Future Fashion at Westfield London

Fashion is looking highly technical this week as Westfield London have launched their digital and interactive Future Fashion shopping event. From today, 27th March, until the 1st April there will be a host of different gadgets to play with and workshops to attend with special guests and goodies galore. It's all free and there are some great opportunities to meet some knowledgable people.

Sadly, I couldn't attend the blogger's preview evening last night but I'll definitely be popping down in the next few days to check out some of these exciting attractions:

Styling Cubes: 103" LCD touch-screens which will enable you to browse clothes available in the shopping centre, create mood boards to publish on the Westfield Facebook gallery and share your looks on Twitter. You can then have your choices emailed to you, creating your shopping list.

Style Lounge: The team from Grazia magazine will be hosting the following sessions to give you fashion and beauty advice with a couple of very special guests.
Wednesday 28th March, 6pm- 7.30pm
with Paula Reed, Style Director of Grazia (just email grazia@westfield-uk.com to reserve a space!)
Wednesday 28th March 7.30pm-8.30pm
with Nawaz Batliwalla (Disney Roller Girl) will be sharing her blogging tips and tricks with attendees (again, just email grazia@westfield-uk.com to book a space!)
Thursday 29 March, 6pm- 8pm- general advice session
Saturday 31 March, 2pm- 4pm- general advice session

The Beauty Lounge: a photo booth, mocktails and a nail bar- what more could you possibly ask for? Pop-up styling booths will be dishing out advice and how-to's with the following brands on hand to pamper you silly.

Rituals will be giving makeovers with their new make-up range, House of Fraser will be sharing beauty brands' top secrets and be providing free new-season makeovers, Kiehls will be stopping by to treat shoppers to mini-facials and hand/arm massages, Dermalogica will be assessing skin in their virtual prescription area and lastly, the Ginger Group hair salon will be demonstrating this seasons top hair trends. Phew! That's a lot of pampering!

Finally, and possibly my favourite bit, the Fashion Photobooth. Pap yourself and your outfit in the photobooth, share it on all the usual social channels and take your snap home with you. The best outfits of the day will be featured on Westfield's very own We Are Fashion Tumblr.

The bit that I love the most is the #WeAreFashion map, an interactive map with it's very own hashtag to track London's trends. Anyone with a smartphone can take part, just turn on your geolocation tracker for Twitter/Instagram, take your snap and tag it #WeAreFashion and ta-da! Your style is all mapped out!

Any of this sound tempting? I love a good freebie so will definitely be checking out the Beauty Lounge!

Lilac blossom, peppermint cream.

Hairclips: Hannah Zakari
Mint blouse: Dorothy Perkins
Jeans: Old Navy
Satchel: Cambridge Satchel Company
Sandals: second hand
Cardigan: c/o* Ark Clothing

Lilac and mint is one of my favourite colour combinations. There's something about the pastel pairing that conjures up blossom and homemade peppermint creams, but the reality was nothing so whimsical. I wore it on Friday night for chilled out drinks, soaking up the last bit of sun and then snuggling in the cardigan when it got a little darker and cooler.

The Hearts & Bows Claudia cardigan was sent to me by Ark Clothing, a company with whom I worked a very long time ago to launch my first ever blog giveaway. They're a fantastic boutique-style shop based up north who stock lots of brands and styles and we've kept in touch ever since. It's available in a huge range of colours and comes in at a purse-friendly £24.99.

On Sunday, we did a car boot sale to clear out some of flat contents. We had so many DVDs and books to get rid of, it was long overdue! This photo may look like we still have lots left, but this was after selling most of our stuff! It was such a laugh sat in the sunshine, having a banter with the other stall holders and we made just over £100 which we've put towards our summer holiday. Obviously, I had a good rummage while I entrusted Ed to look after the stall. I found this old squirrel biscuit tin for £1, some Chanel No.5 for a fiver and a Longchamp bag for £3 but I was remarkably restrained! Not like me at all...

Magical lotions and wholesome potions

I'd seen the mini bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap included in one of the most recent editions of the Glossybox and became curious. Why hadn't I ever bought it before? It magically claims to have 18 in 1 uses, comes in delightfully industrial-looking packaging, covered with strange quasi-religious incantations and contains absolutely no nasty ingredients (see the ingredients below), so when I was out shopping on Saturday and found the full range of soaps in a small shop in Islington, I decided to try it out.

I know I don't usually cover beauty tips and reviews on here, but considering this is a very me product. I thought it more than deserved some air-time.
I bought the large 16oz bottle in the Rose fragrance for £8.50. For a shower gel/soap, it may seem expensive but I've already used it for three showers, a bath, a load of washing and some kitchen cleaning and it's left barely a dent in the level of product. You only need a tiny amount to create a really good lather which, for a product which doesn't contain sodium laurel sulphate or any detergents, is pretty impressive. The scent is subtle and not overwhelming with a slightly sweeter, fresher edge than most rose-smelling products, steering it away from being an old-fashioned floral fragrance.

The ingredients are: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut, Organic Palm and Organic Olive Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Vitamin E

One thing I've found it fantastic for is shaving. Sorry for all you waxer's out there, but it makes a great shaving foam as the oils in the soap allow the razor to glide a lot more easily and it left my skin feeling very soft with no tell-tale exposed pores. However, the thing I love the most about this product is how hard it works. It's a multi-tasking machine!

From the website, here are some of it's uses:
  • For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour soap full-strength onto hands-washcloth-loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh & clean.
  • For cleaning surfaces, dilute from one part soap into 40 parts water for light cleaning, to cutting it in half or using it full strength for heavy-duty grease-cutting jobs.
  • As a shampoo
  • For the laundry, use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on hardness of water. I've been told that adding a dash of baking soda makes it even better.
  • For tooth-brushing, apply a drop or two of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap to a wet toothbrush. Brush as you normally would, rinsing accordingly. Be careful about using more than a couple drops of soap, as you might start foaming at the mouth. Many people with sensitive or softer teeth like to use our soap as a toothpaste because it lacks abrasives.
Hmm, I may still take some convincing to use it as a toothpaste, but for everything else I can vouch for how awesome it is. To re-iterate, I bought this product myself, I will be buying it again and haven't been contacted by anyone to write this. I just genuinely love it!

P.s. The Potions & Lotions book was something I picked up a few years ago at a jumble sale and it always makes me giggle, an 1886 anti-freckle lotion is something I definitely won't be trying!

Midweek Catchup

I've turned into a once a week blogger and I hate it! Work has gone crazy, wedding plans are shifting up a gear and I've spent 3 days cleaning out my flat in prep for a car boot sale on Saturday. At times like these, I always think of a simpler time when I had nothing to worry about, save for homework and how I was going to spend my pocket money.

Thought I'd share a couple of photo's from the last week or so, including this pretty bog standard photo of what I'm usually wearing on any, slightly chilly, day. The car coat is an old Topshop buy, the lining is falling apart, there are holes in the pockets and it's not particularly flattering on my boobs but I love it nonetheless. The bag is the vintage Burberry satchel I won in Sarah's charity raffle a few months ago and the messy shelves are all my own.

Edward and I took a trip on the bus to Muswell Hill for a little vintage fair which I totally forgot to photograph. However I did remember to take this slightly creepy photo of us on the deserted top deck of the bus.

On Saturday night I went out in Camden for my friend David's birthday. We went to Brewdog, which is a pub run by an independent Scottish brewery. The Punk IPA was amazing, but three pints later- and long after this photo of me, David and my beautiful best friend Ellen was taken- I had to scoff down a Subway to stay on my very tipsy feet.

The blouse was a buy from Saturday, which I spent with my lovely Mum, shopping on Upper Street in Islington. It's a Yumi blouse, but was from Oliver Bonas and is covered in an amazing fox print.

And finally, Jen from A Little Bird Told Me graced the pages of InStyle magazine with her beautiful presence this month for their Thrift Manifesto article. She was also kind enough to mention Pretty Much Penniless in her 'More Tips' section which has sent lots of new visitors here over the last couple of weeks, so hello to you if that is how you found me. I promise normal service will resume as soon as I'm back in control of life once again, so hopefully sometime at the end of this week!

Scan courtesy of Jen


For the past six months or so, the main object of my desire at any car boot or jumble sale has been a good-looking book. I know the old adage goes that no book should ever be judged by it's cover but therein lies the only selling point for me. Don't get me wrong, Ed and I are big readers, him more than I at present. Our bookshelves are crammed with literally hundreds of books but these ones aren't for us to read- they are to become part of our wedding celebration next year.

I have just reached a total of 75, with a target of 120, so I still have a fair way to go but with the spring boot-sale season about to get under way I have no doubt I'll get there.

To find each one I've turned over piles of junk, scoured charity bookshelves, rooted in lofts and picked up from the side of the road. I love each one of them and am going to have a hard time parting with any of them, but especially the ones above. The edition of Outdoor Common Birds, with it's incredible embossed and engraved cover, is an Oxfam find from Hastings and probably my overall favourite.

p.s Sorry the posts have been sparse over the past few weeks, my inspiration seems to have dried right up. Might have something to do with all the time spent and alcohol consumed in pub gardens recently...

Circus-themed Time Machine

All photos: Retronaut

Why have I only just discovered Retronaut?!

It’s a website that collates and shares snippets of our weird and wonderful past in the form of old photos and footage, the most fascinating of which being the 1940’s and 50’s colour cine film, so alien and yet so familiar.

When black and white has, since childhood, symbolised the old and the distant, seeing clothing, packaging, signage and familiar places not in a nostalgic monochrome but in a tangible, living brightness is a disconcerting feeling. The feeling that, some sixty years later, nothing has really changed.

These photos are some of my favourites, taken from the Taschen book,
The Circus: 1870-1950, documenting the heyday of the American travelling circus from the early 1950’s. When some people think they were born in the wrong era, I genuinely believe I was. Give me a big-top, a twirling baton, some bunny ears and a time machine and I’d be a very happy girl.