Sunday 28 November 2010

I'm bored of cheap and cheerful, I want expensive sadness.

This week, there have been lots of reasons to be cheerful. From curling up on a cold day with a good book... receiving a batch of my favourite magazines through the post...

I found out my shiny new computer is (sort of) on its way...

...and got my equally shiny new business cards.

New boots made me happy...

...and I got in arty mode for the first time in ages... did my niece.

I dyed my hair a super crazy bright red...

...but the moment that made me smile most this week was putting on last year's coat for the first time since January and discovering my favourite necklace. I've been mourning it all year and thought it was lost forever. Magical.


Friday 26 November 2010

If love is a red dress...

There's a new darling of the high street fashion world at the moment. Move over, Topshop. Stand aside, Zara. So long, Warehouse. And enter... TESCO. Just have a click through the Clothing at Tesco website and tell me that you don't come away without a wish list of at least fourteen items. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.

Now, Tesco have been doing a bit of blogger outreach at the moment, which I heartily approve of (it's the future of PR, right?). They have been offering clothes to various bloggers to style and post about – but here's the twist – those bloggers then recommend another blogger to get clothes, too! Therefore, spreading the love and the CLOTHES. The lovely Ellie at Pretty Much Penniless recommended me for their 'Post it on' scheme (thank you, Ellie!), and I selected this dress:

(Ellie's response: 'I knew you were going to pick that!' I am so predictable.)

Of course, I just had to save it for a FriFro! (I will get the world using the #FriFro hashtag on Twitter IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO.)

On the website, I thought this dress looked quite daytime-ish but once on, don't be fooled – this is a party frock, pure and simple. I had originally thought of showing different ways to wear this dress but 1) I was really tired and 2) this dress deserves to be glammed up, not masquerading as a top or a skirt! I accessorised it with a leather double-buckle belt, tuxedo jacket and SUPER SPARKLY SHOES.

Dress – Tesco £25
Tuxedo Jacket – H&M
Shoes – Primark
Bag – Marks & Spencer
Belt - Dorothy Perkins
Tights – New Look
Necklace – Ebay
Alice band – Claire's

My hair was doing its thing where it looks massive so I brushed it to the side and pinned it in a messy bun. If you have messy, massive hair like me, it is very easy to do trendy styles! Just make sure you use a lot of grips.

Review: I really love this dress, and will definitely be wearing it to at least one social occasion this December. I heeded Ellie's warning about the sizes coming up small and bought a 14 (I'm normally a 12) which fit perfectly, although it was a bit shapeless around the middle. It definitely needs a belt to look 'finished'. That's the only criticism really – I would have preferred the dress to have had a more structured waist, but at the same time I also like having a blank canvas to accessorise with different belts, and it looks great with a belt (especially this one, which I NEVER WEAR and don't know why!). It's a nice cut and the material feels good quality – not cheap at all - as you might expect supermarket clothes to be. Plus it's only £25, which is a bargain – and despite the bargain price, would fit in perfectly at a fancy party. It also comes in black! And polka dot!

Finally, here are some reasons why I like Tesco:

1 - This dress.
2 - Those yoghurts in the navy blue pots are GOOD and so low-fat!
4 - They still ID me when I buy alcohol! I'm 28! Thank you, Tesco!
5 - One time I went to the big Tesco in Watford when it just opened and there were members of staff wearing rollerskates. ROLLERSKATES.
6 - They sell cartons of wine. Festival essential.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Businessmen drink my blood like the kids in art school said they would.

Don't forget, lovelies - you have less than a week to enter my jewellery giveaway! ALSO, due to the low number of entries, I've decided to change the rules.

(Oh, don't worry, I never enter the giveaways which require effort either. We are likeminded in laziness!)

Now, to be in with a chance of winning you just have to follow my blog via Google FriendConnect or Bloglovin, and leave a comment to this post with your name & blog address if you have one. For an extra entry, just tweet this message: @essbeevee is having a jewellery giveaway! Name her Etsy shop to win:

BUT if you can think of a name for my new Etsy shop, that would be ace - I am seriously coming up blank! Entry deadline is November 30th.

PS: So that this post is not ENTIRELY self-promoting, here are some nice shoes. Seriously. How nice are they? I NEED THEM.

PPS - I am very obsessed with the latest Arcade Fire album at the moment.

Friday 19 November 2010

The sky outside is wet and grey, so begins another weary day.

Hello, old faithful.

This is the ultimate wear-anywhere dress, and it has the added bonus of being very floaty and forgiving - especially sans belt. I wore it to work on Wednesday along with grey tights and my much adored Primark booties, which are the most comfortable and warm heels I have ever owned. I've worn them almost every day this week. You can't really see them in these photos, but trust me, they are ace.

Dress: New Look
Tights & boots: Primark

I love this dress so much, I went back and bought it in two other patterns. In fact, this dress is so amazing that I lent it to my friend Sha once, and SHE loved it so much that she bought it in three other patterns. It's a New Look number, but one of those cuts that is a total winner - there have been at least six variations of it over the last couple of years.

The funny thing is, if you asked me what my favourite dress was, I probably wouldn't even think of this one. But it's probably one of the most worn items in my wardrobe. Also, it goes perfectly with my favourite ever belt and my vast collection of silver jewellery. Is it just me who insists that grey has to go with silver? It's one of my self-imposed fashion rules that I find it hard to break.

Oh, and the hair? Them curls are natural.


Wednesday 17 November 2010

Stay and make my heart fly.

I’ve been quietly busy behind the scenes for some time now, working on a not-so-secret project which I've hinted about a few times. It’s finally ready to take public though, so I present to you… LOTS OF PRETTY JEWELLERY.

I’ve had an Etsy shop for a while now, but I haven’t had the time I would have liked this year to spend on it, so have given it a total revamp. I’ve moved its location, redone all the photography and added loads of new designs.

When I go shopping, I’m a fussy girl. My most common phrase is ‘That would be really nice if…’ and it’s the main reason I started making jewellery as a hobby, so I could create bespoke pieces that were exactly what I wanted. It’s such a useful skill to have! I can fix broken pieces and amend others to my spec. And now, I can share it all with you. Everything on there is handmade by me, and it’s all really reasonably priced. I’m really excited to start the shop up again – hopefully there will be some pieces in there that will appeal to you ladies, too. Oh yeah, and, um, isn’t Christmas coming up? *ahem cough cough cough*

If you buy anything on my shop before December 15th, you will receive 10% off.
Just quote ESSBEEVEEISAMAZE at checkout!


To celebrate the launch of the shop I’m doing a giveaway too! You could win all of the jewellery featured in this post!! To enter, all you have to do is…

Yep – I’m going to make you work for it! I am useless with names and I’m sure you creative bunch can think of something! Here's the rules:

- leave a comment to this post with your name, blog URL & twitter username if you have them, and your suggestion!
- follow this blog via Google Friendconnect or Bloglovin’

I'll also send out a second prize of specially chosen bits to someone picked at random so don't fret if you think your entry is rubbish (I'm sure it isn't!). Just make sure you comment as above and for an extra entry, RT this message on Twitter: @essbeevee is having a jewellery giveaway! Name her Etsy shop to win:

All entries must be in by November 30th and I’ll post the winner that week!

And one more time for good luck - here's the link!

Monday 15 November 2010

I don't care about clever I don't care about funny.

Oh god, I haven't coveted a bag this much in quite some time.

If it was a few years ago, I'd be begging Santa for it, but since I've become a grown-up, I don't tend to get presents - I'm more likely to be given money towards things. And don't get me wrong - money is nice - but I miss the element of surprise and the excitement when you realise that - YES - you got your most coveted of things.

This, of course, being my most coveted of things. Sigh. It's so pretty. And it's leather. And it's red. And it looks more than a little bit like the Mulberry Neely, and looking at the price of the Neely makes me feel so much better about the cost of this bag. And the Neely is GORGEOUS.

Purchasing this bag (which will be mine, even if my family miss the obvious hints in this blog post and I have to forego petrol by the end of this month) does give me slight pause though. I previously ranted, a little, about Topshop producing copies of the Mulberry Alexa. I do still think that Topshop are a creative enough brand in their own right to create their own It Bag, rather than mimicking Mulberry. But I also think that my problem is more directed towards the Alexa, which has been SO overexposed. Seriously, at LFW I realised that I couldn't tell the difference between the authentic Alexas and the Primark copies. Which, to me, means that the Alexa is venturing into dangerous territory. Dangerous territory previously occupied by Burberry and Louis Vuitton. No one likes that territory.

So yes! The idea of purchasing a Mulberry-alike does make me hesitate. But... it's so PRETTY. AND IT COMES IN OTHER COLOURS.


Friday 12 November 2010

My lover stands on golden sand, and watches the ships that go sailing.

Were you getting bored of endless shots of my radiator? I thought I'd take Friday Frocks on location this week, to not-so-sunny Exmouth.

I took a week off and visited the West Country a couple of weeks ago to hang out with my lovely friend Pam (featured below) and Hayley. We took a daytrip to Exmouth to relive some old times - Pam and I went to uni there, so this cheesy little seaside town holds some good memories for us. It was a lush day - the weather was somewhat mixed but we pranced about on the beach, played in the arcade and finished up with cocktails.

And, of course, we squeezed in a little photoshoot. I picked up this dress in the Debenhams sale a couple of months ago (if I read back through my outfit posts, it's striking how many of my clothes were bought in the sale. I think this is how I justify my addiction...). It's a good style and length - one that I've worn to work, for daytime dressing and even out partying. It sits in the 'occasions' section of my wardrobe that most other girls would place 'jeans-and-a-nice-top'.

Pam took these photos for me, and as soon as I relinquished control of the camera I realised how incredibly awkward it made me feel. So, not as poised as usual, but who wants poised all the time?

Dress: Red Herring at Debenhams
Boots & Gloves: New Look
Coat: Primark
Hat: Topshop
Necklace: Dorothy Perkins

Also, check this out. Ever wondered what a rainstorm looks like from the other side of the water?


Tuesday 9 November 2010

We're leaving this old fairground behind.

Remember how I posted about becoming an Aussie Angel? Well, our first event was on Friday and... honestly, guys, I can't quite articulate how amazing it was. I spent the whole night in a state of disbelief at how completely and utterly SPOILED we were.

We were told to meet at the London Eye by 7.15. Everything, of course, conspired to make me late. Traffic on the way to the station, my train was late, then my tube sat outside Charing Cross for 10 minutes. As I watched the clock turn to 7.29, I thought 'That's it. I've missed it.' Luckily, I think Emma and the Aussie girls had anticipated lateness and I got there just in time. And we got taken up in the Eye!

It was amazing. I've never done it before - but the view was astounding and we could see little firework displays going on all over London. It was lovely to get to see some old blogging faces again like Hayley, Amy and Fi plus the chance to get to talk to other bloggers a little more that I'd only met in passing at previous events, like the gorgeous Carrie and Lucy - and not forgetting all the lovely new ones I met, such as Harriet and Zoe (pictured below!).

Harriet, Hayley, Amy, Zoe and me!

We were treated to champagne and canapes and we went round the Eye twice. Then we disembarked, and tottered away. All the bloggers seemed to be in heels (as instructed) so there were various mutterings about how far away the next destination was as we wobbled over the cobbles, but we needn't have worried - as we reached the road, there were two giant hummer limos waiting for us. AMAZING.


We then went to the Jewel Bar in Covent Garden, for cocktails and more nibbles (gratefully received - due to the lateness I missed dinner!). I'm a total french martini convert now - probably too much of one, really, as I was really rather tipsy by the end of the night!

My blogging wife Hayley won best hair, which was well deserved - doesn't she look fab with her awesome up-do? This is her with her goody bag:

Gorgeous ladies Carrie and Fi

The brief was 'hot hair and high heels' so, whilst debating heavily on Twitter over which shoes to wear with my purple Warehouse dress, I worked on my hair. The theme of the night was 'Take The Heat', celebrating the launch of Aussie's new heat defence range, and as it had been raining all day I put the straighteners away and got my trusty curlers out. True fact - my hair is actually quite curly, so if there's any moisture in the air I normally go for curls as the rain tends to help the curl stay. Straightening is just a waste of time.

I went for tight pin curls, which are really easy to do and the best way to make curls stay in if you have trouble. Even with my coarse, wavy hair, I used to, so here's what I do:

1 - Make a curl with your curling iron. The tighter you go, the more Austen-esque will be your ringlets.

2 - Re-coil the curl (think pushing a slinky back together) and grip it securely to your head. Continue until the whole head is complete.

3 - Leave for 10 minutes or however long you have - I normally do my makeup once the curls are done.

4 - Take them out. Leave in glossy ringlets, or mess your hair up a bit for a more undone look.

5 - Dazzle everyone you see.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a brush with me and being very, very late meant I had to run around London in a state of high stress, and my fringe got all gross and separated (I'm sorry, sweat is one of those unglamorous things we hate to talk about, but sometimes it happens). But my curls were still in the next morning!

Thank you so, SO much Aussie. It was an amazing night, and I feel so honoured to be an Angel and cannot WAIT for the next one. I've met so many amazing people during my blogging time and I really hope it doesn't end any time soon. Um, so - buy Aussie! It helps that the products are also amazing.
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