All posts by Linda

An Interview With Miss Brazil & Miss England 2014

It’s Saturday lunchtime and I’m sitting here chatting to two of the world’s most beautiful women, Julia Gama aka  Miss Brazil 2014 and Carina Tyrrell aka Miss England 2014, just 2 out of 120 beautiful ladies hoping to win the title of Miss World 2014 on December 14th 2014, being held back in London (the last time the competition was in London was the very first Miss World  63 years ago).

The girls have just had their interview process in the “Beauty With A Purpose” part of the competition. Since this ethos was introduced into the Miss World competition, the contestants have raised millions of pounds and have endured countless hours of hard work to make a difference and bring about positive changes to communities in need worldwide.  Both girls agreed enthusiastically that the “Beauty With A Purpose” part of the competition was their overall favourite part, with Carina commenting how heartwarming it was listening to the interviews of her fellow contestants describing the various projects they’re involved in worldwide and how fantastic it was that these young ladies are so committed to the various causes. So, girls, what are your “Beauty With A Purpose “projects?

Miss Brazil: My project is the Fight Against Leprosy.image

Miss England: My project is to help the homeless in Cambridge – it was the charitable side of the Miss World competition that attracted me to enter in the first place.

Miss Brazil: Yes, that reason attracted me too.

What is your current occupation?

Miss B: I’m a student of chemical engineering in my 3rd year at university and a model too.

Miss E: I’m a student doctor in Cambridge.

How have you got on walking in heels on stage? Has it taken lots of practice?

Miss B : Do you know, before the competition I had never worn make up or heels! Honestly! But I have been really good, I think!  And I’ve enjoyed the experience!

Miss E: It does take practice and I’ve had lots although I think heels shouldn’t be too high.

Have you had any embarrassing moments so far?

Miss B: One time, in the hair and make-up room, there was a plate of cakes with bright pink icing for us to eat. I had one, so delicious, but I realised just before being interviewed that the pink dye was around my mouth and teeth.  I had to scrub my face really hard to get rid of it!

Miss E: No, nothing embarrassing … although at a charity party for the homeless project, I did lose one of my contact lens and almost stumbled as I made an entrance!

What outfits/shoes would you normally be found wearing when not in competition mode?

Miss B: Comfy, sportswear type of clothes. I am very casual. As I said earlier, entering this competition was the first time I wore heels and make up. I have enjoyed the heels and make up experience though.

Miss E: I like wearing smart trousers and skirts and elegant jackets – more chic wear rather than casual.

imageAny favourite shopping haunts?

Miss B: Garancedore.fr

Miss E: Debenhams – love the vast range of clothes, especially the pencil skirts and bolero jackets. I’m so pleased that Debenhams is sponsoring my Miss World wardrobe. I rather like Guess too…

Boots Or Shoes?

Miss B: Shoes? As in..heels? Erm.. that is difficult.. I’d say both.. as long as they’re comfortable!

Miss E: Shoes. Most definitely.

Thank you ladies for spending some of your lunch break  chatting to me. I wish you both the best of luck in the competition.  To follow the lovely Julia and Carina and their fellow contestants in their bid to become Miss World 2014,  download the Miss World 2014 app featuring Miss World TV with its live and scheduled broadcasts from key events including the Miss World final.

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Miss World organisation.

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An Interview With Born Bad Betty

Glamour with a capital G is what you’d experience from my guest this week – from the limited edition vintage inspired shoes, seamed stockings and those oh-so-sexy wiggle dresses and plenty more inbetween!  For those office parties, New Year soirees, vintage weddings and numerous other social events through to every day office attire with a 50s twist, Born Bad Betty has it all. So a big warm welcome BBB….image

Hi! I’m Mariam Vossough – aka Betty from Born Bad Betty. I run the company by myself, so I’m owner, designer, order packer – everything!

What inspired you to start up Born Bad Betty?

Clichéd though it may be, I fell into a mid-life crisis on turning forty. My low mood was very much focused on how I looked. My body had changed shape so dramatically I hardly recognised it any more. I didn’t want any of it on show, so I started buying baggy tops and long, shapeless dresses to cover myself. During that time, I lost my sense of style and – worst of all – my confidence. On a weekend away with Mr BBB, we wandered into a vintage-inspired clothes store where a red and black polka dot dress caught my eye. A stunning red and black polka dot wiggle dress. I gazed at it lovingly and Mr BBB urged me to try it on. But it was fitted. Really fitted. Somehow, my husband twisted my arm and I scurried off into the changing room. The minute the fabric hugged my curves I felt amazing. It was like my body shouted ‘I’m back, baby’. We were the perfect partnership – wiggle dresses need curvy girls and curvy girls need wiggle dresses. From that moment, I was on a mission. I wanted every woman to feel the way I did when I tried on that dress. For the first time in many years, I was no longer hiding my curves, I was flaunting them. Born Bad Betty was born. So, I began searching for dresses that all women could feel fabulous in and designed a collection of lust-after shoes to go with them. I now have a vintage business, a wardrobe full of wiggle and some wonderfully supportive new friends.

imageWhen choosing stock/styles/colours of shoes, bags and accessories etc for your website,do you go by popular styles, customer requests, “vintage” fashion trends, your own personal taste, their uniqueness or bits of all those?

Firstly, and most importantly, whatever I’m buying has to make me go ‘wow’. If not, I won’t get it. I think you have to trust your own instincts. If you start trying to second guess what other people might like, you’re bound to end up compromising. After all, sometimes customers don’t know themselves what they want until they see it. We’ve all been there – you say to yourself “I really don’t want another floral dress”, then you fall head over heels in love with one! In order to keep Born Bad Betty unique, I’ve started looking further afield for dresses and also asking designers for exclusive colours and designs.

Out of the current clothing & accessory range, I adore the fun Jive seamed Dotty Stockings; the bamboo clutch; and your range of wiggle dresses – so, so sexy, especially the Mistress Black & Leopard 50s Dress. What clothing & accessory items have been most popular amongst your customers this season?

Floral swing dress are always popular. Worn with a petticoat, it’s the fifties look most people aspire too. Polka dots are also a popular choice. The Isabella dress in jade has flown out this season.

imageYou do a fab range of shoes, and although I’m a real boot girl, I do like to dress up on occasions and I love, love, love kitten heels! The shoe for me this season is the lush Bad Kitty and it does live up to its description – “for the girl who wants to look feminine whilst getting up to no good”! What footwear has been the most popular this season?

In the summer, my flat shoes ‘Pump it, Cherry’ and ‘Good Kitty’ were super popular. So many flats are dull, and my customers appreciated being able to wear something comfy and gorgeous! Constantly popular are Hello Sailor and Strawberry Fox. Hello Sailor were the first pair I designed – and my signature style – and I’m so happy that people love them.

imageHave you got any personal favourites from your collection?

Ooh, you can’t ask me to pick between my shoes! That’s like asking which of my children I love the most! I have two favourite dresses at the moment. The two tone wiggle dress in teal – which is an exclusive colour to BBB – is super sexy. I haven’t seen any woman who doesn’t look drop dead in it. New in is the Estelle dress in a black lace print. It’s so lovely – such an unusual print – and cut especially to fit and flatter the fuller figure. I love it!

You’re currently running some “Bringing Sassy Back” challenges for your fans – including such challenges as wearing red lipstick every day! The challenges are a lot of fun! What has been your favourite challenge so far? What has been the most popular?

The very first one – wearing lipstick everyday – seems to have really taken off. It’s so easy for us busy woman not to bother doing things to make ourselves feel good. We’re always last on the list. Putting some lipstick on is a quick, easy way to add a touch of glamour to your day. However, my personal favourite was to wear a hair flower every day. I have some gorgeous ones and don’t wear them often enough. I have very exciting one coming up, so keep an eye on the blog!

imageLooking forward to Spring 2015 – what vintage inspired colours and styles will we be seeing on your site?

I’m always on the lookout for killer wiggle dresses and cute swing dresses. I never set out with pre-conceptions about what I’m going to buy. Although, I do make sure I have a good mixture of styles. One thing I’ve started to do, and will definitely continue, is to buy more plus size clothing. The latest dresses in all go up to a size 20.

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love to wear comfortable day dresses like the Edie Rose Sailor dress teamed with a pair of BBB pumps. It has to be practical (and gorgeous) for when I’m working. If I’m not in a dress, I’ll be found in Freddies jeans and tops. They are fabulous and very flattering for us curvy girls. This time of year, I would wear them with some chunky motorcycle boots or my trusty DM’s.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m rather partial to Etsy. I love buying up-cycled vintage items. I’m also slightly addicted to vintage-inspired jewellery (which Mr BBB will confirm!) so spend far too much time gazing at Luxulite and Bow and Crossbones.

imageWhat’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Don’t tempt me! But, seeing as you’re asking, I got my eye on a cute vintage snood hat. I also wouldn’t say no to a new pair of motorcycle boots

Boots or Shoes?

If I could only choose one it would have to be shoes. Like a lot of women, I have an emotional attachment to shoes in a way that I don’t with boots. Some shoes are so beautiful, you could place them in a glass cabinet on the mantlepiece. I can’t see myself ever doing that with a pair of boots!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Born Bad Betty.

www.bornbadbetty.com
www.facebook.com/bornbadbetty
Twitter: bornbadbetty
Instagram: bornbadbetty
Pinterest: Born Bad Betty
blog: http://bornbadbetty.com/blog/

Thanks Mariam for chatting to us – your shoes are an absolute delight!  The question this week ladies is, what has tickled your vintage inspired fancy? Kitten heels, wiggle dress, pencil skirt or the total Fifties skirt & petticoat combo?  Do tell! 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Born Bad Betty (Mariam Vossough)

 

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An Interview With Wingz

Party season is upon us and the shops are full of lovely Little Black Dresses to enable us to dazzle at the annual Christmas parties.  The majority of these dresses seem to be sleeveless and for various reasons there are a lot of ladies out there who avoid sleeveless dresses like the plague, opting for a dress that is not necessarily what they want but it covers the arms or they end up buying THE dress but spoiling the effect by adding a shrug or cardigan – and getting too hot in the bargain!  My guest this week is the lovely Michelle Ellis, who came up with a brilliant product – Wingz – to give ladies a trendy and alternative option!  I caught up with this busy lady to find out more – welcome Michelle:image

Hi! I’m Michelle, 36 years old, married to Steve for the last 8 years with 3 lovely children – Marshall (9), Athena (7) and Jasmine (6). We live in a village called Methley, near Leeds.

What was the inspiration behind Wingz in the first place?

I needed to solve a problem. My lipoedema had given me large arms, I was self conscious and wanted to cover them up, my friends were getting married, all my dresses were sleeveless, it was summer, it was hot, wearing a cardigan or a shrug was not a good solution (far too hot) so in the end I came up with Wingz.

After applying for a patent, you began to sell Wingz via Ebay. In 2010 you appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den. Although you didn’t manage to get investment you did come away with good feedback. Was it daunting to appear in front of the “dragons”? What advice did you take note of and applied to your product or to the business in general?

imageWe were told by Theo that if he were to come up with a model for a start up online business, he would be telling people to go about it exactly how we had done it. He was very complimentary but then he said ‘why do you want to ruin all that by borrowing all this money?’ He didn’t think we needed the investment or to change what we were doing. We were advised to keep at it, stick to our business model and grow organically. That is what we have done. We were also given some words of caution about selling to the big retailers. It can obviously go very well, but with the increased volumes comes risk and it can go horribly wrong very quick. We’ve built the business without going to the retailers and instead sell directly to customers or through some small distributors.

I wear quite a few tops and dresses that are sleeveless, but going sleeveless is a big problem for a lot of women which results in the wearing of cardigans, jackets or shrugs over pretty sleeveless dresses regardless of temperature! So, when picking the material, look and choice of colours did you go by your preferences, fashion trends, other people’s suggestions or a mix of all?

imageI’m very much into fashion, it’s a big passion of mine. I therefore knew what colours, designs and fabrics were needed for Wingz. I started out with the black chiffon flare, a light fabric with floaty sleeves. Then I introduced more colours in this style before bringing out new designs such as fitted sleeves, cowl sleeves, volume sleeves and split sleeves – all in a variety of colours and materials.

I really like the black stretch lace full sleeve, the purple chiffon flare wingz, and the Big Cat chiffon volume wingz. In fact with one elegant shift sleeveless dress you can create so many different looks by adding different wingz! What wingz style has been the most popular to date?

There are 4 designs that are all very popular – black chiffon flare, black fitted (3/4 or elbow length), black stretch lace and black cowl. Yes, it seems black is very popular! Probably due to the flexibility it offers.

Have you got your own favourites?

Definitely, the black fitted elbow length is the one I wear most often!

Although you are UK based, you do ship worldwide with 40% of your sales going to the export market to places such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore and The Netherlands. I’m impressed by your sizing system too, four sizes catering for UK sizes 6 to 28; US sizes 6 to 28; and Euro sizes 34 to 56. Which style “wingz” seem to be most popular overseas?

imageThat’s a good question and the answer depends upon the territory. Most countries will want black, the Netherlands are probably the most experimental with different colours. As for the styles, countries in Europe, USA, and Australia are similar to the UK in terms of styles. However, in countries with a large Muslim population the preference will swing towards long sleeves that offer full arm coverage – this would be the long sleeve fitted wings in black or white.

You are a sufferer of Lipoedema – a genetic condition whose symptoms include disproportionately large bottom half of the body, painful legs and swelling in legs and arms. In 2011 you founded the support group Lipoedema Ladies. How old were you when you was diagnosed with Lipoedema? What are the main benefits and aims of the support group?

imageI was 27 when I got a diagnosis but I had my ‘big blow up’ with the birth of my first child 2 years previously. The symptoms had really flared up during the pregnancy and birth so it was a big relief to get the diagnosis and understand why my body was doing what it was. Lipoedema Ladies is there to support women with the condition by sharing knowledge, offering help advice and a place to turn to in order to share our problems and feelings. Our objectives are also to raise awareness by helping women receive the diagnosis they deserve and to help doctors, GPs and nurses become fully aware.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?

I normally go for pyjamas as house wear if I’m completely honest (can I say that!? I sleep in the nude – so I think that still counts as getting dressed! Casual wear is NYD Jeans (which I have 18 pairs of as I love the fit) with a top that suits my mood; summer is maxi dress time which I have over 150 of. My style/look is somewhere between lonesome cowgirl and smart/clean boho (is that too contradictory?) On the flip side I absolutely LOVE getting ‘dolled up’ and slipping into full length evening gowns and heels and at 6ft2 in heels I like to make an entrance. I love to play with my clothes and they really are an extension of my personality and my mood.

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Long Tall Sally is great for my beloved pyjamas and fluffy robes. Kiyonna and Not Your Daughters Jeans are two of my favourite online stores – both are USA based so I do get hit with the import duties, but they are worth it. Debenhams is top for underwear, they have improved their styles and range so much in the last half a dozen years, my only issue is stopping myself from buying too much, my underwear drawer is almost an underwear chest of drawers, it’s getting silly. One moan – I have a real problem getting shoes as I have big feet – a UK 10 and a wide fit, a few years ago Evans shoes would have been on my ‘fab List’, but unfortunately the sizing and quality has really gone downhill, and recently from bad to worse – I would love to get my hands on their shoes buying department. On a lighter note, the Debenhams jewellery department is my absolute favourite and cannot be beaten come January sales time…I arrive home with carrier bags full of earrings and necklaces bought with my Xmas gift cards much to Steve’s dismay.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A perfect fitting pair of outrageous cowboy boots in finest leather and a high quality white cotton fitted shirt.

Boots or Shoes?

BOOTS! Every time…I wear compression socks/stockings through necessity, and these do not look good with shoes! Lol They suit my personality more anyway – sturdy and ready for anything – no matter what the weather or terrain.

imageLinks you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter
etc so that my readers can follow your company (and also to find
out about Lipoedema)

Thank you for the opportunity to share my sites and what I am doing, everything I do is for a good reason – I have never just done anything for money alone – I truly believe we are put here to be useful in some way, no matter what that reason may be.

I must give credit to Sarah Clark for all the Social Media we do. Sarah is amazing. She is a published author with a mean sense of humour; efficient and organised I am blessed to have her work with a tangent lover like me. Thank You Sarah X

www.fatphrocks.com is my Tall Plus Size website and I am moving towards specialising in dresses only. FatPhRocks has an amazing blogger called Eloise, she has more spunk than even me, I adore her and always have a giggle when reading her posts.

www.wingzfashion.com is my Wingz website, simple and easy to use with links to our social media. We give a 50% discount code to customers that post a photo of themselves wearing Wingz with their outfits on Facebook. We hope this gives other ladies ideas about how to wear their own Wingz and add sleeves to what they wish.

www.lipoedemaladies.com is my website about Lipoedema, it is lifestyle focussed and I hope it is and positive place for those with Lipoedema. All links to Lipoedema Ladies facebook pages and twitter can be found on there, there is also a ‘Hub’ page on this website that has live posts from our social media, so those that do not want to be a part of the ‘Social Media World’ can still read the latest news without having to be members of these sites.

Thank you very much for sharing with us Wingz and the work you are doing to bring awareness about Lipoedema.  I wish you continued success in both ventures. So ladies, have you got a favourite “Wingz” style? Do share !

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Michelle Ellis.

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An Interview With Buckso Dhillon Woolley

My blog guest this evening is the very bubbly and gorgeous actress and singer Buckso Dhillon Woolley.  You may have spotted Buckso in UK BBC shows such as the soap Doctors, Waterloo Road and Coronation Street- she’s also in Iceland’s latest advertisement alongside the scrumptious Peter Andre: 

http://www.iceland.co.uk/thats-why-peter-andre-goes-to-iceland/watch-the-tv-ads/tv-ad-2/

This lady can not only act but she has the most fantastic voice too  –  she adds a delightful jazzy twist to well known songs … well, just listen for yourself and get blown away!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HugLs2JpeQ8

So you’ve watched the ad, immersed yourself into her performance and now it’s time to say hello to the lovely lady herself … welcome Buckso:image

Hi! I’m Buckso, mother to 12 yr old twins and wifey to Nic who lives in Derbyshire, that has a passion for all things of beauty and having a chance to express oneself through singing and acting. I started late in the world of acting, only pursuing it about 7 yrs ago realising that “I really couldn’t do anything else”.

You’re an actress, voice over artist and singer that has just got into the entertainment industry “proper” since you turned 35. When did you realise you had a passion for acting and singing? What made you take the plunge to pursue acting as a career at a later age than most?

I knew there was “something” there the moment I sang the theme tune to a well-known kids programme from the 80s called “Why Don’t You?” until that moment I never knew I had a singing voice and the feelings I got thereafter were too difficult to ignore. I took the plunge when after having twins, when I realised that I would not manage the day job anymore as it was shift work. So after completing a beauty course in 2005 (another passion of mine) I joined an agency for background artists, thinking that would be the only way I’d ever get a chance go on TV, and things started from there in 2007.

You are currently the envy of many women – appearing with the gorgeous Peter Andre in the latest Iceland advert! Was he fun to work with?

LOL!! I forget that fact you know!!? I was also one of those women that drooled over him whenever he appeared on TV but in his company, all that went away! I just saw him as just another colleague whom happens to be VERY well known, and he’s very pleasant to speak to, even going out of his way to shake hands with the background artists which I’ve not seen happen before, and having “been there” myself I totally loved that about him.

imageYou have appeared in quite a few TV shows including the BBC soap Doctors, Coronation Street, Waterloo Road, Law And Order UK, and Hollyoaks. What do you love most about the world of TV?

I love the fact that A) if you make a mistake you can do it again! B) The camera is pretty close-up on the face so it doesn’t take much to capture a facial expression and I think that can be challenging at times, which I love, but the fact it goes out to the masses in such a short space of time is an element I like.

You have a part in a new series by Caitlin Moran to be aired next year called Raised By Wolves – which sounds very interesting. When you are relaxing at home, what sort of TV programmes/films do you like watching?

To be honest I hardly watch any TV, and I certainly don’t like watching myself back!! But when I do it’s films, films, films….. I LOVE watching films, I will often go the cinema alone in the day (or evening) to watch a film I fancy, but I do tend to use Netflix a fair bit and I love watching things like Homeland, Breaking Bad etc. The fact you don’t have to wait another week to watch the next episode is AMAZING!! I’m also guilty of LOVING the shopping channels, namely QVC! I could watch it AAALLLL day. (Me too Buckso… I’ve bought plenty of Pout foundation from QVC !)

Is there any style of presenting or TV role or job that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?

As mentioned in previous question, I LOVE QVC, and went for an audition workshop to become one of their presenters but ALAS I didn’t quite cut the mustard with them, but that was back in 2007 when I was a little green around the gills, now I’m sure it’d be a different kettle of fish!! So I’d love to present on there as well as doing something in the style of Oprah and Louis Theroux. A supporting role in a feature film wouldn’t go amiss either.

I love your singing voice, especially your jazzed up version of “Valerie” THANKS!– and I know that you enjoy singing jazz and big ballads. Growing up, was that the type of music you listened to or was it more that the song styles suited your voice? What music genre do you enjoy listening to? What type of songs would you belt out whilst driving along in your car? (Or is it just me that does that? LOL!)

LOL!! Oh no, I do that too! Growing up I only became interested in music from the age of about 10 when I’d hear my elder sister playing Pointer Sisters and Blondie, but when I heard her playing Elvis Presley my interest reeeeally piqued! I have loved that man since that day forward. Then I started listening to stuff from the 60’s realising I was most affected by the likes of Barbra Striesand, Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey etc when they sang with such feeling, it touched me and that for me is the essence of why I love singing the songs I do now, because they’re emotive. Jazz was something I have gotten into more so over the last 6 years or so, when my vocal tutor, used to have a Sunday night session called “song sung jazz” and he would steer me towards singing those sort of songs, I suppose he knew that’s where my voice sat at its best. I enjoy listening to any type of music that has a good/catchy beat and isn’t anything to do with thrash metal and the like!!! My mood depicts the songs I listen to…..if I want to get somewhere quick in my car I’ll play upbeat dance stuff, or if I’m chilling along like I’m driving Miss Daisy I’ll have classical on..:)

imageIf you had the chance to sing a duet with anybody in the world, dead or alive, who would be your partner and what song would you sing?

It would HAVE to Elvis Presley! The fact they can superimpose themselves onto videos with him nowadays like Celine and Barbra have done is amazing!! I’d be singing Can’t Help Falling in Love.

Have you got any future plans lined up for 2015 that you can tell us about?

Nothing firm, but I am hoping to put together a Bond themed set, where I would sing most of the songs from the films with a view to doing more corporate work, unless I get picked to appear in the West End production of “Bend it like Beckham” then it changes ALL my plans!! (I featured in their latest workshop back in April this year as one of the aunties)

If you were given the chance to be the voice-over character for a major film such as Shrek, what film would take your fancy, what character and why?

Well seeing as I’ve got quite a low, deep voice I’d like to have a go at the Witch in Snow White and bring a little sexiness to the tone, because I think they make them look really hot nowadays, so why not have the voice to match!? 😉

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not on TV?

Oohh casual aaaalll the way! Good old Primark for me I’m afraid, I make more of an effort when I’m out for lunch with friends/shopping and then it’s more a case of just putting on makeup I’m VERY low maintenance I am. The way I see it is you can’t make a silk purse out of a pigs ear, you either got it or you aint..;0)

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

LOVE Primark and I tend to buy from QVC as their designer brands are from the States and aren’t available in shops here like Ronni Nicole/Nina Leonard/Centigrade/Dennis Basso etc, so invariably I never get seen in the same outfit as anyone else!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I don’t tend to have my “eye” on things, I’m very much a “see it I’ll buy it” type of gal….that way I NEVER have a moment where I “don’t know what to wear.”

Boots or Shoes?

LOVE boots, as I feel so much more secure in them, and they finish off a trouser/jean much better and that’s what I tend to wear most of as opposed to dresses.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.

You can follow me on @bucksodw or go to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bucksodw

It’s been brilliant having you on the blog Buckso and I look forward to seeing you on telly in 2015.  As I’ve already said I like singing along to the radio in my car to upbeat tunes from pop to rock… Valerie is one of my favourite singalong  songs and the 80s classic “Somebody Else’s Guy” is another. Do let me know what songs tickle your fancy whilst driving and entices you to singalong! 

Linda x

All photos and the youtube video were published with kind permission of Buckso Dhillon Woolley.  The Iceland advert was published courtesy of Iceland Foods Ltd.

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An Interview With Gothic Angel Clothing

imageIt’s that time of year again…Halloween….when things go bump in the night, pumpkins light the way, kids fill their pockets with treats, shopkeepers hide the eggs and flour from the shelves…and out of the shadows emerges the seductive gothic vamp….

There’s something uniquely sexy about the vintage goth vamp/temptress…. gothic literature written in the 18th and 19th centuries talk of hauntingly beautiful ladies, whose white ghostly skins contrasted spectacularly with the colours of their dresses…in black,purple,forest green and deep red. Their hair tumbled down onto their shoulders, dark or blonde makes no difference, but they all had pearly white teeth and voluptuous ruby red lips. Although in the novels, such as Bram Stoker’s 1897 bestseller Dracula, only the facial features and the colours were described in detail of the three vampire temptresses …. the style of clothing worn was left to the imagination of designers when vampire films hit the screens in the 20th century.

In 2014, alongside the traditional goth colours of black, purple and red … we have the sumptuous midnight blue making a comeback … check out the deadly gorgeous lace tops, dresses and skirts …and team with black fishnets ..

imageThis week I’m interviewing one of the internet’s fab gothic online boutiques that showcase the very best of gothic fashions and footwear that not only grace the wardrobes of goths but also the wardrobes of many other ladies who appreciate the uniqueness, style, material and  quality that the gothic fashion designers provide. I am a big fan so, a big warm welcome to John of Gothic Angel Clothing:

Hi, my name is John co owner of Gothic Angel Clothing

What inspired you start up Gothic Angel Clothing?

Two main reasons.
1) I hate working for other people and have always wanted to start something for myself and my partner.
2) I love fashion although I’m not a Goth or a girl, the Gothic scene has a lot more character to it than mainstream fashion. My partner persuaded me to sell women’s clothing.

imageWhen choosing stock/styles/colours of shoes, bags and accessories etc for your website,do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own personal taste, their uniqueness or bits of all those?

All of the above with the exception of my own personal taste. If I chose items based on what I thought would sell I’m not sure we would be very successful. Trends are important because if you don’t stock what people want then they will go elsewhere. In terms of the precise items I leave that to the guys we have working for us who know the scene much better than I do. As we get bigger I would love to start stocking smaller more individual designs that you might find on etsy.

imageThe brands you stock include established gothic brands such as New Rock, Demonia, Spin Doctor, Hell Bunny and Iron Fist; as well as new up-and-coming gothic designers. What brand has been most popular amongst your customers this season?

We mainly stock boots and shoes. The most successful brand by far is Demonia.

You do a fab range of boots, and I’m a real boot girl- I love the “New Rock” range of boots, although with my skinny jeans/trousers the Demonia Gravel boots are my constant companions! On my Facebook group (Boots, Shoes et Al), Iron Fist shoes are a definite favourite amongst members. What footwear has been the most popular this season?

imageWe don’t stock the full range of Iron Fist footwear currently but when we do put them on the website they tend to sell fast. Because of our range in store, Demonia have always been our biggest sellers.

Apart from selling very swanky shoes – I love your range of dresses especially the Zebra Print Wiggle Dress and if I was a lot younger, the Iron Fist Manslayer Slash Back Dress would’ve definitely had a place in my wardrobe! What dresses or tops have proved popular so far?

imageWe are better known for footwear and we don’t get many visitors looking for clothing at the moment. Therefore we dont stock too many items of clothing. However Hell Bunny dresses go quick and I think the biggest seller of all time was the Hell Bunny Tartan Dress (sorry sold out I’m afraid!)

You love finding up and coming gothic brands – have you plans to introduce any new brands to your website in 2015? What brand should we be looking out for this season?

We are approached everyday by new designers and well known brands but we simply dont have time to decide what to buy and list all items on the site. We don’t have plans to expand the brands just yet but of course as we get bigger there are many brands on our radar such as Spin Doctor and Lip Service.

imageI love the fact that UK goths don’t just wear black – I’m thinking of the Iron Fist range of clothes and footwear with snatches of red and purple, for example. What colour, apart from black, seem to be popular with your customers?

Bright colours and patterns are very popular. Iron fist leggings are normally very artistic in their design which are usually a success.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m afraid I would be considered very boring compared to most of our customer base. I am mostly found in pyjamas (I mostly work at home) but if I do happen to be going out I am partial to some skinny jeans.

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes. Although they are competitors, I love Blue Banana.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Same as my christmas list – pyjamas! 🙂

Boots or Shoes?

Boots….eeer ….and shoes. Help!  I can’t decide –  they are both important to me 🙂

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Gothic Angel Clothing.

Our Store – http://www.gothicangelclothing.co.uk/
Our Blog – http://www.blog.gothicangelclothing.co.uk/
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gothic-Angel-Clothing/122747081138167

imageThanks John!  So lovely ladies (and gentlemen) have I persuaded you to let out the inner goth in you?!  With the party season fast approaching the “gothic” look is certainly a style that shouldn’t be dismissed.  I’d love to know what secret “goth” buys you’ve made this year…

Linda x

 

 

All photos have been published with kind permission from Gothic Angel Clothing Ltd.

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An Interview With Bootights

Readers of my blog and those who know me, will know that three of my passions are boots, hosiery and talking …. so you can imagine my excitement at meeting the gorgeous Shelby Mason and her fab creation, “Bootights”….these are tights (and socks) specifically made for wearing with boots.  I just had to have a chat….welcome Shelby:image

Hi! My name is Shelby Mason and I am the founder and CEO of Leg Up, LLC and creator of the legwear lifestyle brand called Bootights®. I created Bootights® because I was tired of being uncomfortable in my boots when wearing traditional thin hosiery. My feet would slip and slide in the boots which caused blisters and snags and runs in my tights. My boots also didn’t fit quite right so I had to layer a separate sock over my tights so I had extra cushion and warmth. This make-do solution wasn’t ideal either because I could never find the right sock – my running socks would bunch down under my heel so I was forced to “borrow” ugly white “man” socks from my Dad or boyfriend. It was always a bit of a pain and inconvenience.

What inspired you to invent the idea of bootights?

As a former road warrior in my previous career in syndication TV sales, I imagespent a lot of time in and out of airports and consequently airport security lines. One winter day I was heading Fargo (I lead a very glamorous life!), chatting with a fellow traveller standing behind me. I was forced to take off my boots and reveal my ugly, white tube socks that I had layered over my tights and needless to say, I was beyond embarrassed. On my flight I wondered why there wasn’t a hosiery product that combined the look of a tight and the comfort of a sock – all-in-one. The idea for Bootights® was taking off. Eventually, I created what I thought was a need in the marketplace after doing research to support my time and effort, I realized that I wasn’t the only gal who was forced to layer a separate sock over my tights when I wear boots. In fact, over 50% of the 500 women polled nationally said that they also layer to sock for comfort and they would buy a product that combined the two.

Coming from a background in the American TV industry, and having worked your way up to Vice President of Television Sales – West Coast Division for Disney … then to leave your comfortable career to embark upon this venture of entrepreneurship in an industry you knew little about, must have been a trying time for you. I applaud you for such a brilliant idea and your determination to get your idea realised. As a young girl though living in Washington State, what were your career dreams at the time? Did you have a love of fashion at a young age?

Thank you. Yes, it was very difficult and extremely scary. I was armed with a unique solution-based product and a lot of passion and luckily, the press followed. Getting Bootights® featured on the Oprah show as a Must Have Fashion Item in 2011 made it a little easier to walk away from the Mouse House. I knew I was on to something. Plus, I didn’t know what I didn’t know so in way, it was eaiser because of that as well.

imageComing from Bremerton, WA, a blue-collar, navy town, I had always dreamed of moving away from the rainy, sleepy town and “make it big” in NYC. I always wanted to be in advertising and eventually received an internship at a big Ad Agency in Seattle. After working in that environment, I realized that it wasn’t my true calling and ended up working at the local Fox Affiliate, KCPQ-TV in programming and I loved it. I quickly moved up the ladder and found myself in NYC and working for Universal Television then Warner Bros hired me and moved me to Chicago and then I worked for Disney after that and was promoted and eventually landed myself in LA to work at the Disney studios in Burbank.

Looking back, I did always love fashion. At a young age I dreamed of being a fashion designer and would draw models with my clothing creations. Being a child of the 80’s, I was always very coordinated and remember enjoying putting together outfits but I wasn’t really that creative or artsy. Just loved clothes.

IMG_0553.JPGAre your bootights colours & designs dictated by your personal tastes, popular customer requests, hosiery trends, or bits of all three?

All three. I always look at color trends and boot and legwear trends. I always take into account my customer’s feedback as well. I’m a bit more classic in my styling so many of the designs reflect that. I want the styles to be really wearable because they are so durable, the patterns should be relevant season after season. Of course, I will throw in some fun patterns to mix it up and Fusion Flame Stitch is an example of that. The Lacy Darby is an example of a design that is not personally my esthetic but it is my best seller. 

My favourite bootights designs currently are the Lincoln Park Open Knit and the Fusion Zig-Zag. What’s your favourite design out of your collection?

IMG_0560.JPGI love my new Ellevator™ over-the-knee boot socks. They mix a cable knit and classic rib pattern and can be worn in different ways depending on your look that day. They can be worn as a thigh-hi, knee-hi or over-the-knee or even folded over your boot as a boot cuff. Of course, the bottom has our signature comfort sock attached so your feet always stay comfy in those boots.

What are the differences between bootights and “darby’s”, that you’ve also designed?

Darbys® is my name for our knee-hi boot socks. I didn’t want to call them boot socks because you think of something kinda chunky and ugly. I didn’t want to call them a trouser sock because they are traditionally thin. Darbys® are a compression, nylon, spandex knee-hi and a cushioned, moisture-wicking performance sock attached. They come in fun and classic patterns and our best seller has a pretty lace embellishment on the top. Bootights® is what started it all – our tights/pantyhose with the socks attached.

IMG_0551.JPGWhat design(s) from the latest collection have been the most popular amongst your customers so far?

In our Bootights® line the Madison, sheer rib has been popular because of it’s so wearable and figure flattering – the vertical rib design create long, leaner looking leg. The Lillith Filligree design is also getting a great response. Our Chelan Shaper is a favorite because who doesn’t want to feel and look sleeker.

The Ellevator™ versatile over-the-knee has been a big hit and our collegiate game day colors of our Darby Lacie has taken off.

If it was possible, who would you like to see being the “legs” of Bootights?

Great question – I wouldn’t turn down Heidi Klum if she wanted to wear the Bootights® that’s for sure. I’d also love to see them on Princess Kate, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston. Love to see the Darbys on Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift because they have a western/country appeal. But I really see my customer as every busy, on-the-go gal who appreciates style and will pay a little more for comfort, quality and convenience.

IMG_0552.JPGAs we approach the Autumn/Winter season – what colour trends/styles of bootights do you think will be popular?

Our stone color has been really hot – it is an updated take on Taupe and we offer it in our Lillith style Bootights®, Ellevator™ and Darbys®. It’s very wearable and can go with any outfit and boots. Plum and Deep Burgundy are also very pretty on legs this fall.

Your bootights are available via your website and at retailers across the USA. Have you any plans to expand overseas in the future to feature in retailers globally? Do you ship outside of the USA at all?

Bootights are currently available in Canada and Australia. I’m planning to expand in Germany and Japan next season.

IMG_0559.JPGPersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love wearing dresses with my boots and skinny jeans or leggings. My clothing is usually neutrals (beige, black, brown, grey) and I pop my outfit with accessories. Of course, Bootights® and I love wearing fun and colorful scarves and jewelry. This allows me to change my accessories for each season depending on trends without spending a fortune. I do love my boots though – Big fan of Frye and Ariat.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Akira in Chicago, Urban Outfitters and shopbop.com.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Momma needs a new pair of boots so I have my eye on some new Frye embellished beauties.

Boots or Shoes?   (I have a sneaky feeling I already know that answer!)

Yep! How did you guess?

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.

www.bootights.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bootights/420407940200
http://www.pinterest.com/Bootights
http://instagram.com/bootights
https://twitter.com/bootights

It’s been absolutely fabulous talking to you Shelby and I really hope that you’ll bring Bootights to the UK soon too… 

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Shelby Mason.

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Doing The Blog Hop

imageThis week I’m talking “blog hopping”!  Blog Hopping? I hear you ask!  Let me tell you, it was a question on my lips when the lovely Eve from the Feel Better Every Day Consultancy nominated me to take part.  I’ve never done this kind of thing before, but I was willing to have go!   The idea is pretty simple : I have to answer 4 questions on my blog, then pass the “baton” to two other writers.  So, here goes… bear with as I step up to the mastermind chair….

1. What Am I Working On?

Currently I’m preparing interviews to appear on my blog in the next couple of months …I won’t say the “C” word but it is looming!  I have a great line up already in place this Autumn – I’ve interviewed models, authors, bag designers, shoe designers, start ups, jewellers, beauty product companies, fashion houses, TV psychics….

2. How Does My Work Differ From Others In This Genre?

Probably the interview style blogposts I would say, as I don’t do an awful lot of photographing myself in various outfits! I try to concentrate more on interviewing interesting and inspirational people and companies from all corners of the globe, some connected with the fashion industry , others not – but all linked with personal fashion and footwear tastes at the end of the interview.  Another factor is that I’m a lot older than the average fashion blogger.

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?

I enjoy it.  I enjoy chatting to different people and I have a wide variety of interests and I have a passion for writing and reading that matches my passion for fashion and boots!  As I’m a bit older (just a tad!) than your average fashion and shoe blogger I hope, through my blog, to pass on the message that as you get older you can continue to dress fashionably without looking like “mutton dressed as lamb” or resorting to looking like a frump! As mum to a trendy and glam 21 year old daughter, I am pretty much kept in check if something I wear is OTT or frumpy!

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

My blogposts differ each week and I enjoy chatting and getting to know the people I’m about to interview. Most interviewees I either know personally or have got to know and followed via social media for a long time. Others have been introduced to me at events, via PR agents, others approach me direct and some I email direct asking to interview them.Some interviews are done in person but most are online. I do a lot of research before I do an interview so as I can really understand and get interested in the person or company. I tend to work in advance, so “interviews” are often held about 6 weeks prior to the publishing date.

Thank you Eve for nominating me, it was fun!  I’m passing the baton onto two completely different but equally as fab writers…. author Carol E Wyer who has just published her 7th humorous book, Three Little Birds ( read Carol’s interview with me HERE) imageand to fellow blogger, Hosiery For Men, whose knowledge about hosiery has no limits and regardless of gender, his hosiery reviews and opinions are most highly regarded….image I look forward to reading their blog hops…..

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos published with kind permission of Carol E Wyer; Hosiery For Men; Linda Hobden

STOP PRESS …. the lovely people at Wear Eponymous have awarded me their blogger award and I now proudly display the award badge on my blog!  I interviewed Wear Eponymous last year and I’m pleased to say that their stylish outfits are continuing to wow!  To read my interview with Wear Eponymous, press HERE.

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An Interview With Sally Morgan

Embarking on her Autumn UK tour,  I managed to catch up with Sally Morgan, better known as TV’s Psychic Sally… you may have seen the lovely, bubbly Sally  in her TV series “Star Psychic, in Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, in Sky Living’s Psychic Sally On The Road, as well as appearances on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special and Big Brother’s Bit On the Side with Rylan Clark.  Sally has a big passion for fa shion too, so a big warm welcome to the blog….image

Hi, I am Sally Morgan aka Psychic Sally. I am often referred to as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift…I believe that I can connect with people on the other side. I am currently touring theatres in the UK with my interactive show Psychic Sally On The Road, I am also the star of several TV shows and an author. When I am not working my most favourite hobby is shopping! Shoes and bags are my biggest obsession!

Congratulations on being recognised as one of the top 5 psychics in the world after being tested by Professor Gary Schwartz, a Harvard University Ph D graduate. What sort of tests did you go through as part of his experiment?

There were lots of different tests often referred to as ‘blind on blind’ wheimagere I give information about a person that I have not met. It was a fascinating project to be involved in and I think I left a lot of people speechless with the information I gave. The validation given would have been difficult for even the biggest skeptic to pull apart.

You had your first psychic experience with an appearance of a ghost at around the age of 4. Were you not frightened at such a tender age? When did you first realise you had this psychic ability?

My ability has always been something that is just within me, I have never known any different. When I was 4 I had no idea what it was. I just remember one day being told off at nursery when I asked if my grandad could stay. The teachers said no and I pointed at another older gentleman in the room and shouted that it wasn’t fair that another little girl could have her Grandad there. What I didn’t realise is that this man did not exist in real life. Only I could see him!

In your 20s you used your psychic abilities as a sort of party piece but soon your excellent reputation attracted an extensive client list including celebrities and royalty – reading for Princess Diana for 4 years. Did you realise that your psychic abilities would shape your career or as a child did you yearn to follow a different career path?

imageIf I am honest I had no idea that I would end up working as a medium full time. (I use the word medium as someone who is in touch with spirit but a more generic term is psychic.) When I was about 15 my mother took me to a spiritualist church where a very famous psychic of that time told me that I would go on to do great things with my ability. I honestly had no idea at that time that I would use it as any more then a party piece. I got a job as a dental nurse in my 20’s which I loved but outside of work I was starting to build up a client base. I had people from all different walks of life wanting to see me, and soon people started coming to my house for readings. It grew very organically, at one point I was known as ‘London’s best-kept secret’. In my early 30’s I realised that I had enough demand to work as a medium full time and so that is what I did. I set up my own practice at my home and took bookings all day long. I haven’t looked back since! If I hadn’t of developed naturally into working as a full time medium my dream job would have been to be a fashion or interior designer. I have a real eye and passion for fabrics, textures and colours.

imageLaunching in the TV spotlight in 2007 with your TV series Star Psychic, you went on to star in other TV programmes & documentaries such as Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, a fly on the wall documentary showing your life changing weight loss operation. What were the main differences you noticed, other than weight loss obviously, after the operation compared to Sally before the op? Did people’s attitudes change or have you more stamina to get through your gruelling tour schedule?

The biggest change for me was that at the end of a 2-hour show I could still stand! Seriously, before the operation my feet and ankles use to swell and I would be in agony at the end of an evening. This may sound silly but it was something really simple that really made me stop and recognise the change. I was walking down my stairs at home and when I got to the bottom step I sprung off it, like I was as light as a feather. I hadn’t done that for years! I know wear clothes that I never thought I would, jeans, dresses etc. People are often staggered at my weight loss, when you compare pictures of my before and after, it is like looking at someone different. Like anything in life you have to take the bad with the good. Most people are very supportive but there are always those they feel you have changed as a person because you are thinner and perhaps put more value on how you look. But the truth is I am still the same old Sally. Even when I was bigger I still loved fashion – I always dressed in bright colours and wanted the latest trends. It really was a health decisions. After suffering a mild heart attack I was told by the doctors that I had to lose weight – it was literally a life or death decision.

imageYour successful Sky Living series Psychic Sally on the Road provided an unique insight on your hectic tour schedule and home life. You have toured the UK for over 7 years performing over 120 shows a year – and are just about to tour the UK again ( I will be putting your tour dates in the article) You have also taken your interactive show to Australia, with a hope to tour there again in 2015. What do you most enjoy about touring? Any secrets on how you keep your stamina going that you can share?

There are two main things I love about touring 1. Is meeting so many amazing people all with an interest in the afterlife and 2. Learning more about spirit and how they interact. Since being on tour I have taken my understanding of  the spirit world to the next level, really developing my knowledge of what happens when we pass, the signs spirit give us and how they interact with one another. You will often hear me say that ‘spirit orchestrates the evening’, this is completely true. I never know what is going to happen on any night, I put all my trust in spirit and that the messages will get to the right people. I have always been a bubbly and energetic person and I am lucky to have a great support network around me, which makes life on the road much easier. I always stock up on bananas for energy and make sure I drink plenty of fluids…and of course the odd cup of tea!

You are an author too of 4 books – My Psychic Life, Healing Spirits, Life After Death, My Heavenly Truth, and you are currently writing your 5th book, Call Me Psychic, due out early 2015. Do you find writing therapeutic? What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I love reading  motivational books and one of my favourite authors has to be Deepak Chopra. I have always enjoyed writing and it was always a dream of mine to write a book. I can’t believe I am now writing my 5th! It is very therapeutic and for me, taking the time to reflect on my life and work is very rewarding to me.

imageYou won Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special, beating various celebs including Robert Englund (aka Freddie Kreuger). Did you enjoy the experience?

We had so much fun making the show. I am a bit of an entertainer so I put a lot of effort into the evening – hiring a local dance school to perform their version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I also had a couple of friends dressed as Zombies, which certainly gave the neighbours a fright! I really tried to push the boundaries and created completely new recipes for the night…this could have been a disaster but luckily the food turned out brilliantly. I was gobsmacked when they announced me as the winner but it was great being able to give the winnings to my chose charity.

You also appeared on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side With Rylan Clark, sharing your views on the Big Brother 2014 housemates. Did you enjoy that experience? Did you get any psychic experiences relating to the housemates?

I love Rylan, he is such a down-to-earth person with lots of endearing qualities. We have become quite good friends since, as he has always been a big fan of mine. The 2014 Big Brother housemates were certainly unique…I picked up on their true characteristics straight away…I think I will leave that there!! Ha ha

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

On stage I always wear heels, normally from Russell & Bromley as they are so comfy! I wear black trousers and then either a bright or sparkly jacket, which I get specially made. I love a bit of glitz and glamour!  In the day I will often be seen in M&S jeans, flats and a t-shirt or jumper…very casual.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love high street brands Zara, Whistles and Weekend Max Mara.
I also love asos.com for online shopping. So much selection and quick delivery – very convenient!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have my eye on a pair of brogues from Russell and Bromley. I would also really love a Burberry Mac!! Ha ha

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes – I find it hard to get boots that fit me as I have big calves so I definitely have more shoes then boots.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sallymorgantv
Twitter: @SallyMorganTV
Website: www.sallymorgan.tv

Thank you very much Sally for taking time out of your busy schedule for a chat – I hope your tour continues to be a success.  So, dear readers, for the list of tour dates for the rest of October and November, press HERE. So if Sally’s in your town , why not pop along and say hello… she may have a message for you! How fab would that be?

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Sally Morgan

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An Interview With Jane Goodchild Handbags

This week I’m talking bags with the lovely Jane Goodchild who, after years working with and alongside famous brand names including Calvin Klein, Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Joseph, Julien MacDonald, to name but a few, launched her own glam brand collection of bags and leather accessories in 2011.  Welcome Jane …image

Hi! I’m Jane Goodchild – I’m getting married in 3 weeks to the love of my life. The other ‘loves of my life’ are handbags, boots, sparkly things, laughter, champagne and my gorgeous cat Monty Grayson!

After graduating from Ravensbourne College with a degree in fashion & textiles you were selected to join Calvin Klein in New York City, where I imagine you gained a wealth of knowledge as you experimented with designing ladies wear, CK Shoes and Collection Handbags. Whilst at College did you always veer towards handbag designing or was the love for handbag/accessory designing cemented whilst at Calvin Klein?

I always wanted to design accessories but my degree was in fashion & textiles. When I went to work at Calvin Klein I saw there was an opportunity to work in this area so I applied for a position in CK Shoes started straight away. Within a week I was shipped off to a shoe factory in Brazil and the rest as they say is history!

Returning back later to the UK as a Freelance Accessories Designer for some of the biggest global brands such as Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Joseph, Notting Hill Design, Julien MacDonald & Loewe … as well as for High Street collections labels including French Connection and Next. What made you decide that the time was right in 2011 to put your own name to your own collection of bags and leather accessories?

I had always wanted to have my own label, but I was happy working for other designers and continued to learn my craft. After the holiday to Cuba, I felt so inspired that I knew in my heart it was the right time to follow my dream and create my own brand.

imageAfter being mesmerised by the graphics and culture of Cuba following your trip to Havana, the Star logo and medal chain that features on all your bags was born. What was it about Cuba that really captured your imagination & inspired your first collection?

There was a sense of freedom and contentment amongst the people. They were so friendly and happy that it created a very relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. The colours and revolution graphics were a huge influence on my creative process and formed the foundation for my first collection.

I am absolutely head over heels in love with the stunning metallic orange leather Studded Charm Lamarr bag. To date, what has been your most imagepopular bag ordered from your online site?

I’m glad you love this bag! This bag has been very popular and sold out within weeks this season. The Zulu Loren has been our best seller to date. It’s practical, functional yet still makes a statement in the gold python!

Having stockists in the UK, what bags seem to be more popular in the stores? Have you noticed any differences between fashion tastes in UK & designing for the US market?

I think the UK market is adventurous and likes to be different. They have a very eclectic style and like mixing labels and trends to create a very unique look. The US market is a little more classic and conservative, but like interesting details and good quality.

imageOut of all the handbags that you’ve designed, what is or has been your favourite?

My favourite bag I’ve designed is the Mansfield Tote. It’s a huge bag which I love as I carry everything around with me. I love the black hair calf we have detailed this season, so tactile!

If you had the chance to design a handbag for any famous lady in the world (living or dead) who would you like to see flaunting your handbag?

I think it would have to be a Hollywood Film star. All our bags are named after old Hollywood film stars so it would have to be either Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn.

What colours are going to dominate your collection this season, and looking ahead to SS15, what do you hope or foresee as being the trendy colours or styles?

For AW’14 we have a lot of black, gold and ruby red. For next season we are looking at vintage blue, a metallic grey/silver, hot pink and tan.
A varied, but very vibrant pallet.

imageWe’ve already established that Cuba was a source of inspiration, are there any other locations that have also given you inspiration? Are there any cities/locations/countries you wouldn’t mind visiting for inspiration for future ranges?

I would love to spend more time in the Far East and Asia. Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo are all on my list. I also love South America so would love to explore more the culture and traditions of this part of the world.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I can always be found in skinny jeans, tunic top/shirt and boots or Haviannas. I always have a statement piece of jewellery on too to jazz up any outfit, either a bold necklace or ring – I do love costume jewellery and hope to design my own collection one day.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love COS and Zara for high street shopping. My go to online sites would be Net-a -Porter or The Outnet for a designer bargain!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

On my wish list this season is a pair of Marni boots and a new winter coat from Malene Birger. I love her collections, always so many great shapes and fabrics.

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots Always. I love them! They are so versatile and just go with every outfit. I have loads of pairs, my favorite being a pair of Pierre hardy knee high leather boots with an amazing cantilever heel.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/Facebook etc. so that readers can find out more about Jane Goodchild Handbags.

www.janegoodchild.com
Facebook: Jane Goodchild Handbags
Twitter: JaneGoodchildBags@Jane_Goodchild
Instagram: Janegoodchildhandbags

Thank you Jane, your bags are an absolute delight and I love the fact that you’re a “boot” girl too! I hope your wedding goes splendidly and I wish you a long and happy married life 🙂  So readers,  what glam bag took your fancy? Do tell….

Linda x

Photo Credits:  Photos have been published with kind permission from Jane Goodchild

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An Interview With La Esmeralda

Mainland Europe is the destination of the blog this week to chat in the hauntingly beautiful area of North Germany to the equally hauntingly beautiful alternative gothic model, La Esmeralda.  This gorgeous dark haired beauty – who loves fairytales, gothic, burlesque, cosplay and animals according to her website profile – not only has a stunning face and figure, but she is a talented photographer and dressmaker too.  A big warm welcome Esmeralda:image

Hello! My name is Esmeralda and I am a 25 year old alternative model from Kiel, Germany.

You started modelling in 2009 and as well as posing you often do your own make up, design and create your own fairytale dresses and take self-portraits, too. Also you have a full time job as a media designer and product photographer. What a busy bee! So, when you were a child, did you hope to be a model or photographer or fashion designer or make up artist …?

No, I never planned to do that. I had always been a very creative person, was interested in crafting and drawing and many other things but actually planned to become a latin teacher. I started taking photos with my friends just for fun and soon I also started modeling in a bit more professional way. Still, I had never expected anything like this to happen because I just did what I liked.

imageWhat inspired you to try your hand at modelling? Why did you choose the fab brand name of La Esmeralda to launch your modelling career?

I can’t really say what inspired me to start. I wanted to take some photos with my horse (I was riding until I was 18), dressed up as a gothic princess and went to the forest to take some photos with a friend. I loved it so much and really soon I started to do more and more shoots. Esmeralda was just the name that I always used for my video game characters and similar stuff. When I wanted to create an account at deviantArt Esmeralda was already chosen by someone else so I put the “La” in front of it… and then I kept this name as I had no better idea. Today I think that it was a pretty good choice as many people always compared me to this character anyway.

You are a beautiful alternative gothic model that has achieved (I think!) the perfect balance between the dark broody gothic/rock chick look with the romantic fairytale princess feminine edge and with a spluttering of respectable yet sultry sexiness . Knowing that you don’t do any nude or fetish photoshoots, have you been on any unusual or strange modelling locations? Have you had any strange/unusual/bizarre modelling experiences?

Hmm no, I don’t think so.

imageTo date, what has been your most favourite photoshoot?

At the end of 2013 I had a wonderful shoot at Wildtierhilfe Fiel, not far from my town. They take care of wild animals that have got hurt and they were all so lovely and fluffy, I could cuddle them all day. It was just amazing. I will just share our behind the scenes video with you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CccfWzSwiuY
By the way, they are always happy about donations, in fact they need that to survive. I am the godmother of Lotta the otter baby from the video, so to speak, and donate some money for her each month 🙂

Is there any style of photoshoot /modelling / famous photographer that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?

I am sure there are some but at the moment can’t think of anything I really want to do that I haven’t done or planned yet. When I started modeling I was a huge fan of Annie Bertram, Silent View and Viona Art – I was so happy when I had had the chance to work with these talented photograhers. In fact I worked with Annie for several times already and always love meeting her.

imageYou have a passion for make up that started when you were a young girl – what make up items are your favourite essentials? Have you a favourite brand or two?

I am afraid I don’t have any favourites. I just take care to only buy products that are cruelty free and I also buy drugstore products. At the moment I use a lot of make-up from KIKO because I like the quality, the price and that they do not test on animals.

You’re well known for wearing lots of gorgeous corsets and having a gorgeous hourglass figure and a naturally tiny waist, you must be a godsend to corset makers! Do you do any special exercises/workouts to maintain your waistline? What do you feel are the advantages/disadvantages/differences between made-to-measure corsets and cheaper ready made corsets?

No, actually I don’t. I am very lucky that I have this figure and must admit that I am a bit lazy when it comes to doing workouts but eat a lot of chocolate instead. I love dancing and do some different things every now and then. Some years ago I also did bellydancing but at the moment I don’t have the time for that, even though I would like to start again.
The differences between a made-to-measure corset and a cheaper ready made one are GIANT. Made-to-measure corsets are way more comfortable, you can wear them all day long without any pain and you can reduce your waist a lot better. I also started with buying some cheap ones and still have some but these days I would always prefer to spend more money on a made-to-measure and unique corset than buying a cheap one and damage my body.

imageAnother favourite past time of yours is sewing – you have made many of your beautiful dresses that you model in? What was the first item of clothing you’ve ever made? Have you had any sewing failures? What’s your favourite item that you’ve made?

Oh I had so many failures already, I bet everyone has! The first dress I made was one of them: it was from panne velvet and I never wore it because the fabric was so horrible. But it was cheap so I guess that is okay 😀 My second dress however was a medieval dress that I still like a lot. About favourites – I think I have two favourite dresses. A red / black velvet dress that I created for last years WGT and a green/black one that I made for Father Sebastiaan’s vampire ball in Berlin.

imageYou have a personal interest in photography – as reflected in both your job as a media designer and product photographer as well as some of your modelling self portraits. Apart from those fields, what photographs do you enjoy taking for pleasure?

Sadly there is not much time left for taking any other photos as I work most of the time.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not modelling?

Comfortable things that are preferably black, band shirts or geeky stuff, as well as some very elegant goth things with a touch of fantasy. And while I never would wear jeans for photo shoots I do wear them in real life.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Ebay 😉

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

That is quite a long list. At the moment I am planning to sew three or four new dresses for different upcoming events, I hope I get them done in time.

Boots or Shoes?

Fun fact: I hate shoes, except for sparkling high heels. If I go to a shop because I need new “normal” shoes I get super frustrated and leave after 5 minutes because I don’t like anything.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career.

https://www.facebook.com/Alternative.Model.La.Esmeralda
http://modellaesmeralda.blogspot.de/
http://la-esmeralda.deviantart.com/
http://model-la-esmeralda.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/modellaesmeralda

Thank you very much Esmeralda for chatting to me this evening –  it’s been a real pleasure and a delight to view those wonderful dresses!  

Linda x

CREDITS:

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Hanny Honeymoon; Ashtray Arts Photography; La Esmeralda; Alex Blyg; Annie Bertram

CO-MODEL: Lobo/Wildtierhilfe Fiel

HEADDRESS: Jumeira Creations; Elegant Curiosities

DRESSES: La Esmeralda; Royal Black; Johanna Macht

NECKLACES: Von-Uebel Design; Gothic Elegance

CORSET: Royal Black

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