Monday, 22 May 2017

Fenwick York's Summer Garden Party and meeting Margaret Woodliff-Wright...

Hello lovelies!

Since I've been a fashion blogger, I've been lucky to meet some really amazing, talented and inspirational people (and been lucky enough to make some wonderful friends along the way!).  I've formed friendships in places I'd never have expected to find them, and have really enjoyed uncovering my loves of both fashion illustration and fashion history through working with The Bowes Museum and visiting various exhibitions up and down the country.  I write about fashion because it is my passion; an outlet for my love of all things designer and couture, so much so that it is easy to get lost in my little world and forget about those who might be reading my ramblings!  One lady who stumbled across my little corner of the internet, is the amazing couture milliner Margaret Woodliff-Wright who I am pleased to say contacted me to tell me all about her creative world, and we stayed in touch.  I could spend hours pouring over images of her intricate and beautifully made hats, so when she invited me to come to Fenwick York and view her latest collection as part of Fenwick's Summer Garden Party, I jumped at the chance to finally meet her in person!

Fenwick's Summer Garden Party took place on Thursday 18th May and was a fantastic event in which they offered amazing discounts throughout the store, with 20% off fashion and 15% off beauty (and some further discounts for the early birds between 9 and 11am) perfect if, like me, you're always looking for designer bargains!  It's worth noting too that as part of Royal Ascot week, Fenwick were also showcasing work from different milliners up and down the country.  Fenwick often run amazing promotions across their group, so it's always worth checking their website here to see what's up and coming in your local store (mine's Newcastle, and my boyfriend and I often visit on a weekend-it's by far our favourite place to shop and the best place to visit for the latest in designer labels in the North-East; we love it!).

A display of Margaret's work in Fenwick, York

I hopped off the train in York on Thursday afternoon and hot-footed it straight to Fenwick; I couldn't wait to meet Margaret and see her beautiful collection.  I love Fenwick in York and after a browse around the handbag section and their amazing beauty hall, I headed upstairs to find Margaret on the first floor, in amongst the designer womenswear.  She welcomed me with open arms and it was lovely to finally meet her in person.  She introduced me to her friend Erica, who was modelling one of her newer designs, Summer Rosa priced at £375, which looked absolutely stunning!  The timing of my arrival couldn't have been better, as Erica and Margaret were about to take a tea-break at the instore Carluccio's and kindly invited me to join them; a great opportunity to get to know them both a little better!  We chatted about work, and Margaret told me a little more about her Spring collection.  I should point out here that her work is absolutely stunning-she is an incredibly talented lady!  All of her pieces are completely handmade; she studied Couture Millinery at Leeds College of Art and alongside creating her seasonal collections, she also takes commissions and creates everything at her studio in Northumberland.  I have seen many of her pieces online, but nothing could have prepared me for how sensational they'd be in person.  Her pieces in this collection range from £125 to £375 and there really is something to suit every style, taste and colouring!

After tea, she told me a little about each piece in turn (and even let me try on some of my favourites!).

The first that drew my eye was 'Georgia' priced at £250, a truly beautiful piece made from stiffened lace and finished with a Swarovski focal button.  'Georgia' sits beautifully on the right side of the head on a couture covered headband.  The colouring wasn't right for me as I'm very pale, but on darker hair with a dress in a similar hue (or against a contrasting colour) this would look sensational-I was so in love with it!

Noire semi-turban, decorative turban wrap in black shot lurex sinamay, over a couture base.  worn casually with a feature bow positioned to sit over the left ear

Next I tried on a black half-turban which was equally as beautiful and unlike any headpiece I've ever seen before.  I loved its detail, but I think you'll agree that it was better suited to the lovely Aimee from social media and marketing than it was to me!

Aimee wearing Noire semi-turban (image credit here)

The piece I was most excited to try though was an Audrey Hepburn inspired number (I LOVE Audrey!).  Based on a 1950s piece by Dior and set on a wide satin covered headband, the 'Lady Johanna' priced at £300, was very easy to wear and was the most beautiful colour.

My favourite to wear however was this little pale blue flat cap, set on couture hat elastic.  I let Margaret expertly place it on my head and I loved the way it looked against my short hair.

Pictured with Margaret having lots of fun trying on all of her styles!

I didn't try on every piece, but I hope my images give you an idea of the sheer craftsmanship and beauty of Margaret's work.  I've listed a little bit of information from Margaret's catalogue about many of her hats in turn, below:

 Alicia, £200, measuring 15cm and featuring 3 ruffle satin cream peonies and mother of pearl effect stamens all set in crin roll (worn to the right of the head, attached with couture hat elastic)

 Front centre: Charlie Aqua, £200, 10cm base.  Pure silk aqua covered cone, miniature silk roses, two cut coque spiky mounts.  To be worn to the right and attached with a metal headband.

 Francesca, £375, 15cm button base.  Hand-rolled and dip-dyed cotton organdie roses and lilies set on a pale pink sinamay button.  To be worn to the right and attached with couture elastic.

 Another of my favourites, Brooke Ivory, £125.  Ivory coque feathers with diamanté detail, set on sinamay silver with silver tipped feather and diamanté fascinator, cut coque feathers.  Worn to the right on a satin-covered narrow headband.

 Lily, £375, 16cm base. Vintage rose hand-finished goose nagoire feathers, ivory circular crin centre with Swarovski detail.  Worn to the right on a couture headband.

 Round hat, back of photo: Eloise, £375, a pale-pink parisisal saucer, the crown is covered in silver cocktail fabric.  Saucer finished with silver crin bow, Swarovski diamantés and silver crin detail to the underside.  Worn centrally, attached to a silver fabric padded headband.

Centre, left: Gina, £375, Hand-finished ombré coque feather headpiece.  Over 150 feathers with Swarovski highlight quills.  Worn to the right on a metal headband.

Annabelle, £200, 10cm button base.  Pale-pink sinamay button with three pleated organza ribbon roses, green hand-beaded centres and massed pink veiling.  Worn to the right, attached with couture hat elastic. 

Lucille Boater, £200, 20cm base.  Soft grey satin, aubergine hand-rolled ribbon roses, veiling and beaded quills.  Worn to the right and attached with a comb and couture elastic.  Margaret also told me that this top hat was constructed from flat pieces, a style she often uses when she teaches her hat making workshops.

Finally I was shown these two pieces:

One is set on a couture-finished headband, the other on a base which is the suitable diameter needed to be allowed entry at Royal Ascot.  These pieces are the ones that she is going to be teaching her workshop attendees to make on May 27th; imagine being able to make your own beautiful couture hat!  Margaret's workshop takes place at Gallery 45, Felton and starts at 10.30am.  Full details can be found on her Facebook page here.

Image credit: Margaret Woodliff-Wright

Sadly the day was drawing to a close, and as I headed away to grab a bite to eat before catching my train home, I was so thankful to my little blog for allowing me to meet another wonderfully creative person.  I also enjoyed getting to know some of the wonderful staff at Fenwick; I loved the Summer Garden Party event and can't wait for the next one!

Image credit here

If you're interested in any of the hats featured in this post, they are all available to be purchased.  You can do so by contacting Margaret via her website or emailing

All images are my own, other than those credited to other sources.

I hope to profile Margaret in a future blog post, so please look out for that! But for now, thanks to both Margaret and the staff at Fenwick York for being so welcoming and allowing me to cover such an amazing couture collection.

Until next time,

Kayleigh x 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

#tb A fashionable affair with LDN...

Hello lovelies!

Hope you're all well and for those of you living in the UK, I hope you're enjoying the beginning of a beautiful summer!  I've found myself looking ahead this week to things in the blogosphere; I'm about to cover two very exciting events which I can't wait to share!  But on the whole, I've realised I haven't blogged as much as normal so far this year-and in an attempt to get my fashion mojo back on (so to speak) I decided to chill this Tuesday evening and share a lovely little trip to London with you that I'd forgotten all about!  So here it is, a wintry London throwback from January this year...

We visited London to go and see Impractical Jokers live at the 02 Arena (who incidentally are coming to Newcastle in October for those of you that live near me and might want to go and see them!) but as my birthday is Christmas Day, we decided to use the trip as an excuse to shop and celebrate my birthday properly.  I won't talk too much about the night time (because it's fashion and things to do we're here for!), other than the fact that we went to Jamie's Italian at Canary Wharf for food which is worth a visit in itself as the buildings are so pretty in the evening!

It was a really wet night, but it was amazing to see the 02 lit up in all its glory.  The meal was sensational and Impractical Jokers were great (although the show was a little short!).  It felt like we were sitting on the roof of the building inside-but having never been to the 02 before it was great to see such a fun show there!

Impractical Jokers Live at the 02

As the weather was so poor, we decided to head back to the hotel after the show to conserve all of our energy for sale shopping the next day-just what Januarys are for, right?  Our first visit of the day was to the Sky Garden, which I'd really recommend for those of you that have never been there.  Long time Coco readers may remember that I visited The Shard with my bestie in 2015 and back then I didn't even know that the Sky Garden existed!!  The view from the Shard is amazing, but pricey; the view from the Sky Garden is amazing AND FREE!!! Yes free-you have to book in advance which you can do here, but it's totally, one hundred percent free-and the good news is the Shard looks super impressive from the Sky Garden!  But don't take my word for it...

There's a cafe in the viewing room of the Sky Garden which we didn't use, but it looked really nice.  I, however, was more interested in the actual garden, which was super pretty and really helped to brighten up a dull morning in January.

After we'd taken in the full 360 degree view from the Sky Garden, we decided to hit the shops, after a stroll past beautiful St Paul's Cathedral and a hop on the Tube heading in the direction of Oxford and Regent Street.

Selfridges were running their sustainable fashion month whilst we visited; so from a Visual Merchandising perspective, the windows were really fun and a total change to what had been there over the Christmas period.

And although I didn't buy anything this time, Burberry at 121 Regent's Street was looking as stunning as ever...

We wandered for a shopping eternity and my Mister managed to bag himself a few bargains in Selfridges.  He got the heaviest, and woolliest of jumpers from the Reiss department, perfect for the winter weather.  However my pennies were put to good use in Aquascutum on Regent Street, where I bagged a polo shirt and pair of black jeans for the bargain collective figure of £50-massive savings all round (I'll feature these in a future post-I can't believe that I have't already!!).

Before catching out train home, we had enough time to visit Carnaby Street, which looked even prettier in January than it had over Christmas.  I particularly loved the clear glass lightbulbs which looked amazing against the night sky.

And just like that our trip was over, but we did manage to bag a First Class upgrade for our journey home-the perfect way to end a fashionable trip in style.

Until next time.

Thanks for reading


Monday, 8 May 2017

#BRIDGESFW Fashion week returns to The Bridges, Sunderland...

Hello lovelies!

With the summer weather starting to peek through the clouds, this week saw the return of Fashion Weekend at The Bridges, Sunderland; four days of live fashion showcasing the best high-street looks for summer.

Thursday was launch night, and I was kindly invited along to sit on the FROW and get first peek at the upcoming trends available for the summer season.

 Excuse the unkempt bed...OOTD: Dior Inspired t-shirt (eBay), Blazer (old-Archive by Alexa for M & S), Armani Jeans (old-Flannels), Belt (H 'n' M-£4.99), Converse... 
I also took my new H 'n' M rucksack (currently £20-sale) and took Bertie (Burberry Bear) along for the ride!

After being held up at work, I arrived a few minutes late (sorry!!) but got there just in time to see what Topman had to offer.

It was a casual affair, very much a skinny jeans and open shirt combo for the guys.  I was particularly impressed with the models choreography; they looked like they were having the time of their lives sporting the latest Topman selection!

Next up was Warehouse, probably my favourite of the runway show.  Perfect floral prints seemed to be the order of the day here, with the printed trousers being my favourite look-great for summer holidays or brightening up a summer work wardrobe.

Final looks of the day came from Primark where the emphasis was on summer holidays...

Again, it was all about fun prints, holiday chic at its best!  The highlight of this show were the amazing heels that even Carrie Bradshaw herself would have been excited about...

...I don't think I could walk in them but they looked fabulous on the runway!  This combo would be perfect for a summer night out; now all we need is the weather to match!

The evening was hosted by Heart Radio's Kelly Scott who looked amazing in an all black number-super glamorous!

The model's hair on the evening was styled by Frances Marshall  who kindly supplied all of us FROW ladies with a complimentary blow dry voucher at their beautiful salon, also situated in Sunderland City Centre.  I think you'll agree that the ladies' hair looked beautiful, a great advertisement for the salon!  A shout out also has to go the the amazing Samira (check out her insta here) who's makeup artistry on the evening had the models styled to perfection!!

After catching up with all of the lovely NE bloggers, we got to meet the fabulous Terri, the creator of Chameleon Swap Top Flip Flops, innovative (and incredibly comfortable!) sandals with interchangeable laces, who had kindly gifted each of us with a pair as part of our goodie bags.  I don't really wear sandals on holiday as a rule, I hate the rubbing between my toes, but these are sooooo comfortable that I'll definitely be taking them with me to Cannes in the summer!  The interchangeable  laces also mean that one pair of sandals could match every outfit-think of the suitcase space saved as a result!

Events at the Bridges are always great and even though Fashion Weekend is over now, all of the looks are available throughout the stores featured. And whilst visiting, be sure to check out the new Debenhams Beauty Hall (it's beautiful!).  Debenhams also had an event on Thursday, where we were each kindly given a goodie bag full of the latest perfume samples; I was so excited that I popped back on Friday to purchase the latest fragrance from Alexander McQueen (it's so good!).  Thanks to the Bridges for my £10 gift card which went towards my amazing new scent!

We had an absolutely amazing evening at The Bridges; if you're in Sunderland or nearby, make sure you visit soon to grab the latest summer looks!  Thanks to Sorted PR and The Bridges for having me along as your guest, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening as always and can't wait for the next one (and thanks for the amazing goodies too!)

Thanks for reading!


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