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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Nottingham Indie Fashion Week



Today's post comes to you from guest blogger Hayley Eleanor Smith


The first Nottingham Indie Fashion Week aimed to bring together all the best fashion talent from across the city. It was a free ticket event with donations going to Emmanuel House. I had been invited by fabulous designer Fazane Malik who was showcasing her new spring/summer collection.

The first event was the Fabric of Nottingham Fashion Show which was held at the stunning St Marys Church on High Pavement. I knew we were in for something special when the walk up to the Church was lined with amazing eco tealight holders from Sarah Turner

Inside it was a hive of bustling activity and luckily the show had not started, as we were slightly late after having to quell our rumbling stomachs! Unluckily for us all the good seats near the stage were taken, so when the show started I snuck to a spot behind a Midsummers Night Tree for a better view.

There were fourteen amazing designers showcasing their collections with everything from bespoke bridal wear by Angela Vickers to mens smoke-room-styled lounge wear from Daniel Hanson and pocket watch pendants from Clockwork Lobster

My standout favourites were Callecia J Brown’s tailored and sophisticated blouses featuring back drapes and puffed sleeves, with intricate tailored waistcoats and jackets. The collection embodies the womanly form and would be so flattering on.

JC Middlebrook had some amazing wearable lace pieces, which sadly I felt weren't given the spotlight they needed in the darkened Church. 

I could see Harriet Kjellman’s scandinavian inspired pieces would be easy to wear with flowing fabrics and jerseys. Simplicity at its best.

Having had a corset handmade several years ago I was thrilled to see Eternal Spirits Victorian corseted creations. Although they didn’t look the most comfortable for all the models, they were a truly stunning design and i can appreciate the craftmanship which goes into such pieces.

The evening was poignantly closed by my friend Fazane Malik who showcased her Grey Collection. The pieces are so wearable and designed with real women in mind. The garments are all beautifully made and finished exquisitely with Fazane’s signature print.

All the designers were fabulous and it made me realise that with a bit of searching there is so many amazing independent designers out there that you should look beyond the High Street to pick up something unique and fabulously made. I hope that it is the start of a new regular event on the Nottingham calendar.  




For those of you who get these posts by e-mail you will need to click here to view the film on Nottingham Indie Fashion Week


Hayley Eleanor Smith is an Image Consultant and Personal Stylist around the Nottingham area - you can check out her website but clicking here.  You can also check out what she has to say in 140 characters on Twitter here.




Thursday, 26 March 2015

Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty

A mix of some of the postcards from the official set - via the V&A gift shop


On Sunday I went to the V&A to see an exhibition; this wasn’t just any exhibition, this was Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty event and it was one of the most creative and inspiring exhibits I’ve been to.

Personally, I’ve never been that madly in love with his designs, but over the last few years I’ve gained a fondness for him and his creations through my love of Isabella Blow.  Now seeing his collections in this spectacular way, I have a complete change of heart – the man was a genius!


Left: Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen - Hand-painted turkey feathers  - La Dame Bleue Spring/Summer 2008
Right: Silk tulle with lace and resin antlers - Widows of Culloden Autumn/Winter 2006

The curator for this show has done a fabulous job of making these mannequins come alive – usually when you go to some of these exhibits you walk around and you say to yourself “yeah this is nice” or “wouldn’t wear that!!” and so on, and really all your looking at are the clothes. Not here, not in this show.  The room is alive with fantasy and drama – the clothes are a mix of different fabrics and finishes - it blows your mind!  


The room I loved most was the “Cabinets of Curiosity” – you could sit in this room all day, and I bet you will still haven’t seen everything Alexander McQueen has to give.


From tartan, to feathers, to leather, to masks to outrageous shoes that make Irregular Choice look well regular!  If you can, this is a must attend event for all fashionistas!  It’s not on for very long, August 2nd and tickets are selling fast, so get them booked as it’s the best show in town!


Left: Silk jacquard with enamel embroidery - Plato's Atlantis Spring/Summer 2010
Right: McQueen wool tartan, silk net, lace, tulle and leather - Widows of Culloden Autumn/Winter 2006



The images in this post are taken by me from the postcards I purchased – as cameras are not allowed.





Thursday, 19 March 2015

Smoothies: Go Green!

Image from Google

I’ve been asked by quite a few readers to have more recipes on smoothies – in fact I’m beginning to think I should get in touch with Nutribullet and ask them to give me commission on each sale I make. I think I’ve encouraged at least 5-8 being sold since I purchased mine in October!

I’ve been reading lots about smoothies and enjoy looking at recipes since I started to have them as my daily breakfast; and I feel GREEN is the only way to go!   

Back in October, having to make them and then try to drink it was a really hard task – I wasn’t exactly overjoyed with my new breakfast choice but I did understand that it was much healthier than my usual sultana bran and semi-skimmed milk.

Five months on and I have a very different view on this.  I can’t imagine going without one for a couple of days – in fact the last time I was away I couldn’t have one for about four days and I was craving them when I got home – sounds strange but it’s true.  It only takes three weeks to change a habit, so if you can persist it does get easier and then it becomes the norm.

So why green?  Well you can put berries like raspberries or blueberries, but that changes only two factors: the colour and it makes it sweeter.  The healthier smoothies have more vegetables in them; like kale, spinach and celery, which by the way I cannot stand celery but within a smoothie you cannot taste it at all.

The other key thing with adding more vegetables, your adding less sugar.  Try to avoid more than 2-3 fruits in a smoothie or it's actually not that great for you.  The other point about veg that I'd like to make, it goes in RAW.  I’ve been quite surprised how many people have asked me if I boil or steam them first – Nope, they go in washed, chopped and very much raw.

Here’s a guide to what to put in; try and avoid making the same one every day, as you want to get as many different fruits and vegetables into your digestive system throughout the week.


Green Recipe for one person
(if you are making for two people try half amounts and get more different items in!)


  • Handful of spinach or a handful of Kale
  • Couple of leaves of lettice
  • ½ stick of celery
  • ¼ of a large cucumber
  • 1 avocado or 1 small banana – this gives your smoothie thickness so don’t add both and ideally half & half
  • ½ lemon without rind and pips
  • Handful of mint leaves approx 5
  • 1 pear or 1 green apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • Consider what nuts you want to add in - when I have apple I tend to opt for cashew and when I have pear I opt for walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons of milled Flaxseeds
  • Now for the liquid – the more you add the easier it will be to drink it.  Nutribullet have a MAX line that you should not go pass.  I would suggest that you opt for cold water, but if you fancy  a change and want it more creamy then either add almond milk or if you want it sweeter add coconut milk, but avoid adding milks each day – use it as a treat!
  • And then blend.... my recommendation would be with a Nutribullet :)


If you start to have a go, leave a comment as we'd all love to read them and if you have any tips of your own please pass them on!











Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane von Furstenberg

A few months ago a great programme came to an end on the E channel; House of DVF.  The show was about a group of young woman who were going to be whittled down to just the one, and she was going to be DVF's Brand Ambassador for the year.

As with all these reality programmes; we are all more interested in the "behind the scenes" rather than being concerned about who is actually going to win!  Surprisingly we got to see Diane von Furstenberg in the programme more than I was anticipating - and as a result I found her quite interesting - this got me keen to read her latest book: The Woman I Wanted To Be.

A powerful title, and actually quite a powerful story that goes with it!

She's a daughter of a Belgium Holocaust survivor, and she tells her story under two main headings; The Woman I Am and The Business of Fashion.  I found that the format of her autobiography much better than others I've read - sometimes the childhood era can go on for far too long.  Diane does go into some depth, but she keeps these early years to a minimum.

I was surprised about how open she was about the affairs she's had in her life, referring to herself frequently  as "a man living in a woman's body".  Fiercely independent and has a tendency to over-indulge herself in her latest fad - she's not always had it easy in life.  For a woman who has built a business on a title as a Princess and who has lost her fortune more than once - whilst I have some admiration for her, I've not really finished the book thinking "I wish I had her life!".

A very interesting read! 



Click here to view


I've updated my reading list on Loved by Lizzi blog - you can have a look at the latest ones by clicking here.



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Dressing Well at Work- At Any Age!

Today's post comes from guest blogger, Catherine Bruce from Style & Coach 

My friend and career coach Sandra Green at www.handbagsintheboardroom.com conducted a recent survey where, among other questions, she asked career women to express their concerns  regarding their image and dress at work. Some of  her respondents were concerned about ‘how to dress professionally in an age appropriate way with flair and style without looking dowdy or dated’. She asked me to address this question and I offered the following advice:


I am certain that the shops are full of clothes that are age appropriate, stylish and on trend for women in their 40’s,50’s,60’s and beyond….. I am sure of this, as I am one of them and so are many of my clients I take personal shopping! There is absolutely no need to look frumpy or dowdy. The key questions you need to answer confidently are: ‘do these styles, shapes and colours flatter my colouring, my body shape and do they fit the ethos and mood of my organisation?’ Do they send out the ‘right’ message about my role and what I am aspiring to achieve.

I suggest you set aside a time at home when you will not be interrupted and go through your wardrobe, taking a serious look at whether each item still looks current (chances are if it’s over 3 years old it may be dated), if it still fits you and if you feel really comfortable wearing it to work. Is it still in good condition with no stains or worn collars, cuffs and hem lines?  Ask yourself if it suits your shape and colouring and can be worn easily with other items in your wardrobe such as separates and accessories. Can it be altered or dry cleaned if you love it but it lacks currency or fit? If not, be ruthless and ditch it.

I think it’s far better to have fewer suitable, quality clothes that make you feel good rather than a shed load of outdated, dare I say, ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ outfits and/or ill fitting, unflattering clothes. Try to gradually replace discarded items with current, stylish ones that will match other items in your wardrobe. Keep an eye on manikins in good quality shops to get an idea of what looks good and is current but beware of buying clothes that don’t suit your particular shape.

It’s best not to confuse what you would wear for a night out with the girls, a hot date or a casual weekend activity with work wear unless you are in a very relaxed or creative industry. Even then, exercise caution and pay attention to what senior women in the company or corresponding companies are wearing and follow suit, within your budget.

When it comes to whether or not you should wear a skirt above the knee over the age of 40, I think the answer depends on whether you’ve got great legs or not. A shorter skirt may flatter your legs in opaque tights and still look suitable for work.  However, be aware that the more flesh you reveal, the more authority you may lose. Also be aware that professional clothing should skim the body rather than cling. Clingy clothes, like bare flesh are not professional and will detract attention from the key part of your body that carries your message: your face. They can also make you look as though you are trying too hard to look ‘young’.

It’s advisable to ask yourself what message the clothes you wear sends  out to others about you? Try to think of three words that you would like others at work to use when describing you. For example, ‘professional, knowledgeable, approachable’ Ensure your clothes, grooming and behaviour at work reflect your chosen words. These then become your ‘personal brand’ that should ensure your receive positive recognition for the job you do.
 
It’s a good idea to notice the mature /senior women in your organisation or related organisations who are successful and confident and look carefully at the way they dress. Accessories, especially tasteful necklace and scarves that draw attention to the face are the finishing touches that complete an outfit. Quality watches and handbags also speak volumes but remember, less is more when it comes to accessorising. As a more mature woman, it is important that you go for quality rather than high fashion and quantity.

Good tailoring is very important for flattering mature women. It is worth investing in a few well tailored quality items such as a fantastic pair of neutral trousers  or jacket that can be mixed and matched with a variety of less expensive tops.

Keep your hairstyle current and flattering. Get the best cut you can possibly afford. You can colour it yourself but the cut is crucial. Having the same hairstyle you had when you left college 20 +years ago can look very dated!

Good luck, enjoy your age - you’ve earned all the wisdom and experience that goes with it and enjoy the wonderful confidence that comes with looking good- at any age, size or shape! 


To find out more about Catherine and the services she offers through Style and Coach, click here.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

L.K Bennett at Oxford Fashion Week #OFW


Thursday night I attend The Cosmopolitan Show for Oxford Fashion Week, held at The Randolph Hotel. The curator for this show was Antonia Mackay and the Runway Director was Tiffany Saunders, who both gave a little speech about the designers and the theme of the night, which for these sets were based on the 70's discos.

Oxford Fashion Week put on a great show, my front row ticket was £15 and I got a little goodie bag for that too.  Whilst there were many good designers showcasing their current season, like Be Unlimited, Karen Gold, Olivia May, Rhona Anne plus more, the two sets I loved the most were both by L.K Bennett.

The spring trend of florals was very much in the L.K Bennett line, and I just loved all the colours that were on show.  So because of this, all the images you see in this post are from L.K Bennett.







I've used Instagram to show off some of my favourite from the show…




If you want to check out more photos from the show plus The Lingerie show that followed - then photographer Bertie Beor-Roberts took some fabulous shots, simply click here to view.


SHOP THE LOOK

Ulio Drape Neck Jumpsuit
£325



Lasana Printed Dress
£250



Occa 50s Style Dress
£395










Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Am I too old to wear this?

Today's post comes to you from guest blogger Sadie



So, as regular readers know Liz turned 40 a few weeks ago. She did it with her usual class and elegance and threw a wonderfully stylish do at a fab restaurant.
  
Well, hot on her immaculate heels I turn 40 this week.
Looking at Liz’s blog post about the clothes that she wore to usher in this new period of her life got me thinking about my own birthday, style, and that question that plagues all women at some point in their life ‘am I too old to wear this?’

Liz’s style and my own are very different.  Liz does effortless, classic and elegance amazingly well.  She is always beautifully turned out and her outfits always seem appropriate to the occasion.  My style, of the other hand, sometimes leaves me looking like my 9 year old daughter dressed me.  

I struggle greatly when selecting clothes and outfits as I am often concerned as to the age appropriateness of them.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t parade around in panda hats and onesies or a One Direction t shirt but I do have a liking for some of the more ‘out there’ designs.

I am having a birthday party to celebrate turning 40 and obviously the outfit I will wear has weighed heavy on my mind.  As has been the case recently I have opted to start at the shoes and work up.  I bought myself some fabulous Irregular Choice Abigail’s Party shoes and customised them with red ribbon or laces.  





These are not my only pair of Irregular Choices – I also own these ones.  


Yes, that is a large plastic charm with a monkey, a strawberry and an ice cream on them.  

Yes, as I have already mentioned I am almost 40...

I am going to a music festival in Liverpool in May as a birthday treat.  I realised that my usual choice of evening shoes wouldn’t be so good for this so have got myself some lovely new Converse.  Yes, they are silver…




Even my birthday present my daughter will be giving me left me agonising whether it was appropriate for a 40 year old – it’s a Tatty Devine name necklace in red glitter…

Now a lot of people will tell you that you should wear what you want and just be yourself which I totally agree with, however I personally do not want to be an embarrassment to myself, Ellie or anyone I am with. I do not want people to look at me and think ‘look at that women, what on earth does she think she looks like?’ 

I think the way forward is to look at the pieces you love but are causing you concern and to think about what you will be wearing them with.  My party shoes will be worn with plain black, well cut trousers and a plain black top.  Similarly the silver Converse will be worn with simple jeans and a Breton top.

Coco Chanel famously said ‘“I always take off at least one piece of jewellery before I leave the house…to ensure that I am not overdoing it.”  I think the same can be said of the more ‘out there’ pieces.  Just the one is probably enough.  Anymore and you run the risk of looking like a toddler dressed you.

There is space for fun items at every age but I believe it is best paired carefully with more mainstream pieces.  There are, undoubtedly some things that at 40, one is simply too old for but given all the angst turning 40 can bring it is vital that women don’t feel they can no longer wear fun stuff.

So in short, although my style is indeed very different to many other 40 year old ladies, it’s mine and it makes me feel good so no, I’m not too old for it.




Loving these different accessories?  Then take a look at Sadie's top three picks!

Baah Baah
Irregular Choice
£125



Pop Art Banana Necklace
Tatty Devine
£45






Sheep Placement Leather Frame Handbag

Cath Kidston
£125






A special note to Sadie - Here's wishing you the most exciting 40th birthday, I hope it's as fabulous and special as you are - I'm also looking forward to seeing those red shoes at your party! Love you loads, Lizzi x






Sunday, 1 March 2015

London Fashion Weekend #LFWEnd

One of my yearly highlights is London Fashion Weekend, this is the event, held at Somerset House, that is open to the public after London Fashion Week, each February and September.

Yesterday I went along with Carol to go see the delights of the Trend and Designer catwalk shows - and they did not let us down!

After breakfast at Paul's, a really nice cafe just up the road from Somerset House, we headed in for 10am.

Once we collected our goody bags, this year designed by Pringle of Scotland who are celebrating 200 years, we had a good look around the designer market stalls.  Here you can shop at show discount prices, for lots of different accessories & clothes.  The day also included a glass of bubbly and front row seats to the shows which are worth the extra price!  



HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TREND SHOW

Angela Scanlon hosted the shows, and she talked through the four key trends; Hyper Florals, Shimmer & Shine, Make It Monochrome and That Seventies Show - all of which I'll be exploring more over the coming weeks on the blog, but for now here are some of my favourites!













HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DESIGNER SHOW

The Designer show on Saturday was Halston Heritage - a luxury American fashion brand founded in the 1960's by Roy Halston Frowick.  I'll write another blog that goes into more detail about this designer, but for now here are the highlights from the show, starting with my very favourite one - isn't this a dream dress!








The best dress at the show was given to this guy - front row at the Trend show - we all loved his pink suit, and Angela made him get up and give us a twirl!



And finally, if you can… the front row is the only way to go!





Later this week I'll be heading to Oxford Fashion Week for the Cosmopolitan show - if you want to find out more about this or book your own tickets - click here.