Hair Today

29 July 2012

Sleek hair extensions review

Notice something a little different about me?  If I say I've had a little help in the hair department, tabloid stories featuring transplants and Wayne Rooney might spring to mind, but luckily I've gone for something far less drastic.  It's a little known fact that I'm actually no stranger to hair extensions.  I had various stints in braids from the ages of 8-13 (my Cleopatra style went down a treat in Year 7) and enjoyed being able to whip by hair back and forth before Willow Smith had even been thought of.  Occasionally I'd glue a few pieces in if I fancied a bit of thickness, but after a few messy attempts and feeling slightly uncertain about their stability, I hid any leftover hair in my room never to be seen again.  I'd been mulling over getting clip-in extensions for a while but like most of my procrastination projects, the urgency wasn't really there.  I'm happy with my hair most of the time but style-wise, I've never really gone outside of my comfort zone of three hairstyles (which is a stark contrast to how I approach what I wear).  Luckily Sleek got in touch about a review a few months ago, which incidentally was the brand my hairdresser had recommended me trying when I enquired about it.  After taking a bit of time to get the colour sorted (I think my hair consists of three different shades, tricky much), I finally got around to seeing how they could transform my appearance.

hair extensions blog review

I was sent two packs of colour 2 Remi Touch Choice by Sleek Yaki Straight in 14" and 16" lengths, which Rachel from Sleek said would be best suited to my relaxed hair type.  I know there are plenty of tutorials about installing clip-ins yourself, but being the wuss I am I asked my hairdresser to advise me on how much to put in and where best to place them.  It was quite unnerving seeing them applied to my hair at first and I was worried that I wouldn't look like 'myself' and that they wouldn't blend in with my style.  The journey home was a bit of an uneasy one as I tried to get used to them, though once I got home they started to grow on me (geddit) and wonder why I hadn't tried them earlier.  I've got plenty of hair left over so now I have a sort of template, I'll probably make a shorter set so I don't feel too out of the ordinary when I wear them.  Sleek doesn't have a transactional website but their products are available at Paks cosmetics or I'm sure you'll find them at plenty Afro-Caribbean hair shops dotted around the country.  It probably wasn't the best idea to get them on the most humid day of the year and I found it somewhat confusing putting my bags on my shoulder as usually I don't have any hair to contend with, so I got a bit tangled up!  

Motel indah stripe dress red satchel
polka dot nails leopard necklace
Motel indah stripe dress red satchel
Ring - Forever 21

As this was the day of the Opening Ceremony, I decided to go for a patriotic look with another one of those magical Motel skater dresses.  Unfortunately my hair appointment coincided with the last day of the torch relay, so I didn't actually get to see it in person but I'm hoping to watch one of the races or big screens and cheer on sports I don't quite understand.  I'm pretty sure it's not just me whose indifference has turned to Olympic obsession and I'm feeling rather jealous of people with tickets and tweeting from the venues.
bikes in hackney

Have you ever considered hair extensions or trying a new style? It's early days at the moment and I'm still getting used to the novelty of having longer hair at times (I feel a Pinterest board coming on) and the styling potential.  I feel like a slightly more glamorous version of myself, which I don't see all that often.   This post by Carrie has been really useful (I think I need to get a nice box to store mine in), as well as some of Shirley's videos.  This definitely won't be the last you see of my bob, as I'm not sure about wearing them full-time but hopefully this is the start of a new chapter for my hair.

Edit: I did a hair update post here, I now use a different brand!

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Stitched Inventions

27 July 2012

Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence

Last Friday was more productive than usual.  I managed to be up and out of the house to make the first showing of the latest Fashion In Motion show at the V&A, which is no easy feat on my day off when I revert to adolescent waking-up times.  The reason I was up before midday was to see the work of Ipswich-born designer Craig Lawrence, known for knitting with unusual materials such as Scoubidou wires and sweet wrappers.  The series allows the audience to gain a greater understanding of a designers' work, showcasing multiple collections which span a fair few years, if not decades.  I'd previously seen such a wide breadth of ideas at the more established Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo and Peter Jensen brands, but what could a designer with a graduation year of 2009 have to offer in such a short period of time?

Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence July 2012
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence

Luckily I had nothing to worry about.  A few trips to the exhibition at London Fashion Week had given me a closer look at some of his innovative techniques but it was a long time since I'd seen Lawrence's pieces come to life.  One of the best things about Fashion In Motion is that a few key looks from several collections are featured, telling a wider story about a designer and allowing you to see their development within the span of a fashion show.  Even though the pieces became more relatable towards the end, it didn't stop me from being excited by them and wanting to study them in more detail (the front-row seat helped immensely with photos).  There is always an element of consistency, with the metallic Kyotoex yarn always present and creating a delicate yet futuristic feel for his work.  There's no limit to the amount of textures you can create through knitting and I particularly liked the amount of interest created in some of the black pieces, proving that you don't necessarily need to use heaps of colour to keep things fresh.

Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Victoria & Albert Museum South Kensington London
What is Fashion in Motion at V&A
V&A Museum Fashion Show
Knitwear Fashion Show V&A
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence
Fashion in Motion Victoria & Albert Museum Craig Lawrence

Who's next for the V&A I wonder?  I'd definitely recommend getting a ticket next time it happens and enjoying the spectacle, did any of you make it down?

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The Great Bikini Giveaway

25 July 2012

Simply Beach swimwear bikini competition


Win £50 to spend at Simply Beach!

Finally, the sun is shining and I'm starting to get weird, sandal-shaped tan-lines on my feet.   I'm very jealous of those who are making the most of the weather by heading to the coast; I've been making do with a few rays on my lunch hour and after work to try and make the most of it all.  In the spirit of things, I've teamed up with Simply Beach to offer a handy £50 to spend on some of their fancy swimwear or lingerie.

The rules

Leave a comment on this post telling me your dream holiday destination (I would like to finally go to Thailand and partake in the travelling equivalent of 'glamping').
 
This competition is international but bear in mind any shipping costs or potential customs fees when ordering.

The competition ends on Wednesday 1st August and the winner will be picked at random (I haven't got my head around Rafflecopter yet). Hopefully this will come in handy for any holidays you have coming up!
Good luck! 

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Calm Before

22 July 2012

London southbank what to see

It always seemed like the Olympics would never get round to happening in London and even though a date was set and stadiums were being built, it always seemed too far in the future to actually have an impact on me.  Now I'm working in the capital and being faced with the hysteria of lost tourists complete with suitcases and 30-minute waiting times for tubes, though part of me thinks it might not be all that bad.  Although I don't have any tickets to enjoy the events first hand, there's plenty of other ways to enjoy the atmosphere, with pop-up shops and restaurants (I've been enjoying some street food myself) and lots of incentives to stick around.  I've been walking around and getting buses more, discovering that certain places aren't as far flung as they seem and making the most of free wifi even if I do end up being stuck underground.  This weekend, I decided to make the most of what my city has to offer, before the inevitable crowds and headlines.

Levi's Print London workshop regent street
screenprinting t-shirts
Levi's Print London workshop regent street
how to screenprint a t-shirt
Levi's Print London workshop regent street

Back in my Art Foundation days, I used to enjoy screen printing designs onto t-shirts and fabric and seeing whatever sketches I'd drawn come to life, over and over again.  Alas, I had to choose between printing or knitting and I think we all know how the story ends.  It was a no-brainer when I was asked to create my own tee at the Levi's flagship store on Regent St as part of their Print London campaign.  You can pop down there and chose a slogan to go on your £25 tee before printing it yourself and taking a photo of your creation using the handy photobooth. There's even the oppurtunity create your own slogan by tweeting with the #printlondon hashtag (I'm still brainstorming mine). Incidentally, I chose the slogan that had been created by Jay of Dirty, Sexy, Things fame, who just happened to be there at the same time as me prompting a few you-look-familiar thoughts until I realised later.  There might be a bit of a create-your-own trend emerging as the screen printing company does a few other events, allowing people to become a part of the manufacturing process.  If you want to relive your art school days (complete with denim overalls to protect your outfit) the workshop is there until August 3rd.

krispy kreme doughnuts orginal glazed dozen box
stradivarius pink tweed biker jacket
gogo phillip owl necklace zebra nail art
how to wear a white lace summer dress
Swedish Hasbeens - c/o Spartoo shoes
Ring - Monki
Necklace - c/o Gogo Philip
Finally the weather is decent again!  Nothing beats London in the sunshine and I decided to spontaneously join the Bloggers Picnic crew in Hyde Park once I knew that rain was off the cards.  I've been doing a fair bit of online sale shopping recently but felt it was somewhat pointless since Summer seemed to be something that we wouldn't be getting this year.  I don't normally shop in Zara due to the chaotic stores and my lack of fighting spirit, but somehow I got caught up in the sale hype online and ordered this lace dress.  The romantic Isabel Marant (or-insert-pricey-French brand here) vibes were too hard to resist and I knew that I could wear it again year after year until it falls apart.  Now I can probably count the amount of times I've worn pink in my 'adult' life on one hand, as it's a colour that usually scares me due to its unashamedly sweet connotations.  The purchase of the biker-style jacket came as a result of seeing it on someone at work who'd bought it on a Spanish holiday and after realising that Stradivarius didn't ship to the U.K, I enlisted my Aunt based in Germany to help get the order to me.  Incidentally the company is part of the same group as Zara, but seems slightly cheaper with similar product.  Hopefully some U.K stores are on the horizon soon?  I'm not sure if my aunt will want to continue being a postal service for much longer.  I've been living in my Swedish Hasbeens clogs ever since I got them, wearing them rain or shine (which hasn't helped their appearance if you spy them close-up).  I've banned myself from buying any more similar pairs but noticed that they're having a sample sale in London, so please take advantage for my sake!

kenzo iphone case opening ceremony london

Now for an Opening Ceremony that everyone can experience, finally London has a branch to call its very own and I decided to visit and hopefully bring back memories of their Soho store in New York.  The prices are quite reasonable if you've been earning for a few years and that's how your brain is wired, but for my graduate mentality I think I may have to wait for a sale (or lapse in judgement) to get my hands on some of the reissued Chloe Sevigny bits and pieces.  I couldn't stop thinking of this Kenzo iPhone case once I'd left the shop, so I went back to buy it after justifying that I shared the same initial as the brand and it was therefore destiny.

Where to visit in London

Have you been enjoying any of the various things happening in London this Summer?  Hopefully I will watch some of the Olympics on the big screens dotted around the city and the weather will cooperate.  All of the shops are going to be open later too so no doubt I'll be sharing some spontaneous purchases that occurred because the commute was too long!

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Culture on a Sunday

17 July 2012

Barbican City of London

Finally, some sun!  I know most of my 'Summer' posts seem to start with some sort of weather mention, but I can't help letting the forecast control what I wear.  I like to express myself but I also like to be comfortable, so I feel somewhat stifled by the rainy skies and confusing temperatures, wishing for something more certain.  It doesn't help that I'm addicted to reading blogs by those who live in sunnier climes, wishing that I could just leave the house in a t-shirt and shorts without a care in the world.  If a heatwave ever comes along, I'll start channeling looks by Night Lights, Calivintage & Colour Me Nana pronto.  Have you got Summer Outfit Envy syndrome?  Fortunately I realised that Sunday would be pretty dry and I was determined to make the most of the day with a trip to the Barbican with my little sister.  I've been meaning to see the Bauhaus exhibition for a while and after missing the 'Waste Not Want Not' installation (damn my poor planning), I realised that I could quite easily keep putting it off and forget it entirely.  I've always been somewhat fascinated by the Barbican complex, a sort of utopian environment in the middle of the capital with a distinctly retro feel.  I decided to get my sister to snap a few quick pictures, as she's always been fascinated by the workings of my camera.  Ah the potential of an eleven-year-old in-house photographer!

Barbican - Bauhaus Art as Life London
How to wear a denim jacket
Me & Zena leopard necklace vintage floral dress
How to wear a vintage floral dress
Office Repeat That White Leather Sandals

Denim Jacket - c/o New Look
Dress - Vintage via Snoopers Paradise
Sandals - Office
Ring - Monki

In order to make the most of a relatively sunny day (and remembering my resolution to commit to the items I buy), I decided to wear my vintage dress bought on my Brighton trip last month.  It's not my typical 50s fit and flare shape and isn't in the most perfect condition, but as usual I'm always drawn to the history of a piece and who might have worn it before me.  I did shorten it slightly using my haphazard hemming skills and am putting off adding a few darts in the bust even though I know it needs to be done for a slightly more flattering fit.  I had refused to buy another denim jacket ever since I gave an old one (from my B*Witched worshipping days) to charity, but as per usual some trends start to look right again after a gap of about ten years.  A handy voucher meant that I could acquire a more faded style to contrast nicely with a floral pattern, rather than with a matching pair of bootcut Levis as I used to sport. Yet again through the power of blogs, shoes have been purchased.   I spotted these shoes in this street style snap and realised they were identical to a tan pair I bought last year and fear will fall apart soon due to continuous wear.

Barbican London fountain

I'm also really excited to add that I've been nominated in the Established Fashion Blog category for a Cosmopolitan Blog AwardSend a vote my way if you are that way inclined, though I know it's a tricky one as I'm up against some stiff competition (and also friends) to claim the title.  Either way I'm hoping for a good old knees up like last year and finding some new reads in the process, so bring it on!

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Yearning for Jaeger AW12

13 July 2012

Boutique by Jaeger AW12 silk scarf

It seems that I've timed my recent press day posts to perfection, as already I can see a lot of AW12 bits and pieces hitting the shops.  Scary much?  I took these pictures at the Jaeger preview back in April when the weather was wet and chilly but at least the weather is now, well wet and chilly.  Even though I was trying to get excited about all the pastels and floral trousers I'd recently bought, I somehow wanted some of the festive knitwear and retro-inspired coats that instant.  On the surface some of the trends they've channelled may seem tried and tested, but as always there is a new twist.  The Fairisle knits in the Boutique collection have a welcome pop of neon running through them and the dresses seem even more perfectly formed than previous seasons.  Dressing like a 'grown-up' child never gets old for me, so I welcomed the collars, polka dots and preppy varsity jumpers to make up for looking pretty uncoordinated back in my teenage years.

Boutique by Jaeger AW12
Boutique by Jaeger AW12
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 fairisle jumper
Boutique by Jaeger AW12
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 red bag
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 cable jumper
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 knitted scarves
boutique by jaeger autumn winter 2012
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 quilted bag
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 dogtooth jumper
Boutique by Jaeger AW12 necklace
Boutique by Jaeger AW12

Have you started planning your Autumn wardrobe yet?  In previous years it might have seemed crazy to be thinking about coats and jumpers in July, but this season I'm really excited to find some new bits to layer with.  Secretly I'm hoping this post prompts an Indian Summer; I really hope that I can stop moaning about the British climate soon!

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