Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Bowes Museum: Monkey Tree Legacy

Hello lovelies!  Please read this-you can help!

A post with a difference today, I'm writing about a tree.  No, I promise I haven't gone mad, it's a really important tree.  John Bowes, founder of The Bowes Museum (my favourite museum based in Barnard Castle) planted a beautiful and quirky looking monkey-puzzle tree (also known as Araucaria araucana to give it its Sunday name!) in the museum's grounds way back in 1871, and this post is all about preserving it's legacy.  The tree stood tall in the grounds of the museum until 2016 when it sadly died, and has since been felled for health and safety reasons.  Because the tree has such a legacy and is an integral connection to the museum's founders, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to transform its impressive trunk into a collection of 125 wooden bowls to tie in with the museum's 125th anniversary.

 The remaining trunk of the Monkey-Puzzle tree
A sketch of the bowl design

Headed up by my wonderful friend Alison Nicholson, Fundraising Officer at The Bowes Museum, alongside Director of the Bowes Centre, Matthew Read, this is your chance to get involved and by doing so, take away an iconic piece of The Bowes Museum's history and legacy.  The Kickstarter was launched on Friday (and at last look was already 41% funded!!!) and can be found here.  With a range of levels of pledge to suit every budget, there's certainly a great way for everyone to get involved!  Starting from £1 (which warrants you a thank you across social media!) the Kickstarter aims to reach £10,000 in 49 days in order for the project to go ahead.  Maybe you'd like to plant your own monkey puzzle tree?  Pledge £15 to receive a bespoke pack of seeds, directly inherited from Monkey Puzzle Trees in Scotland (sadly the Bowes' tree was male and therefore did not produce seeds).  What about a nice bowl?  Pledges start from £125 to own one of the iconic bowls to commemorate both the tree and museum's history and legacy.  I opted for the £12 pledge, a monkey-puzzle keyring, so I can own a little piece of the original iconic tree and remember this wonderful project!  And if you want to help but can't pledge, then why not just spread the word?!  I'm asking my readers to share the link to the Kickstarter across their social media channels (you never know, you might have a friend who'd love to get involved!) in an effort to boost the fund and see this project through to its completion, allowing the tree to live on after being such an important part of the museum's history.  You can find the Kickstarter link here (please copy and paste across Social Media if you can!).

 Matthew and Alison with part of the tree trunk displayed on railway sleepers (the tree as a sapling was originally transported to Barnard Castle by train)

 The tree-trunk after its branches had been felled in all its totem glory!

Alison with part of the monkey-puzzle tree

John and Josephine's story is one that I've shared time and time again on Coco.  Josephine was a lady after my own heart; a lover of high-fashion and the arts and a real culture-vulture of her time, I feel that I have both her and John to thank for my fashion history education.  Visiting numerous exhibitions at the museum, which they built to house their growing collection of art (but sadly didn't survive to see it's completion), led me down the path of discovering my own love of fashion exhibitions, high-end fashion and its history and opened my eyes to a world of art, history and culture that I may not have discovered had it not been for their original plans.  I understand that whilst reading this, you may not feel the same connection to the museum as I do, but surely transforming this beautiful piece of history into something that will live on forever is far better than watching it rot in the grounds?  I know John and Josephine would certainly approve of this wonderful campaign.

If you're interested in finding out more about the history of John and Josephine's tree, you can do so here in this interesting article on the tree and its history, written by James Illingworth back in 2016.  Similarly, there are some amazing facts about Monkey-Puzzle trees here.  

Most importantly, if you'd like to back this wonderful campaign, then here is the link once again to the Turning Point: MP125 Kickstarter, please share this link across social media, and allow this beautiful piece of history to live on forever!

Until next time,

Kayleigh x

All images were provided to me and are © The Bowes Museum.  


Monday, 21 May 2018

An evening with In the Frow @ Fenwick, Newcastle

Hello lovelies!

I hope you've all had a marvellous weekend!

Although I've been blogging for a long time, I don't really have much free time to read other blogs but I try to when I can.  I'm a massive fan of fashion bloggers, and my three favourites that I always try to catch up on are Sofie Valkiers' Fashionata, Garance DorĂ©'s Atelier DorĂ© and of course the wonderful Victoria Magrath's In the Frow.  When I heard that Victoria was coming to chat fashion at Fenwick, Newcastle, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get together with my blogging bestie Krissi for a fun fashion-filled evening, with a side of Prosecco!

Arriving at Fenwick, Newcastle

We were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and a goodie bag, and took our seats in the glamorous  French Salon to await Victoria's arrival.  Interviewed by head womenswear buyer at Fenwick Newcastle, Catherine Newton, Victoria arrived wearing the most fabulous Ganni dress and Dior shoes, she looked very chic!  Catherine and Victoria talked us through nine looks available at the French Salon, perfectly put together for summer events to give us ladies some fashion inspiration (I'll include links to all underneath the photos).

Victoria wore a Ganni dress and Dior shoes-I'm so in love with the shoes!

The first look of the evening was this beautiful Self-Portrait star mesh midi dress.  Perfect for a summer wedding, this dress is simply breathtaking.  The black ribbons give it more depth, so it would look equally as chic with black heels, or dressed down with a leather jacket.  I'm planning to get married next August and have bought a non-bridal Needle and Thread dress for the occasion, but after seeing this beauty, I may need to rethink my look!!

 Rixo London, Space Age Floral, £315 paired with Michael Kors bag

The second look came from Rixo London, and offered a lot of versatility, as accessories could be matched to any of the colours in the dress' detailing.  Victoria and Catherine chose these amazing electric blue accessories, giving a fun and summery twist to the look.  I loved this dress so much!

Look three, was another from Self-Portrait, this beautiful mini lace V-neck.  I'm a real lover of all things navy, so I absolutely adore this dress.  The days of not being able to wear dark colours for summer weddings are officially over!  Perfect for long, slender pins!

 Rixo London, £304.99 (Jules B)
Look four was another Rixo dress, this time full of vibrant colours perfect for summer, but paired down with black accessories for a more chic look.  Imagine how good this would look with a black Chanel 2.55 swinging from your arm?  I'd pair with my small black Cavalli Class bag and French Connection black point-toed heels-I may have to invest!

 Alexander McQueen, shirt £350, pants £385

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved look five, as I've never really been a fan of the pyjama suit, but how chic is this?  Paired with heels, it would be the ultimate in wedding comfort and is super glam!  I'd pair black accessories with the black trim and wear minimal jewellery-such a statement piece!

 MSGM, £378

Look six certainly has the wow-factor!  This beautiful orange, asymmetric drape-dress is breathtaking.  It's fun, vibrant and totally summer.  I could definitely see this strutting along the French Riviera and I think it would look equally amazing with some flat sandals for a more chilled summer look.

Looks seven and eight, both Self-Portrait, show two contrasting styles from the brand.  The first, the bardot-top navy maxi dress (worn by Victoria recently in Cannes) is my favourite of the two (although with my short legs I think I'd have to alter it!!).  Stunning lace detailing, I think this is a perfect holiday dress which would perform equally as well in a more formal setting.  The second dress looks amazing teamed with a pop of blue, and would be perfect for an English country garden party.

Burberry, £950

Look nine, was one of my favourites.  A piece of Burberry history from Christopher Bailey's final collection for the house-you could easily confuse this as a Victoria Beckham or Celine piece.  More formal workwear than summer-wedding, I loved it's simplicity (but I am a biased Burberry lover!).

After answering some of our questions and giving some great style tips, we were invited to chat to Victoria in person and get some photographs with her.  She was warm, friendly, bubbly and full of personality, just as you'd expect after watching her Youtube account.  We chatted style, her gorgeous shoes, hairstyles and Cannes-it was so lovely to meet her!

From someone who is just taking her first baby steps into a fashion career, Victoria truly is an inspiration!  Thank you to both Fenwick Newcastle for hosting and to Victoria for being there; we had such a wonderful time!

Until next time,

Kay xxx

All dresses are available also at Fenwick, Newcastle in the French Salon.  We purchased tickets for this event; all opinions are my own-I had a great evening.  All links to dresses were corrected at time of posting.  Photography is a combination of mine and Krissi's, please ask before using-thank you xxx

Friday, 18 May 2018

Style: How to wear paperbag-waist pants...

Hello lovelies!

I've recently been feeling so uninspired by my wardrobe so this week for the first time in an age, I decided to shop the high-street.  I'd say that normally I'm an investment piece shopper and I tend to wear the same pieces mixed up in a variety ways.  So I thought today I would show you what I bought and hopefully give you some inspiration of how to wear one of Spring/Summer's trends in two ways!  So, the piece I'm looking at is paperbag-waist pants.

Topshop £36, lots still available at time of posting!

I fell in love with these beauties this week and had to have them, but there are lots of this style available at the moment.  I love the high waistline of paperbag-waist pants; they're very flattering even if you're vertically challenged like me!  For my first look, I styled them more formally for a fashion event I attended this week (more on this in my next post, it was very exciting!).

Street style images by my lovely Krissi

Outfit 1
What I wore:
Jacket: Archive By Alexa for Marks and Spencer (old)
Venti t-shirt: River Island, £18 (link)
Pants: Topshop (linked above)
Shoes: Primark, £6 (new)
Bag: Katie Loxton, monogrammed (link)

Paperbag-waist pants are incredibly versatile, but I'd suggest that you let them be the statement piece of your outfit, and make sure you're showing off the beautiful waistline by tucking in whichever t-shirt you chose.  I wanted neutrals (and I adore navy!) so that I could wear a statement lipstick, but I think most coloured shirts and t-shirts would go with these pants; I'd stay away from patterns though.  Shout out to Primark for these amazing flats-super-cute and super-comfortable!  Equally, a heel with a pointed-toe would look really stylish for a more formal/evening look!

Today, I wanted to wear the pants again but this time more casually, so I went for this look...

Outfit 2
What I wore:
T-shirt: River Island, £18 (link)
Pants: Topshop, as before
Shoes: Converse, old
Bracelet: Marc Jacobs, old

When I'm going to be rushing around and working a lot, I like to be a bit more casual, so I opted for a dressed-down look so I could wear my trusty (and slightly battered!) Converse.  Again, you can be quite versatile with your t-shirt choices, but I love navy and anything with a bumblebee!!

If you don't think this is a trend for you, I'd definitely say experiment! There are lots of styles and leg-lengths around at the moment, and a million colour palettes; I hope they're are here to stay!

I even liked them with my military jacket!!
(excuse the bathroom selfie ha!!)

Until next time,

Kay xxx

All linked items available at time of posting!  Let me know what you think of paperbag-waist pants!


Friday, 11 May 2018

Intu Metrocentre: Intu Fashion '18

Hello lovelies!

Hope you're all well?

On Wednesday evening, I was kindly invited along to the Metrocentre, Gateshead for an evening of fabulous fashion, fun treats and furry friends!  Yes, Thursday saw the start of Intu Metrocentre's Fashion weekend, and the good news is, there are plenty more shows to see.  If you're looking forward to your summer holiday but desperate for a dose of style inspiration, then it's the place to be for all of your summer fashion needs!

Situated in Metrocentre's Town Square, right beside House of Fraser, you can't miss the wonderful and summery pop-up runway (look out for the amazing pink telephone box and flowery archway!).  

On arrival, we were given an extra special treat of being able to meet some gorgeous furry friends from Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter, who'll also be popping by across the weekend.  If fashion isn't your thing but you can't resist a puppy cuddle, you might want to hang around just to say hi to Winston and Churchill, and my personal favourite, Sam, who is looking for a forever home.  I'm sure it won't be long before he's snapped up; he's certainly full of personality!!  The catwalk became a dog walk for the evening, and the pooches were in their element, parading up and down the runway.

 Sam-I could've brought him home in a heartbeat!

 Winston and Churchill

...and lovely little Sam again!

Before I get wrapped up in talking about my love of all things four-legged, I better get back to the fashion!  We took our seats on the FROW and waited patiently (with some delicious popcorn!) to see the amazing looks available this summer!

Feeling fab on the FROW with Chloe and Lisa


Denim, the belt bag, sandals and sport luxe; Topshop is totally rocking a smart casual vibe this summer.  I loved the embellished denim jacket and I'll definitely be looking for a belt back to complete my holiday style!

One for the boys: Burton Menswear and Moss Bros.

Burton are playing it cool with their fun prints and relaxed vibes this summer.  But for the men in your life looking for something more formal, maybe for a day at the races or a summer wedding, Moss Bros has got your back.  My favourite look is this amazing multicoloured, leaf-print smoking jacket (above); I'm not sure my Mister would agree but I absolutely love it!  A fun take on a formal classic, perfection!

New Look

I always seem to forget about New Look, but they have some amazing pieces on offer this summer!  I love a French vibe, so was particularly besotted with the red-pant and Merci t-shirt combo!


Accessorize always have the most amazing beachwear!  I absolutely adore the white patterned mini-skirt (above), perfect for the summer sun be it daytime or evening.


It was a monochromatic affair from Evans, with perfect looks for a summer-wedding guest or an evening out.  My favourite this time was the all-black jumpsuit.

DW Fitness

Perfect for the beach, or making that body beach-ready, DW Fitness have some amazing summer sportswear-whether you like things cropped or not, there's something for all (even the boys!).

River Island

Neutrals and animal-print from River Island, I'm a little bit in love with those gorgeous mustard trousers!

Lipsy and House of Fraser

Floaty summer florals were on point from both Lipsy and House of Fraser, whilst the men played it cool.  One thing's for certain, there's plenty of style and choice on offer from both, whatever the occasion!


My favourite looks of the evening came from Coast, who had some great style ideas for a day at the races.  Sadly, I'm not looking for occasion wear this summer, but if I was, you can guess where I'd be headed-totally in love with it ALL!

SS18 from IntuFashion runs all weekend at the following times:

Friday 11th May: 4pm, 6pm

Saturday 12th May: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm

Sunday 13th May: 12pm, 2pm, 330pm

You can find out more on the Intu website (here) and shop the best looks from the shows!

Thank you so much to the team at IntuMetrocentre for the invite, and to Molton Brown for my lovely hand massage (also thank you for all of the lovely free samples and food!).  I had a wonderful evening!

Until next time,

Kay x
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