Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration Launch

What I wore:
Vintage dress- V for Vintage, St Albans.
Cardi- H&M
Collar- rescued from a Wednesday Addams-themed halloween dress, many moons ago.
Brogues- charity shop find.
Woolen Cape- Online selling comm.
Hair- beehive coiffed thanks to Carrie's tutorial over here

Susie Bubble getting her sketch on.

The Lily Vanilli miniature scones and the pearlescent cakey masterpiece.

The beautiful Carrie perching for a picture.

LinkSarah holding steady for her illustration.

Michelle Urvall Nyren, one of Amelia's contributing illustrators and who kindly sketched me.

The launch party for Amelia Gregory's new Compendium of Fashion Illustration (nicknamed ACOFI) yesterday was what you would call a roaring success- the people, the venue, the wonderful spread and cups of black chai in old crockery all added to a very memorable afternoon. Illustrators heavily laden with sketch pads, watercolour palettes, pens, pencils, brushes and other essential paraphernalia sat sketching and painting us and the other guests. Michelle Urvall asked to sketch me when I first arrived which was very flattering, I can't wait to see the final watercolour!

The book itself showcases the work of emerging fashion illustrators and ethical fashion designers and having bought my copy last night and already read half of it, I can categorically state that it is engaging, beautifully written and unsurprisingly one of, if not the, prettiest books I own. Being invited by Amelia was a bit of a coup in itself so massive thank you's to Tamsin for mentioning me and my blog and to Amelia and the Forward PR team for a fantastic afternoon.

I hung out with Sarah from Essbeevee, Carrie from Wish Wish Wish and and Fayoona from Save Our Shoes, three girls with whom I love spending time. After we'd left the party, Carrie took us to Caravan- shop of interior dreams- and Fi took us to The Breakfast Club for food, cocktails and a good old chat. Just a very perfect day really. That's not even mentioning the goodie bags- an amazing tote bag filled with Pukka teabags, postcards, bookmarks, a Tatty Devine cutlass necklace, an ACOFI monogrammed Moleskine and some Dr Hauschka cream. I feel like a very lucky girl indeed this morning.

Project Take 10: ASOS

When I heard ASOS were interested in hooking up with the Take 10 Project, I practically choked on my new leopard print handbag. And when I heard they were going to give us each one of their best selling military capes, I was beyond excited.

When it arrived, I tried it straight on and pranced around in front of the mirror for about fifteen minutes and decided I loved it as much as I thought I would. But, and there are a couple of but's, I should have ordered a size smaller and also possibly the petite sizing. I asked for a size 16 in standard sizing, but there is just too much material. I am in no way a petite- at 5"8 I often have to go for the tall range in many shops, but it feels a little bit too cape-like, a tad too billowy and not enough shape for me. If it was slightly shorter, it would be completely perfect. Apart from that one little gripe, I can't fault it. I've worn it around in these recent frosty mornings and have been as warm as toast.

The detailing is excellent- the epaulettes, the military buttons and the hood all look fantastic on the girls, who have styled it to perfection- Jen, Vicki, MJ, Sabine, Sarah, Paula, Adele, Sherin and Jazmine

I teamed it with my thrifted Hobbs leopard print sheer shirt, my leopard print ebay bargain bag, some Toast brogues I found in a charity shop for £6 and my £2 agate slice necklace from The British Heart Foundation on Camden High Street.

How would you have worn it? Done up/undone? Think you could pull off a cape? Or is it just one trend too tricky to try?

Cellardoor Magazine: Issue Five

There are many people in this blogging world of ours that I have bucket-loads of respect for, but none more so at this precise moment than Jade and Amy from Cellardoor Magazine. If you aren't already a reader, their new issue- Magic of Winter- is a 127-page online rag featuring some really great articles and illustrations from some exciting contributors (including wonder illustrator Ella Masters, Snow Queen above) and interesting interviewees and I urge you to pop over and have a read.

From the most ingenious DIY I've seen in forever (maxi skirt transformed into a fur collared cape anyone?) to articles about genuine role models and a recipe for Turkish Delight Cupcakes (I have no adequate adjectives for that last one. I just did one of those wide-eyed stares when I saw the photo, they look just like heaven) each issue of this downloadable, originality-rich magazine is a massive achievement and an inspiration to meagre bloggers like me. I cannot imagine the time and effort something as beautiful as this issue takes to put together but I just wanted this little blog post to be a note to the girls and all the contributors: thank you for making Cellardoor- I salute you!

Seller on Sunday: Caroline Tucker

Caroline Tucker recently got in touch with me after reading my post on the Save the Children Living & Giving shop in Primrose Hill. We had both donated our items to the shop, I'd spotted her cushions perfectly showcased in an old trunk and noticed them receiving many admiring glances. As Caroline is an emerging designer with a beautiful portfolio and a online shop, I was more than happy to feature her as a Seller on Sunday.

After leaving school, Caroline studied at Bournemouth Art Institute and The University of Wales where she studied Contemporary Textile Practice and on completing her degree she moved to London to work for a design studio. For 3 years she designed embroideries for high street fashion stores but recently moved back to Dorset to focus on her own brand. Over the last year Caroline has been developing her print designs for accessories and cards and is working on expanding her collection to include wrapping paper, tea towels and even possibly lampshades which if they're anything like her cushions, will be beautiful.

Caroline kindly sent me her 'Life' cushion and I absolutely love it, it's very well made, of excellent quality and the print is a busy, floral menagerie of a design- exactly the sort of thing I tend to go for. Her range is huge and diverse and all of her designs can be seen here.

Caroline recently took part in the Giving and Living design show (not to be confused with the Mary Portas project in which she is also involved) which was a massive success- one of her main aims for Caroline Tucker Designs in 2011 is to break into the retail market. Having already taken orders from a range of boutique and gift shops this year, expect to see her work coming to a high street near you soon!

Happy Friday

Apologies for my previous, somewhat melodramatic, public announcement-style post a couple of days ago. As it was quite unnecessary, I’ve just removed it but thank you for all of the warm, concerned comments. Everything is fine, I’m OK and life is good.
Every now and again, I’ll succumb to an episode of ‘doom & gloom’ and expect a huge tidal wave to appear and swallow me whole. But, thanks to friends, family and Ed this doesn’t happen. I start to get happier and balanced, I can once again focus on the future and exciting plans that were seemingly pointless and/or impossible to me whilst under the cloud.
I know I am not the only one who feels like this. There are others, lots of others who, especially at this time of year, feel like curling up and sleeping through the worst. Danni and Maria wrote a great post recently with advice so please have a read if you’ve been feeling low. And finally, if anyone ever needs to talk, please email me. Often all it takes to push the darkness away is someone who will listen.

In other-brighter- news, the results of the Next competition I entered before Christmas were revealed yesterday and I was astounded to find out that I had come 11th out of the 100 bloggers that took part. I’ve won £340 worth of Next vouchers! Thank you to every single person who helped me get to 11th place by clicking through to the Next site over those couple of weeks. I’m currently thinking of buying a new mattress as ours has springs sticking out at every angle. It’s boring as hell, but without the vouchers I could never afford to buy a new one and it benefits both of us.
Oh, to be young and irresponsible again.
Regular posting to resume soon.

Drink, Shop & Do: Afternoon Tea.

LinkYesterday my friend Natalie and I popped along to Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross to use the Groupon voucher I bought a few months ago. A full afternoon tea for two, with cocktails, finger sandwiches, cakes, a pot of tea and ice cream for the bargain price of £15.

The setting is just beautiful. It's much, much bigger than I thought it would be, light and airy and as you can imagine the decor is a vintage/kitsch/retro-lovers idea of heaven.

The food was simple and perfect- cucumber, cheese & pickle and ham & mustard sandwiches (sans crusts no less!) carrot cake, sticky lemon & almond cake and a scoop of handmade honeycomb ice-cream to finish off with. They even gave us a mini selection of pick 'n' mix to take home with us.

Drinking our pot of tea and observing the knick-knacks, we decided to have a quick game of Connect 4. They had so many board games to choose from so it seemed a little rude not to- the ladies on the table next to us were deep in thought during a game of Scrabble.
If you get a chance, do go visit. You can have just a drink or a full meal, or even just pop in to see their amazing sweet and gift shop. A pound of rhubarb & custard anyone?

To brighten my days: January finds.

Recent oddities I've found on my travels.

1. A tiny Thumper (from Disney's Bambi) Wade figure. Bought from the wonderful Ingrid from Says Ingrid (check her blog out for some brilliant cultural reviews and suggestions) I just had to have him.

2. Lots of beautiful old wedding invitations, thank you cards, gift tags and quotes. I bought them on eBay for about £5 for 20 or so of them which I think makes them such a good price. I plan on squirreling them away in my mini 'wedding stash draw' and thinking of ways to use them when we finally get around to planning our day.

3. A Mexican Guadalupe shadow box. I got two of these from the Living & Giving shop in Primrose Hill I'm always going on about. I traded them for a French Connection coat which I had donated, so they were technically free. Being a Mexicana mega-fan I've wanted to find some for a very long time and had to do a farcical double take when I spotted them.

Is anyone else findings treasures in this dullest of months?