Thursday, 26 November 2009

Looking to the future...

I have a small confession to make.
I am not doing as well at the whole paying off my debts thing as I had previously stated. In fact, I haven't even looked at my overdraft for a fortnight because I'm really scared that all my hard work will have evaporated into dust/been given to all the shops on Oxford Street.
I blame Christmas. I was doing alright, I swear financial guru, I really was. I was following your well thought out plan, I was saving money, it was torture, but it was tolerable torture and I was doing ok.
Then I went to Westfield. My mum took me to buy me a coat for Christmas. Then I planned to put the rest of my Christmas money into my overdraft. Yes, you read right, I planned to put Christmas money into my overdraft. HA! Have I met myself for fuck sake? At the end of the day laden with bags I had spent every penny. And you know what? It was damn worth it. I really did need a faux fur coat, a jumper with a tiger sequinned on the front, a black knit jumper dress, a floral clutch bag, two shirts, two round neck black T-shirts, a black and gold suede belt and a floral scarf, I really did! I was on such a high when I got home. The shopping had made me quite drunk. And then I went crazy and spent fuckloads of money on Oxford street, Spitalfields Market and drinking rum in a bar. And then I went to buy a perfume and ended up buying three because I couldn't decide which smell I liked best and they were on a 3 for 2 deal. It was at that point I knew it had all gone hazardously wrong.
Not only is my cash situation a problem, I have to admit something else. I haven't been very healthy lately. In fact, I have been a total carboholic who hasn't worked out for a week or two (it's been so cold in the mornings!) and my hard worked for abdominal muscles are well, jellified. And I'm getting quite spotty. If this is what stuffed pasta does to your skin I'm not so sure it's much of a comfort food anymore.
So, it's about time I stop being a lazy moany cow and get my life in order. And I am going to be a bit more crafty (A great way to save money I'm told). And more web savvy. This is the third blog I've had and I still can't work out how to create hyperlinks. Oh and I've been a journalist and a PR for four years, I've got a first class degree and I still can't use apostrophes. So any punctuation tips would be good too.
So, this is no longer a blog bemoaning my lack of money, this is no longer a blog lusting after things I can't afford (but if you still want to read that, you can go to my simpleblog this is a turn my life around blog, a postive improve myself blog. Where I will share my hints, tips, recipes and ideas to make me a better person. A person who does things rather than buys things. I have 365 days, starting from tomorrow, to get my act together. This time next year I will be a far richer, craftier, web savier, healthier, better punctuated woman.
I just need your ideas! So please send them to me at and I'll make sure I feature as much as I can.
And going back to the overdraft. Right, time to be brave. Let's have a look: £1,137.60 Oh shit fuck shit rubbish fuck shit shit bugger. Worse than I thought. :(

Monday, 23 November 2009

Frocks of the future?

At the fashion party I mentioned the other day I got chatting to this lady called Alice Wilby. She had a very nice broach on her coat, I told her I liked it and things went from there.
Turns out she is a stylist who runs an online eco lux fashion magazine called Futurefrock ( created to 'feed your fashion fix without compromising your ethics.' 
It's a pretty slick affair, with lots of beautiful on-trend photoshoots and and environmentally-friendly fashion items, all sourced ethically. There is a range of prices from £400 for a pendant to £40 for a skirt.  
I wanted to share this website with the world, and basically, get your thoughts! 
So what do we think? Pretentious rubbish that just makes those of us on the breadline feel guilty because we can only afford a £6 Primark skirt rather than a £40 People Tree one? Or a refreshing beacon of hope that fashion can be planet friendly? 

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Is cheap Jimmy Choo a reason to break the shopping ban?

Recently I went to a fashion party where these two new designers, Julia Smith and Joanne Stoker, were opening a shop in Connaught Village.
There was this one pair of very splendid heels by Joanne Stoker that I quite loved: black velvet, covered in zips and with a solid silver heel.
I asked how much they were... £700. (There was also this beautiful, beautiful pink netted strapless corset dress with a little pink net train designed by Julia Smith, which did not even have a price on it. I moved my champagne away quickly.) In a month £700 would pay my rent, all my bills and my travel. That one pair of shoes costs my entire living expenses for one month. And this wasn't even a well established designer, this was a new designer. And you know what, I am so jealous of the posh girl who could afford those shoes (and dress) and then drink a £13 daiquiri in Chinawhites. It's a whole other world that an average girl such as me (who turned up to said party in a £35 dress from Dotty P) will never be part of.
This is why I am very cheered by Jimmy Choo's new H&M collection, out this Saturday. And these are really nice. I especially like the zebra-print strappies (my sister is desperate for them) and the red strappies showcased in Stylist magazine today.
Just as an aside, I've heard Jimmy is a very nice man, I do have a shoe drawing of his alongside an autograph stuck on my wall.
But sadly I won't be queuing up outside H&M for hours and then hitting some women over the head with my brolly to get my hands on a pair. Forgive my lack of dedication, (if they were Christian Louboutin I probably would, despite the ban!) but I have to stay true to the ban. I have to get these debts paid off, I'm so close. That and the whole, can't afford Christmas presents for my family so really shouldn't be buying shoes situation.
So instead, I shall just put a shoe pic on my blog and that will just have to suffice. *Sob*

I've just realised... I can't afford Christmas

Ok, so I'm on track to be debt free by the end of the year. Apart from one tincy wincy problem.
Christmas. I have no money for Christmas.
I initially thought I would have some cash in my contingency fund to pay for Christmas pressies. It seems, I do not. Unless of course I am somehow going to buy eight presents with twenty quid.
*Sigh* I do tend to buy everyone really nice clothes at Christmas (I like clothes, I'm good at clothes... you may have noticed this fact), sadly this year I can barely afford Primark. Oh no, disappointment for all abounds.
Help me! Please comment with lots of suggestions on how I can make fab presents for my family without spending too much/anything!
There are my two sisters, my mum, my dad, my bloke, my nan, my mates secret santa, my work secret santa.
I read an article in The Daily Mirror ( with some ideas but they all seem rather cheap... oh yes, that's the point.
However, I particularly like the tickets to BBC shows and the personalised calendar ideas (points 13 and 21) and there is a huge possibility my family might be getting a load of 'I will do this for you when I have some money' vouchers.
I don't like it though. My parents are always so generous and I love playing the big sister who can spoil her two student sisters.
But what I can't give in money I can give in time. So please people, comment with your ideas! I'm creative! I can make things!
Oh dear, Christmas this year is going to be funny.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Someone save Luella!

It's a sad day for quirky British fashion. Luella has ceased trading:

Such a shame, her current ready-to-wear collection is very cute. With all the bows and heart cut outs. Who is River Island going to rip off this season now? Luella is the reason I love River Island so. Will they crumble without her? Or just go a bit chavvy again?
Oh, I hope it doesn't go all horribly wrong for Luella, I hope they get another financier and start trading again. As I have shown in previous posts, ( I have so always wanted to own my own Luella piece, you know, one day, when I could afford it. You always think such brands, especially those with a £9m turnover, are invincible. But the recession has put us all on shaky ground it seems.
If Christian Louboutin goes before I can afford a pair of his heels, I actually will cry.

Dressing my sister...

After reading about some of my combination talents on this blog. My sister asked me to clear out and reinvent her wardrobe and offered to buy me dinner for the privilege.
Let me think, spend the day doing something I love and then get bought dinner for doing it... well, how could I refuse?!
My sister has a fabulous wardrobe and a lot of beautiful things she doesn't wear enough, she admits she often buys things and then isn't sure what to put them with, so she never wears them. Or items get stuck in one particular outfit and she doesn't know how to mix and match, to get more wear out of them.
This was my challenge. To take the items she wasn't sure how to combine and make up some new outfits she may never have thought of before.
To be honest, I would be very keen to have someone do this for me and my wardrobe. A fresh eye is always a good way to mix things up. And if you feel like you have a whole new refreshed and reinvented wardrobe, then you are less likely to feel the need to buy new stuff and thus, you will save money. Hurrah!
For the next few days I shall post my favourite outfits that I put together for my sister.
Day one is this lovely frilled cream and black spotty twenties style flapper top. Nic loves it but rarely wears it as she has no idea how to. I admit, it's a difficult top to wear. It looks like a shirt, so a skirt won't work with it. Black jeans are the only thing in Nic's wardrobe I see working. Along with these cute glittery pumps from River Island, some clashing animal print hoop earrings and a black Carrie Bradshaw corsage gives things a little lift. It's a very 'meet his parents' kind of outfit but would also work for any low key work do.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Other ideas...

Sorry, I have been so busy I haven't had a chance to blog my other ideas for the dress!
Well, I have two other outfits I really like. Here they are:
First up, I figured out a way to make the summery outfit with the blue skirt a bit more winter-esque. I have replaced the open toed sandals with shoe boots and black tights. The butterfly belt with a little black bow belt and put a white shirt underneath the dress. Marvellous!
Another idea is to put a whole other dress like this floral skirt poplin dress over the top of the dress, so cute!
Other ideas suggested by friends include wearing various multi-coloured tights and also, focusing on hair and make up to change your look rather than clothes. This, I feel, is clever as make up and hair is far easier and cheaper to change.
So in all I have created 13 different looks with one dress. Admittedly that is nowhere near as many as Sheena Matheiken ( who is wearing the same dress (she has seven different versions to avoid the stinky/ruining the dress issue) for an entire year and is raising money for the Akanksha Foundation for the education of underprivileged kids in India. She has already raised more than $28,000 and the project has only been going since May. And my lord this woman looks cool! I especially love the different coloured socks she seems to favour. My only concern? How the hell would you wear this dress on a big night out to somewhere glitzy? Don't get my wrong, it's a cute and obviously very versatile dress. But it doesn't really scream glamour does it? I saw the outfit she wore for her 6 months of the dress anniversary party and... just not that fussed. However, the whole ethos of the project I especially love. We don't need lots of clothes! Just buy some really good quality black staples and lots of colourful quirky accessories!
Right, where can you buy colourful socks?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Project: Abort

A disaster has occurred.
My dress has a hole in it. At the armpit join, a hole I tell you! I have whiffed so much it has blown the stitches clean away! Or maybe Febreeze erodes the cotton? It's not too much of a problem. I can sew it up for future wear. But it has made me realise the outcome of my project. You cannot wear the same cheap dress solidly for days on end. You will ruin it! I barely even lasted a fortnight. 
This is why Maureen had to go to LK Bennett and buy a super expensive dress. This is why she had to fork out on expensive four hour dry cleaning. My £35 jumper dress is most certainly no longer in a nice condition. And I'm sorry, I'm not going to work with a hole in the armpit of my dress. Not a professional look. 
This is a damn shame as I did have many more ideas! But do not fret because I shall showcase them to you in a blogpost very very soon. And on the plus side, I feel the project has already proved that with just a little imagination and a lot of layering, you can mix and match to have a whole variety of different outfits from just one dress. I've already shown eleven and I have a few more to come. So that old 'I have nothing to wear' adage when you have a wardrobe bursting with clothes will most certainly no longer wash with me! Stop shopping people and get creative! I feel a quote from Maureen's article here would be appropriate: "Style, which is personal and depends on self-awareness and self-assurance, is much harder work than fashion, which just requires you to read magazines and spend heaps of money."
In short: In times of economic hardship, let's all give up fashion and go crazy for style.

Oh and good news I would like to announce. My overdraft is currently only £827!! Just a couple more months of being super careful and then I am free of immediate debt! (Student loan doesn't count.) And I have a saving plan. Once my overdraft is paid off I shall put this saving plan into place. By the time I'm 35, I shall be able to afford a house!