Friday, December 21, 2007

The joy of Christmas – NOT!

For some reason this year, I’m just not in the festive spirit at all. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only person in the office who has to work between Xmas and New Year. Perhaps it’s because I’m beyond skint even though I’m earning MORE money than ever before. Perhaps it’s because it just doesn’t feel like Christmas yet.

This year, I’m being very grown up and my parents are coming to stay. In some respects, it’s great. I don’t have to suffer the long journey on busy motorways or the intense jungle temperature my parents’ flat always seems to be. However, I think that trip back home is what puts me into the Xmas mood with festive songs, dad’s home-made mince pies and the traditional going out and getting very merry on Christmas Eve with my oldest mate, H.

I tried to get into the festive mood last night with a flick through my December mags. The talk of turkey and tinsel was great but I did have to laugh at one feature about what to wear on Christmas Day. I realised then that fashionistas have very different priorities to us ordinary folk. One girl was going to wear an expensive designer ballgown.

For me, I have to think about the practicalities of cooking, lighting a fire, cleaning up – I just don’t think a ball-gown would cut muster in those situations.
I’ve finally decided to go against all the advice and wear a very festive shade of red (even if it will make me look like a Christmas decoration) with my favourite – and quite old – 60s style shift dress. It looks stylish but is loose enough to hide the turkey tum in the afternoon. Plus, if I do get goose fat or ash on it, I really won’t care as it cost me the total of £9.99 in H&M. Practical may not be sexy or very fashionable in the office, but in my world it rules

Anyway, to anyone reading this little blog – have a lovely Christmas! I’ll be back on 27th December with tales of my seriously unfashionable day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dressing for winter

OK! I admit it! I think the fashionista thing is rubbing off on me way too much. I’m off to enjoy the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park tonight and in my pre-fash mag days, my only thought would’ve been how to keep warm tonight. Chunky sweater, jeans, hat – you know the kind of thing.

However, this morning I woke up and felt utterly bemused at what to wear. How does one dress for winter but stylishly? The thing is you never really see celebrities all bundled up and looking toasty. Posh Spice chose this very seasonal outfit of mini-skirt, bare legs and no coat to go Christmas shopping in. She must have really felt the cold, especially being such a skinny thing.

To be fair, you can see why celebs don’t do the winter woollies look. It bulks out the frame (and the camera already adds pounds), plus being warm isn’t very sexy is it? If Heidi Klum can’t look good while she’s skiing, what hope do us mere mortals have?

However, a couple of stars do it really well and I’ve been taking inspiration from these guys:
  • Mary Kate Olsen – she plays with a mixture of proportions so avoids the Michelin Man look. Although being so skinny she’d have to wear a lot of jumpers to look that big.
  • Jessia Alba manages to combine warmth, comfort and fashion with this cool military-inspired look.
  • Sienna Miller - I think she does off duty dressing very well and is a realistic style role-model. Here she’s wearing lots of layers – perfect for when you’re out shopping and going in and out of hot shops
So what did I end up wearing today? I took inspiration from la dinky Olsen and threw on a chunky wrap cardy, black skinny jeans and grey riding boots. Topped with my Zara military coat, I think I’ve got this seasonal style nailed.

What I didn’t count on happening today however was having my photo taken for a feature I’m in – will my winter dressing pile on those pounds? We’ll have to wait until it’s published to find out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Making up is hard to do

Today I’m taking my pet peeves outside of the office to vent about the thing I hate more than ANYTHING (apart from war, racism and homophobia) - people applying their make-up in public.

This morning, I was sat on the train to work contemplating how much I hate the commute when things got worse. Not only did the vacant seat next to become occupied, but it became occupied by a ‘woman who does her make-up in public!’ They’re the worse kind of commuter. They have no spatial awareness – I don’t want flecks of your nasty cheap orange bronzer on my expensive cream Marc Jacobs bag purlease – or regard for privacy.

I believe putting make-up on is a private thing. It’s almost like wearing a mask and that transformation should happen in private. Perhaps I hate the people who do this so much because I’d never have the balls, but really it's because these people are just so inconsiderate. Today I got elbowed in the head when this irritating person tired to apply their kohl eyeliner, sprayed with some cheap and nasty hairspray and perfume and covered in someone else’s hairs – euck. Leave your make-up at home ladies. Stop being so lazy and get up 10 minutes earlier.

So I’m starting a campaign and I urge everyone to join in. When someone sits next to you and starts applying their eyeliner, nudge their elbow! When someone sprays their perfume, choke and cough VERY loudly.

Monday, December 17, 2007

ASBO fashion

I’ve just had the most fabulous weekend doing absolutely nothing. What’s more, I did nothing in absolutely no style at all! Yesterday, I spent the day chilling out and tidying my house in the skankiest trackie bottoms ever (from Primark of course), t-shirt, grey hoodie (velvour – could it get any worse?) and my cosy Ugg boots.

I didn’t care what I looked like. In fact, the hubbie told me I looked gorgeous. Awww! He says he likes my natural look, but perhaps he tells me that so I stop wearing make-up and become repugnant to all men?

This morning when my fashionable colleagues were discussing their weekends, I hid the fact that mine was spent in fashion purgatory. However, this afternoon I heard the very chic fashion news writer saying she couldn’t wait for Christmas as she would be going back home to slob out and wear her favourite trackie bottoms and hooded top. So perhaps I’m so fashion forward, I’m backward... or something like that.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nineties fashion flasback – the boring decade?

Today I was eavesdropping on a conversation the subs were having. Now the subs are possibly the nicest people you can meet. They have ordinary conversations about what they’re going to eat for dinner and what they watched on the box the night before. Needless to say, their conversations are always met with rolling eyes and sighs from the fashionable set who don’t eat and are never in to watch TV.

Anyway, I digress! They were discussing how they’d love to have a 90’s party as they loved the music so much. That was definitely the decade that gave us some iconic acts – Nirvana, Spice Girls, Take That, Blur and Oasis all arrived in the 90s helping to define the music scene.
However, what would you wear to such a party?

I’ve been thinking so hard about this as nothing really stands out in my mind and that decade was my uni/early twenties decade so I did plenty of partying. I do remember having my hair cut like Linda Evangalista (or Vagina-blister as my gay mates call her) – you know the short bob/crop that she had. It was a rip roaring success and my pulling rate doubled once I’d had the mythical cut. But what did I wear with it?

There was a mini kilt that I loved. I used to wear it to uni, my work experience, out on the town. It was from the coolest of cool shops – Miss Selfridge. Back in the ‘90s, I do remember that Miss S was hip and TopShop was not. Amazing to think how times have changed, eh?

Waistcoats and leggings also reared their fashionable heads but what’s so daring and new about them? We’re still wearing them now for gawds sake. They were part of the biggest (and only) trend I can really remember – grunge. Created by Marc Jacobs, it was all about layering. I was rubbish at it as I like really simple, minimalist lines but I gave it a go!

In the late ‘90s, a resurgence in sportswear as everyday wear occurred, mostly thanks to bands like All Saints wearing combats and trainers. Being strictly a heel girl, I even remember being made over by a magazine (New Woman) to be a casual, funky girl. Needless to say, I hated it!

So I took a trip down memory lane and googled ‘90s fashion. I was reminded that…
  • Jennifer Aniston’s haircut in Friends (the Rachel) became the MUST-HAVE cut
  • Big platform shoes were deriguer thanks to the Spice Girls and their ridiculously high shoes
  • Horrible fleeces hit the high street
  • Everyone owned – or wanted to own – a pashmina
  • Versace was the king of the catwalk and his garish prints were ripped off by the high street everywhere. This was also the decade where Gianni Versace was gunned down outside his Miami mansion on 15th July. I remember this vividly as it was the day after my 24th birthday.
  • Hip hugging flares made a comeback. I wore mine to an INXS concert with a very cropped top and got very excited when I saw Helena Christensen in the audience!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Death by foundation and office bullies!

drag queen beauty editorToday I received some great news. No, I haven’t been given the much-lusted after 40% discount from TopShop or received a Chanel handbag as a gift from some grateful PR. No, my joyous news is that on Monday I’m moving desks.

OK, so it’s no designer freebie but it will change my working life. Why? At the moment, I sit in what can only be called the beauty aisle. Daily, I have to pick my way through lip glosses, expensive moisturisers and designer perfumes to get to my seat in true Krypton Factor assault course style. Each time I get to my seat, I expect to receive a blummin’ medal!

So I’ve persuaded my boss that unless she moves me, I may drown under an array of hair products or slip on a foundation bottle. Death by foundation didn’t go down too well with her so I’m being shipped out to sit on a normal aisle opposite one of the few boys in the office – hurrah!

I also manage to escape the clutches of the beauty editor who truly believes she is the dog’s wotsits. I’m sure part of this is because she’s 28 and at that age you think you know everything. It’s not until you get to your 30s that you realised you knew jack sh*t!! Anyway, I really won’t miss her missives on the most important things ever – boys it seems – and the way she somehow makes me feel like I’m the uncool, chubby girl at school. Why are some women so good at doing that?

Good riddance to the beauty aisle – Monday is a brand new start. Now what can I pilfer before I leave?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I’m making a list, checking it twice…

TopShop Christmas rangeI really wish I was a kid again sometimes. Not only did you get long summer holidays, but you got all excited about Christmas. This year, I’m finding it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit – bah humbug! – so I’ve decided that maybe writing the old Christmas list may help (and also may give my hubby a few ideas!). Obviously, keeping to the theme of me now working in fashion, I’m going to try and make this as fashionable as I possibly can, but being a geek, I can guarantee it would rank highly on the fashion radar!

Embroidered TopShop jacket (left)
: Originally I wanted this for my work party, but now it’s become a mission. I’ve been told this jacket would be in stores this week but I’ve yet to see it. And as the fashion team don’t deem me cool enough to talk to, I can’t ask them either, so this is my big wish. Please Santa, bring me this gorgeous jacket!

Miu Miu headband: I’m not usually one for designer products but after purchasing my Marc Jacobs handbag in New York, I think I’m addicted. And really is £55 that much for a headband? Answers on a postcard please!

Anything from Eclectic Eccentricity: This is the coolest jewellery site. Really original, one-off pieces that won’t break the bank but will look truly fabulous. In particular, I love the ‘Meet in the Middle’ and “Pirate King’ necklaces.

Something cashmere
: I feel at the age of 34 I really should own something that’s cashmere. I’m really hankering after one of these gorgeous cashmere blankets but for cash-strapped husbands/friends/parents out there, this cute short-sleeved sweater from Uniglo will suffice

I am a wannabe popstar and sadly already own nearly all of the Singstar games but I’d love to add the Legends one to my list. Take That! Whitney! Bucks Fizz! Imagine the fun I’ll have…

I've been a really good girl this year (well, almost) so here's hoping Santa puts one of these lovelies in my stocking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Not only do fashion types seem overly concerned with their appearance, but I’ve learnt they also seem to be very ungrateful, especially when it comes to free presents.

‘Uck! Will you look at this REEE-VOLTING bag’ proclaimed one of the fashion crew today. Expecting to see something made of bright yellow shiny plastic, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lovely silver clutch bag. And what’s more it was leather.
Apparently it was too disgusting for words and to make matters worse, no-one had heard of the designer – shock, horror.

I silently tutted in my corner. I was used to the odd freebie in my old job but it was freebie peanuts compared to these guys. Perhaps that’s why most of the pressies don’t cut the muster – they’re spoilt.

It did get me thinking though – what do you do if you receive an awful present this Christmas?

The obvious solution is to bung it on
eBay and use the money to buy something you want. Alternatively, why not embody the Christmas spirit and give your item away? Freecycle is a great website that features peoples’ requests and cast-off. And if neither of those take your fancy, why not just wrap it up and give it away to someone next Christmas!

For more tips on dealing with unwanted presents, read the
etiquette of unwanted presents on the BBC website.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An early new year’s resolution

I earn a good salary but I still seem to have NO money left each month. Why? Well it’s probably to do with the fact that like nearly every other person on this planet, shopping has become my hobby. Nobody collects anything (I used to collect thimbles for some sad reason), plays a team sport or creates something for fun these days. Instead they consume.

So in my bid to try and reign in my consumerist tendencies, I’ve come up with my one and only resolution for 2008 – and it’s a biggie. Even when I hit NYC last month for my anniversary (see pic), I shopped for Britain!

From 1 January 2008, I am not going to shop for a whole 4 months. I know it’s not like giving up shopping for good, but for me, it’s like cutting off my right arm. What’s worse, the situation is only emphasized by the cutting edge fashion element in the office, but hey ho. I’m going to brave their ‘oh-my-god-what-is-she-wearing?’ looks in a bid to make this a successful resolution.

I’m also hoping to save money so I can finally stay in credit and buy they puppy I’ve always wanted. Plus, I’m going to rediscover my wardrobe. Believe me when I say I have SO many clothes. The one thing I don’t have is time to put new looks together but I figure if I’m not out shopping, I can be accessorising instead.

So if you feel inspired to follow suit, here are my top tips:

1. Go through your wardrobe to see what clothes you have. Get your camera and spend the day snapping pictures of items that go really well together and create a special album. That way you ALWAYS have an appropriate outfit to wear without faffing around working out what goes together.

2. Discover the things you haven’t worn for a while. Why is this? If they don’t fit properly, find a tailor and get them taken in/out/up. You could discover a whole new wardrobe for a few measly pounds.

3. Avoid the shops. Seriously. If you’ve got a drink problem, you don’t go near the pubs do you? And just think what you could do with that spare time. Go to cinema, catch up with friends, join a book club, visit an art gallery. You’ll be a whole new person by the end of the year!

4. If you really have had enough of your wardrobe, why not check out Instead of buying second hand cast offs on eBay, this site lets you swap your clothes. You get a new item without parting with your cash plus you help enhance a fellow fashion addict’s life as well – it’s a win-win situation.

5. Set yourself a target time when you’ll go without your shopping fix and at the end of this, treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t e.g. a spa treatment or a meal at a posh restaurant. It’s always good to have that special incentive.

Happy no-shopping!

Friday, December 7, 2007

I love a party with a happy atmosphere

Five things I learnt last night at the office Christmas party…

1. People who say they hate karaoke will always be the one hogging the mic by the end of the night
2. Fashionistas LOVE poring over party photos of themselves the next day commenting on how cute/fat/beautiful they are
3. Not everyone in the office is a shallow fashion type – some are actually very nice and love Kylie as much as I do
4. If you can sing (and in particular if you sing Don’t Stop Me Now) you will stop the party in its track. Open mouths on fashionistas is the best look ever – sweet revenge!
5. Cabbies have always had someone famous in their cab. Last night, it was Howard from Take That

Oh and not sure why I worried so much about the Secret Santa gift. I got a Wonder Woman mug...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The ultimate insult?!

I've just bumped into someone in the building who I've not seen for a long time. They told me that it's obvious I now work on a fashion magazine and that I looked like a proper little fashionista.

Oh my god! Is that the ultimate insult... or the ultimate compliment?! Am I slowly morphing into the Anna Wintour of the online world?!

Tomorrow, I'm wearing my oldest, grungiest clothing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A time for giving

I really love Christmas but there are some things associated with the festive season that I really dislike - bad office lunches, cheap mulled wine, having to endure Noel Edmonds on the box on Xmas morning and Secret Santa.

I’ve really never understood this office tradition. Personally, I buy presents for people I know and care about. Picking a random name from a hat and purchasing something under a fiver for them is not my idea of spreading Christmas cheer. Bah humbug to one and all.

This year, it’s even worse. Not only do I not actually know the person I have to buy a present for, but I’m buying for someone who has to be a fashionista (well nearly everyone in this office is). AND I’ve got to get them something for under a fiver – sigh!

What does one buy for a fashionable bod on the cheap? These guys get huge press discounts so buy everything they want. Although I did hear one particularly annoying writer chirping on about how mummy was buying her a Mulberry bag. She is some rich mummy!

Anyway, after fretting about this issue for a while I decided that at the end of the day, the whole premise of Secret Santa is that it’s – um – secret, so if my present is duff, I don’t care.

In the end, I did the thing that every Secret Santa buyer does – head for the fashion mecca that is Urban Outfitters. They have a range of great stocking fillers and cheapie gifts and surely because it’s from UO, it must be slightly fashionable – non? I’ll let you know how said gift went down later this week!

Other great places to try for cute, cheap and quirky gifts are:
ASOS – fab celebrity-tinged gifts for fashion conscious colleagues
Kitsch – cool and kitsch stocking filler ideas
Accessorize – a great range of cheap and cheerful accessories and jewellery
Eclectic Eccentricity – a totally unique range of cheap and unusual jewellery, perfect for the more quirky Secret Santa receiver

Monday, December 3, 2007

Small pleasures

Take That
These are five of my guilty – and so not fashionable – pleasures that I indulged in this weekend:

1. Slobbed around in my oldest trackie bottoms and hoodie. American Apparel do the best if you're looking for something new!
2. Enjoyed myself TOO much at a Take That gig – screamed, danced and got a kiss off Jason Orange’s dad
3. Sang along to my Rat Pack and Whitney Houston Christmas CDs while I decorated the tree
4. Indulged in an American’s Next Top Model marathon – why is Nigel Barker a noted photographer? I’ve never heard of him!
5. Ate my body weight in food yesterday – cooked breakfast, roast chicken, treacle pudding… What would my size zero colleagues say?!