Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Love Lulu

Have you seen the Lulu Frost for Whistles collection? It is tremendous. Have a little ogle at my selected highlights below. They are priced higher than anything you'd normally pay for high street costume jewellery, but these are high quality pieces, which feel reassuringly weighty and are expertly crafted, with a lot of use of brass and crystal. And despite being high street, they are definite investment pieces - so choose carefully.

The flavour of the collection is very art deco, tying in brilliantly with the release of The Great Gatsby, as these pieces would lend a touch of Gatsby-chic and modern elegance to any outfit.

The collection was designed by Liza Salzer, jewellery designer at Lulu Frost, and she took her inspiration from vintage items in her own collection, as well as other antique finds such as French belt buckles and shoe fastenings.  The collection is selling out fast, so if you're tempted, visit the Whistles website immediately!

Top row, left to right
50 yr necklace, £125; Art Deco earrings, £65; Lisa bracelet, £75.

Bottom row, left to right
Sandra earrings, £70; Francis earrings, £65; spike necklace, £135.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Just white

I have always embraced any trend for white, and so the current all-white trend we're currently riding is a welcome one for me. My main reason for liking it is that it looks fresh, goes with everything, and really suits and bright lip or nails, of which I'm a huge fan. I especially liked Oscar de la Renta's recent take on the white thing, which heavily featured lace.

{Oscar de la Renta SS 2013}

I recently found this Broderie Anglaise top below in the chazzy for just a few pounds, and also bought this top from Mango, which is a great day to night time top to suit so many different occasions.

{Broderie Anglaise charity shop top - this one from Whistles is similar}

{my recent purchase - guipure embellished lace blouse, £34.99 Mango}

Here are some other high street options.

Top row, left to right
Viscose top, £14.99 H&M; Shirt sleeved silk top, £115 Cos; Boucle panel jacket, £65 Topshop; Broderie high neck crop tee, £28 Topshop.

Middle row, left to right
Denim cable jumper. £28 Oasis; Invitation Rococo top, £149 Hobbs

Bottom row, left to right
Circle Broderie Anglaise skirt, £118 Jigsaw; Crochet collar silk top, £98 Jigsaw; Layercake cutwork dress, £60 Warehouse

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Last weekend

We're already on the next weekend before I've posted about the last one - that's the beauty of a bank holiday. I left one job and started a new job, so it's been hectic but enjoyable. I especially enjoyed our discovery of Portsmouth Tea, from local company All About Tea, who have created this special blend to cope with the unappetising nature of the local water - never has another tea bag created such a fine brew. I'm a convert.

{eggy bread at Garage Lounge}

{All About Tea - their delivery vehicle}

{new H&M sweatshirt finally arrived}

{shoulder detail}

{made the most of the sunshine and my day off}

{lovely flowers - a leaving present from my team}

{dress by Skiff & Hawkins of Cheltenham - best vintage find in ages}
{smocking detail}

{Brora silk top chazzy find - yes, it could do with an iron}

{tried out the new Harry's Bar at Southsea Castle}

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


I've been meaning to do a post on the monochrome trend for a while now. The good news is that it's showing no signs of waning, and also that it's the easiest thing to put together - you've probably got something in your wardrobe already which will slot right into this look. To make it look modern, I like to wear it with a flash of pillar-box red or bright pink, whether that's by wearing jewellery, a nail polish or lipstick (like Schiap by NARS) or a handbag. And you can also go for the half-monochrome look if you don't want to go the whole hog - a black and white top combo paired with grey or dark blue jeans looks excellent, and is an easy way of buying into the trend.

{monochrome + a dose of red}

And there's an amazing array of choice out there - this trend seems to be one that the high street have done brilliantly, and especially in better quality fabrics. Yes, there's still a lot of polyester out there, but there's much more choice than usual in cotton, viscose and silk. Here's just a small selection.

Top row, left to right
Colour block top, £29.99 H&M; Black/grey tie dye midi dress, £22 Dorothy Perkins; Silk stripe jacket by Unique, £195 Topshop; Plush t-shirt, £29.99 Zara; Tile print jacket, £45 Dorothy Perkins.

Middle row, left to right
Linen top, £14.99 H&M; Black and white stripe prom skirt, £22 Dorothy Perkins; Colour block stripe t-shirt, £10 Oasis.

Bottom row, left to right
Painted check dress, £59 Cos; Diamond print trousers, £45 Warehouse; Graphic print jersey skirt, £16 Dorothy Perkins; Black and white casual dress, £37 Miss Selfridge; Woven top print trousers, £28 Warehouse.

Monday, 6 May 2013

"Stick to the list. Always stick to the list." (Friends, 2001)

Like Rachael Green from Friends, I have always embraced the list as a means of present buying, whether for myself or for a friend. The feeling that you've hit the nail on the head (with a little assistance of course) in buying something which that person really wants is a good one, and eliminates the nagging feeling of doubt which accompanies a self-selection present. And the compilation of a list means there's still an element of surprise - you're never going to get everything on it (especially if your list is as long as mine).

My birthday's in May, which is always a time of year when I'm eyeing up some new items of clothing to see me through the summer, or to fit in my holiday wardrobe if I'm planning on going away. This year, I've just started a new job (someone once said to me that I change my job more often than I change my knickers - thankfully not wholly accurate but the sentiment is pretty spot on) and whilst I'm living the dream of working just three days a week, as a result, my Lemonade Pockets will be that much smaller. So I've perhaps put together a more sensible birthday list than usual, which looks towards keeping me stocked up on some of my regular products which now seem even more of a luxury, plus some items of clothing which will go well with my existing wardrobe to create some very wearable outfits for both work and play. And still feeds my statement necklace addiction.

{a finely tuned and edited birthday list}

Top row, left to right
Knitted merino wool sweater, £45 Topshop; Limited edition rose gold mega necklace, £55 Miss Selfridge; Short-sleeved grey sweatshirt, £14.99 H&M (nice in pink too); Red leather shoulder bag, £65 & Other Stories - It's been a long time since I've seen such a perfect handbag. This one can be worn on the shoulder or across the body, with the adjustable strap giving a selection of looks; Tam Dao Eau de Toilette by Diptyque, £50 John Lewis.

Middle row, left to right
Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo, £15 John Lewis (and the conditioner too if you're offering...); SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum, £67.95 Outline; Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme lip colour in Charme, £24 Boots; Cream & Grey button through pyjamas, £30 Next; Mixed stone collar, £25 Topshop.

Bottom row, left to right
Foxglove cushion by Abigail Borg, £45 Rigby & Mac; Combined jacquard sweater, £45.99 Zara; Striped cotton t-shirt, £55 Comptoir des Cotonniers; Lace-up sandals, £69.99 Zara.

Happy birthday to me. x

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Liverpool Lou: E-reader Vs Real Book Face-Off

Like so many people, I am a reader of novels. Anything from Keyes to Camus – I’m not overly fussed as long as it’s fiction. I read with a level of commitment that no other area of my life gets to enjoy. I’m not proud of it. I can use up weeks’ worth of spare (and un-spare) time greedily gobbling up book after book whilst blithely allowing the BBC News app to gather e-dust in the meantime. (The same cannot be said for my Facebook app,which is too shame-making. Gosh, this post is becoming quite the confessional. I must have decided to go public with that morsel just to force myself to stop reading the “news feed” so compulsively. It’s not news, is it? What is it, though, and why am I so addicted to scouring it? All it does is leave me feeling vaguely amused/confused/pissed off and swallow up precious minutes of my already meagre morning toilette time. I never find out anything truly wonderful from it – the most important news is always old to me by the time it’s made it to the feed because my real-life, actual friends have already shared it in an old-fashioned, real-life sort of way. So I must do it to have sage advice about love and life imparted to me in new age-y font on a heavily Photoshopped background image of a beach/cityscape/sunset/mountain range/1980s florist’s card picture. And for the endless stream of witty jokes about being a woman, being a friend, alcohol, cupcakes and shopping. And also so that I can inwardly seethe over the use of “ball” for “bawl or “bork” for “balk”... Oh God it’s got to stop.).

Anyway, the novel (closely followed by the FB newsfeed) is my ideal means of distraction and boy, do I love a bit of distraction!

My dad, also quite the bookworm, got his Kindle a couple of years ago and like all recent acquirers of e-readers, waxed lyrical about its virtues to me. And I, like all the uninitiated, duly got all pretentious and responded with the stock, “but surely it can’t compare to holding a real book, with pages?” (well, of course it doesn’t! It isn’t supposed to!) and the other classic, “I just love the smell of old books, though” (what a lie! I know it’s a lie because I’m surrounded by old books in my current job and they’re musty, plain and simple. There’s nothing romantic about it. They just stink). Undeterred, he bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I think it was just over two years ago and I've since used it to read 15 novels and two halves (one I'm in the middle of and one I just couldn't get through - "Little Women". Sorry, Louisa May, it was going nowhere). I didn't stop reading traditional books of the paper variety - I just interspersed them with e-books. In a fit of “new life”-type resolutions, I began keeping a reading log shortly after arriving in Morocco in September and judging by that, I read less on the Kindle. But I know that’s because I work in an English language library and have access to thousands of real, live books so it doesn't really mean anything. If I wasn't working in a library, being abroad, I'd probably use the Kindle for everything. Needs must, cut your cloth, don't look a gift horse in the mouth etc.

{my clunky old grey kindle}

My Kindle (above), replete with crack at bottom right of screen which you probably can't make out. If your Kindle is cracked, it's loved and it's worth a million smelly old books.

{another perk - shopping for a cover}

I can’t speak for iPads, Sony ereaders or Nooks and I realise you may have made up your mind already, but here are my Kindlepros and cons...

In praise of the Kindle:
It's not too heavy and yet it can hold oodles ofbooks - good for hols, obvs.
It has a built in dictionary.
You can get loads of classic titles for free (I recently downloaded "The Rape of the Lock", hoping to relive the heady days of our 6th Form English A Level group. It wasn't quite the samewithout a giggling Trayns sitting next to me and scribbling notes about our future being neighbours in the same apartment block like "Friends". Oh, it’s gonna happen.)
Loads of titles are cheap. If the one you want isn't cheap, it will be at some point if you show a little patience.
If you have a sudden yen to read a particular title, provided it's available, the whole thing can be on your device in under a minute.
You can get free samples of titles to try before you buy.
The battery lasts for ages.
You can read magazines and newspapers on it (Ihave never done this).
Does it annoy you that it's awkward to read areal book while lying on your side in bed??? Ooh, it really annoys me. Well, on a Kindle, it's not nearly as annoying! It just perches there, in line with your face, and your hand doesn't have to defy gravity or perform feats of super human endurance and strength to keep the pages visible. It's a very comfortable experience and certainly my favourite aspect of being a Kindle-owner. It is!
The screen savers are fabulous and sometimes alittle eerie. They're so STILL.
It doesn't smell of anything.

Kindle let-downs:
The battery sometimes runs out when I am not at home and without a charger. But that's my fault, really – you are certainly given plenty of fore warnings.
No page numbers! I assume the cool new ones have this though. My model is kind of old-school now, I think. Nonetheless, it feels weird tracking your progress through a book in percentages.
There are some (not many) titles which are not available.
You can't just flick to a page (I know there will be a way but I haven't worked it out and again, it's probably a piece of cake on the new-fangled ones).
You don't get that smug sense of satisfaction, lining up and admiring all the spines of your personal library in your Billy bookcase.
You can't pass on your book to someone else when you're finished with it.
You can't write an inscription in the cover if it's a gift.
You can't stick a bookplate in it.
You can't use a bookmark.
It's from Amazon and I suppose they're not too admirable just now.
The initial outlay will account for a fairly decent chunk of your hard-earned readies.
It doesn't smell of anything. OK, so sometimes that is sort of nice...

{the perfect Kindle foil}

Ms Abel lent me her well-worn copy of Roald Dahl's "My Uncle Oswald". One of my favourite reads of the year so far. Some dubious, vaguely misogynistic moments and references to the male member as a battering ram or a jousting stick or something... Still, in the main, a tale which is highly original, rollicking and perfectly saucy in the most British of ways.

{one of the bookplates given to me as a gift by the one and only Trayns}

In conclusion, why compare these two completely different ways of reading? It's still reading - who cares what it’s written on?Folks started out with what was available to them – cave walls. Surely the readers of days gone by (don’t ask me which days, I’m not a historian – this is a lifestyle blog!) didn’t complain when papyrus or vellum or whatever replaced stone tablets. People shouldn’t get so het up about it - it's just book evolution. It’s not as if we’re burning all printed texts. Writing is still as valued as ever: now we're just lucky enough to be able to choose what we'd like to read it on. And I choose both!

It’s not about the medium, people, it’s about the words.

Love Liverpool Lou x.