The Story of 2011

31 December 2011

Years are a funny thing.  You would think that after 24 of them, I might have an inkling as to what might happen at the start of each new one but all I can remember was that 2011 filled me with fear.  It was going to be the most stressful part of my four-year knitwear degree after three relatively tame years after which I would be flung into the big bad world as a graduate.  In this economy?  Madness!  With hindsight I can now see that 2011 was filled with some pretty amazing moments, some expected and others completely out of the blue.  As I'd hoped last year, I finally upgraded my camera and hoped to capture as much as possible, so here's the fruits of my labour and how the last year has panned out for me.

january february march 2011

After a fun and fruitful festive season spent wandering around the V&A, it was time to knuckle down to some dissertation concentration back in Nottingham and complete around 7,000 words about the personal brands created by bloggers.  Major distractions included a trip down to Leicester to visit Next HQ, admiring all of my post-Christmas shopping and a trip back down to London to get inspired whilst taking ridiculous amounts of photobooth pictures at the Vouchercodes party.  I somehow managed to keep dressing up, buying books and take a brief trip down to London Fashion Week to admire all of the fantastic personal style and the exhibition. We don't really talk about that extremely random visit to Ohio anymore, but on the plus side I did pick up some Mac products at Stateside prices and gave a lecture on fashion blogging once I returned.  In between knitting and debating my preference for spots and stripes, I managed to catch a blogging masterclass in my local Topshop featuring none other than Susie Bubble and Stevie.  Despite feeling a new lease of blogging life, it was time to stop procrastinating and sort out where my graduate collection was going (after yet another quick visit down south to see the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition).

april may june

During the most difficult quarter of the year, it was hard to stay focused (especially with the temptation of SS11 lookbooks) and I had to spend much of Easter and The Royal Wedding covered in yarn and getting myself organised.  Posts may have been thin on the ground but they were all somehow related to the work I was doing, such as when I interviewed Jazmine about her Vogue collection and perused styling ideas spotted on Tumblr.  Somehow I still managed a little bit of shopping (and received some lovely sunglasses) but the main highlight of May was finishing all of my outfits in the nick of time and watching them go down the catwalk at our degree show.  On real life moving models!  There was no one more shocked than me when I found out that I would be seeing my collection again at Graduate Fashion Week (let's all relive that happy time) and I thought I'd show you how all of my ideas came about.  I was briefly reunited with London for a few press events, before getting all of my work done and saying goodbye to Nottingham.  Finally, five years of higher education was over and I had to figure out what to do next (meeting Colin McDowell in Liverpool along with the Fashion Fringe finalists might have helped me stay in the fashion mindset somewhat).

july august september 2011

Finally, I was back in London for good and went to a rather civilised garden party in Covent Garden before escaping to Berlin for Bread and Butter and rummaging in the charity shops.  I officially became a graduate, made another trip to the Jacques Townhouse and renewed my obsession with all things Japanese at Hyper Japan.  After the depressing riots, I continued to find the good in London by visiting Broadway Market for the first time and getting back to nature in Kew Gardens.  I also attempted to see more of the U.K by visiting Somerset with Carrie and Lucy, whilst figuring out the workings of my new camera.  Nothing about the various knobs and dials really made sense to me but undeterred, I kept snapping away at some exciting events, spending time bonding with my new satchel and yet again processing everything at London Fashion Week.  Personal highlights were the candy colours and seaside references at the Mulberry show, seeing the outcome of the Fashion Fringe judging and the unexpected performance at Meadham Kirchhoff.  Could we fast-forward to SS12 already please?

october november december 2011

The last three months of the year flew past in quick succession and I started contemplating Christmas earlier than usual at the Anthropologie preview.  I had a busy week admiring some Lulu Guinness bags and attempting to find something worthwhile in the American Apparel warehouse sale whilst wondering what to wear in the unseasonably warm October weather.  A surprise Cosmopolitan Blog Award nomination saw me get glammed up with my fellow blogging buds and enjoy a few days off in London eating everything from pancakes to ramen noodles.  I got to know SS12 even better with a day trip to Paris to see the La Redoute collections (whilst discovering new places to visit) and multiple evenings spent admiring offerings from TBA, Urban Outfitters and Bertie.  It was also a month for experiencing fashion first hand after watching the Peter Jensen Fashion In Motion show from the press pit and meeting Mary Katrantzou at the My Daily event. I also put my knitwear skills to good use and designed an Innocent smoothie hat (which my sister now looks after).  You probably all know how December went but as a reminder, I met the lovely Dita Von Teese, shared my love of Pinterest, attempted some extremely late Christmas shopping and was featured in a Japanese magazine.  Phew!

2011 outfits
A few of my favourite 2011 outfits where I increased my love of burgundy/maroon/berry red (and shoes mainly thanks to Spartoo).  I'm also making some style resolutions for next year which I will share with you soon!

So there you have it, another round up of another eventful year!  If you're new to reading IWYTK it's a pretty comprehensive guide to all the positive things that have happened and all of the shoes I have worn.  I must also thank all of the readers and followers of IWYTK who put up with my random ramblings and the insane amount of pictures I put in my posts!  Since finishing my degree, I've enjoyed getting back into regular blogging and using the medium as a way of documenting everything creative within my life so hopefully I can just continue to do this and push myself to keep researching and finding inspiration everyday.  I know a few things that could make 2012 even better but I don't want to jinx anything, so you'll just have to wait until the next annual round-up to see if my wishes have come true! 

Happy New Year everyone!  For once I'm staying in and eating Malteasers with the family!

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Featured In - Sweet Magazine

26 December 2011

sweet magazine feature

sweet magazine feature zoom
1st outfit - Motel Shirt, vintage skirt & bag, American Apparel tights, Vagabond Boots
2nd outfit - Topshop leather jacket, Annie Greenabelle dress, vintage skirt & bag, M&S tights, Swedish Hasbeens
3rd outfit - F&F cardigan, Weekday t-shirt, Vintage Skirt, Calzedonia tights, Office Brogues, Leather Satchel Company Satchel

Now for something a little different this festive season (which was almost like a present in itself), I'm extremely pleased to report my first magazine feature!  A few months ago I was contacted by a photographer representing the Japanese magazine Sweet, which I'd heard of through previous Japan Centre and Kinokuniya visits, and was asked to style up one item in three different ways.  I chose my bargain €4 skirt bought whilst I was in Berlin since it's in my preferred shade of red and I know it's pretty versatile.  The photos were taken during a flying Sunday visit to busy Brick Lane and it was tricky to remain focused (especially when a group of blokes tried to get into one of the shots) and even pretend to speak on the phone!  I believe this page is from the December issue and unfortunately I haven't managed to get a copy yet as I missed the issue in store (the lovely Elizabeth Lau managed to tear out the page during her recent visit to Japan) so I'd be grateful if anyone could help with this or a translation!

I hope that everyone has had a fantastic Christmas so far! Luckily my last-minute presents went down well and I've received a bit of money to put towards some of the items from my list plus a few extras.  As per usual most things have been ordered online and after the initial moment of excitement, it's now time for me to wait and try not to buy anything else in the meantime!


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Present Procrastination

23 December 2011

christmas wreaths

What a different five months makes!  It was back in sunny July when I first discovered the shopping gem that is St Martin's Courtyard, located in the quirky yet convenient Covent Garden.   It's an area I've mainly been window shopping in for years, but it seems that a lot of the previously underused spaces near to Long Acre have been developed into less typical retail spaces with manageable crowds of people (next on my list is definitely Seven Dials).  I was recently invited along with Lucy, Daniela and Jai'me to see how the area could sort out my Christmas shopping predicament within a short space of time. 

dishoom covent garden

dishoom covent garden

dishoom covent garden

dishoom covent garden

I always love discovering new places to eat in Central London, especially of the Indian variety. Sure, the usual trek to East London is always worth it but it's nice to find somewhere within the vicinity of work and the usual shopping haunts.  We were treated to a festive feast with a difference at Dishoom and I got to try some mysterious dishes I hadn't come across before (Bhel I'm looking at you) as well as my favourite naans and spicy chutneys.  The restaurant was a haven for multiple photo opportunities, with genuine family portraits adorning the walls and mimicking the faded elegant surroundings of the original Bombay cafésI can't wait to come back to try more of the menu; I think the best thing to do is try a few random dishes previously unheard of for some pleasant surprises.

IMG_9833

candles and gifts

covent garden academy of flowers

gift tags

bradleys satchels

floral notebooks

h&m coat vesace top a.p.c tote

Coat, Versace t-shirt - H&M
Skirt - Topshop
Tote - A.P.C
Boots - Office
Tights - Calzedonia

An impromptu outfit snapped in the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers shop, which I was determined to somehow show despite the lack of daylight.  By some twist of fortune, lots of the Versace for H&M stuff ended up going back online a few days after the launch and I managed to get the men's tee version of my palm print skirt.  Not sure if I'll ever wear them in combination, but I'm happy to try something other than polka dots on my top half!  The A.P.C tote bag was about the only thing I could afford in their Shoreditch store but hopefully I can stretch to this sweatshirt after Christmas.

lowie knitwear

lowie

lowie knitted treats
I can't believe that I don't own a Christmas jumper!  Methinks that Lowie could sort that problem out, was very tempted by the blue number pictured above...


gospel choir covent garden love actually
The London Community Gospel choir's singing certainly got me feeling Christmassy, I couldn't help but sing along!

I'm very excited to finally be off for the Christmas break (as of 5pm today) and I hope to use my week(ish) off productively by organising my room, gorging on pigs in blankets and getting back into my scarf knitting.  I will probably be popping back into Covent Garden when the weight of present-buying is fully off my mind and would definitely recommend visiting the area if you're new to London.  Are you ready for Sunday?  A day of wrapping awaits me tomorrow!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Not another Christmas list...

18 December 2011

So once more, we've reached the chilly yet festive season and my evenings have been filled with a few parties, get-togethers and stressed moments stuck amongst crowds in various London shopping streets. It's only really just dawned on me that Christmas is in less than a week and there's still mostly unknown presents to be bought.  It's also typical that I've seen a high proportion of items that are probably more suited to myself and have somehow ended up in my virtual shopping basket (PPQ for Office shoes I'm looking at you) and distracted me from the whole giving aspect.  I'm not really the kind of blogger that creates a general gift guide purely because generalisations are rife and I'm rather selfish when it comes to IWYTK, only really wanting to share the bits I'd want for myself.  This post will probably represent some of the items I'll buy with any festive funds this year and save up for in early 2012.

festive fancies christmas wishlist

  1. Yellow was a key colour on the SS12 catwalks and I want to get in there early and embrace the brighter part of the spectrum with this Topshop jumper.
  2. A Tatty Devine name necklace has been on the cards for a while but this would be the perfect reminder for people to spell my name correctly!
  3. These Asos collar tips are the perfect addition for my shirt collection, though as they're out of stock I need to find a suitable replacement.
  4. I've also spotted these grey shorts from Topshop, which are my preferred full shape.
  5. I'm gutted that I missed the Carine Roitfeld book signing a few months ago in Dover Street Market, but still want a delayed copy.
  6. It's time for me to start investing in jeans again and where better to start than my favourite colour of the moment, berry red.
  7. You can never have too many pairs of ankle boots and the unusual heel shape of this Cheap Monday pair has convinced me to add to my collection.
  8. I love wearing the most random jewellery I can find and this Me and Zena pencil sharpener ring is perfect for provoking discussion.
  9. Not sure if this Zara bag still comes in red but I want it anyway!
  10. This bubble blower necklace has also been on the mental wishlist for some time and will probably make my ten-year-old sister envious.
  11. I'd like to think that owning this Brics jacket will make me exude some sort of Danish cool.
  12. This appears to be the perfect book for cluttered wall inspiration.

go in the sale christmas wishlist

I am probably the type of shopper retailers love to hate as I try to buy everything at some sort of discount and only pay full price if the item is special enough (such as my red Zara dress I wore here).  The amount of reductions at the moment are slightly overwhelming and it's important to make the right decisions when buying reduced and having a clear aim in mind, which is why I have a folder named 'go in the sale' in my Internet favourites.  I don't think the student mentality will ever leave me and I'm looking forward to hopefully stumbling across some of these items in the clearance sales, so wish me luck!
  1. This Fairisle A.P.C jumper would be perfect with a corduroy skirt and creepers.
  2. I would also love to own some Kooples jeans in the perfect shade of green.
  3. I'm still searching for a trench coat and this one might just be perfect.
  4. The fantastic Queen Michelle  managed to snag some Burberry shoes in the sale, am hoping I can somehow follow suit with 70% off (if it happens).
  5. Sandro is a recent shopping find of mine and I'm in love with this strikingly patterned jumper.
  6. Another French brand I covert from afar is The Kooples and their ads have taunted me enough - I need an oxblood coloured blazer.
  7. Dahlia has so many pretty dresses on their website but this is my favourite with the much loved polka dot print I always end up buying.
  8. You can't go wrong with a cotton full skirt and I love the minute geometric print on this Sunspel style.
  9. I may have too many brogues but I've been pretty safe when it comes to colour - I really love some of the shades featured here
Which items are you hoping to receive for Christmas or pick up in the sales?  I'll probably be double checking prices online come Boxing Day and I'm sure I'll end up with something interesting, even if it isn't the items featured above.  Until then, I shall focus on buying the perfect presents for people and will hopefully be finished by Thursday!

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Little Bits

12 December 2011

nails did
Got my nails did at the QVC press day a while ago, need to find this Leighton Denny polish!

Now for a post with a little bit of everything, since I like to flit from one subject to the next on a daily basis.  I've had a few photos floating around my laptop that may have got slightly lost in the festive chaos, though I didn't want to forget about them completely.  It seems as if someone has pressed fast forward on the past few months and I'm in slight disbelief about Christmas coming up and the impending new year festivities.  This week also marked my third year of blogging and I'm always amazed by the way things have developed with this form of expression and the increased attention from mainstream media.  This is probably one of my most intense hobbies and the one I've persevered with for the longest (apart from knitting) and has become one of the most fruitful.  In true oversharing style, here are a few things I've been wearing, using and reading.

h&m coat fur scarf polka dot dress

Coat, Fur Collar - H&M
Jumper - Topshop
Dress - c/o Missguided
Tights - Calzedonia
Brogues - Office

Sometimes it takes a bit of time to find the item you want and this coat is one of those examples.  I'd been searching for a 'boyfriend' style coat last year to no avail, but luckily H&M came up trumps this year with a style that suited me and cost less then £50.  I guess coats are like buses, some years I can struggled to find a decent one and this year three have come along at once!  The faux fur collar has been ubiquitous in the blogging and real world and I finally managed to get my hands on one through their temperamental internet site.  I love the way it transforms the coat and although it's not as warm as my beloved circle scarf, it's the perfect update for any outerwear I have.  The Missguided dress is yet another polka dotted addition to my wardrobe, I think I'm addicted!

APC Fashion is for Losers loafers

T-shirt - A.P.C
Tights - Topshop
Loafers - Vagabond c/o Spartoo Shoes

You might be able to guess that this photo was taken during warmer times, well November. It really is a nightmare taking photos at the moment as I only have a 10 minute window of daylight before I have to catch my train for work, making outfit snaps a daily challenge.  I managed to buy the tee I've been coveting for a while (with a cheeky discount to make the price less scary) as I'm a fan of the irreverent slogan and primary colours.  I bought the sheer pleated skirt from Geneva's blogshop back in May and it's been on constant rotation ever since.

glossybox

I'm not normally the luckiest of people, but I somehow managed to win a supersized Glossybox at a recent Motel event.  It was one of those 'guess how many in the box' sort of competitions and normally I can be way out though this time I went for my lucky number (17) and managed to bag a crazy amount of products that have been featured in previous boxes.  My favourite item is probably the HD Brows kit, not that you can really notice a difference with my overgrown fringe!

specsavers ribbon

missoni glasses case

missoni glasses

The timing was perfect when I went to a Specsavers event a few weeks ago and received a generous voucher in the goody bag, which I put towards some new glasses.  It's probably not obvious that I'm extremely short-sighted and have been wearing glasses since the age of 6, with a prescription that always shocks those who think their own eyesight is bad.  It's always expensive to get my lenses thinned to slightly more normal proportions, so luckily I didn't have to pay too much towards this Missoni pair and I'm pretty much accustomed to them now.  I want to make an effort to wear my glasses more as I know bloggers like Jen and Vicki really embrace eye-catching styles and always look great so hopefully you'll be seeing more of these in 2012.

Lula and Frankie Magazine

Remember that market stall I told you about, where I bought all of my arty mags for 75p? No? Thought as much. The bad news is that it's closed down and I've had to go back to buying my magazines full price, which was unfortunately the end of an 8-year era.  I'm so used to using blogs as my primary source of magazine-like information, that I'd perhaps been neglecting finding inspiration amongst real life pages.  I've always known of Lula magazine and bought my first copy in a while, but thanks to Lucy I've added Frankie magazine to my regular reading list as well.  It doesn't matter that the seasons aren't quite right due to it being an Australian title, as most of the articles and snippets remind me of the things I like finding on blogs.  The fact that an issue often contains stickers and fold out posters almost reminds me of my teenage magazine reading days, where you'd get a little something extra for your money.  I've also bought the 2012 diary ready for a more organised future. 

Now I'd better start my Christmas shopping...

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Pinterest Me

9 December 2011

It seems that there's a new social networking platform popping up every day and it certainly takes something special to make me become obsessed with anything other than the usual Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr triangle.  Luckily the virtual pinboard that is Pinterest has come back into my life at a time when everything seems to be quite chaotic and hard to keep up with.  I joined a while ago but was never quite sure how to use it and felt a bit overwhelmed having so many things to 'update' in my life.  Recently, I've started using the site again to keep the things I like in a clearer layout, like a visual version of my numerous internet favourites.  Images can be sorted into various boards and displayed for all to see and 'repin' when necessary.

my pinterest pins

my pinterest board
My Pinterest account
 
I've found a few of the images I've been 'pinning' recently, with all of the original sources shown underneath.  In the few weeks I've spent rediscovering the site, I've found it a useful way of collecting bits and bobs I find on the web and it led me to thinking about the theory behind my graduate collection (the idea of storing items from multiple sources in one place).  Although you can't customise the layout, it actually makes the images stand out more as everything just looks so uniform.  I've also found it intriguing to see what boards other people choose to create with topics covering not just with fashion, but food and art as well reflecting a greater sense of self.  I feel that some things we end up creating on the interest are purely for other people but Pinterest can be something I create for myself, which has no limits or boundaries.

butterflies
Butterflies by She Loves Mixtapes

pin2

fairisle patterns
Fairisle designs by Hilary Grant

charlotte taylor blouse, rag and bone loafers

Have you succumbed to Pinterest yet? I must admit it can be hard to keep track and update everything I've joined online (hello Google+) but I really like the organised nature of the network. Sometimes Tumblr can seem slightly overwhelming with all the closely cropped pictures that have thousands of notes and I'm sure I can end up missing a lot of decent imagery amongst everything.  I'm sure I'll keep using both sites to keep track of all of everything I find, but I can't wait until I really start filling my boards with images that relate to each other in some sort of way.  I feel as if I want to get back to basics and start making real pinboards again!

I believe the site is still invite only, so add your e-mail address in the comments if you need me to help you out!  Also send me links to your accounts if you have them!

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A Timeless Evening

5 December 2011

shot glasses

Now everyone knows I love a good pop-up, whether it be a shop, exhibition or in this case a speakeasy type bar.  There's just something about transforming an unlikely space for a short period of time and the perfect example of this was the Cointreau Privé salon modelled on the glamorous apartment of Dita von Teese.  Unfortunately not all of my photos turned out well, but think vintage posters, antique furniture and elegant chandeliers and you'd be halfway there.  It was the perfect place to spend an evening amongst fellow bloggers Jen and Sabine (whilst also escaping the relentless British rain)!

vintage Cointreau adverts

dita von teese costume
boutique sign

making Cointreau cocktails
The Cointreau Citrus Spice cocktail

Cointreau Prive Menu

Cointreau speakeasy decor

Kristabel & Dita von Teese
Photo credit: Jeff Spicer/Cointreau
Me:  Oooh I love your dress, is it vintage?
Dita: No, it's Dolce and Gabbana...

The most important (and much boasted about) part of the evening was a quick cocktail making session with Dita Von Teese herself, plus the obligatory photo.  She looked and acted exactly as I would expect and I was mesmerised with her perfect skin and timeless style in a lacy Dolce and Gabbana dress.  By contrast I was attempting to look somewhat classic in my much loved COS shorts and scalloped hem top c/o Boohoo, though the presence of Dita diminished any elegance I'd hoped to achieve.  Despite being in total awe, she was lovely and chatted to us about her homes in Paris and LA and her love of making cocktails with fresh ingredients (something I never quite got round to during my student days).  

If you're around London for the next couple of weeks, it's worth trying to secure an evening at 215 Picadilly to check the atmosphere out for yourself, the attention to detail is incredible!  

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Photo Opportunities

2 December 2011

tba collar

It seems the press days this season have got bloggers down to a T.  Shoes arranged in a pool of water surrounded by flowers?  Click.  Anything with a collar?  Click.  Never has my memory card been so full of pretty items that would be perfectly at home in my wardrobe right now.  It seems the economic climate (get me being aware of the news) has made brands create clothes and accessories that contain something extra special to make us part with our cash and add something we don't already have.  This is my motto for buying anything new for SS12; it needs to be pretty spectacular and develop my style in some sort of way.  Somehow I've managed to cut down my overwhelming amount of photos from a few recent press days to share my personal favourites and hint at the direction my style might take next year.

close up tba

Tba To Be Adored

vivetta crop top

paul and joe prints

I've become a fairly recent TBA convert after wearing one of their dresses to the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards and I had to see what they had up their sleeve for SS12 at the HPR London press day.  The collection is as whimsical as ever and detailed collars are still a main focus; It's not exactly anything unexpected but the girly shapes and controlled embellishment are still as welcome as ever.  I also admired some of the slightly bonkers Vivetta pieces, which are apparently big in Japan due to the obvious references to food, weather and animalsPaul and Joe Sister offered a more subtle take with their understated elephant print seen in a few pieces and has confirmed my need for something equally as random in repeat.

pied a terre press day SS12

pied a terre press day SS12

pied a terre press day SS12

bertie press day SS12

bertie press day SS12

dune press day SS12

Now I can't quite get my head around sandals at the moment, so it's understandable why some of my picks from The Dune Group are slightly more covered up.  It seems that I love anything with laces, buckles or a chunky heel all year round and I can't see my tastes changing anytime soon.  Extra points are awarded for the garden-inspired setting, making a dreary November day seem a lot more exciting.

urban outfitters heels

urban outfitters SS12

elms lester painting rooms

urban outfitters frames

urban outfitters ss12

urban outfitters metallic loafer

One thing I love about press days, is exploring all of the various venues London has to offer.  All sorts of places can be hired out and transformed, but luckily the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms retained their colourful charm for the Urban Outfitters press day (and also the awesome lookbook images).  As per usual I was drawn to anything with a wedge/flatform type heel but also rather randomly a cut-out dress.  They've always seemed rather scary in principle, but the yellow dress appealed me due to the non-gratuitous placement and much loved waisted silhouette. 
If you want to continue thinking many months ahead and imagining SS12 as a comfortably mild few months minus rain and any other weather-related extremes, then check out all of the extra photos on my Facebook Page.  Which is your favourite item for next season?


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