FFF’s Fashion Stories: March On!

March is a weird month – it’s still freezing, but the sun is shining… from inside it looks warm enough to frolick coatless in the grass, but when you finally get outside you realise you might just need to add a scarf as well…

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My dieting and workout regime is continuing well – I’ve currently lost a stone and a half, despite all my restaurant reviews… To keep myself motivated I’ve been creating fashion flatlays with some of my old clothes, because I know it’s just a matter of time before they fit me again. This is an old ASOS dress (seen on me here), paired with my beloved Chloe Drew, and a new pair of shoes from ASOS. These were purchased as a pretty good replikate for the Duchess of Cambridge’s Gianvito Rossi Suede d’Orsay Pumps. As of writing, the Penalty pumps are still available in most sizes, for the bargain price of £32!

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Finally Organised! My Love for Stackers

This might be a familiar problem for some of you: storage. More to the point, intelligent, expandable storage. Until recently, I didn’t think such a thing existed for jewellery. My collection was relegated to fancy boxes and knick-knack trays and spread all over the house. If I wanted a pair of earrings, it was potluck as to whether I’d find them. I actually lost a necklace and a pair of earrings I loved for two years and only just found them, tucked away neatly inside a washbag in a drawer I haven’t been in for a loooong time.

I’ve only started collecting jewellery properly in the last few years. Before then a pair of novelty studs was about as far as I’d go to jazz up an outfit – these days I have some beloved pieces I always wear, and loads of lovely little baubles I wear in rotation. Items like these classic Ulu earrings from Shelley Silversmith are practically irreplaceable as far as I’m concerned – most of my pieces have a story or a meaning to me beyond just going with an outfit, or something that caught my eye in a shop. If you’re spending a lot of money on jewellery, it’s usually an item you obsess over for days, and research thoroughly before buying. So where to store your precious items?

Enter Stackers! I couldn’t believe it took me so long to find this perfect solution for jewellery storage, but since I’ve found it I’ve become obsessed – and it’s really lovely to see my entire collection in one place, too. Just as with your wardrobe, there are classic must-haves with jewellery (pearl bracelet, diamond studs, etc), and trends or styles you may not even have realised you followed until you really step back and take a look at what you keep on buying. Having everything in one place not only helps you organise yourself and stops you losing things, and but it also makes it easier to curate your collection as well.

The great thing about Stackers is that you can house as small or as large a collection as you like, and you can add to it as your collection grows. Because I’m such a hoarder, I knew I had to go for the Supersize (the range is also available in mini and classic), and as everything in my bedroom is white or green, I selected the white with stone interior. Just like a jewellery shop window, my collection is now on display – and doesn’t it look gorgeous?! The range is also available in mink, vanilla, purple, soft pink, black, cream, red, duck egg, and dove grey with either mint, coral and antique rose.

As I get new items, I love to rearrange everything, and since I first purchased my Stackers, I’ve already added to it a couple of times as I’ve unearthed old treasures and bought new ones. In my stack I’ve got the lidded supersize stacker, £39.95 (which also comes in rose gold… ahhh, £41.95!), with a 41 section stacker and an 11 section stacker (both £29.95), which is much deeper – and holds a hidden secret…

 

Inside, you can hide the perfect travel companion – a cute little matching travel box, which you can store ready to use whenever you need it.I asked Stackers if they’d be kind enough to send me the travel box and the 11 section stacker so I could show you how they work – and they were so lovely that they did! Before, when I travelled, I’d tuck my jewellery into makeup bags or zipped sections of my handbag – with earrings getting tangled and strands of necklaces getting all tied up. Then, when I arrived at my destination, there was nowhere to put my things, or a way of checking everything at a glance. Now I have my own travelling jewellery wardrobe, and I love it! I’ve already used it twice – once on my flight to Japan to keep all my pieces safe while I slept (blissfully!), and once on a weekend away with my friends to the country.

I love the fact that while I’m not using it, I can keep it stowed away neatly, and still usefully storing things. The travel case has four small compartments and one large one, with a helpful dividing wall to keep everything separate. The travel box is priced £12.95 in a variety of colours – I won’t be parted with mine!

Check out the Stackers range here, and the supersize collection here.You can see the range of travel boxes here.If you’re finding it all a bit overwhelming, they’ve even made a handy tutorial complete with video here.

You can even purchase home accessories like storage for eyewear, or jewellery wraps, or a handy pocket for the side of your bed, here. I’m currently campaigning for Stackers to release a makeup storage solution – because it’s half as good as their jewellery one, it’ll revolutionise my collection!

Do you have a Stackers collection? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

Scorchio! Summer Happiness Part One

Summer is definitely here… at the moment… don’t hold your breath, just enjoy it! In order to celebrate the heat-wave, I thought I’d share some of the things that are making me happy this month!

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Summer trips to London: it takes me a couple of hours to get to central London from my house, and although it’s not as though I’m a local, I’m still a fairly regular visitor. No matter how many times I go, I love every bit of it, from the cheesy tourist sights to the upscale department stores.

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There’s never a bad time to visit London, but when the sun is shining and there are flowers and bunting everywhere, it’s just that extra bit special.

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I’ve also recently taken up the challenge of walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and since I started two and a half weeks ago, I’ve walked over 90 miles all in all (yes, really!). It gets boring going on the same old walks, so I’ve started going out in the evenings with my husband, taking advantage of the great weather to visit some places I rarely go (and playing Pokemon Go of course! Do I get hipster points for saying I used to play Ingress as well?)

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Living on the coast, and in between two beautiful national parks (New Forest and South Downs), there are loads of local places to visit – but even closer by we have some pretty views, and Southampton Common is one of my favourite places to go (especially since I worked out several routes depending on how far I want to walk or run!).

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I’ve also been enjoying going on family trips, most recently to Bath – including an awesome, super spooky ghost walk through some of the most haunted areas of the city centre!

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I also had to snap this shot of this canopy of colourful umbrellas in the town – a reminder that even when the sun isn’t shining, you can still bring a bit of brightness into your life!

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A trip to Lordington Lavender Farm allowed me to break out my new Ray-Ban aviators (been lusting after a pair for ages and finally snapped some up in the Next sale!), and dream of ambitions of opening my own lavender farm – or at least, planning a trip to Provence again!

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And speaking of accessories, all this summer heat makes me long for the days of cool nights, long strings of pearls, and sweet perfumes like La Vie Est Belle from Lancome. But you know, just because safari prints and neon accessories are in, doesn’t mean I can’t indulge myself from time to time, even if I look a little weird hunched over the BBQ wearing Chanel pearl earrings… I bought these from Harrods with some money my grandmother left me – my mother-in-law always told me to use inheritance to purchase at least one good keepsake to remind you of someone, and I think that’s great advice.

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I’ve also been making a ridiculous amount of smoothies thanks to Natural Blender, the smoothie delivery service, and my brand new Nutribullet, which I bought after yet another blender broke on me at the beginning of the month. I wish I’d bought one sooner – this baby is seriously good, and blends everything to a perfectly smooth consistency!

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And finally, where would I be without my favourite summer flower – the hydrangea – and my favourite ballet flats, from French Sole?

Let me know what’s making you happy this summer in the comments!

Breton Stripes: A Forever Classic

If you describe your style as classic or preppy, you should have at least one Breton style top in your wardrobe! The Breton top is a classic and has been popular with the fashion set for nearly a century, after Coco Chanel introduced the top to her fashion collection in 1917.

The original, classic Breton top was worn by sailors in the French navy, was introduced in 1858, and was supposed to feature 21 stripes for Napoleon’s 21 victories. The lore surrounding the Breton top also states that the stripes were selected so that a sailor would stand out in the sea if he fell overboard! Breton tops are most classically defined as navy and white, although red and white is fairly usual alternative. These tops have been worn by Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, and Alexa Chung, to name but a few. Taking stock of my wardrobe recently, I realised that Breton stripes had become something of an obsession, so I decided to do a post featuring a few of my current favourites!

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Designer Accessories: The Wishlist Edit

If you could make a list of your top five most wanted designer accessories, what would you include?

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For me, it’s got to be Chanel studs (in gold, please!), an iconic skull scarf from Alexander McQueen, and to continue the theme, a skull bracelet from Links of London, plus a pretty black Alexa from Mulberry with soft gold furniture (I love black and gold together!) – and of course, what else but a pair of classic Louboutin pumps in black, with sky high heels!
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Handbag Heaven: Naughtipidgins’ Nest

You may remember my Bag ‘n’ Shoes post from last week, where I revealed my much-lusted after Fendi B Bag, a style I’ve loved for years but never thought I’d have the opportunity to own – particularly as they don’t make them any more! As I mentioned, I nabbed mine second hand, and sometimes this can be a daunting prospect, as you’re not always sure whether you’re buying the real deal… This is where the fabulous Shian from Naughtipidgins’ Nest comes in! The site is a handbag lover’s dream, chock full of designer gear from labels like Chanel, Mulberry, Dior, Jimmy Choo and more – all of them authentic, second-hand, designer bags, in great quality condition, at reasonable prices.

Chanel Gucci LV montageLouis Vuitton Roxbury Drive (£545) / Gucci Sukey Top Handle President (£435) / Chanel Glazed Calfskin Clutch (£1395)

I first stumbled upon the site after stalking Purseblog’s forums, particularly the Mulberry section. As you know, I’m a massive Mulberry fangirl so when I heard that there was a much-trusted, second hand seller of Mulberry, I was quick to check it out. I was desperately after the Mulberry Valentine’s clutch from this year (eventually bagged one on eBay), and Shian was so helpful that I check her site regularly ever since. (Seriously, she is lovely.)

As Naughtipidgins is nearing its 5000th sale (and planning to celebrate in fine style!) I thought it would be interesting to talk to Shian about the business for the blog. Because let’s face it, anyone with that many designer handbags in their vicinity is definitely worth talking to…!

What got you into the business (and how long have you been in business)?
“Downsizing my own collection when we moved from London to Lancashire in 2005. I started selling my own bags on eBay and both Buyers and Sellers seemed to like the way I took lots and lots of photos and described things very honestly. It wasn’t long before people were contacting me to ask if I could sell their bags for them and it really went from there. In May 2011 I decided eBay had served its time for the ‘Nest’ and set up my own website which has been incredible fun and I’m loving every minute of it.”

What’s your own collection like?
“Rather sadly depleted from its peak, but it is true… I really don’t need two different bags a day, every day of the week, each month of the year, any more! (At least that’s what I try to keep telling myself when my collection creeps up in size. An occupational hazard of the job, so I’m not too hard on myself). I now tend to keep a core of classics that I rarely stray from, and a varied collection of Mulberry (mainly older styles as it seems to take me a while to ‘warm up’ to newer ones). As long as they all still fit in my designated ‘personal-bag-space’ then I know I’m still in control, lol!”

Mulberry montageAlexa (£575) / Medium Daria (£475) / Ledbury (£365) All Mulberry

Do you remember your first designer bag purchase?
“Absolutely. Though I dabbled with a few Bally’s in my late teens, my first ‘wow’ moment was the first time I walked into Chanel Rue Saint-Honoré. I left with my first Chanel 2.55 and the rest is history.” (SO JEALOUS)

What’s your favourite brand? Bag?
“That’s such a difficult question to answer and I don’t actually think I can choose just one brand. Different occasions call for different bags and there isn’t one single designer that can do it all. I’d still say the classic 2.55 Chanel 10″ is my favourite style though and have been known to sit and stroke a lambskin for hours, lol!”

What’s the most unusual bag you’ve sold?
“I’ve sold a few ‘famous’ peoples’ bags and some quite amazing exotic skins over the years, but only ever sell things that I actually like, so being a bit conservative, I don’t think there’s ever been anything too ‘out’ there in the grand scheme of things.”

Misc montagePrada Saffiano Lux Bowler (£795) / Chloe Angie Tote (£795) / Hermes Vintage Box Calf (£975)

How do you authenticate your bags?
“Authentication is a time-served skill and takes a lot of experience, observation and research. You have to have observed, handled and examined a lot of bags, both genuine and fake, over a long period of time, in order to be able to discern the authentic from the counterfeit. Yes, some fakes are really rubbish and anyone can ‘tell’ but many are incredibly ‘close’ to the real thing and those who haven’t the knowledge or skill to identify the indicators can be very easily taken in. It’s ALWAYS a complete waste of money to buy fake, whether knowingly or unwittingly, as they will never match up to the longeivity, quality and ultimately, beauty and craftmanship of a genuine item.”

Where did the name of your business come from?
“It was my eBay ID, and as word spread, it stayed with me. How it actually came about in the first instance is a bit of a mystery really… not the easiest business name to say or spell, so, had I known I’d eventually have a business, I’d of chosen something a bit more relevant!”

What makes an iconic design in your opinion?
“That’s a good question as a lot of those bags you’d call ‘icons’ don’t actually stand the test of time in terms of style. Some do, but I’d say a true icon is a bag that is completely timeless.”

What are some bags that really hold value?
“In terms of financial value the bags that depreciate the least, currently and very generically, are Chanel Flaps, Lady Diors and Mulberry Bayswaters. Maintained well, these styles will retain the greatest value and in some instances appreciate.”

Montage most wantedMulberry Bayswater / Lady Dior / Chanel Flap

What advice can you give people on how to store and care for their bags?
“It depends on the finish. You would treat a lambskin leather differently to an LV canvas, but generally the golden rules are:

  1. Ensure you know how to care for your finish
  2. Make sure you have the right products
  3. Remember to clean and care for them regularly (which again will depend upon finish and usage)
  4. Store with stuffing inside their dustbags to maintain their shape.”

If you had to create a capsule designer bag wardrobe of five items (with no budget!) what bags would you pick? (Colours too!)
“Created for my lifestyle now… (10 years ago this would have looked different!)

  • Mulberry Bayswater in oak darwin with older style glossy postman’s lock plate – smart everyday bag perfect for work, play or anything life can throw at you.
  • Lady Dior medium in black lambskin leather with gold tone hardware – classic, great for day with shoulder strap or evening without.
  • Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM in damier ebene – shopping, gym, beach… you name it, its big and easy to use.
  • Chanel 2.55 flap 10″ in black lambskin with silver hardware – no more need to be said…
  • Hermes Birkin ostrich 32cm (preferably in chocolate) – just because I’ve never owned one!”

Misc 2 montageGucci D Ring Medium Hobo (£295) / Michael Kors Hamilton Tote (£235) / Anya Hindmarch Pleated Multi-Way (£195)

My thanks to Shian for so graciously answering my questions, and allowing me to use these images from her site. As of the time of writing, all of the bags with prices listed next to them were still available on the site, so get shopping… Plus, Naughtipidgin is soon set to celebrate the 5000th sale from the shop with a special gift certificate worth £100 at the Nest’s shop! All you have to do to be in with a chance is enter by making a purchase – and the winner will be announced in November.

If you have a bag you’d like to sell, you can check out the terms over here. And, see the amazing range of bags on offer here!

Visit Naughtipidgins Nest at http://www.naughtipidginsnest.co.uk.

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