Category Archives: Interview

An Interview With Kites & Bites

Ladies – if you’re looking for something beyond the Little Black Dress for your nights out; if you’re a woman who is outspoken, who likes to be unique and willing to try new styles – then my guest tonight on the blog will be right up your street! I’m chatting to Alexandra Ursan, founder of London based but globally inspired fashion brand, Kites & Bites. Hi Alexandra and welcome….

Hi! My name is Alexandra Ursan and I’ve got a Romanian heart that fell in love with the vibrant London scene. Influenced by this multicultural city I founded KITES AND BITES womenswear.

What inspired you to set up “Kites And Bites”?

I’ve always been interested in discovering different cultures and fashion worldwide. This melting pot brings together people and styles from around the world and there’s no better place to set up a fashion brand that stands for diversity and multiculturalism than London. However, the initial idea came to my mind with a trip to Morocco where I bought some traditional fabrics, made some clothes and wore them at London Fashion Week. Then came the development, the sourcing, the sketching, the white nights and endless learning.

Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd, as well as your outfits – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “Kites And Bites” as your brand name?

I actually have a kite tattoo. It’s the only thing that can rise as high as it can without losing its ground sight, as it always has a string towards Earth. Plus, it’s bright, colourful and has great patterns and prints. As for the bites, they leave marks, just like a confident woman never afraid to try new things.

I love the “I’m In Heaven Dress” and the “Champagne For Breakfast Skirt” – both are totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

I feel like this spring we’re all living “La vie en rose”. Pink is getting a lot of attention, so I would say that “Be always blooming” trousers and “Save your goodbye” dress are definitely the favourites. Also, prints are winning again, with “Fight for this” skirt being a popular one.

Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?

Honestly, I don’t play favourites with my brand’s clothes nor any other piece in my closet. Today, I could love a huge tutu, tomorrow, I could be obsessed with metallic leather or fringes.

Your clothes are for the woman who is unique, outspoken and always willing to try new things – so which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Kites And Bites”?

I love Anna Dello Russo’s kaleidoscopic style. She’s an inspiring woman that not only I would be honoured to dress, but also to meet. If Anna would wear something by KITES AND BITES, just to buy juice at the shop around the corner, I would probably do a flicflac in my heels.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2017, have you got plans to expand your range?

I will launch a capsule collection of accessories.

What colours do you predict will be popular next season?

Blue, all shades of it. From cobalt to lapis to berry. I personally can’t get enough. It’s my favourite colour and you can see this in the KITES AND BITES collections.

As you are based in London, are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes, definitely. The brand is multicultural inspired and would be crazy not to be available worldwide.

When designing / choosing outfits to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional charm or bits of all those?

A little bit of everything. I’m trying to follow trends my own way, as I’m not creating fast fashion. It’s time to be more independent, to build our own unique style, to dare more and step into new territories. It’s such a shame to see so many women dress alike.

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

Now that we’ve dumped the coats, I’m back in my blazers. They’re my first love. Currently obsessed with an Escada sequinned embellished one. Friends are calling me MJ, but sadly I can’t moon walk in my heels. So yes, for shoes I normally wear heels. Red soles for when I don’t need to walk at all.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

Bookmarked on my browsers: & Other Stories and Asos. However, I honestly like the old fashion shopping. I know that time is limited, but browsing through brick & mortar vintage stores calms me better than yoga. Moreover, nothing compares with the thrill of finding an amazing piece. Viva London for a great variety!

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

Believe it or not, I’ve never made a wish list. If I see something I like, I buy it. If I don’t buy it straight away it means it wasn’t love at first sight and I’m going to forget about it. As for the expensive items I’ve learned not to obsess anymore. It’s not healthy to have crushes on material things. Love people. It lasts longer!

Boots or Shoes?

Both, preferably with heels. Also, boots during summer and sandals during winter. I hate “rules”.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Kites And Bites.

Shop online at: www.kitesandbites.com
Social:
www.instagram.com/kites_and_bites/
www.facebook.com/kitesandbites
www.kites-and-bites.polyvore.com/
www.pinterest.com/kitesandbites/

Thanks for the chat Alexandra and I look forward to seeing your accessory collection later in the year.  I love that you change the “rules” eg  wearing boots in summer & sandals in winter!  I like to wear white in winter and black/navy in summer.  Dear readers, which fashion/beauty “rules” do you like to flout? Do share!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Kites And Bites.

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An Interview With FoPo

In my last post I was talking about some new discoveries, including cauliflower pizza  and Tony Lozzi’s cauliflower bread recipe – using cauliflower in other ways other than a bog standard vegetable.  This week I’ve discovered FoPo – a company that powderises food products that would otherwise go to waste, retaining 90% nutritional value and vastly extending shelf life. Not only was I intrigued by the idea of food powder but the CEO, Vita Jarolimkova, just happens to be a bit of a fashionista too …. I couldn’t let this company pass me by without an interview… Hi Vita, please introduce FoPo…

Hi! Our mission is to give rejected fruits another life by upcycling them into nutritious, sustainable and tasty food products! There are now three of us working full time. Gerald is in charge of finance and marketing, he comes from a very entrepreneurial family and already had two dessert businesses in the Philippines. Ada is heading our operations, she has also background in nutrition and market research and her family runs a funeral company (no shortage of dark humor at the office). I, Vita, am responsible for strategy, management and navigating the complex maze of German bureaucracy – but originally I am a biochemist and I worked mainly in various research projects in Europe and Asia. We all met during of Food Innovation and Product Design master’s program, which gave us a backstage look at the food industry and helped us realize the problem with current food supply chains and the impact of food waste. It also helped us in developing the concept into a viable business and get a great network of great professors and experts in food industry to support us.

FoPo food powder is a simple yet brilliant concept – powderising food products that would otherwise go to waste. What inspired the conception of FoPo?

We developed the concept through a design thinking lab organized by the Thought for Food Challenge: How to Feed 9 Billion People by 2050. We were looking at ways to prolong the shelf-life of easily perishable foods, overcome aesthetic problems of “ugly fruits”, and to make a product that would not be at a risk of going to waste itself. We decided on dehydrated powder due to its long shelf-life, easy logistics, and versatility of application. It’s just as god as the fresh fruit, but undestroyable. 🙂

Food powders including olive & mango are among your products and on your website you feature some recipes using the powders. What is your favourite recipe?

My favourite recipes actually come from our customers – it’s amazing to see people being creative with the product. Someone just made homemade mango marshmallows! From our own recipes, O-love Olive Dip is great. You just need to mix a bit of the olive powder with cream cheese and voila, healthy dip for chips, veggie pieces or bread sticks. Also, Injust discovered the magic of overnight oats. Mango, pineapple, calamansi, oats, chia and coconut milk – simple tropical breakfast or healthy treat for afternoon coffee.

Out of the food powders currently available, what flavours are proving popular amongst your customers?

Everyone loves the olive powder, it’s a real best-seller. It has a very intense taste and is so easy to mix with salads, sauces, pasta, cream or cottage cheese etc. Among the fruits, mango is really popular, but it varies a lot depending on people’s interests. For example, our banana powder is great for vegan baking since it improves the dough texture and kids love the fact that by adding a bit of water and grated nuts to apple powder, you get apple dough from which you can make small edible statues.

How do you source products for your powders? What’s the process that the fruit and vegetables go through to become a powder?

We are getting produce from farmers, exporters/importers and manufacturers that has been rejected because of different reasons. For example, bananas cannot go into supermarkets if they are too yellow, a lot of olive flesh is wasted during canning process when the pit is removed, sometimes there is also surplus produce no one wants at the moment. The fruits and vegetables are then checked for quality & safety (no moulds!), washed, chopped or puréed, dried and powderized. We are currently exploring several different drying processes: freeze-drying, spray-drying and solar-drying to get the ideal combination for each fruit and each country where we produce.

What are the benefits of your food powder?

It prevents food waste, which also indirectly means it prevents release of carbon dioxide and saves natural resources that went into cultivating the fruits. At the same time, it preserves the taste, aroma and nutrition of the fruit, making it available for much longer time in very convenient form. Many people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (86% of EU population to be exact), often because it’s challenging for people to plan purchasing and prepare fruits that need to be peeled and de-stoned. FoPo can be mixed directly to anything from yoghurt and muesli through drinks (juices, smoothies, yogurt drinks…) to creams, pastry, soups and cooked dishes. This makes it a very convenient and delicious way to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables.

As you are based in Germany, are your powders available overseas?

We take orders within EU through our webshop, but customers living outside of EU can send us an e-mail if they would like to get a pack as well. We are also planning to expand our products to distributors and retail overseas eventually.

Have you got plans to expand your food products/ powdered food range in the future?

We have just developed a recipe for crispy 100% made-from-FoPo bars that taste like candy but are made from our powders. We plan to scale-up to industrial production by end of 2017. After that, we have still more ideas in mind – functional powder blends for different occasions and seasoned guilt-free fruit and vegetables crisps. On a more futuristic note, we are looking into the use of FoPo in food 3D printing!

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

Quite atypical for a start-up founder I guess, haha – I wear mostly skirts, dresses and low heels in very feminine designs and wide range of colors. I’m a big fan of pastels and bright pink too. I worked in Japan and Korea before, and I still get a lot of inspiration from their fashion and make-up trends.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I buy most of my clothes second-hand and I also like to design and make my own. In Germany, eBay is a goldmine for affordable, barely used brand clothes and shoes and it still has the same thrill of digging through piles of clothes in normal second-hand store as you browse and bid. Zalora (online store in the Philippines) features also local brands and young designers, but you have to use a shopping service to order from abroad.  For brick-and-mortar stores, I like Goodwill in the US (e.g. Ted Baker dress for 12 USD), “Beautiful Store (아름다운가게)” in Korea (many local + international brands – I got the mint and black A.P.C. jacket that apparently sold out everywhere since Kim Kardashian bought it – for 8 USD), Don Don Down on Wednesday and Mode Off in Japan. And finally coming from Czech Republic, our local brand Pietro Filipi has beautiful, high-quality clothes for professionals at very decent prices.

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

Elegant backpack since I have to carry laptop, documents and samples around a lot, comfortable nude mid-heel pumps to replace my dying pair, nicely fitted black dressy jacket since I don’t have one yet, and I’d like to design something inspired by what I’ve seen on the 2017 runway when I have a couple days off during Easter.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, I feel like they suit me better.

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

www.myfopo.com
https://www.facebook.com/fopofoodpowder/
https://www.instagram.com/myfopo/
https://twitter.com/myfopo

Some interesting food ideas there using your food powders Vita, and  exciting plans afoot. I quite like the sound of the homemade mango marshmallows!  Dear readers, do you like the idea of the food powders?  What powder recipe would tickle your tastebuds?  Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from FoPo.

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The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book

I love colouring.  I love fashion. I love art. I love the latest fad for adult colouring books. And I love “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” by fashion designer Natasha Itzcovitz.  “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” features 100 hand drawn fashion illustrations, showcasing her own unique designs as well as her interpretation of fashion styles of previous decades.  I just had to interview the talented lady that has created through this book a chance for us all to be budding fashionistas, designers and artists in our own wacky colouring world. Please welcome onto the blog Natasha….

Hello! I’m Natasha Itzcovitz, a fashion stylist/ author/ illustrator from London 🙂

“The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” is a fabulous adult colouring book that showcases your designs. So what was the inspiration behind compiling this book?

I was working in a retail shop that was selling patterned colouring books and felt inspired to make one in my own fashion style. I had already been drawing colouring pages for my cousins for years but never thought to make it into a book until then!

There are 100 hand-drawn illustrations that follow fashion through the ages – from famous fashionistas including Marie Antoinette and Jane Austen, to more contemporary styles eg boho chic and hipster street styles. Where did the inspiration for each colouring page come from – your own fashion designs, historical designs, fashion magazines, your own wardrobe?

The colouring pages are a mix of clothes I’ve made, some I wish I could make, clothes I own and fun characters in my head! I looked to fashion photoshoots for poses as well as manga and vintage fashion for historical inspiration and my cat may feature in a few pages.

Do you have a particular favourite colouring page? What fashion style is easy to recreate? Which fashion style was hard to capture?

My favourite page in my book is the drawing of the girl made of wool that’s knitting herself – it’s just so mad! I’ve drawn a lot of street style and the men’s wear especially, can be recreated. Also, if you head to a costume shop, I’m sure you’d find Mary Antionette’s dress and wig! The historic fashion eras which I found hard to capture were not included in the book – only the best for my readers.

Although you are based in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, my book is available on Amazon worldwide and if you search the title on google, you’ll find that it is on book related websites from many different countries!

Have you any plans to expand your range of colouring books in the future?

I’d love to illustrate more books and do more with my art in the future – look forward to it!

What do you do when you are not drawing?

I’m currently a freelance stylist so I assist on photoshoots and when I get down time, I like to watch anime, ballroom dance and play the guitar.

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

A typical Natasha look would be a fun printed dress, over-the-knee socks, grungy boots, a choker, chunky knit and maybe a cheeky bandanna – I’ve gotten into those recently (try and spot one in the book).

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

High-street shops are my favourites, I find different ones are good for different things. Topshop, New Look, Forever 21 and asos are pretty good to me and recently I’ve fallen in love with Zara’s Kidswear.

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

I went into Zara kids for a styling job and wanted to buy things for myself – think my next purchase will be a dress from there. I’m also planning on getting summer shoes as soon as it brightens up!

Boots or Shoes?

Both boots and shoes suit different occasions so it’s hard to pick one or another. I personally love boots and would wear them all year long since I love how they grunge up a feminine look and are comfy at the same time but you can wear shoes for all occasions and in any season so shoes win on practicality.

Links you would like to share:

Check out my Instagram @itzdrawings for regular artwork! My twitter is @natashaitz and my website is www.itzfashion.uk if you’d like to see some of the clothes and accessories I hand-sew.

Thank you very much Natasha!  I find colouring therapeutic – I loved art as a child and my children do too. Dear readers, do you find colouring therapeutic?  What sort of illustrations would appeal to you?  Do share your thoughts!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Natasha Itzcovitz

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Spotlight On Rivage

My skin is very dry and prone to eczema therefore I am quite fussy and alert when it comes to skincare.  Certain perfumes irritate and some skin creams leave my skin itchy so I really try and stick with face/body products that I know work for me.  I had read an article about the benefits of the mud and minerals of the Dead Sea in Jordan and how it can help alleviate skin complaints such as eczema; so when I was approached by skincare brand Rivage, who use Dead Sea minerals and mud sourced directly from Jordan, to review their products, I jumped at the chance.

Rivage sent me their night cream and eye cream, plus samples of their eye contour gel, facial scrub, hand cream and face masks.  I’m not a fan of face masks so I must admit I haven’t tried them out.  The main thing to report is that I had no adverse reaction to the products  which is a brilliant start.  I was impressed with the packaging of the products – the coral colour is very trendy and they ooze “spa”.  I was extremely impressed with the eye contour gel and the facial exfoliant cream – these are my favourite products.  I am prone to eczema around the eyes, and the gel moisturised the eye area well and left a cooling effect which was really lovely.  The eye cream worked in a similar way to the gel – it is just that I preferred the consistency of the gel rather than the cream version. Both do an excellent job though.  The night cream was slightly “sticky” when first applied but it does quickly absorb into the skin to leave the skin moisturised.  I usually use a heavy hemp based hand cream on my hands twice a day to keep my eczema around my knuckles at bay – I did use the Rivage hand cream, it did leave my hands soft but it is difficult to judge fully as my hands are not sore at the moment and I am not sure how the cream would fare during an eczema flare up.  However, I will say that if your hands are not prone to eczema, this hand cream will keep your hands feeling soft and lovely. So, all in all, I give Rivage the thumbs up. I wanted to know more about Rivage, so dear Bryony agreed to be interviewed! Hi Bryony….

Hi! I’m Bryony. Rivage is a skincare brand that prides itself in its use of all-natural ingredients, including mud, salt and minerals sourced directly from the Dead Sea in Jordan. I am incredibly proud to be a part of the team in the UK!

What was the inspiration behind setting up Rivage?

Rivage began in 1996 when we were inspired by the power and results of the Dead Sea to transform the health of our skin and hair. The Dead Sea is the beginning of natural skin care – a healing and medicinal natural spa that has been celebrated since 3000 BC. Our skincare products are a fusion of the ancient and the modern. The minerals and botanicals that enhance our skincare blends are as old as time, but they are optimised and refined by our laboratories to deliver a remarkable home spa experience. Each product in our range is carefully engineered to work in harmony with your skin’s natural qualities to renew, detoxify and nourish your skin, naturally.

Have you always wanted to be in the skincare industry?

Ever since I was very young, I have always struggled with my skin, from eczema to acne I’ve dealt with problem-prone skin for as long as I can remember so when I was given the brilliant opportunity to be a part of Rivage starting in the UK, I was obviously sceptical of the products but they have proven to be fantastic for my skin and have really helped with my confidence in the products and the company.

What products seem to be most popular with your customers? Have you got a personal favourite?

Our bestsellers definitely seem to be the Bath Crystals, Day and Night Creams and the Mud Masks (particularly the Nourishing Honey Facial Mask). My personal favourites would be the Eye Cream and the Facial Exfoliant Cream as they are both brilliant products that helped with my problem areas in a huge way! 

 

What is so special about the Dead Sea & its minerals?

The Dead Sea is a true wonder of the natural world. As well as being one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the Dead Sea is located at Earth’s lowest point, 410 meters below sea level. The Dead Sea is so-called because of its hypersaline waters are inhospitable to marine life. In this rare environment, we find mineral-rich salt and mud, hypersaline water, reduced solar radiation and a higher concentration of oxygen. For centuries, the Dead Sea has attracted people looking for relaxation and well-being. The salt, mud and water of the Dead Sea contain 23 minerals, 12 of which do not exist in any other sea in the world. Together these minerals speed up cell metabolism, regulate water balance, relieve and heal skin disorders and stimulate the natural process of repair. Our Ecocert Dead Sea mud offers your skin a unique blend of minerals and compounds. This material, which is world-renowned for its healing and restorative properties, forms the basis of all of our products.

Apart from the Dead Sea Waters & associated minerals, what other natural active ingredients are used & their benefits?

We have many active ingredients in our products apart from mud, salt and minerals from the Dead Sea. Aloe Vera is an ingredient that is included in many of our products as it aids in moisturising as well as its healing properties. It is used in many of our Mud Masks, Skin Correcting Serum, Olive Oil Soap and Facial Moisturizing Cream. Almond is another of our most popular ingredients included in products such as our Body Butter, Foot Cream and Intense Hair Repair Mask. Almond oil is an incredibly effective moisturiser and is effective with nourishing dry skin whilst also aiming to soften your overall complexion and balance your skin tone. A more lesser-known ingredient that we use for its anti-ageing and moisturising properties is the Beech Tree Buds. The Beech Tree can live for up to 250 years, making sense why it is used for slowing down the ageing process. These buds are used in our Eye Cream, Eye Wrinkle Gel and the Revitalising Night Cream. Fruit, such as blueberries, passion fruit, lemon and pineapple, are vital ingredients for ensuring that our products are full of the best vitamins, nutrients and enzymes for the healthiest looking skin possible.

What plans, if any, have you got to extend your range of products? Any new products in the pipeline?

We do actually have plans to extend our product range. We are planning to introduce some products that are available in the retailers in other countries but are not yet in the UK. This includes some more bath products and ‘problem solver’ products so keep an eye out!

All products are proudly environmentally friendly and are not tested on animals. Are the products suitable for all skin types?

Some products are suitable for dry skin and some are suitable for oily or normal skin so it varies depending on certain products but the majority are suitable for all skin types unless stated.

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

Outside of work, I can be found in a simple t-shirt (nothing too exciting!) and jeans with my favourite Converse, I’m more for comfort than style! If I’m going out, though, I do make an effort and pair a printed dress with black wedges. I like to dress simple and safe!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

New Look and H&M are two of my favourite clothing shops and Amazon just has to be up there at the top for a favourite online store! I just love the amount of random, crazy stuff you can find on there too! The Gift Company is another lovely little store and I adore the things they have in there. Any bookshops too! I’m always open to trying out new stores so if you have any in mind, send them my way!

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

I would love more tailored clothes and more dresses. An LBD would be a lovely addition to my wardrobe! More heels are a definite and some cute pumps!

Boots or Shoes? 

Shoes! I find that boots are harder to pair with clothes (maybe that’s just me though) but shoes feel more universe with some outfits so I will definitely be found with shoes more than boots!

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rivage_uk
Instagram – www.instagram.com/rivageuk
Facebook – www.facebook.com/RivageUK
Website – www.rivage.co.uk

Thanks for letting me try your awesome products Bryony! It is so nice to discover new products that don’t irritate my skin.  Eye creams, dear readers, do you prefer creams or gels? I’d love to know your views. 

Linda x

DISCLAIMER:  Although Rivage sent me products to review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

All product photos are by Linda Hobden.  Picture of Bryony published with kind permission of Bryony.

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Talking About Regression Re-Birthing

This week I’m delving into the world of regression re-birthing, also known as the “recreation of the womb and birth experience”.  The object of regression re-birthing is to achieve a happy and healthy mind and body.  The subject sounded interesting to me and so I asked Nicolas Aujola, leading practioner and columnist for the Beverley Hill Times (yes, Hollywood!) what regression re-birthing entailed and its benefits…. as well as chatting about fashion, of course!  Welcome Nicolas….

Hi! I’m Nicolas Aujula – a London based Holistic Therapist, Life Coach, Intuitive and Designer with over 10 years of experience. I offer 1-2-1 sessions in person and via Skype, run workshops and have spoken in front of large audiences. My work has appeared internationally on ITV, Channel 4, Biography Channel, British newspapers and Hollywood magazines.

What inspired you to become a coach & therapist?

It all started when I was 17 years of age when I fell into a trance state that stimulated an out of body experience and flashbacks of my past-lives that literally changed my life. It was like an awakening where I instantly realised the power of the soul and the undying quality’s within us all that we carry forth beyond death. It helped me realised by own strengths and weaknesses, talents and personality traits, as well helping me resolve some of my teenage challenges of dealing with bullying, heartbreak and depression. I realised the power within me to change my past patterns to create the future I want. I left my A-level education to pursue my new found vocation and the rest is history. My main inspiration as a coach and therapist is to free clients from limitations, make them realise the power within and push them to be the best that they can. I love to see others blossom into their potential as there is so much each one us can do in our very unique ways. Empowerment is key that comes from making deep internal changes and developing personal tools for success that I’m proud to say my techniques ensure I share very short term yet intense relationship with clients that is focused on getting results. I’m privileged to have helped thousands of people from all walks of life from businessmen, politicians, celebrities to housewives learn to be more successful, self-confident, and happy, no matter what comes their way.

What attracted you to regression re-birthing? What are the main objectives of Regression Re-birthing?

Birth is a sacred and to be celebrated event. I believe happy births equal happy beings but actually how many of us have had happy births? I often found during my sessions that clients would regress back to their early womb experience where they spoke about absorbing beliefs, feelings and even traumas of their mothers and what was going on in the outside external world. I quickly understood that working through these imprints enabled great healing and freedom that re-birthing has become an important technique as part of our journey to self renewal. The ultimate goal of Regression Rebirthing is to regain true, high self-esteem in every area of your life. I feel Regression Rebirthing is an incredibly life changing process as clients relive their own births – discovering the tremendous impact being in the womb and birth had had on their own lives. Being a holistic process – it can also focus on our childhood and life experiences for healing and life change. It centres on breathing techniques and inner journeying that brings to your awareness unconscious thoughts, feelings and memories – some of which goes back to your birth – with the intention of accepting and integrating any ‘limiting emotions and thoughts’ in the cells of your body. This simple, yet powerful technique offers a natural way to manage stress and disengage behavioral patterns by putting trust in the healing power of our own breath. We can not have limitations and relaxation in the same space at the same time. Relaxation is the ultimate healer. Every breath induces relaxation. Therefore, breathing is the basic healer.

Could you describe a typical session?

Each session involves both inner journeying into the past and deep breathing process. The process rejuvenates the cells of your body and brings to awareness unconscious thoughts, memories and feelings. By accepting anything that occurs in a session and continuing with the breathing, you are able to dissolve the original ‘charge’ and integrate whatever is happening. This is what is called a deep release – a cellular cleansing of tension and stress in the body. You have the opportunity to clear limiting patterns that you’ve built up over years, for example the fear of not feeling good enough, low self-esteem, emotional pain, destructive patterns, the behaviours that you’ve built up over time. It’s like being a sponge and finally getting an opportunity to clear and release everything. You literally breathe underneath the pain, fear, trauma, and let it go. It allows you to make space for positive feelings of love, joy and happiness. Combining deep breathing with positive thoughts supports us and expands our joy and vitality to create lasting life change. Holding onto and suppressing negative, fearful thoughts creates tensions, unhappiness and disease. With the aid of visualisations and positive affirmations, given during the Regression Rebirthing, you will be able to create and attract exactly what you want in life. My philosophy stresses that “Thought is creative” that all our thoughts and beliefs create results in our life. If we change our thoughts, we change our lives because everything follows on from thought.

What are the benefits of Regression Re-birthing?

It enhaces our well-being by helping a variety of physical, emotional and psychological areas:
Traumatic Births;
Difficult Mother/Father Relationship
Asthma, IBS, Arthritis, Migraine, Insomnia, etc;
Low Confidence and Self-Esteem
Fears & Phobias
Body Image and Weight Problems
Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks etc;
Sexual Abuse and Related Patterns of Behaviour;
Psychosomatic Conditions;
Suppressed Emotions;
Limiting Relationship Patterns
Lack of Life Purpose;
Loneliness; Isolation, Social Anxiety
General Stuckness in Life

You also practice Street Regression – what does that entail?

Street Regression arose initially from the desire to challenge myself as a practitioner to see if it was possible to practise my craft on the streets amidst the noise and chaos of urban life. Despite a usual session being undertaken in a private, serene and peaceful environment, the streets of the city provided a particularly testing opportunity to prove the potential of regression therapy. Within 10-15 minutes, I have successfully been able to guide passers by through a unique insightful experience right in the middle of the street, many of whom were amazed and gob smacked by what they realised and experienced. We’ve all seen street hypnosis used for entertainment purposes but my aim is to provide a more insightful and therapeutic approach that can help people in their daily lives.
– VIDEO LINK – https://youtu.be/3Pc1EF8GBSw

You are a columnist for the Beverley Hill Times. What advice or articles were most popular?

My readers in Beverly Hills love my advice on dating, relationships and self-improvement, much of which is inspired by my knowledge of Astrology and how it can gives us perspective. It’s a real privilege to write for the Beverly Hills Times as it’s enabled me to meet many talented and inspirational people – the editor Suzanne Takowsky tells me the cast of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are the biggest fans of my column.

You are a coach & therapist. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical world or did you have other ambitions?

Growing up I had many ambitions from wanting to be a Writer, Psychologist, Historian, Astrologer, Fashion Designer and Film Director. In many way I’ve been able to incorporate many of those into my career. Whilst I’m not a conventional psychologist, I use alternative methods to empower people to deal with mind and emotion, overcome limitations and fulfil their potential. I’m written for numerous publications, practise Astrology, listen to historical accounts as people relay their past-lives, have designed dresses for clients and have created a short film exploring taboos. I firmly believe we should never limit ourselves to one chosen path in life but to be open to explore new avenues and develop personal talents as we are all multifaceted individuals.

Although you are based in the UK, are Regression Re-birthing sessions available overseas? How can a person register for sessions?

Yes,sessions are available to those abroad. Distance is not really a problem as I’m increasing using mobile technology like Skype which works just as well as face-to-face sessions. I have worked with international clients from USA, Canada, Australia, India, Spain, Brazil to UAE over the past few years. For sessions via Skype I can be emailed via my website.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

– Travel and Adventure: I love travel, especially city breaks as they are full of history, culture and great night life. My favourite city’s are Istanbul, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon. Adrenaline pumping activities that get you all worked up and excited are always invited from jet skiing, hot air balloons to paragliding.
– Yoga and meditation: I’ve been practising daily for the past 16 years. It’s the secret to a healthy mind, body and soul. My favourite poses are triangle and cobra into downward facing dog
– Cooking: I love to get in the kitchen and cook. Great food is simple, healthy, fresh and flavoursome. I adore Mexican, Indian and Thai cuisines with a love for dark chocolate, oaty treats and anything with ginger.
– Sewing: my artistic side is expressed through taking some material, cutting out patterns and get cracking on a sewing machine. It’s thrilling yet creative. I have so much respect for those machinists who make our clothes because I understand what is involved. Over the years for friends and clients I’ve put together some great style creations. Inspired by helping clients go through breakups I created the Divorce Dress which has featured in Daily Mail, Glamour and Huffington Post.
– Books: I love to immerse in books. Only the hard stuff that I can hold as I can’t do kindle or digital. Anything from spirituality, self-improvement, biographys to esoteric subjects take my fancy.

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

A pair of skinny jeans/trousers paired with a brightly coloured fitted top or shirt – I love vibrant colours such as orange, yellow, pinks and greens. I’m a firm believer in how colour can influence our mood and energy that we should pay more attention in how we use colour, it can only influence our daily lives. Am currently loving my one shouldered pair of dungarees. Shoes must be metallic – my current favourites are my Supra high tops which I have in gold, silver and rose gold. Finish the look complimented by a pair of Tom Ford aviators.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love high street staple Zara for their stylish interpretations of catwalk trends. For online shopping ASOS.com and Zalando.com are firm favourites that offer great choices. It has to be Supra for my high top shoes. For designer fashion, I adore Aspinal for bags, Tom Ford and Prada for sunglasses and Versace for their bold pieces.

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

I know when I’ll see it as long as it’s form fitting, bright, funky or metallic. Currently on the hunt for a great tote manbag – any suggestions anyone?

Boots or Shoes?

Pointed boots with metal caps are definitely a sexy style statement. Be sure to add a layer of gel sole cushions so you can strut and paint the town yellow at all hours.

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

Website – www.inspired-artisan.comwww.knowyourpastlife.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/nicolasaujula
Twitter – www.twitter.com/nicolasaujula

Thanks Nicolas for the insight into a fascinating subject and I love your flair for fashion too!  I’m quite interested in your love for metallic shoes … I have some silver gladiator heeled sandals and I have seen some bronze/rose gold sandals recently that I quite fancy this summer.  So, dear readers, what do you think about wearing metallic coloured footwear? Do share your thoughts…

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Nicolas Aujula.

 

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Changing Face Of The UK High Street

Near enough every day on the news one hears about a chain of stores closing down, shops boarded up, flagship stores opening, restaurants changing ownership, pubs being converted into houses, pop up shops opening for a season… the High Street is constantly changing due to many factors from the introduction of online shopping through to  changing needs of the consumer.  It’s not all doom & gloom – however, when I was a teenager there were many fashion & shoe stores lining my local High Street – shops such as Freeman Hardy Willis, Chelsea Girl, BHS, Woolworths – now the High Street is more likely to house coffee shops, convenience stores and beauty salons. ParcelHero, e-commerce fulfilment specialists have launched findings of their major report: 2030 – The Death Of The High Street. I spoke to David Jinks MILT, Parcelhero’s Head of Consumer Research and the main author of the report, to find out more.  Hi David!

Hi! I’m David Jinks, Head of Consumer Research and Public Relations at ParcelHero. ParcelHero is an online parcel broker that gets lower prices with the likes of DHL, UPS and DPD than consumers can get if they book directly. We also ensure your parcels are picked up from your home or preferred location. E-commerce and home deliveries are transforming retail right now; so it’s a fascinating industry to be in. Before I joined ParcelHero I was publisher and PR Manager for The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport; and before that an Editor at Time Inc on magazines as diverse as model cars, coin collecting and sci-fi toys and merchandise. You get the picture… don’t come looking to me for fashion advice!

Seattle, Washington, USA – May 27, 2012: The Banana Republic downtown Seattle store location prominently features its store name on banners to increase visibility of its name.

You are the main author of the recent ParcelHero report: 2030 – The Death Of The High Street. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

Our retail-based customers are enjoying booming sales; which is great for us as well as them! But at the same time several rather niche but loved shops in my home town have closed. Looking at the rising online sales figures there was obviously a direct correlation between the two. As a part of the home delivery industry we wanted to draw attention to what could happen to our town centres if businesses and local councils, etc, don’t wake up and smell the coffee. The impact on our High Street could be profound if shops are just left to fall empty.

The report has revealed that by 2030, the impact of online shopping and home deliveries will mean that over half of today’s UK town centre stores, including the majority of today’s fashion outlets will have vanished. What do you think has contributed to the decline of the High Street & the rise in online shopping?

It’s all about price and convenience. You can order up-to-the-minute quality clothing online in the comfort of your own home for prices even Primark may find hard to beat. You are not at the mercy of what’s in stock right now in your local fashion stores. The tense and depressing trog around shopping centres, unable to find the item you really want, is behind us. And buying online gives you better rights. You can return most items within 14 days without giving any reason whatsoever. So it’s easy to order the same item in a couple of different sizes and simply return the one that doesn’t fit. Or simply send the lot back if you don’t like it. Online sellers don’t have the overheads involved with stores; and are not at the mercy of what their buyer thought would be in fashion when ordering many months before. It’s far easier for, say, ASOS to introduce new lines swiftly, than it is for M&S who have to stock all their stores; or your local indie fashion store that will have had to commit to a certain order weeks in advance. So there’s little wonder High Street fashion stores are suffering. They are the new fashion victims.

In 1950 there were 600,000 stores in the UK, in 2012 there were 290,000 and just 220,000 will survive by 2020. It is not only fashion outlets that struggle but other outlets like bookstores too. What types of stores have lost their High Street allure?

There’s a list as long as your arm. Department stores suffer from the same issues as fashion retailers. They must commit to large stocks and are then unable to respond swiftly to the latest retail trends. BHS won’t be the only big name to disappear. There’s likely to be an unhappy ending to toy story either. Toy shops are disappearing faster than you can say Buzz Lightyear. Even supermarkets are not immune. As more and more of us do the big weekly food shop online they will be left as white elephants in our town centres.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – what types of outlets are more likely to prosper in the High Street in 2030? Why the growth of these particular outlets?

Nail bars! Seriously, any beauty place where physical contact is needed, such as hair dressers and beauty salons will always be needed. If things go on as they are then most of the rest of our streets will be full of chicken shacks and charity stores. However, if local authorities and retailers learn to live with e-commerce then there is indeed a bright future. People need to move back into our town centres; turning some sites that were once stores into homes. Around these houses will spring up convenience stores, restaurants etc; ensuring our city centres cease to be no go areas after 6pm. A 24-hour community will need local stores serving niche needs with expert service to compliment what’s available online. Local stores will also offer parcel pick up and drop off points and even 3D printing stores as technology moves on. The High Street could become vibrant even in the evenings again.

London, UK – October 27, 2013: American Apparel Store on Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London on a quiet

When you compiled the report, were you surprised by the end results? What was the most unexpected fact?

When I started, we still had American Apparel and Banana Republic, as well as stores such as Staples. The swift collapse of major brands in the UK had me rushing to keep the report up to date and get it out before any other big names vanish!

In 2006, just 2% of UK fashion spend was online, now it is almost 25%. The online fashion industry could reach £36.2bn by 2030. This figure doesn’t surprise me as I now do most of my fashion shopping online. I do miss the old shops, especially the shoe shops such as Freeman Hardy Willis ..However, in Colchester, a new Primark has just opened on the site of the old BHS; and in Chelmsford, a new shopping centre with John Lewis as the anchor has just opened. How are retailers fairing who have both a High Street & online presence?

Good point! Don’t forget it was our very own Tesco’s that sold the first ever item online – groceries to a Mrs Snowball way back in 1984. Tesco’s is now frequently our second biggest e-commerce site after Amazon. And John Lewis makes more money online than from its entire flagship Oxford Street store. So those retailers that embrace e-commerce do have a future. The problem is that sometimes online sales are cannibalizing a brand’s own High Street shop sales. If you bought a dress or a washing machine from John Lewis online; that’s a sale that could have gone to their local store. So their internet sales could end up propping up your local branch. It’s a tradeoff that all multi-platform retailers must keep in mind.

If town centres/High Streets are not rejuvenated they could potentially become “no go” areas after dark. What do you think could be possible solutions to prevent that happening?

As I’ve briefly mentioned, planning regulations need to be relaxed so town centre commercial properties can become homes for a community returning to our towns and cities to live. We need to go back to the future, returning to a Victorian style scenario where people live and work locally and there’s a thriving local retail scene that’s a sociable experience; to compliment the home deliveries that will form the bulk of retail in the future. More homes mean more convenience stores and restaurants open till later; and a vibrant place people want to go to – and we won’t need to build on Green Belt land!

Although the report is based on the scenario here in the UK, have you read or looked into similar reports in other countries, such as the USA? Is the outlook similar?

Your average Market Street or mall in the US is facing exactly the same problems. Macy’s and Sears for example are closing hundreds of stores nationwide. And once the main department store in a mall closes – they are known as anchor stores to US retailers – the whole future for all the stores is endangered as footfall decreases rapidly. So, the US retailer is facing the exact same issues; if not worse.

Are there any shops that you used to visit yourself that are no longer on the High Street?

I’m a bookshop addict! From Borders to Booksetc to Ottakers I miss all the old stores. And I still pine for our local Woolworths; and do you remember Times Past? I loved that shop!

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

You may already have guessed I’m not the best dressed man in London. Among the young and fashionable team here at ParcelHero my choice of ties – which no one else wears – is a constant cause of amusement. My 14-year old son, who spends hours agonizing over which jeans to wear, always walks several feet behind or in front of me so people don’t think we’re related.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

If ever I do have any money to spend on clothes I like Next; otherwise it’s Primark for me. Apart from clothes I love Waterstones, Argos, Ikea and, of course, Amazon!

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

This question has got the many more fashion conscious staff here chuckling. I can make a shirt and tie look messy. If I sit down on a bench at the weekend people give me money. But if I am dressing up for something I do like a nice shirt with cufflinks.

Boots or Shoes?

A pair of Oxford brogues thanks. Ideally with magical self-cleaning powers. Unless by boots you mean wellies? If so Hunters; and as this is a fashion site I’ll make them green, of course!

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

You can read the full report here: https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/news-updates/2030-dead-end-for-the-high-street There’s lots more on the plight of fashion stores and how the High Street might be saved.
And you can also take a drive down Memory Lane, seeing all the brands that have disappeared from our town centres since the 1980s, in our fun interactive graphic here: https://www.parcelhero.com/highstreet

Thank you very much David for joining us on the blog.  I really did enjoy strolling through the fun interactive graphic – shops such as Dixons (bought my first DVD player from there), Radio Rentals (I remember all the TVs that adorned their shop windows all showing a channel & you could catch a glimpse of the latest football match on a Saturday afternoon, and crowds used to gather around at full time when the tele printer issued the full time scores!) So dear readers, do you have fond memories of stores you shopped in that are no longer trading? Do share your memories!

Linda x

All photographs are published with kind permission of David Jinks/ParcelHero

 

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An Interview With Rosemary Conley CBE

I’m really quite excited to welcome onto my blog tonight a lady who in the late 1980s made a big impression on me as a young twenty year old; in fact she still impresses me today.  I was then and still am attracted by her boundless energy, by her “can do” attitude, by her very smiley demeanour, by her lithe and petite figure.  Even today, at 8pm she tweets her daily challenge …sometimes easy, sometimes hard, always fun.  That lady is the gorgeous Rosemary Conley CBE…. who has had over 40 years experience of helping people lose weight and keep fit…. and I was so pleased that she agreed to chat with me about her online weight loss club, her life and  of course, we talked about fashion and shoes too…. hi Rosemary…..

Hi, I am Rosemary Conley CBE and I am a diet and fitness expert living in Leicestershire, England. I have been in the business of helping people to lose weight and become fitter for 45 years, and I have written 37 books and presented 30 fitness DVDs of which their combined sales total almost 10 million.

What inspired you to launch the Rosemary Conley online Weight-Loss Club?

Rosemary Conley Online is a digital weight-loss club which launched some 15 years ago. It has been an exciting enterprise as we have been part of the online revolution as it has grown and developed. We have a new and exciting website which enables our members to enjoy over 2000 videos of how-to-cook recipes, exercises, motivation, a food & fitness diary and advice from nationally recognised top experts as well as real-life coaches. We also offer a personal One-2-One coaching service.

Your weight-loss club offers, as well as real life coaching, a variety of eating plans. Why do you offer a range of 6 different plans? Which “plan” seems to be the most popular amongst your members?

Selecting the best eating plan to help you lose weight is very much down to the individual. We offer plans from my new 3-2-1 Diet which is based on ‘light’ and ‘normal’ days of eating along the lines of the 5:2 diet but more generous, or there are my ‘classic’ diets from which to choose which are calorie based for those who want more structure, and then we have our new Complete Lifestyle Change Plan which is a 12 week programme of information and inspiration to help member to make permanent changes to their lives. No one diet is more popular than another. It is all down to personal preference.

What diet plan do you personally stick to?

I stick to a low fat, low Gi, eating pattern without any calorie counting or dieting. I avoid high-fat treats such as crisps, chocolate, biscuits and cake because, whilst I love them, I know they will make me gain weight. It all comes down to the fact that I like being slim more than I want the treats! I spent too many years being overweight and hating myself for being so to run the risk of going back there. I used to weigh 2½st more than I do now. I like being a size 8 (UK) and I weigh 8 stone (112lb/51kg) which is ideal for my 5’2” height. I stay physically fit by still teaching a couple of aerobics classes each week, walking the dogs at weekends, going to a special gym with a physiotherapist for an hour a week and ice skating when I can – probably every two or three weeks.

I believe that keeping healthy not only relies on food intake, but also moving about/exercising. I try to do yoga and Pilates; and I do enjoy the odd aerobic session too. I monitor my steps on a Fitbit ….What forms of exercise do you personally enjoy? What forms of exercise seems to appeal to your weight loss club members?

I think it is important for us to find a form of exercise we enjoy so that we keep doing it. I hate swimming or running but I love exercising to music and walking in the countryside but I am limited by my arthritic feet which has come upon me in the last year. I am 70 now and it seems as though my body has suddenly realised my age! That’s why I go to the physio gym as my physiotherapist is aware of my limitations but still pushes me hard so I stay fit in the rest of my body. I want to live a long and healthy life – even if my feet hurt! Rosemary Conley Online members are offered all kinds of exercise on our site from Pilates to Salsa, chair workouts and aerobics or toning. There really is something for everyone, even new mums.

Although you live in the UK, is your online weight loss club available to access overseas?

Our online club is available to anyone across the world except for the USA or Canada. We have lots of overseas members and I love the fact that with an online weight-loss club you can access it anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I think my 3-2-1 Diet is probably my last diet book but I am beginning to work on my autobiography. In 2018 my Hip & Thigh Diet will be 30 years old. I think it would be great to have my life-story published in that year.

The Rosemary Conley Online Weight Loss Club is one of the UK’s leading online weight loss clubs.How can people sign up to be a member? Are there any restrictions? What are the main benefits to joining your club?

Anyone can join Rosemary Conley Online providing they have weight to lose, are over 18 and are not pregnant. Everyone is asked to complete a health questionnaire which is personally checked. Once signed up, all a member needs is internet access. It really is very simple. With basic computer skills anyone can navigate our site. We have monthly, quarterly and annual memberships available as well as a premium One-2-One personal coaching service which members can opt-in and opt-out of. Our results are amazing and my favourite part of my job is meeting members who are invited to our photoshoots. To see these amazing successful slimmers looking toned and gorgeous is just heart-warming. It’s why I, and the rest of our Rosemary Conley team, love our job.

You have over 2500 healthy recipes online – have you got any particular favourites?

We continue to add to our online recipes and one of our team is a supreme cook who has a real talent for creating recipes so there’s always something new appearing on the site. I can’t say I have a particular favourite. I love them all.

There are general concerns about the growing global obesity epidemic. What do you feel are the reasons behind this epidemic?

I think the main reason for the obesity epidemic is lifestyle change. The advent of the internet, internet shopping and mobile phones all mean that we can run our lives without moving around as much as we used to. I really don’t know where it will end unless people take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. We have to eat less and move more!

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I have a lovely life because I enjoy my work and I enjoy writing. I love spending time with my family as well as ice skating and walking our dogs around our beautiful garden.

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

I love clothes – a lot! – and I have spent the last 50 years wearing stilettos and am now having to come to terms with the fact that I can only wear flat and kitten heel styles due to my arthritic feet! I am a pear shape which means I have a decent waist so I like to wear fitted styles and ice skating is fantastic for shaping up your butt so I am happy wearing jeans and trousers too.

Do you have any favourite shops/online sites?

I buy most of my clothes from the Madeleine catalogue, as they fit me so well and the quality of the fabrics and workmanship is second to none. They seem to be ahead of the game as far as fashion and style is concerned and I just love their clothes as well as their shoes which are fabulous and great quality. I enjoy having them delivered to home so that I can try the clothes at home in my own time and with my own accessories. If I don’t like something, I just send it back free of charge. It really works for me.

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

I love the Spring as my colouring is Spring/Summer so I will be ordering some lovely bright shades of dresses and tops for this year.

Boots or Shoes?

I wear boots more now than I ever used to and they are always flat. I started wearing flat ones five years ago when I was on ITV’s Dancing on Ice. As a high-heel devotee for so many decades I needed to train my heels to be happy nearer the ground as when you skate that’s essential! I have grown to really like wearing stylish military-looking knee-high boots which seem to work well with fitted leggings and a long jacket/coat.

Links you wish to share:

Go to www.rosemaryconley.com to find out more about Rosemary Conley Online. I am personally on Twitter at @rosemaryconley and I do a daily fitness challenge at 8pm (UK time) each evening. You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RosemaryConleyOnline.

It has been a real honour to have you on the blog, Rosemary – thank you so much for taking part. I do love that you like bright shades for tops – for me, bright shades make me feel happy! Dear readers, do you have certain shades that you feel happy?  Do shades of yellow make you smile? Does red make you feel daring?  Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Rosemary Conley CBE

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An Interview With Ann-Celeste London

For a special night out when you need to be the belle of the ball you can’t go much wrong with a dress.  Not just any dress.  You need a dress that has that “wow” factor.  I’ve come across a fashion line that has certainly made me go “wow” :  Ann-Celeste London.  This London-based fashion line is for that confident lady and the range of edgy cocktail dresses, regal full length gowns and trendy 2 piece ensembles are to die for!  Using the opulent, patterned traditional fabrics of Africa the dresses are crafted into contemporary, European silhouettes.  Every single piece has the wow factor!  I recently caught up with the lovely Celeste, Founder & Creative Director to find out more behind the designs…. hi Celeste!

Hi, My name is Celeste. I am the Founder and Creative director of Ann-Celeste London fashion brand.

What inspired you to set up your fashion brand, Ann-Celeste London?

I have always loved and enjoyed fashion. In 2012, I was able to pick it up properly when I found myself in between jobs. I started doing research and learning the ropes of starting a fashion brand. Heritage is important to me. It is what distinguishes me and informs my identity.  Through my designs, I can share my story and inspiration

Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion?

My background hasn’t always been about fashion design although as a young girl, I always wanted to sew my own dresses! Later in life, I worked in the retail fashion industry for over 3 years and eventually decided to guide my passion and focus towards developing a brand.

I love the Abby Dress, Lulu Dress, Oyin Dress & the Lade Cape – I couldn’t pick just one favourite, they are all so gorgeous & glamorous. What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you! We have 13 different styles and 5 of the styles are in demand. Which are Lulu dress, Calabric Dress, Oge Jumpsuit, Abby Dress and Oyin Dress.

Out of all the outfits in your collection, do you have a favourite?

I love the Lulu dress. It’s very versatile you can wear flat shoes or heels depending on the occasion or mood.

Your brand is influenced by the African love of colour/patterns mixed with European silhouettes, giving a fresh approach to fusion fashion. If you could go anywhere in the world to photoshoot for a new collection, where would you go?

Tanzania would be ideal having Mount Kilimanjaro
(highest mountain in Africa) in the backdrop, riding on a horse would be epic.

Hypothetically speaking, which famous lady (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “face” of Ann-Celeste London?

I would like Michelle Obama to wear our brand as she very elegant and gracious. Her strength and presence would be perfect fits for some of our designs and looks..

In September 2016, your “Mope” collection was showcased during London Fashion Week under the renowned House of iKons catwalk. How did you feel seeing your outfits on the catwalk? Was it a good yet nerve racking experience?

The House of iKons boasts of showcasing some of the world’s most creative designers and with all the hard work and pressure that was building up to my first catwalk, I told myself to stay calm and enjoy the moment!

As you are based in London, are your outfits available to purchase overseas?

Yes! Our outfits can be purchased on our website: ann-celeste.com. We are looking towards having stockists in different locations around the world.

When designing outfits to add to your collection,do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional styles or bits of all those?

I would probably say a bit of everything.

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

Mid-length dresses, warm jacket, tights and a pair of heels

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I have lots of favorites shops. I currently like Whistle, Reiss, Hobbs and Cos for everyday wear. However, it changes from time to time depending on what the brand has to offer for the season.

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

Double breasted navy blazer and chelsea boots.

Boots or Shoes?

I love shoes but have to go with boots! Boots keep my feet warm and comfortable during the winter months.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Ann-Celeste London.

Please check out our website and social medial platforms.
www.ann-celeste.com
https://www.facebook.com/AnnCelesteLondon/
https://www.instagram.com/anncelestelondon/‎

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An Interview With Classic Portuguese

Launched in October 2016, new artisanal menswear brand Classic Portugal aims to showcase the traditional manufacturing techniques from the rugged, yet beautiful Serra Da Estrela in Northern Portugal.  The Serra Da Estrela region has long been the centre of a thriving wool trade and each sweater in the Classic Portuguese collection has been made from a fine blend of 90% merino wool and 10% cashmere.  I recently caught up with the founder, Robin da Silva, to find out more. Welcome Robin…

Hi!  I’m Robin, the son of a Portuguese Father and British mother and a recent graduate from University College London. I have lived in London for over 5 years now and have no intention of leaving it behind! I enjoy going shopping and seeking out new fashion trends that I can adopt. I’ve really become a young fashionista with a passion for entrepreneurship. I love designing, creating and seeing ideas turning into real items I can touch and feel.

What was the inspiration behind Classic Portuguese?

I was walking through the hills of the Serra da Estrela, when I came across an old Portuguese mill. It was only after we’d met with the owner that we’d understood how much heritage and history there was behind wool trade and manufacturing in the area, that had been passed on from generation to generation. It so happened that I’d already been living in London for a few years now and I’d learnt to understand the luxury goods market, and the growing demand for quality Portuguese items. That’s when the idea was born.

Growing up, was your career aspirations fashion orientated or did you have another career in mind? When did you start to cultivate an interest in textiles?

If I’m honest, I always thought I was going to become a footballer, as I was playing professional football throughout my teenage years. I was put through to the Belgian national trials and a friend of mine is now playing for Atletico Madrid. As you can see, my career was never intended to end up in fashion, but I quickly developed a passion for dressing well while in London due to the constant exposure to new trends and styles. Although I also wanted to start my own company and couldn’t find a brand I could 100% relate to, my visit to the Serra da Estrela and life in London, perfectly aligned with my growing passion for fashion and starting a company. I believed (and still do) that I had an idea that was unique enough to make a positive change to everybody’s perception of Portuguese luxury.

Your Serra capsule collection of sweaters consist of 3 styles. What do you look for when deciding what styles to add to your brand – popular trend styles, traditional designs, customer suggestions, your own tastes or bits of all those?

I look for styles that are simple, classic and make people look and feel good. I like to create designs that never go out of fashion and I also try and avoid clothes where the logos are too obvious. I want people to recognise the piece of clothing for its quality and style, not for the brand.

From your current collection, what has been your most popular design? Have you got a personal favourite?

The Terracotta Serra (beige) has been the most popular by far but my favourite definitely has to be the Alpine one. However, I do like all three in the collection (of course).

Your artisanal menswear hails from the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. What is it about the area that has encouraged such a thriving wool trade?

For centuries, the Serra da Estrela has been known for its unique characteristics, offering an ideal meeting point for seasonal flock paths which enabled many mountain towns to specialise in wool manufacturing. Some of these flock paths date back to the 13th century which were formed by shepherds who would follow wool routes with their herd. The people of the Serra relied on wool which was used to protect, provide comfort and make a living. This rare culture, allowed manufacturing and dyeing knowledge to be preserved and improved throughout hundreds of years, creating an unparalleled hub for wool manufacturing.

The Serra capsule collection of sweaters for this current season are available in shades of Alpine, Ocean and Terracotta. What new items/styles/colours are you planning to add to your menswear collection in 2017?

We will be diversifying our selected range by adding a few more dyes, possibly black and will also be looking at offering thick 100% cotton t-shirts, made in Portugal.

Although the sweaters are made in Portugal, are they available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, we offer free delivery world-wide as standard. We pride ourselves in offering nothing but the best service. So you’re definitely in good hands.

Do you see Classic Portuguese branching out into womenswear, unisex, or children swear in the future or are you just concentrating on the menswear market?

Yes, eventually we see ourselves developing a women’s range as we’ve had considerable interest. It’s still very early days but we are excited for the future. We’re concentrating our efforts on menswear for now.

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

It really depends where I’m heading to, but I always like to be ready for any occasion. That’s why I like blending smart and casual items, and the Classic Portuguese sweaters offer the perfect balance. I’d often wear the Alpine Serra or the Terracotta Serra over a white shirt or t-shirt with some black jeans, complimented by some black desert boots. My collection turns dressing elegantly into an effortless task.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I really like A.P.C. and A.M.I, or the select range Liberty offers as they focus on luxury boutique brands. I also really like J.Crew as they offer quality staple styles.

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

I was thinking of purchasing a couple of light shirts fom J.Crew that would really look good beneath one of the sweaters of The Serra Collection. I’m also looking at some Clarks desert boots which go well with anything when you want to dress smart casual. I also love my Superga trainers for those chilled-out evenings, so I’m also looking at getting another pair.

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely boots for me. I prefer the style that they have when wearing slim jeans which is what I always wear.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Classic Portuguese

www.classicportuguese.com
Facebook: facebook.com/classicportuguese
Instagram: instagram.com/classicportuguese
Twitter: https://twitter.com/classicportu

Thank you very much for agreeing to be on the blog, Robin, and I’m so pleased that you’re loving life in my home city & birthplace, London.  Going back some generations though, my mum’s family (via her dad) originally came from Portugal.  I’m loving how your idea for Classic Portuguese came about too.  Dear readers, have you ever experienced such a moment when a visit to somewhere changed the course of your life?  Don’t be shy, do share your experiences, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs published with kind permission from Robin da Silva/Classic Portuguese.

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An Interview With My Dress List

Imagine scenario A:  You are invited to a wedding reception, you buy a new outfit only to find another guest has the same dress sense as you.  Imagine scenario B:  You have been invited to a prestigious social gathering and you don’t want to look overdressed or underdressed or drop a social faux pas.  Imagine scenario C:  You want to host a party, you have an idea for a theme but unsure how to get your ideas on dress over to your guests.  Well, my guest on the blog tonight has launched an app that can address all three scenarios.  I recently caught up with Leila, founder of My Dress List, to find out more…. Hi Leila!

Hi! My name is Leila,  I have  just turned 30 and I’m the founder and CEO of My Dress List app. Originally from France,  I actually live in London . What an amazing city! I love fashion and technology.

What was the inspiration behind developing your app, My Dress List?

My dress list was created to solve a problem . Most women love dressing up  & looking their best whilst attending events, unfortunately there is always a little chance  that you turn up at events not feeling your best. How many people attend events feeling underdressed, overdressed or wearing the same as someone else? How many people spend hours trying different outfits without being satisfied? How many people decide to skip events because they don’t know what to wear? Our answer is too much. Women work so hard, so when it comes to having fun with friends and family they should have a tool to guide them. My Dress List was born with an attention to details – guiding users by creating a platform that helps people feel good whilst enjoying events.  You can create events, personalise your page and invite your friends. Once invited every person will be able to see what the others will wear without knowing who is who. You will just know, for example, that there are already 2 people wearing red dresses or blue jumpsuits, etc. It’s visual so it’s easy and you can be sure to feel unique. Going to events feeling and looking your best is the main objective for My Dress List.

 

As a party-planning tool, what makes My Dress List so appealing to customers?

My Dress List is popular for a few reasons: people love planning big events with their friends; they love sharing pictures;they love to give fashion advice to their friends. My Dress List helps girls feel better together. The app also acts as a guide, when the host creates an event, she can add information such as select color swatches and add location time, etc. Once done, every guest will receive information and see what others plan to wear. Sometimes on party invites, the dress code – whether casual or formal – is not clear, therefore, with the chance to visualise what people are going to wear beforehand, you can be sure to understand the dress code and see it. It’s so easy you will love it.

 

I love the idea that someone can download the photos onto the app of the outfits they plan to wear to a party, for example. It does cut down the odds of turning up in the same outfit as somebody else – which has happened to me before at a wedding. What kind of reasons did you decide to create My Dress List as a photo-sharing app too?

The app was created to guide people as a group. Women are so supportive of each other, but having your own style is also very important. In a group of friends everybody has got their own identity but sometimes it happens that you do buy the same clothes and I think it’s really nice but,  going to a special event, wearing exactly the same dress as your friend can be a little bit uncomfortable. For example: you plan to go the Races on Ascot Ladies Day. You are a group of 12 girlfriends  so using My Dress List you can all see what everyone will  be wearing as soon as they get their outfit. Being sure that everyone is not wearing the same style or the same colour or simply the same dress can ensure that everyone can spend the day feeling their best.That’s why My Dress List is an asset for every woman because it gives her assurance that  when you attend events you are satisfied with your outfit.

Can the app be downloaded globally?

The app is available worldwide, in IOS and IPAD. My Dress List can be used for every type of event: girls night outs, proms, weddings, birthdays, Halloween, galas, fashion events, corporate and much more. 

Prior to the app launch in September 2016, what was your career background? Have you got any other app ideas up your sleeve?

Before My Dress List I worked in advertising and sales for years, but I had always wanted to do something related to fashion . Technology just happens to be the answer. The fusion between both made me decide to launch My Dress List in September 2016. I’m focusing on My Dress List at the moment but  I would love to launch two more apps with a fun theme. Look out 2017!

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

Depending on  the situation, I can be find wearing trousers and  a shirt or a pencil dress at work; a midi dress when I socialise and just jeans and a lace top at the weekend.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

When it come to fashion, it’s such a privilege to live in London. With retailers  like Selfridges, Harrods and much more, the list is endless. However, I have to say  that I love shopping online – finding the perfect dress whilst sitting confortably is definitely my favourite.

What’s next on your fashion wishlist?

With the sales on, I’m looking for the perfect coat that will help me get though this cold winter.

Boots or Shoes?

I love sandals and heels in Summer but, at the moment, my heeled boots are the perfect companion.

Links you would like to share.

Check our website: www.mydresslist.com
Download our free app : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-dress-list-share-your-fashion/id1130319985?mt=8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dresslist
Youtube: https://youtu.be/adKYqEr9Quw

Thank you Leila for introducing the app on my blog.  So, dear readers, have you ever encountered  an embarrassing moment where you’ve been to a formal function dressed in the same outfit as somebody else? Or have you attended an event where you’ve turned up overdressed or underdressed?  Come on, spill the beans – I’d love to know, so please do comment!

Linda x

Photos have been published with the kind permission of My Dress List. 

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