Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Death of an old Friend.

Close your eyes…. I want you to think back to when you were about 13 years old…. what was the one store, that when hitting the high street with your mates on a Saturday afternoon, was as essential to your shop, as 8 hour cream is to your under eyes now? You remember it surely? Think hard think back! The smell when you first walked through the door (kind of like a library but without the books), the racks beyond racks of unorganised cheap clothing, the miserable Saturday girls that so clearly didn’t want to be there? The painfully tight, printed t-shirts they would mass-produce and we would all wear to underage discos?  It was a place you’d buy your favourite dress from, wear it once, and after washing it, would unfortunately shrink and would only be suitable for your Barbie doll’s. If my description baffles you, you clearly have fonder memories of the place then I do… or, maybe not as good a memory as I? The store in question is Bay Trading… good old Bay Trading. God this store almost feels like family to me, I spent so much time with it as a child! 

When I was growing up, my parents didn’t give me pocket money, so I spent most of my childhood attempting to make money by any means possible (like Del Boy but without Rodney and Uncle Albert.) I would wash your car for you, I would knock on your front door, clutching an old mans flat cap, filled with copper coins from my dad’s jeans, and say “ want me to brighten up your day with a little singing” hoping you would indulge me... it never happened! I would sell you homemade Rose perfume however, I would normally have stolen the Roses from your garden minutes earlier! Needless to say, I spent the majority of my childhood pretty skint. However one thing my parents, mum in particular, were always happy to do, was to buy me clothes…one catch, they were always from Bay Trading. I remember every Saturday I’d head of with my indulgent mother to Birkenhead, first stop Bay Trading! This place, and my mother, were single handedly responsible for making me spend my early teenage years looking like mini prostitute. Bay Trading was the only place that indulged my Mel B obsession by stocking a leopard two-piece, which consisted of a tiny crop top, mini skirt and matching headband! There was the bright yellow, lycra ensemble I lived and died in for an entire summer. Not to mention my mock Tommy Hilfiger halter neck dress, that led me to kiss at least 3 boys at the underage disco, AKA, The Planet dance.

However I was struck with a slight glint of sadness to discover that Bay Trading is now going in to administration. It has become the next victim to fall fowl to the credit crunch that is working its way through our high street like a vicious cancerous tumour. Maybe the reason for my sadness comes from this and this alone, or, maybe it’s the fact that I never quite got my vengeance on the place for making me into a leopard wearing, hooker age 13? Yet the more I look back the more I think, compared to all the other 13 year old Bette Lynch’s, (my friends) I always looked quite on trend, quite in fashion and 'well turned out'. So maybe for it's time Bay Trading wasn’t all that bad?

With the departure of Bay Trading, comes the eminent loss of 1,000 jobs across its 268 stores nation wide! This is the biggest grievance of all. The closure of Bay Trading, like Woolworths before it, is sad, for us, because it’s an institution closing, but even worse for those who work there. We still have our memories but they no longer have their jobs.

Monday, 27 April 2009

A Little Secret

Mary Quant, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell and John Stephen, all major names from the fashion scene in the swinging sixties. These designers and artists single handily moulded the face of fashion today. Quant inventing the mini skirt that inspires the body con designs we see today. Clark's floaty, chiffon creations and Birtwell's bold flower prints, still live on through many forms of design. John Stephen's trademark floral shirts and velvet double breasted jackets are seen all over the high street in different guises of imitation.

However there was another name, another influential mover and shaker, that too changed the face of the sixties, and of fashion today. Her name may not be as well known as Mary Quant's, however she was just as instrumental to the fashion world. Her name is Barbara Hulanicki. Barbara Hulanicki was a former fashion illustrator (now interior designer), whom founded Biba in 1964. 

Starting life as a small boutique in west London, by the early 70’s Hulanicki had transformed Biba into a seven-story luxurious department store in London’s trendy Carnaby Street. However, it wasn’t just a run of the mill department store, it was a shopping experience, one not to be missed. Music blurred from the windows, art hung on the walls, it was decked out with leopard skin sofas, zebra carpets and other decadent furnishings. Bands would play in the Rainbow rooms on the top floor and celebrities of the day would sip tea on the roof garden whilst marvelling at the mesmerising exotic birds. The decadent allure of Biba attracted the glitter-razzi in there swarms. Stars such as Jack Nicolson, Twiggy, Bowie, Bardot, Mick and Bianca Jagger, all made Biba their second home, purchasing stunning one of a kind couture creations. Yet Biba didn’t just appeal to he rich and famous, the accessibility of the brand and the reasonable prices meant anyone from students to film stars could shop there. 

However, all good things must come to and end and in 1975 Biba was sadly no more. The story was over, the lights were dimmed and the doors were closed, for good. The Biba brand may be gone, but it lives on through so many retail stores of today, Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop, naming just a few.

In-fact Topshop has been widely compared to Biba, most people feeling that Topshop is the Biba of its day (without the exotic birds!) So it now seems quiet fitting that Barbara Hulanicki and Topshop are to collaborate! The result of this collaboration is due to hit stores on the 28th of April (tomorrow!!!). So sharpen your elbows, wear flat shoes and prepare to cue and fight for the fantastic ensembles that are on offer!

Barbra Hulanicki and Topshop have created a 30-piece collection inspired by the colour palate in her Miami home. It consists of a mix of boho 70's inspired dresses and shirts, flowing chiffon trousers and scarfs and one of a kind handbags and statement animal print dresses.

My favourite from the collection has to be the Coral Bow shoulder dress, a complete steal at £55. If your legs are your best assets this is the dress for you. This sassy summer dress is scary-short, however, the high neckline, enlarged animal print scattered detail and big puffy shoulders will draw attention away from that.  I would wear this dress with flat brogues or loafers and no socks for the day, and for the evening I’d team it with an over sized blazer and on trend black ankle boots.

I also like the girl print sundress it’s soooooo 70’s I love it! I would team this with a big fringe, flowing long beachy hair, simple flip flops for the day or clash colour heels like the picture states when hitting the town.

The girl print blouse is simply stunning, this flowing chiffon creation gives that instant 70’s boho look without even trying. I’d wear this with high waist flares and possibly team it with a sleeveless denim waistcoat and open toe sandals or denim hot pants and gladiator sandals for the uber skinny mini’s amongst us!

However don't just take my word for it, get your self down to Topshop tomorrow and be apart of fashion history. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

I rest my case!!

Just a quickie chaps....
I will be back with a full blog in the next few days, so do keep checking. I just had to post these latest pictures of Camel Toe's biggest ambassador Lady Gaga. For those of you who read my 'Muffins are for Toasting' blog, you'll appreciate my feeling on Gaga and her leotards. However I think this latest costume she's sporting ever so slightly takes the biscuit. Mr Cam Toe must be delirious, he's having yet another outing, this time he's of to dinner with who else but Mika (the joy!) Like I said I'm one for being quirky, however I do think, on this occasion, she's verging on the plain ridiculous. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the boots are the worst thing about the outfit, followed by the avent gard lips and coming a close third surly it has to be Mika?

Photo by -

Saturday, 18 April 2009

It’s all in the Jeans

Have you seen a recent picture of super model Cindy Crawford and her family lately? Well I have and they are beautiful! Cindy Crawford is 43 and doesn’t look a day over 23, (we all saw her recent shaving foam pictures in Allure magazine.) She’s married to the equally good-looking, business mogul Rande Gerberher (its taking all I have to not comment on his name!) They have two young children, Presley Walker and Kaia Jordan. This family are so perfect looking I’m thinking they must have been calved out of cream cheese? I like to pretend, to make myself feel better, that they’re all really thick and they can’t string a sentence together between the four of them, but you know that’s not true. Both Randi and Cindy are successful businesspersons and you can imagine little Presley and Kaia being straight A students, Presley probably excelling in sport and Kaia’s no doubt head of the cheerleading team. However, I have to remind myself, as much as I want to, I can’t just hate them for being beautiful, after all it’s not there fault. They inherited their looks. In this case Presley and Kaia inherited high cheekbones, glossy hair, full mouths and stunning bone structure. However not everyone is that lucky. According to my mother, I inherited my dear dads forehead, thanks dad! My dad was welsh and mum brought us up with the notion that any of our faults come from “the welsh side”. So there’s my big forehead, I also got “the welsh side’s” mouth and teeth. My sister was a little more blessed inheriting my mum’s thick lips and lovely small forehead, however she got the “welsh side’s” ankles…not good. However after years of wasted insecurity about my inherited looks, I think to hell with it! You are what you inherit its time to get over it, embrace it and work with it!

I took this newfound mantra of mine to the drizzly streets of Liverpool yesterday, in an attempt to find myself a new pair of jeans. Lets just say it was single headedly the most depressing shopping day I’ve ever experienced! I got bruised, I broke a sweat, I laughed, I cried, I got myself in a mood so black not even a Lindt bunny could pull me out off!

The day began quite good, no major happenings, I’d got up, had some cornflakes, quick shower, threw some clothes onto my back and off I went into town.  My first port of call was Topshop. I buy a lot of my staples at Topshop and they do seem to have the biggest jeans collection on the high street, so I figured this was a good safe place to start.  I felt good walking in, I breathed in the Topshop air, rolled back my shoulders and headed straight over to the jeans section. However I felt a slight surge of adrenaline hit my legs on my approach, as I noticed the amount of girls rummaging through the jeans, picking out the straight leg, skinny fit, boot cut, wide leg, high waist, hipster and boyfriend jean, as if there lives depended on it. I knew, there and then, this was to be no easy feet. I’d have to fight, be ruthless, cut throat if I wanted to come out of this alive…and with a pair of new jeans! I admit I got a little carried away, pushing past pregnant woman, not moving out of the way for push chairs, snatching jeans out of the hands of my competitors. Basically, grabbing what I could in quite a frenzied manor, and eventually turning up at the changing room slightly dishevelled and with about 18 pairs of jeans under my arm. Now I’m a UK size 10, so in my hands were a mixture of size 10 and size 12 jeans. Once in the changing room I got to work, trying on the skinny fit size 12 jeans first. Yet to my complete horror, I couldn’t even get the size 12 jean past my calf! The same with the next pair, and the next pair! I thought to myself, I’ve either put on a stone since my previous visit last Tuesday or their jean sizes are all to cock (I’m going for the latter.) Suffice to say I left Topshop in quite a huff, putting behind the till only one pair of jeans (out of the 18 I’d tried on), and headed straight to All Saints. Word of advice, don’t bother. All Saints is a personal favourite of mine normally but not yesterday, they make jeans for munchkin’s, teeny tiny people that live under your floorboards…you know them, they’re called the borrowers? I spent a humiliating 45 minutes in H&M trying to fasten the waist to a pair of jeans that id broken a sweat trying to squeeze into. A fruitless 20 minutes in Oasis, in which I was reduced to tears, the jeans seemed to fit my legs however the waist area was massive? I had a disturbing half hour in urban outfitters, taking lunging to a whole new level and let’s just say, I can never return to that store again! From now on I will be shopping online when buying from there! By the end of the day I was a shell of my former self, a quivering, twittering mess and in a haze of despair I dragged my bruised size 10, arse back home jean-less and defeated.

Former Calvin Klein model Crawford (who still measures at 34-26-35) admits, “There is no secret to ageing gracefully, it’s not like finding the perfect pair jeans. It’s genetics — I was born with a good envelope — and lifestyle”… yuck! She clearly hasn’t spent two hours in a haze of tears lunging herself into a pair of skinny fit jeans in urban outfitters then!

So I have compiled a few simple rules for us mere mortals, who aren’t blessed with the “genetics” of Crawford, to follow when buying your next pair jeans and hopefully, unlike me, you will be able to purchase with ease and without feeling like you’ve just took to the front line in Afghanistan.


Measure your self – know your waist and leg length measurements before hitting the shops. Trust me, size 10 means nothing when trying jeans on.

Be aware of what jean style you want, for example, skinny fit, boot cut, and flair. Do a little research online before hand and hopefully that will enable you to narrow down your search and determine what style you want once in store.

Don’t shop for jeans in your lunch hour; you seriously need more time then that.

Hold the jean up to yourself before trying them on, look at how they fall, if the fit shape and colour suites you or not?

Buy for your body shape and not because a certain style is in fashion.

Be prepared to pay, a good pair of high quality jeans may cost.

If you pair shaped avoid pockets on the bum, if you have a muffin top steer clear of hipsters. If you’re straight up and down, then you’re a lucky bastard.

Wear clothes that are loose and easy to take off and slip back into when you’re trying on, attempting to take off a heavy outfit that involves belts, buckles and what not, will just make you more stressed.

Have a good strong solid breakfast; lord knows you’ll need the energy. Try not to cry into your hands in the changing room, and if you do, its time to go home and leave jean shopping for another day.

Shop online too - stocks designer fashion labels at up to 80% off, including must have designer denim labels from diesel jeans to j brand jeans. Other bargains can be found at;,, however remember your can’t try on, so be certain of your measurements before ordering.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Lust Have's

I’m the type of gal that lusts a lot!! I lust so much sometimes it hurts. I lusted after a boy for three years at university, did I speak to him… erm …no! Three years! Three whole years of nothing more then “hello”, it pains me still! Yet I haven’t changed, I still lust. I lust after thick glossy brown hair, (mine is blonde, why don’t I just dye it?) I have long lusted after a pair of classic turquoise suede Christian Louboutin Ron Ron shoes. Each year I think to myself, this may be the year that I can afford a classic Chanel tote, is it… no, yet still I lust. I lust after Caleb, oh Caleb when will you quit being the front man of Kings of Leon and be my boyfriend? It is with this last ‘lust’ that I think I may have resigned myself to a life of silly day dreaming and lustful defectiveness…. until now that is!

Fellow lusters listen up, lust no more…its here…its here!

Kate Moss’s latest collection has hit the impecunious, recession ridden High Streets. The first collection she realised set an incredibly high standard showcasing some beautiful designs and stunning accessories. I personally don’t think she’s beaten it with her latest effort, but she’s put up a competitive fight. I’m not sure if she’s lowered her prices but her clothes appear a little more reasonably priced then her other collections, they’re accessible and pleasing to the eye. 

We spent years lusting after Kate Moss’s wardrobe and now it’s at our very fingertips, however do we want it? Personally, yes, I do but not as badly as I thought and only a hand full of items tickle my fancy?

So maybe if Caleb was to knock at my door with a classic Chanel tote around his heaving bicep, this seasons Ron Ron’s, and wearing nothing but a smile I wouldn’t be as excited as I thought? Bollocks of course I would! But it does bring me to the conclusion that we as a nation lust purely because we can’t have, when we can have, no matter how fabulous, were always slightly disappointed? I have, however listed the items from Ms Moss’s latest collection, that I can guarantee won’t leave you with a sunken heart of colossal disenchantment this summer.

The Daisy tea

I’d team this with summer pumps, or tights and killer heels for an evening out, or over jeans if you’re hitting the cinema

Circle and Floral dress

 I’d team this with flip flops and a brown satchel when summer hits, or a t-shirt, tights and flat pumps when the weathers not so promising

Broderie Anglais Sundress 

I would team this with a glorious summer holiday!


There is also the Jacquarad Cardigan and Striped Sailor Cardigan that has caught my eye, and the Folk Zigzag scarf would look lovely round my neck at a summer festival.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the Topshop website for rest of her collection…. and lust no more, well until the next ‘must have item’ is released upon our fashion hungry minds!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Muffins are for toasting, serving with jam, and nothing else!

I’m one for self-expression; I wouldn’t have done a drama degree if I wasn’t. I also love to express myself through clothes, resulting in some pretty crazy outfits in the past. A particular outfit that springs to mind is a vintage, 90’s shell suit dress ensemble that I wore on a night out a few years ago. After a crazy hour of throwing shapes the shell suited melted onto my body resulting in a slight asthma/panic attach in the streets of Liverpool… and subsequently lead to me being cut out of my beloved dress right there and then, not a good thing to happen on a first date!!

However, maybe I’m prude, or maybe I’m getting a little older, or maybe it’s because I hated gymnastics as a kid so much… but the one fashion statement I draw the line at has to be the Leotard… what the hell is with the leotard?!

Now being a long-term lover of Edie Sedgwick, I have too respect the leotard, she did after all pioneer the look. However she wore it the right way! She teamed it with fishnets, stilettos, and abundance of pearls. There was something about it that worked; she kept her elegance & class. 

She somehow looked like she was in the most incredible, floor length, couture creation, when in reality she had nothing more then underwear on.

So I guess, our modern day pioneer of the leotard look, has to be Ms GAGA? Aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (sounds like an exotic cocktail). 

She’s the talented modern day Mozart, learning piano by ear, at the age of four, and writing her first piano balled by 13. And yes, what we’ve heard musically from GAGA has been fresh, inspired and innovative. But for god sake love PUT THE CAM TOE AWAY!!!!

From the waste up, she’s fabulous, from the waste down… erm… if I wanted a side order of muffin with my pop record id go and order one from Starbucks. Ok I’m being harsh, I get it, you’re an artist, its fashion, it’s what you do, but can’t we keep muffins to a minimum? Can we go back to old fashion times when we wore skirts?

She takes crotch confidence to a whole new level.  No, I couldn’t see you poker face in your latest video, but I almost saw your lunch!

Whilst I salute her bravery, and if you’ve got it, flaunt it…but may I suggest that we keep leotards for gymnastics, shell suits for Liverpool men from the 90’s, and muffins,  for toasting, serving with jam, and nothing else!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

I Want Doesn't Get

As the sun slowly begins to crack the weathered pavements, the bird song seems that little bit louder, flowers begin to scatter the dirty withered ground. It seems like the dog days may finally be over, the clocks have gone back, the nights are lighter, and just 3 more months till schools out! 

You know that summer is finally-a-coming, when you drive through town, and even though, in my opinion, it is definitely still coat wearing weather, you see ever third person with coats off, white trousers on, lime green and bright blue vests at the ready, and (I cant really bring myself to say it), but men wearing those hideous sleeveless t-shirt vests, circa Bruce Springsteen, 1984 - just don't do it!!! Leave that up to The Boss, unless you have his guns then it's just not worth it!

However with this glorious coming of summer, also comes the 'I WANTS'. I want, I want, I want, I want!!!!!! 

I want the entire new collection that marks the collobration between fashion model Erin Wasson's and RVCA (a surf, skate, & lifestyle brand). I want her Sideshow floral, 90's grunge inspired tee dress. I want her perfectly warn in boyfriend jeans, I want to squeeze my over indulgent bottom into her tiny cut-off denim hot-pants. I want to team dirty, grungy biker-boots with feminine summer dresses, I want to layer her oversized tee's with acid wash vests and be able to get away with it! 

Her collection is simply stunning. It is everything I wanted Kate Moss's collection to be and more. Her inspirations is clear for all to see, the two Alexander's. She's channeling early 90's grunge brought to us by the master, McQueen (I was a little too young the first time round so delighted to see its return), and I see elements of Alexander Wang's laid back, ready to wear summer vibe creeping in too. 
Her collection isn't crazy expensive starting off at the $50 mark and creeping up to around the $200, however at the moment, due to a few over indulgent hen weekends, I can only afford to look and not buy!! I want doesn't get!! Little tip... buy Vogue instead of lunch, buy a party dress instead of work clothes, and for gods sake never put a hen weekend before a limited edition collection!!!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Ladies Day?

So, i had an eye opening moment the previous weekend. I went to my very first Ladies Day at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Oh what an experience it was! I was there on a hen weekend for one of my long term friends, and Ladies Day was the 1st activity on the weekends itinerary. 

We were all set to meet at around 10.30am, so I was up with the birds at 6am to begin the long  process of getting ready! I am big into getting ready (sad I know!), but its often the best part of the evening for me, so this occasion was no different! I wore a beautiful, Amazonian-esque dress, that I brought from a popular high street store about 10 months ago. When I say bought, the shop assistant accidentally didn't charge me for the dress, so technically I wore a stolen (but at the time, not to my knowledge!) dress. The dress in question is a fitted blue/gray off the shoulder ensemble, with a ripped hem, made from a stunning cheese cloth material. I teamed this with the most beautiful vintage real crocodile skin clutch bag, that has little crocodile feet on the front (not for the faint hearted!). A grey vintage 1950's style side hat with a small gray vale, which I added my own pheasant feathers to the top for that extra bit of glamour. Then for a real clash of colour I wore some high street, red bow suede shoes, and finished the look with a 1920's vintage gray cape that has the most stunning embroided detailing ever. My 8 month pregnant friend who was staying with me for the hen weekend thought I looked like an extra from Bugsy Malone! Each to their own i guess... and with a dash of red lipstick we were out the door and on our way.

Once we got to Aintree I managed to pass the first rigorous security check, after experiencing the rather embarrassing moment of when your asked by the security man to open your bag for checking, and both he and you see the tampon in your clutch, but it's too late and too painful to do anything about it! I made it to the next station where unfortunately the 8 miniature bottles of gin i'd managed to sneak past "tampon-man" were taken off me and poured into a bin in front of myself, and the 200 people queueing up behind me. Once that was over I managed to get to the nearest bar and order myself a glass of wine only to discover it was £9!! After checking to see if the glass was rimmed with gold I reluctantly payed up, and carefully, trying not to spill a drop, began to make my way towards the race course. It was at this moment that i felt that maybe "tampon-man" had slipped a narcotic in to my painfully expensive drink, as I could not believe what I was seeing. The array of colours, shapes, sizes, eye-lashes, fake-tans, beehives and other creative concoctions that  people had put together was unbelievable! I felt like i'd just eaten one of those magic biscuits and found myself at the Mad Hatter's dinner party! This was high impact glamour at its best. These women were incredibly stunning in the most eccentric and insane way! One woman had created a hat out of playing cards? Great big, giant size playing cards. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry at that point. Another had the most blinding hot pink creation made of feathers on her head. It looked like maybe she had savaged a flamingo before coming the races. A purple all in one number stood out, and  along with her friend, who wore the same but in white, made me think id left the mad hatters tea party and was now stood in the front row at an ABBA tribute concert. Every woman was so incredibly groomed, I wondered what time they must have got up, and how on earth they managed to get a deck of giant size playing cards to stay on there head without the slightest hint of gaffer tape and staples? However with the bad came the good, I saw one girl in the most beautiful 1950's black halter neck dress with red painted poppy print, with her beautiful pail skin being the only accessory she needed . Another girl had successfully channeled the flower power hippy look of the 1960's, wearing a stunning floor length, green patterned maxi dress, teamed up with sliver flip flops, sliver bangles and daisy's in every orifice. I thought this outfit  was perfect for a bit of summer nostalgia. 
Even though the eccentric outfits were eye catching, the girls that stood out to me were the ones that were brave enough to try something different, the ones that didn't conform to the craziness, the girls that embraced there flaws and worked with there natural body shapes and colourings.

As the sun peared through the gray skies, the coats came off, sunglass came out and  we lubricated our livers with our 10th glass of £9 wine as the races began. Suffice to say, it wasn't a successful day race-wise for me. All my horses fell, apart from one that came through the line jockey-less! As the day rolled on and my horses kept falling my intoxicated mind drifted to the fact that my beautiful friend will be getting married and growing up. This thought saddened me and I when I felt a wine induced lump in my throat I knew it was time to leave.

People have a lot to say about Ladies Day, myself included. And yes, come 5'o clock I could count the amount of 'Ladies' on one hand, myself and my friends being no exception (the hen wearing 12 pairs of knickers on her head and waving a cock shaped wand at anyone who was foolish enough to make eye contact). As we made our way back to our awaiting mini bus, past the 'Ladies' throwing up into there hats, past one girl who appeared to be straddling a bush!? I thought to myself that Ladies Day is a fantastic chance to express yourself and your love of fashion, no matter how good or bad to one's eyes it may be. No matter what anybody else thinks, it is all about how you feel inside and if big hair, big lashes and a all in one body suit make you happy who else should care? My double edged compliment to Ladies day may be harsh, but one thing I can say is how it made me feel truly happy seeing the effort, time, and expense that these woman put into there outfits/costumes, and for that, all I can do is salute them. 

However as I bent down to pick up a oversized playing card that had clearly cut loose from that ladies hat I couldn't help but think to myself... you can buy fashion but you can't buy style...