys. They're the next big thing.

PS - Don't forget to enter my giveaway!
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Monday, 22 August 2011

Oh how she rocks, in Keds and tube socks.

I’m not gonna lie, if you asked me what I’d like to change about my body, I’d come back with a list as long as my arm (oh yep – arms would be on there). I know it’s not very empowered of me, but I’m a typical girl, and will probably spend my entire life wanting to be slimmer, taller, blah blah blah. But if I had to choose one part of my body to change, it wouldn’t be a flatter stomach or skinnier arms or more toned thighs, it would be the one part that I know I can never, ever change without some kind of weird, experimental surgery - my CALVES. I hate them! As I always say, I was blessed with hockey player’s calves, but not the ability to play hockey. My skinny-legged sister, however, was told she could play for the county. UNFAIR.

I suffer from SUCH leg envy. Mine could be worse, I know, but due to my muscular calves, I have had to resign myself to the fact that there are certain accessories I just can’t wear. Knee high boots are one (see rant) but the other one is SOCKS. I love socks. When I first watched Gossip Girl, I couldn’t get over how adorable the girls looked in their ankle socks and heels and argyles and brogues (those girls give good leg).


I look on jealously as my fellow fashion bloggers effortlessly pull off over the knee socks and short skirts, or layer socks over tights, or rock a pair of ankle socks with heels.

So, when MyTights contacted me, asking if I would take a pair of Burlington Argyle socks and style them up in different ways, I had to ruefully decline. I can’t do socks. But! If I COULD, this is what I’d team them with…

Classic Preppy Chic
 
Red & Blue Matchy-Matchy
Quirky LBD

Cute & Girly

Also, MyTights have kindly allowed me to give a pair of their socks away to you lovely people - any pair you like from their fantastic range - plus a pair of adorable gingham flipflops – and 2 runners up will get flipflops too!


Rules
  • You must be a follower of this blog. 
  • Include your email (or way to contact you) in the comment
  • International entries welcome
  • Giveaway will run for TWO WEEKS, closing Monday 5th September 19:00 MIDNIGHT (GMT)
  • Winner will be selected using random.org
  • For an extra entry, either tweet or post to your blog something along these lines: Fancy winning a pair of argyle Burlington Socks and gingham flipflops? Enter @essbeevee's giveaway at http://bit.ly/riaJJd(please note, you MUST comment here to be entered in the first place, even if you tweet it).



Good luck!
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Friday, 19 August 2011

It was a rainbow coalition of dancing.


Last weekend I went to visit two of my favourite people, James and Lenny in Brighton. We were planning to watch the Pride Parade and then go to the mini festival in Preston Park. However, we were amazingly rubbish on Saturday morning and managed to miss the entire parade. But we made it into the park where, um... we got EXTREMELY drunk. And saw Alexandra Burke live! So, yeah, I can say that I've done that now.

Just to bring it back to Friday Frocks, I wore this cute swallow dress from New Look. It's a couple of years old, but one of my favourite summer dresses. I love the print, the neckline - actually, I'm amazed I haven't featured it on here before!

Dress - New Look 
Necklace - Topshop 
Belt - Marks & Spencer 
Trainers - Converse

We had such an ace day - after heading home for a little crisp break (having crisps for dinnner was a mistake, in hindsight) we went to a street party, and then staggered home in the wee small hours. Although, if the photos I took are anything to go by, we spent the whole day sitting in the same spot in Preston Park, making silly faces, attacking each other with glitter and taking ridiculous photos. I seem to remember James shouting 'YOU'RE A BLOGGER! MAKE SILLY FACES!' hence...

I will glitter you the eff up.

Oh - and check out my amazing eyemakeup, courtesy of Lenny's mad skills. It was still perfectly in place the next morning - although my incredible false eyelashes weren't. Turns out I'd left them by the TV, which gave my friends a shock on Sunday night... because they looked like centipedes. Ooops.


Extreme drunken faces, but doesn't our eyeshadow look fabulous?
Lenny's amazing tattoos!


It was the BEST DAY. Lots of fun with my lovely friends, and, as ever, I stayed classy until the end.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Patterns of fairytales.


I've been wanting to go to the Enchanted Palace forever - even before Ellie posted about it last year - and finally decided that, damnit, I had my birthday off work, and I should do something I'd always wanted to do. I was sad to hear that they didn't allow photography inside, though, so I decided to be a bit cheeky and emailed the press office asking if they'd consider waiving that rule so I could blog about it. Although they said no, they offered me free tickets instead - what an amazing birthday present! So I persuaded my friend Anne to book the day off work and we made our way to Kensington.

(Somewhat ironically, when we got there we discovered they'd amended the rule just to restrict flash photography - so I was free to snap away!)

Basically, they're renovating Kensington Palace, so they've opened up the Royal Apartments and turned them into an experience tour, focusing on the seven princesses who've lived in them. Or, as they put it: Kensington Palace is being transformed. As the walls of the palace are being shaken by a £12 million renovation project the rubble and the dust is unleashing powerful and secret stories about the lives of Kensington's princesses... 









I loved the simple silhouette effects they used in some of the rooms, such as in the Gallery of Dancing Shadows, where images of a couple dancing were projected onto the ceiling.

Also... DRESSES. I don't know if you've noticed, but I like dresses. The ones on display were STUNNING. I loved this one on the stairs - the stance made it seem as though there was an invisible girl inside it, hurtling down the steps.



    
I adored all the fairytale references, too. Princess and the Pea, anyone? (Seriously, that bed looked COMFY.)



It was MAGICAL. Part stately home, part museum, part art installation, I cannot think of anyone I know who wouldn't enjoy it. It's actually quite clever, because although there are a lot of activities to do for children, it doesn't feel like a child's tour because it's all so interesting and beautifully done. I would love to go back with my 8 year old niece - I know she'd get as much out of it as I did. 






The gardens are beautiful too, with more little works of art - members of the public have written their secrets and put them in little red globes hanging from the trees.


I can't recommend the Enchanted Palace enough, really - I think that's clear from how photo-heavy this post is! It was the perfect way to spend my birthday. I utterly adored it and can't wait to go back. I want to live there.

Disclaimer: even though the tickets were a gift, I was always intending to visit the Palace, and all the gushing in this post is my own!
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