Monday, 26 August 2013

London Calling...

London, London, London...where do I begin?  I talk about fashion love stories a lot in my blog, but I'd be fibbing if I didn't consider London as one of my greatest loves of all.  Bear with me, this is quite a long post, but I wanted to share my journey and then hopefully help you with yours!

I have always felt a longing pull towards the bright lights of the big smoke.  There is something so dreamlike and alluring about a place that offers so much fashion over such a wide spectrum, from the very vintage and the cheap and cheerful, to the divinely designer.  London truly has something to offer everyone, and for me and my VBF (very best friend), a day of shopping until dropping was at the top of our London hit-list. Welcome to our little London story...

A sunny day in June...

June 22nd to be exact.  Two young ladies stood on the platform at Durham rail station, handbags at the ready (me with my Yasmin of course!) hopeful of a day of girlie gossip, beauty binging and savvy spending. Our excitement was electric!!  The London journey from Durham is pleasant; most trains take around 3 hours to get there, which passes quite quickly when you have great company and a slice of Mama L's homemade corned-beef pie (I know pie is irrelevant to the story, but my Mam's pie is so good that it felt worthy of a mention!).  The train chugged into King's Cross around 10am, and finally we were there...

It's the end of the world as we know it...

Planning is essential when visiting London for the day, so we planned a shopping checklist that meant we could get around with ease.  Our first visit took us into Chelsea and along the King's Road to visit the temple of worship for all lovers of Dame Viv. Yes, we headed to where it all started, the original Vivienne Westwood store "World's End".  Now, for anyone wanting to visit "World's End", we had a bit of a job finding it after getting off the tube at Fulham Broadway (the recommended stop for the store on some online info sites), but thanks to a little bus journey and the help of a lovely London cabbie, before we knew it we were pulling up right outside...

My VBF outside of the iconic "World's End"
My own "World's End" photo memory
Visiting the store is an experience within itself.  The design is based on the layout of a pirate galleon, so the floor is uneven which makes walking feel really strange!  I plan to talk in more detail about "World's End" in a separate post, but there are a few things worth mentioning here for anyone planning to go. First of all, Lisa the store manager is amazing.  She is unbelievably helpful, and tells the most interesting stories about the people she knows and her experiences working in the store (she told us about a guy who regularly visited the store with his pet parrot...quite fitting for a pirate ship don't you think?).  Secondly, the range of clothing and accessories are really unique, a must for real fans of Vivienne's work.  I particularly loved the jewellery counter, and got myself a gorgeous "Let it Rock" pin, a "World's End" exclusive and a snip at £28.

My "Let It Rock" pin


The wheels on the bus...

After a stroll along the King's Road, we hopped onto a bus and headed to Oxford street, with Selfridges and Victoria's Secret in mind.  We stopped off at Sloane Square along the way, which is a haven of designer delicacies, but sadly most of the stores were too far out of my price range to even warrant a look.  However,  I loved the "Great Gatsby" collection display in Tiffany's window and thankfully it costs nothing to gawk and drool!!

Tiffany's window-Sloane Square

Why thank you Mr Selfridge...

Hitting Oxford Street, Selfridges was our first port of call.  If you haven't visited Selfridges in London, make sure you do; it's heaven in a department store.  Beauty, bags, clothes, shoes, sweets, toys...you name it, they have it.  Even the building itself is beautiful.  My VBF is a beauty connoisseur, so she got her kicks at Mac, Armani and Laura Mercier to name a few.  I have to confess I'm a beauty bimbo...but the beauty hall at Selfridges is very impressive, I was even tempted with a Mac eyeshadow but sadly it was sold out!  Must visits at Selfridges are the Louboutin department on the top floor, which has the most amazing shoe art, the handbag floor (if only to add to your wish list) and the spectacular confectionery section (a great place to grab a gift for my sweet-toothed Mr).  When visiting London, Selfridges often has some really great events on in store, so check online for what's going on to see what you can catch.  Unfortunately, we were a day early for Charlotte Tilbury's "Rock 'n' Kohl" event, but we did reserve one of her gorgeous limited edition make-up bags each online via click and collect (a great service which is really easy to use, and saves you paying a delivery charge).  Thank you Mr Selfridge...you made our visit wonderful.


The Louboutin section

"World's End" clock in Selfridges window

Nearing the end of our trip, after my VBF made a delectable Michael Kors handbag purchase and we grabbed a bite in a nearby cafe, we went on the hunt for Victoria's Secret.  I've never been to America, and I hadn't visited the London store (it's on New Bond Street) so I was a VS virgin...however I was so impressed with the underwear.  The staff at the store were so welcoming, and for all it was heaving with people, there was still plenty of room to browse the various collections.  VS offer everything from cute little shorts and leisure wear to gorgeous lace beauties, in all shapes and sizes.  After recently losing quite a bit of weight, and changing dramatically in bra size, I had a rough idea of what size bra I would need, so I took the plunge and bought without trying on (risky I know).  However, when I got the underwear home I was so impressed with how well it fit, how pretty it looked and how well made it was, certainly worth the splurge!

Alas, our trip was nearing it's end, and with tired feet and empty purses, we hopped on the tube at Oxford Circus and headed back towards King's Cross; time certainly does fly when you're having fun! Here are a few more photo highlights from our day:

Stumbling across a fashion institution
Lovely Liberty's, Regent Street




With the Liberty's beefeater


Carnaby Street


My tips for visiting London...

If you are planning a day trip by rail, and want to try and save as much time and money as you can, here are a few tips that might help you with your journey:

Cheap rail tickets do exist...
I booked our rail fare online at The Trainline , 8 weeks in advance which is usually when the cheaper tickets are released.  It cost me £56 return from Durham to London King's Cross.  I recently booked tickets for London Fashion Weekend (post will follow!!) at the rail station by using advanced booking and got them cheaper again, so its worth asking at your local rail station to see what they have to offer.

Buy your Tube zone tickets on the train to avoid the queues...
Our tube tickets for a 2 Zone Day Pass cost around £9 and covered us on any tube or bus within those zones for the whole day.  Plan where you want to visit and this will help you when buying your tube ticket. By buying on the train you'll beat the queues once you arrive in LDN.  You're welcome :)

Have an itinerary and stick to it...
London is huuuuuge! Plan where you want to go and leave time for travel in between.  You couldn't cover all of London in one day so pinpoint what it is you really want to visit when you get there.

Watch your belongings in the busier places...
It seems such a simple thing to say but you may be really overwhelmed by how much hustle and bustle there is in the big city.  You can be pick pocketed in any city, so don't be naive and keep your belongings safe.

Have fun my little London lovers!!!

K x


What's your favourite thing about London?
Can you recommend anywhere for me to visit during my next trip?




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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Entrenched in Burberry...

This is a story about love.  Not in the conventional sense, more in the material sense.  I think we would all agree that there is nothing better than being engulfed in the arms of a lover, but what about being entrenched? Or should I say entrenched? Yes, this is a beautiful love story between my Burberry Trench and I...

Burberrlicious!!
(Image taken from "http://fashionablyyours.ca/tag/trench/")
It all started on a rainy day in January when, with the post-Christmas blues, I began trawling the net for new dreamy objects to add to my wardrobe wish-list.  Whilst reading my favourite blog "Fashion Pearls Of Wisdom", I came across a post dedicated entirely to the Burberry Trench.  If you've never read Pearl's blog before, it's amazing, particularly for those of you who love Dame Viv as much as I do!  Anyway, I have always dreamed of owning a Burberry Trench, but "Vogue" is my bible and I always believed that much like the Chanel bag of my dreams, owning Burberry would mean paying a hefty pricetag for the privilege (my first trench was from H 'n' M, so as you can probably guess spending upwards of £700 on a coat is not my usual code of practice).  However, I'd never even thought of trying to hunt down a vintage one until Pearl...so thanks to her, I found myself on a journey...a trench coat quest for the ultimate Burberry find.

So, it all started with Google.  Don't get me wrong I love Ebay as much as the next budget fashionista, but buying designer is so risky as there are so many counterfeits flying around.  So I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered "Poor Boy Vintage", a fashion and re-worked Vintage clothing site, who not only had trench coats...they had every size, shape, age and colour you could ever think of, and all authentic Burberry.  What I really like about Poorboy is they give you a potted history of all their brands and products and if there are any faults with the items, this is clearly mentioned and reflected in the price.  So there she was...light beige, size 10, nova check and hardly a fault in sight (a broken button that was hidden and a slightly scuffed belt buckle were the minor faults with mine).  I had to peek from between my fingers to look at the price; I was expecting a shock! 3 digits...pound sign...£100!!! Yippee!!  I've had food shopping bills more expensive than that!!  The price was a deal maker for me; a Burberry is a coat that will last me a life time, and the fact that there in front of my eyes was a vintage one in such good condition, only proved this further.  Thanks to Pearl's brilliant post, and a little bit of online research into the old Burberry's label, I was confident with my find, and after dancing round my house with excitement, I ordered the beauty right away!

True to word, two days later my coat arrived and it was love from the moment I tore off the cellophane (and I mean tore-I was so desperate to see it in all its glory!!)  Washed and pressed by the good people at "Poor Boy", it was as good as new! Here in my hands was a real mark of quality-and you could really feel it.  My trench is quite a large fit if I'm honest, but no matter, once it's on and the belt is pulled in it looks (and feels!) great-plus there's plenty of room for a jumper come the winter months because let's face it, Durham is no Barbados.  I'm looking forward to autumn now to step out in style! I even managed to hunt down a vintage Burberry scarf at Middlesbrough Vintage Fair, so I can strut around in the full ensemble.

My Burberry baby!

As it's vintage, it has the old Burberry label

So there you have it, a love story that will last a lifetime, me and my trench.  Proof that affordable vintage designer really is out there if you are willing to search for it.  If you are buying second hand, I'd really recommend doing some research before you make that purchase no matter what your dream find may be; don't let the fraudsters rob you of your hard earned cash. With a little research and perseverance, dreams really can come true :).

K x

Kind regards to Pearl Westwood for allowing me to reference her blog in my post!  If you're interested in learning more about the Burberry trench, check out Pearl's "The Burberry Trench: a history and rather a good buy".  I'd also highly recommend  Poor Boy Vintage Clothing for all of your vintage fashion needs xx
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Sunday, 18 August 2013

I Blame Coco...

I'm 27 years old and I'm an addict.  Yes that's right, it's serious...I'm self-employed, we're living in a recession and I am addicted to handbags.  And not just any old handbags...designer handbags *gulp* HELP!!!

It all started with a very influential lady.  She is the queen of quirky, wacky and wonderful; my spiritual mother, Dame Vivienne Westwood.  I love Vivienne, and knew from being a 21 year-old student, when I floated into her Newcastle store for the first time on a cloud of Boudoir perfume, that it would be an ill-fated love affair for my finances (that day I bought a deer print Yasmin neckerchief...I now own so many I could make a patchwork quilt!!).  I'm even in love with the pink gift bags!!!  So whilst saving for my first VW handbag but then having to pay solicitors fees for my house, my Dad stepped in and bought me my first Yasmin bag in an online sale.  I still remember the day it arrived wrapped in pink and orb-branded tissue paper and engulfed in the trademark dust bag...I nearly kissed the postman.  More about Vivienne later, but it's safe to safe that the addiction started there...

An image of my Yasmin Deer bag...the beginning of my addiction (taken from "thisnext.com")

...But now its gotten worse.  I'm eyeing up the dream object...the Chanel 2.55.  That leather....that chain, the feel of luxury...heaven!  To my horror, it is half the price I paid for my car, yes really!  I mean let's face it, short of a lottery win it's probably never going to happen.  Even if I saved the money, it would probably be better spent renovating my bathroom.  But even though I hate my bathroom, with its horrible blue mosaic tiles that we haven't quite gotten round to changing since we moved in three years ago, it's shocking to think that I'd rather have the handbag!!

The Chanel Handbag...eek!
(Image taken from "www.vintageheirloom.com")
How did Carrie Bradshaw manage to fund her enormous shoe addiction on the income from her newspaper column alone?  I guess I'll never know, but for us in the real world I guess we'll have to just keep on wishing. A wise woman once told me that if you dream, you've gotta dream big...no-one could ever accuse me of not doing that!

Happy dreaming handbag lovers!

K x


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