Birds of a Feather

537172_453620408024958_795873542_nWho would have thought that our feathered friends would be a sought after fashion print trend?! This winter, owls have adorned several jumpers, socks etc and as we look ahead to spring and summer, the owls are still there, along with other flocks of birds, including doves and peacocks.  What a pretty trend it is – wide range of colours incorporating other seasonal trends including monochrome and neon – plus a wide range of prints from ditsy to large “in your face” motifs.  It makes a pleasant alternative to the springtime florals, so come and have a look at what I’ve discovered and uncovered this week….

Starting with jewellery, I was immediately taken by the Bird Skull Ring by Seventh Circle Artworks, who I interviewed a few weeks ago (Metallica –  The Trend). Alex has just created this fabulous ring from a real found bird skull and is made from solid sterling silver. (See photo).bird skull ring 2 Another ring that stuck out from the crowd is the brightly coloured resin, enamel and gold tone metal bird stretch ring by Betsey Johnson. Owl necklaces are plentiful at the moment and look good worn with a higher neck black or navy unadorned shift dress – my favourites include the owl & leaf pendant metal necklace from Bon Prix; the large Mikey owl necklace with a furry touch that just screams for you to lovingly have a stroke! (see photo)mikey-gold-large-owl-necklace-product-1-3337025-983105473_large_flex; the Cecilia vintage owl necklace featuring a double ribbon, and an embellished front with an owl & flower charms; the colourful Modcloth owl say necklace with ruby-esque owls and cobalt enamel finish; the crystal embellished owl pendant from Mango ; and the vintage WMA art deco black eye bronze owl retro necklace. When it comes to earrings, the delicate filigree metal black “How The Caged Bird Swings” earrings by Modcloth are certainly to be a talking point (see photo);modcloth-black-how-the-caged-bird-swings-earrings-product-1-5139751-067845791_large_flex and I loved the cute heart shaped owl earrings from Cafe Press. If you’re a fan of cuff bracelets, then the bird-print wooden cuff bracelet by Isabel Marant, might just appeal to you; and if you’re in the market for a new watch this Spring, check out the Helen owl face watch from River Island with its cute owl design print watch.

When it comes to hosiery, I expected to find lots of socks with cute owls – and I did ! – but I was pleasantly surprised to find wearable tights!! When it comes to tights featuring owls – then these pretty cute tights with swooping owls and fluttering butterflies by Flirt definitely fit the bill. They’d look really pretty with a cream coloured plain shift or tunic and some taupe boots.  Other bird tights spotted include the Emteesee Embellished Tattoo Tights Rockabilly Swallow Print – these 60 denier tights have been screen printed in white then embellished using a gold nailhead for the swallow beak ; and the Rev Peacock feather tights in a light skin colour with a feather tattoo print on the leg. Best socks I’ve seen this week are the Sock It To Me Funky Knee High Socks with a dinky tree owl design (see photo)


and from Top Shop, the blue up and away bird design ankle socks. For padding around the house check out the chunky knit owl slipper sock from Riding Sock Co. with 3D owls on the upper!! Certainly different!

Some pretty bird print bras/underwear around for the Spring. Blue bras make a pleasant change from white/black/nude – my favourites are the Secrets blue pin tuck bird print padded bra with ribbon slot detailing and the New Look blue birds balconette bra with a blue lace trim & bow detail.  Also check out the pretty bird and flower print teddy with a drawstring & butterfly fastening front from George at Asda.

Looking ahead to the summertime, New Look has the Kelly Brook range swimwear that’s worth glancing at in an extremely pretty blue rose and bird print – I particularly like the bandeau swimsuit and the halter neck bikini.

So, off to bed we go and for fans of the onesie I urge to visit Missguided’s site – the Ausiana Knitted Owl Embroidered Onesie has a cute embroidered owl on the back and is an exclusive to Missguided. Pyjamas though, I like the George at Asda’s Bird Print Pyjama Set with its metallic print vest top and co-ordinating bird print shorts; also, from Cafe Press, is the super cute 100% cotton Owl Always Love You Pyjamas.

Bird print dresses in all styles are in abundance this season, and I spotted at my local Factory Shop this week some pretty bird print styles too. Here are a selection of the best on the net that I spotted this week. For this chilly weather long and three quarter sleeved dresses are a sensible option:  the elegant cream fitted embellished bird dress with bird sequin detail around the neckline from Miss Selfridge; the jazzy blue paisley bird print tunic dress with contrast collar and cuffs by Uttam Boutique; the soft bird printed jersey fabric day dress from Warehouse; and the designer Roberto Cavalli Black Multi Belted Feather Print Dress.(see photo)roberto-cavalli-black-black-multi-belted-feather-print-dress-product-1-5007708-176110757_large_flex. For the young and trendy, I spied these dresses for you: the retro inspired colourful Love Label cut-out shoulder bird print dress; the georgette-style AX Paris bird print frill prom dress with a satin tie belt; the machine washable Warehouse metallic bird print dress; and the burgundy/black Club L bird flock skater dress with belt. More classically styled dresses include the crepe bird print dress by Victoria Beckham that has been developed to create a minimalist silhouette; the wrap front multi bird print epaulette dress and the black peplum dress decorated with flocks of white birds, both from Dorothy Perkins; the black dress with a gold foil bird print from Simply Be; the luxurious bird printed 100% silk and lace dress by Huishan Zhang; the trendy BooHoo Alexa bird and feather printed peplum midi dress; the fabulous retro Rebecca Taylor Love Bird shift dress with a very trendy neon pink colourblock skirt; the asymmetrical hemmed Thakoon Pink Peacock Feather Dress (see photo);thakoon-nude-peacock-feather-dress-product-3-4518671-227786998_large_flex and from the brilliant team at Modcloth we have the “Midnight Bird Song” collection of dresses – 100% organic cotton frock with grey quilted doves on embroidered branches or the “lovebirds” version with blue and grey patchwork doves.  The 50s look dresses with fuller skirts are also enjoying a revival, again Modcloth have a vast collection,my favourite being the green “Delightful as a Feather” A line dress (see photo)modcloth-peacock-delightful-as-a-feather-dress-product-1-5709676-552672014_large_flex. However, New Look too have captured the look with their “Mela” navy bird print half sleeved belted waist dress and the “Yumi” blue bird spot frill edge wrap front dress – and take a look too at the stunning Sessun Red Beauvoir Black Bird Print 100% silk dress with a deep V neck – just the dress to match your luscious red lipstick! For the hot summer party you may be tempted with the lightweight Traffic People bird print bandeau dress …I can smell the BBQ already…..

But, it’s still winter (boo!) and knitwear is still important so I have sourced some funky jumpers to help stave off the chill. Favourite jumpers include the round necked sequin embellished owl print jumper and scarf set from Bon Prix; the BHS navy multi bird and stripe three quarter sleeved jumper; the soft yarn crew neck navy love birds jumper from Dorothy Perkins; the cotton-blend French Connection Lady Owl sequin jumper (see photo)french-connection-grey-lady-owl-sequin-jumper-product-1-4560549-678151879_large_flex; the New Look stone crochet owl knitted top, with a three quarter length roll sleeve design and crochet owl motif; the scoop necklined with bound edge Fast Fashion owl print jumper; the black/white intertwined tweed knit Krisp owl printed sweater; and the black mesh knit Fashion Union black owl wave jumper.  For cardigan fans check out the all over black bird print longline New Look “Mela” mink cardigan and Ted Baker’s “Fenella” bird watching cardigan with metallic Ted Baker branded buttons. If a hoody is more “you”, then you may like the Volcom Snow Owl Hoodie Sweater Top.  Lastly, I fell in love with Joe Brown’s short sleeved fab and funky owl tunic with its quirky basket weave design!

There is also an abundance of tees, vests, short sleeved blouses/shell tops and long sleeved tops – just perfect for wearing with jeans,white cropped trousers and dinky denim hot pants. The best of the tees found this week include the longline round necked bird and tree print top from M & S; the photographic printed praslin green digital bird print dip hem tee from New Look; the cap sleeved Dorothy Perkins bird print bow neck top; the “Rosie” tie front tee with a bird illustration around the neckline from Oasis; the V necked and shaped hem Evans black bird motif jersey top; the Ted Baker “Dallis” bird hop graphic top; the graphic owl printed tee from Modcloth; the owl print satin with chiffon panel and stud detail Cutie top;  and the white Cafe Press flat owl t shirt.  I’m a great fan of vest/tank style tops and my favourites this week include the metallic bird print shell top from Warehouse; the bird collage racerback tank by Helmut Lang; the silky polyfabric Oasis bird print top (see photo)oasis-multicoral-top-in-bird-print-product-1-6313900-092494394_large_flex; and the Home of Fashion black owl print sleeveless vest. If you want to cover up your arms, I  recommend the “Amalie” georgette bird of prey shirt from BooHoo; the three quarter length sleeved owl print blouse with a Peter Pan collar from M&S; the unusual oversized porcelain bird shirt from TopShop (see photo);topshop-cream-oversize-porcelain-bird-shirt-product-1-5995377-424216103_large_flex the 100% silk lined Proenza Schouler quilted bird sweatshirt; and from Modcloth, the sheer blouse with a print of black owls over an orange background.  If you’re looking for a smart top for wearing under suits for the office or for a formal dinner date, then check out the chartreuse/green bird printed silk top by L’Wren Scott; the blackbird print lace collar bubblehem top from New look; the ruffled hem and smocked back bird-print silk top from See by Chloe; the birdwatching print with a contrasting collar shirt by Ted Baker; and the cowl necked short capped sleeved feather print top by Helmut Lang.

What to wear with your new funky tops?  Flirty skater skirts from New Look – black bird print skater skirt with an included red skinny belt; from Modcloth – the elasticated waist grey feather “The Storm” skirt (see photo)modcloth-grey-feather-the-storm-skirt-product-1-5142891-555572101_large_flex; and from Lulu & Co – the full skirt in owl print with neon trim.  My overall favourite skirt this week has to be the knee length Mantaray dark grey jersey skirt with a bright floral and bird design pattern!

For trouser fans, the Ted Baker bird printed leggings with metallic button fastening and the Cafe Press 100% cotton fleece purple owl sweatpants with a drawstring waist – both styles would look fab with slouchy sweaters and fur lined slouchy boots. Or how about some Theory Mitrana bird print silk pants

Looking ahead to Spring there are a couple of jackets that would be a colourful addition to your wardrobe. Trending the blazer style go Fashion Union with its cream all over bird print jacket; and New look with its “Yumi” black bird print blazer featuring heart button pockets – this blazer looks stunning when worn with a white pussybow blouse and shorts – ideal for rocking this season’s monochrome look!  If there’s still a chill in the air, be snug in the funnel necked bird print fleece from Marks & Spencer.

I noticed the other day on TV an actress on the red carpet ( I can’t recall who it was) proudly sporting an owl handbag – she was wearing a plain red dress and the owl handbag against the bright red background actually looked fab!  To grab yourself a spot in the limelight, check out these funky bags: the Elliott Lucca Intreccio Tote with a polyester lining and leather handle (see photo);

elliott-lucca-peacock-feather-intreccio-tote-product-1-5122992-620144168_large_flex the Lanvin large multicoloured feather zip clutch; from ASOS the leather-look fabric “Kissing Birds” across body bag and the tassel bowler bag with owl fitting & twin grab handles; the metallic leather Burberry “Alma” owl convertible clutch; from SwankySwans the felt & distressed leather-effect detailed owl bag and the girl’s “Barrita” owl print laminate satchel; the 100% cotton Innocent Lifestyle owl patch bag; from Cafe Press “Owl Love” range which include a nylon owl motif gym bag and a 100% cotton canvas tote bag. For purse, take a look at the Ollie & Nic “Eric” owl purse (see photo)ollie-nic-multi-coloured-eric-owl-purse-product-1-5468277-456061430_large_flex; What Kate Did Next By Kate Sheridan navy owl print purse; and Mantaray’s pink appliquéd  owl & butterfly coin purse.

Looking at other accessories – how about a cheerful scarf? From New Look, we have the teens black/grey bird print scarf; from White Stuff, the off white bird 100% wool scarf; from We Are Owls printed cashmere scarf; from SwankySwans, the navy blue quirky flamingo print scarf and the black cute owl print long scarf. Add a touch of organic charm with the wide brimmed white pheasant feather rush hat by Littledoe (see photo)littledoe-white-white-pheasant-feather-rush-hat-product-1-5459561-380613821_large_flex. Cafe Press has some chic technical gear – the lightweight trendy brown owl iPhone 5 case, the bold orange owl with leaves iPhone case, the 2 piece owl print iPhone 4 hard slider case, and the brown owl gel mousepad – these are just a handful of what is available. Cafe Press also offer other owl print goods including an elegant & water-resistant lined owl print toiletry bag; a stoneware retro owl print small pet bowl; an “Owls TooHoo Three” small mug; a 10 inch owl love wall clock ; and a customisable whimsical owl thermos.  Not found at Cafe Press, but equally as quirky and would cheer up any washing line, is the 100% cotton Mister Weavers Owl Peg Bag with a metal hanging hook (see photo).

Men, oh men… birds adorn your tees and briefs this season! For tees I particularly liked the white 3 eyed owl print tee  by TBClub Clothing; the 100% cotton regular fit Label Lab owl print tee; and the 100% viscose knitted jersey owl printed tee from Religion (see photo).
As for briefs, yet again Cafe Press have some boxers that may appeal – the Owl Always Love You boxers (corny title, I know!) and the roomy Snowy Owl Boxer shorts.

SHOES  Another batch of fabulous footwear again this week, all with a bird theme and encompassing all styles,tastes,prices and heels:

And now I’m pleased to welcome onto the blog this week my gorgeous and talented friend Lisa Goddard, whose cute ‘n’ cuddly owls and foxes have brought delight to many youngsters …Hi Lisa, please introduce yourself:me_sewing_close_up

My name is Lisa and I have been designing and making owls, foxes, raggy dolls and decorations under the name ‘Daisy-Doodles’ for approx 4 years.

What was the inspiration behind making your rag dolls and cute owls?

I started by making bunnies, owls and small decorations for my own children and for presents.  They were so well received that I decided to have stalls at local events, and set up an online shop.  Over the past few years my repertoire has increased and changed, the foxes and dolls seem to be the most popular items. I made the first rag doll for Mimi (my youngest), she still takes it to bed every night along with the original Miss Foxy as she calls it!

I collect vintage fabric and trimmings and love scouring car boots and charity shops to find them.  I then use them to make the outfits for the dolls, it’s great to gauge people’s reactions when they see fabric that reminds them of their granny or their childhood.  Many a doll has been sold because she’s wearing a dress that brings back memories.  The owls are great to make because I get to use lots of different fabrics on each one, they are all totally unique.
foxes_owls_and_dolls_pic
Have you been asked to make anything unusual?
I have just completed a commission for a pair of foxes wearing bling, to be given as gifts to a real life Mr and Mrs Fox.  They were so pleased with them that they themselves have asked me to make another pair, this time wearing festive outfits ready for  next Christmas!  I have also recently made and sold out of tweed moustache brooches!
What has been your favourite item to date that you’ve created?
I always enjoy making the first one of anything.  I love getting the ideas, sketching them out, making the pattern and then see it come to life.
What  would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet? 
That is such a difficult question because I don’t have enough hours in the day to make the things that I have already planned out let alone the things that I haven’t thought of yet!1
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
My style tends to be quite casual.  I nearly always wear leggings (gasp!) with a tunic style top and a brightly coloured/patterned cardigan.  I like to accessorize and have lots of bold necklaces and rings particularly when I find myself wearing all black. I live in my black leather DUO boots, flats for daytime and wedges for evening.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Being of a certain size, the high street can be quite restrictive.  I often shop in TKMaxx as they stock larger sizes and the clothes are more individual.  Online (and when in London) I love Gudrun Sjoden.  The clothes are pricey but the fabrics, colours and cut of the clothes are fabulous.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I am on an eternal search for a pair of wedge evening shoes ( animal print or black suede) that are wide enough yet comfortable and don’t slip off.
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots because then I can get away with leggings and longer tops.  Comfort all the way!
Links you would like to share:
My website address is www.daisy-doodles.co.uk  having a major overhaul in the next few weeks so don’t be put off.
You can follow me on twitter  @ daisydoodlesx
Like me on Facebook:  Daisy-Doodles
Thank you very much Lisa for chatting to us!  As always, join the facebook group Boots Shoes et Al  (press the icon) for pictures to drool over, sell your unwanted shoes, buy some bargains and generally chat to other likeminded shoe addicts!
Linda x
Photo credits: Adam Hobden Photography;  Alex Palmer ; Lyst; Amazon UK; Lisa Goddard
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Love Hearts

Love me tender toes by beautiful moment art

“Love Is In The Air, Everywhere I Look Around….”  the heart print is definitely popular this season and looks set to last well into spring and summer… adorning beachwear, make up collections, playsuits, shorts, footwear, household items, nightwear, trousers, dresses, skirts, jumpers, tees, vests, hoodies, belts, gloves, scarves, iPhone accessories, bags, purses, tights, stockings, socks, underwear, jackets, jewellery and watches. The love heart theme certainly isn’t just confined to next week’s Valentines Day and weddings!  Nor is the heart theme confined to ladies wear – yes, I’ve found some menswear bits that are not cutesy hearts but hearts nevertheless! This year near enough every designer, high street shop, department store and trendy boutique features hearts somewhere in their 2013 collections – from ditsy all over prints to bold sequin heart shapes, from mesh hearts to neat cut outs, in all colours…. so, what do you heart??!!
1326 Contrast Hearts

I’m chuffed to welcome onto the blog this week the talented Claire from Beautiful Moments Art –  Hiya Claire, please introduce yourself:

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Hi! I’m Claire Jones, an Essex based artist and the face behind Beautiful Moment Wedding and Occasion Art,which specialises in bespoke artwork and unique personalised hand painted shoe.

Your artwork on shoes is exquisite – where do you get your inspiration from?

I see inspiration in everything around me. Sometimes just the way the light reflects off a surface can make me think that would make a great textural effect for my artwork, other times its as straight forward as hearing song lyrics and thinking they would look great on shoes!

Have you had any strange design requests?

No not really strange as yet! A lady wants her company name on a pair to advertise her brand in a memorable way and one of my brides is having a cute saying her and her fiance say to each other on her shoes which is fun. I’ve also had another inquiry for a Paris themed shoe incorporating feathers but I’m looking forward to someone asking for something really off the wall as it brings out the creativity from the artist’s point of view to visualise the idea.

To date, what has been the most popular artwork theme on a wedding shoe?detail of ivory on ivory with painted flower wedding shoe by beautiful moment

Flowers! And also for brides the ivory on ivory technique I do is popular as it retains the traditional look of a bridal shoe but can include lots of personal details or words still.

What’s your favourite artwork to create – flowers, portraits, etc? 
I love both and that was my starting point for Beautiful Moment, I wanted to do something that combined the two which I do with my portraits. I love making things pretty and have a slight obsession with hearts so painting shoes with romantic decoration such as lace hearts and flowers is a pleasure.Love me tender shoes by Beautiful Moment art

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

A Polo neck and denim skirt with opaque tights and my timberland biker knee boots is probably my favourite outfit for winter. Im not a stereotypical Essex girl by any means when it comes to fashion. I do love girly things like pretty dresses and skirts in the summer but also like retro clothing, surf chic and anything lilac or purple!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I buy things from so many different places from Tesco to Karen Millen so I don’t really have a favourite. I seem to have quite a few pairs of shoes from Nine West so I would say that’s my favourite shoe retailer. The last item of clothing I bought was from the Monsoon sale.
What’s next on your shoe/clothes wishlist?
A shopping spree in New York would be lovely! I love Macys department store! greatest day shoes backs by beautiful moment art

Boots or Shoes? 

To look at, high heel shoes are beautiful and my all time favourite pair of shoes are some purple suede stilettos, but in reality I wear knee boots much more both flat and heeled.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
I love my social media so pop on over to my twitter and facebook page and say Hi!

Thank you Claire for sharing your exquisite work with us – absolutely beautiful!  Dear readers – go & spread the love!!Beautiful Moment art Wedding Shoes by David Turner

LINDA x

PHOTO CREDITS: Essexee Legs; Claire Jones; David Turner; Wendy Beckett

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Laced Up And Netted

A little bit of sauciness this week as  I’ve interviewed the fab “Bad Girls” photographer Claire Seville … so are you ready for your dose of sauce?

On my blog this week  is the sexy and talented Claire Seville, “Photographer For Bad Girls”. Hi Claire, please introduce yourself!

I’m Claire Seville and I take pictures of wonderful ladies!!! I love retro, vintage, pinup, latex, chocolate, fast cars, and dancing till my feet hurt!

What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?

I used to do a little modelling when I was younger and I kind of fell into to in naturally. I also enjoyed art and being creative and photography was the one outlet that got me hooked.

What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?

Recently I had a shoot with SINderella Rockafella and she wanted to create a cobweb bra out of liquid latex and I had to paint it on for her, that was a pretty unusual experience, I got right into it though and amazed myself that I actually did an ok job!

What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?

I absolutely adored shooting Masuimi Max, she’s such a doll and we had a real good giggle through out the shoot. I was a bit nervous to begin with as I had admired from when I was modelling myself, but she’s so lovely the nerves soon went. We’re getting together again next year and I can’t wait to work with her again.

I love your catchphrase ” Photography for Bad Girls ” – but, if you were given the chance, who would you love to photograph? Who would be your ultimate “Bad Girl”? 

Madonna!!! She has such a great attitude, she doesn’t give a crap and loves to shock, she’d be amazing to shoot as I think she’d be up for pretty much anything. There’s loads of other models I’d like to shoot too, Bizarre did a shoot with Vivi Stirling and Fae Raven, they looked smocking hot together, I’d love to get my hands on the pair of them.

What style of photography would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I’m hoping to do some erotic art next year, I have lots of ideas I want to try out. I rarely move far from the sexy stuff, it’s what excites me!

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

I’m a real chameleon to be honest, I wear dresses, shiny leggings, leather, denim, high heels, wedges, high tops, dr martens, creepers, always got a slight rock chic edge though. I wear a lot of black.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Topshop has been pretty good this season and suits my style. I’m not really a label kind of girl although I do have some beautiful Vivienne Westwood pieces. I recently brought some suspend leggings from Black Milk Clothing which were cool. Pinup Girl Clothing, Doll Chops Clothing, Kreepsville 666, Kissin Bombs Design all have some mega cool stuff and you can’t beat a bit of latex Psiclone make a lot of custom stuff for me.

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

I’d love a 80s classic rock style fringed leather jacket, haven’t found one I like yet though.

Boots or Shoes?

Do I have to choose? lol I wear a lot of boots but for the right occasion it’s got to be heels, providing I don’t have to do too much walking!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Thanks Claire!  

Linda x

Photo credits: Claire Seville

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Metallica the Trend

Metallica …it hit the fashion runways in both 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make too much of an impression …then along comes 2013 and metallica comes alive for both men and women! This time the trend seems destined to stay throughout winter, spring and into summer – especially as Summer 2013 looks set to have the colour white as a main fashion colour – because, combined with white, golds and silvers enhance a tan quite unlike any other colour.  Back to winter and spring though – gold and silver combined with black and greys glamourise an everyday outfit and although the party season may be over for some, there is no reason not to strut your stuff at the local club in some sparkly wear. There’s nothing more sexy than throwing on a black leather biker jacket  over a little metallic number, adding some heels and your weekend is sorted.  This year though, metallic colours are not just limited to silver and gold – explore copper rose/coral (fab as a top teamed with khaki shorts or chinos), metallic beiges ( brightens up an “ageing” colour!) and oyster pink ( beautiful wedding alternative). It is not just sequins either – satin (a la 1970s/1980s), dyed leather,lurex knit, silk mix metallic materials, and even fine silk twill laminated with a thin layer of foil!  2013 most certainly has arrived in a bright and shimmery fashion!

Time for a chat – I’d like to welcome to the blog this week Alex from Seventh Circle Artworks … Hi Alex, introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Alex Palmer, owner/designer/maker at Seventh Circle Artworks.
What made you want to pursue a career as a jewellery craftsman?
I studied sculpture and fine art at college and have played in various bands over the years, so combining the two creative elements seemed like a natural thing. I made my first piece for the US metal band Saint Vitus and sold all 25 limited edition rings in just one day on their merchandise stand at a Dutch festival. To be there with them, watch them play, and generally have a great weekend of rock n roll because I made some rings is about as much incentive as I need to want to do this professionally!
What has been the most unusual jewellery request you’ve had ?
Nothing too unusual as yet but its early days! I have made a ring for someone with the words “Life Is Too Short” engraved in large gothic style lettering around the outside. It was for a guy who had been going through treatment for cancer for the past year and wanted something to remind him that indeed, life IS too short, don’t waste a minute of it. Not unusual, but a beautiful piece to be asked to create.
What has been your favourite jewellery piece to date?
My favourite piece would have to be the celtic torc I made for the singer of Saint Vitus, Wino. We had talked for a year about it but finally confirmed it with only 2 weeks before he arrived for one day in London! That kind of piece would normally take around 6-8 weeks, but the pressure really helped me pull it off. From the hand carved wolf heads to the hand twisted silver wire torc itself, it’s the one piece I genuinely did not want to hand over to the client.
Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a jewellery piece?
If it’s a custom piece I like to find out something about the client first in order to get a grasp of where their inspiration comes from. For my own work, generally the darker things in life inspire me. Skulls, occult symbols etc. Music also has a big influence on my work. Depending on what kind of piece I am making I will listen to something like ACDC for the more rock n roll edge or maybe some doomier underground stuff like Amber Asylum to get that extra bit of atmosphere to the piece.
What style of jewellery would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?
I’d like to try designing jewellery with precious/semi-precious stones as the centre piece of the design. I am hopefully going to be working on a collaboration with French based Oblivion Jewellery next year which will fulfil that goal. We already spoke a few times online about ideas and we both come from a similar music related background so I’m quite excited about what we can come up with.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
Haha!! Not something I usually get asked to be honest with you! Pretty old school rocker in that sense, denim and leather! I can always rely on my New Rock biker boots and Lee jeans without fail.  
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
There is a great handmade leather stall in Camden market where I got a cool wristband from a few months ago. They are really interesting guys and happy to talk about what they do with you, and go the extra mile to make you something you want. There are a few stalls and shops like that in Camden, you just have to search for them.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More band t-shirts I imagine! I’m a sucker for buying shirts at gigs.
Boots or Shoes? 
Boots without a doubt. They are comfortable, hardwearing and as a big 6ft guy they are chunky so suit me better than shoes. And because they simply rock!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Alex…don’t forget to check out the fabulous Twins of Evil Torc Bangle and the Stone Dead Forever Skull Eternity Ring, as pictured – great ideas for Valentines Day!

Linda x

Picture Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Marie GC Photography; Zuleika Fray;Alex Palmer

 

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Man Up!

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first blogpost of 2013 – a post almost entirely dedicated to menswear!  I’m talking this week with the Man about Town himself, Bret Hollywood.

Bret Hollywood  is an American/British Television personality and MMA ring announcer. He has worked for most major MMA promotions across Europe and the Middle East including Cage Rage UK’s Ultimate Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Contender IFPA and others. He has hosted the Miss Great Britain Pageant, several charity events, was featured on the Sky Atlantic show “The Guest Wing” He is known for his flamboyant dress and his trademark catch phrase “It’s Go Time”. He has been seen on live and pre-recorded televised MMA events in more than 70 countries! 

So, Hi Bret! How did you first get involved with Mixed Martial Arts in Britain?

I moved to the UK in 2007, and was married to my British wife Julia in 2008.  Needless to say I didn’t have many friends coming here from the US.  I have always had some form of martial arts in my life and on the way to work one day I noticed a sign that read “Unity Martial Arts” I thought to myself “hmmmm that would be a great place to meet some other like minded guys.” I looked them up on the Internet and found that they had Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I called and spoke to the instructor who actually turned out to be world-class champion. We had a chat and before I knew it I went in to check it out. The day I got there, he was in the middle of an MMA session, and the guys in the room were all big hitters!  They all held championship belts and had fought on some of the biggest shows in the UK. I got talking to one of them called Denniston about wrestling (which is where my background is) and he invited me to come to an afternoon sparring session. My very first ever MMA session was really more like a school yard beating! It was AWESOME!!! I’m still not sure if I’m game or stupid, especially at first! I would stand in front of anyone! That day I was absolutely killed! I broke my nose, got KO’d and learned why you should always keep your hands up! From there I was in!! Denniston and I became very close friends and before long I was managing him. Through him I made a lot of really good contacts into MMA. After a few months, I got my first invitation from a promoter.  He asked to MC his upcoming show, KAYO MMA because of my American accent. That show was televised on The Active Channel and from there it just sort of took off! Before I knew it, I was getting calls from all over the country and have never looked back.   I have now announced hundreds of shows all over the world and have been part of both live and prerecorded television broadcasts.  I have hosted my own weekly television chat show, and even stepped into the cage myself and had a fight for the Katie Piper Foundation.

Have you had any unusual experiences when you’ve been MC/Ring Announcer /TV host or as an after dinner speaker?

Hmmmm. I suppose there have been quite a few “Unusual experiences”  I can remember once when a fighter entered the cage and he was very excited to be there.  It was his first fight.  He began bouncing off the cage walls (you know, like a wrestler would do) and breathing really loud.  The cameraman looked at me and began to giggle, and it started me giggling too.  This poor guy was getting ready for the first fight of his life and we were all giggling.  I then had to stare down the barrel of the camera and announce him and try not to laugh. I have had production guys telling me jokes in my ear when I was doing a live broadcast, less than accurate information and all sorts.  At the end of the day I just try to be the most professional guy in the room and do my best.

You are known for your flamboyant clothing style, so,what has been your favourite outfit/jacket worn whilst hosting?

That’s a tough one!  I have a gold sequin jacket that I had made for me by Sir Tom Baker.  It is one of my favourites!  I had it made for a show I was doing in Amman Jordan.  I also have some gold Jeffery West boots to match.   This was probably the first really amazing outfit I bought.  It was a big deal for me because the show was in an exotic location and the promotion was gaining notoriety and I just knew that the crowd there would love the gold. I have others that I am really fond of as well.  I have another sequin jacket from Tom in black, and a red lame’ jacket with skull lining (also Sir Tom Baker) A black DJ with a big diamante skull on the back… its hard to pick one that is my favourite.  I also have boots to match them all!

What do you like  doing best – MC, ring announcer,tv host or after dinner speaker? 

I guess my favourite part of my job is the crowd interaction.  If it’s a fight night, there is nothing like stepping into the cage at the beginning of the night, the lights down and the buzz in the air…I step into the middle of the cage, The spot light hits me, I say “Gooooooooooooooooooood Evening!” and the crowd responds!  Then when it comes the main event of the evening, I announce the fight using my catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S GO TIME!!!!  And again, the crowd responds! I absolutely love it!  After the shows there is always an opportunity to meet fans, take photos and just chat in general.If on the other hand I’m hosting a dinner event, the atmosphere is a bit different, and I like the intimacy of a smaller crowd and the opportunity to spend more time with the attendees.  I love chatting to people I meet, and if they are fans, its even better.  I know sometimes some people are a bit shy about talking to someone who may be in front of the camera or on TV, but I don’t ever want anyone to be shy about approaching me.  I love chatting with fans!

What role would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I wish I could sing!  I would love to be a singer!  The trouble is I couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle on it !

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

Seneca said “We live not according to reason, but according to fashion”  I love that quote!  I think clothes say a lot about a person.  I tend to go for more in your face rock and roll stuff!  I love to stand out (as if you couldn’t tell already) I get a lot of stuff custom made and have very few stores that I go to. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yes, as you can tell, I am pretty particular about the things I wear.  I tend to do most of my shopping on Jermyn Street in London. Favourbrook does fantastic velevet jackets and waistcoats; New and Lingwood also do great waistcoats and lots of amazing skull stuff. I tend to get most of my shirts from Duchamp, or Etro, I love Blaqua in Carnaby Street for cufflinks, I have an amazing vintage Cavalli suede jacket that I just love and John Varvatos does some cool stuff too but more casual! I tend to be impulsive about jewelry, whenever I see something I like I will buy it.  I wear a lot of rings on my microphone hand, because I think it adds something to the close-ups for TV.I get most of my jackets made for me by Sir Tom Baker (no, not the Dr Who guy, the London bespoke tailor).  Tom is one of the coolest guys I know, and he dresses the most rock and roll rock stars in the world!  He has made suits for Robert Plant, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, Keith Flint from the Prodigy, Alice Cooper, Dave Stewart, David Hasselhof and of course me, Hollywood! I love the whole process of getting something made for me.  There is nothing like getting a bespoke suit handcrafted for you! I get all my shoes from Jeffery West.  In fact, with the exception of trainers, they are all I wear in or out of the cage!  I have about 30 pairs of shoes and boots from them.  Again, their shoes and boots can be seen on all sorts of rock stars and TV personalities.  Jeffery West designs shoes [that are] my style and I get a lot of attention because of them.  In fact I wore a bright red pair to a live show once and there were so many comments that night on Twitter that they actually trended.  I love it when stuff like that happens! From that night on, Jeffery West shoes have been one of my trademarks in the cage.  I even have a fantastic pair of silver skull encrusted Jeffery West boots that were made for me by the fab Milly J Shoes.  (In fact they now reside in the Northampton Shoe Museum)

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

Why a new pair of Boots of course !  I saw a preview of a new pair that Jeffery West is releasing in their next collection and I cant wait!  Other than that, I sometimes get an idea or a picture in my head of an outfit and then will go and try to get it made.  I always have a head full of ideas so I’m never short of things on my wish list.

Boots or Shoes? 

I always wear boots! In fact I even tweet a picture of my boots every day “the view from my desk”.  Of course I do wear shoes when I have meetings or am delivering presentations in my day job (The corporate world isn’t quite ready for Hollywood)  I just prefer boots and cannot find shoes that are as edgy as the boots I typically wear.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

You can find my fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HollywoodBret

 Twitter @HollywoodBret

And of course my website is http:// hollywoodmc.com

Thank you Bret and I hope you like some of the ideas I have highlighted! Don’t forget, ladies, keep in touch with the latest footwear and accessory bargains and styles by following the facebook group BOOTS SHOES ET AL  – just press the icon.

Linda x

Photo credits:  Jeffery-West;  Bret Freeman; Adam Hobden

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A Night At The Museum

It was a cold but clear night. Travelling from the wilds of the Essex salt marshes to the heartland of England’s shoe industry – Northampton – went myself and my husband, on Friday 23rd November 2012.  Our destination was the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery home to the world famous shoe collection – the second largest shoe collection in the world (the largest being in Ottawa, Canada), no less.

We had been invited to the Press and Celebrity Private Evening Viewing of the fabulous collection of Milly J Shoes and I had been looking forward to this evening for weeks!  Milly couldn’t have picked a better place to launch her exhibition – Northampton Museum is “Heaven on Earth” for shoe lovers and I fell head over heels in love with the place as soon as I stepped over the threshold. As well as shoes, the museum also has a prestigious collection of Italian and British artworks, including work by John Collier and David Hockney.  But let’s get back to shoes….as I was saying, the ground floor of the museum looks at shoe fashions, shoemaking and the significance of shoes and in the comfortable Shoe Lounge, currently exhibiting until 6 January 2013, is the fantastic artwork shoe creations of the delightful and unique Milly J.

Milly J Shoes – one-off art to wear shoes and shoe sculptures are unique and the work and creativity that goes into each and every item needs to be seen in the flesh, photographs cannot do them justice. I found myself looking at each and every shoe with awe and wonder – I have seen them before in photos on Milly’s website – but up close…well, the details blew me away!! The shoes are works of art, no doubt about that, but wearable too …and ever since Jodie Marsh stepped onto the This Morning’s set in her “teapot” shoes designed by Milly J …other celebrities and non celebrities have been clamouring to own their own unique pair and be part of the Milly J Shoe  Envy Club.

So, which were my favourites?  I loved the Red & Black Vampire Diaries court shoes that matched the dress I was wearing that night…but they are owned by a lovely lady called Emma, who won’t part with them (understandably!) I also had a crush on the green lace up army boots …little army figures climbed up the heel and around the shoe …they would look fab with my jeans although my husband did point out that one trip and the little man at the front would probably come to a sad end!

 My husband Adam loved the boots made for TV personality and MMA Announcer Bret “Hollywood” Freeman …they started life as a pair of Jeffery West white boots and with a little magic from Milly they have been transformed into boots full of skulls! Designer Guy West (Jeffery -West) also admired the transformation! (Jeffery – West are also exhibiting their 25th Anniversary exhibition in the adjoining room until 9 February 2013 – to the delight of my Adam and Bret who had a quick mooch around that exhibition too!)

Bret “Hollywood” Freeman opened the proceedings with a toast to Milly J and her achievements in just less than a year.Milly J presented to the museum a special exhibit called the Tap Shoe – this was a shoe in a black/white check (reminiscent of traditional bathroom tiling) with a tap and plug on it….hard to describe but it is a fab piece of artwork….

 

Milly J is certainly a talented lady …apart from wowing us all with her creative shoe artworks, she is a lovely chatty and friendly lady with a proud, supportive and equally lovely fiancé Mark, and her main forte is actually being an actress and classically trained singer …and she blew me away with her fantastic rendition of In The Summertime ...it was just a fantastic evening and the fabulous cupcakes with edible shoes on them also deserve a mention … these were provided by Cuppies ‘n’ Cream …delicious Natalie, thank you.

So, here are some of the gorgeous Milly J Shoes creations…made with lots of love…

Wedding boots with a difference…and the Birdcage…

Liquorice All sorts …Breast Cancer Awareness Shoe..

For photograph enthusiasts…these were another favourite of mine…

Oranges…ideal if you’re feeling fruity…

At the Cafe – look at the detail – menu board, tablecloth, crockery…

Rubik’s Cube…

Secret Garden…

Another pretty one…ladybirds and roses…another favourite contender..

 

 

Dotty Tea Pots..

 

 

 

 

 

These have removable candles on the front with faux flames …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now I’m pleased to welcome to the blog the unique lady that is Milly J. Hi Milly, I really enjoyed meeting you and seeing your creations close up… so please introduce yourself ..

I am Milly J, aka Emily J, the shoe artist

Your shoe designs are amazing! Where do you get your ideas from?

My inspiration comes entirely from my belief in what is possible. I do not hinder myself and I am not scared to take a risk and surprise myself. I am from a theatrical background and this has put me in good stead to truly go out with an idea and see it to the end process. My skills in communication, my love of surrealism, my upbringings abroad, culture, society, anthropology and food. Though what really inspires me are the people that come to me. By talking to them and building a rapport of what makes them tick is very important. By having a hook in any form of work, your work will breath life.
In your opinion, what has been your wackiest design?
To be honest, to me I know that those that perhaps are more “middle” of the road would see my designs as “whacky”, though it’s when you read the titles and start to understand the meanings behind the shoes, they make complete sense. Though in terms of un-conventionalism, I’d have to say, the Mad Hatter’s teapot. Not just due to the actual design, but also due to the whole psychology of the Mad Hatter Character. A totally bonkers entity that sees elements where perhaps elements are not apparent. I took this mentality and tried to create this through a shoe.
Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?
Yes, the Guardian Angel Shoe. This shoe was created almost straight after the passing of my brother. It is a shoe that is steeped in sensitivity,  based on “real” situation that is so very dear to me. A shoe that speaks of taking flight and letting what will be rest.
What do you like best about being a shoe designer?
The uninhibited nature of being an artist is so very liberating. Be able to realise that art is simply what works. Being able to create for not just yourself, but others too. The non selfish aspect of designing is so very special too, sharing your work with the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?
I am at heart not someone who is hindered by what the market perhaps may subtly tell us to wear.Like my work, I like to be free in the notion that there are so many possibilities for me to fit in to. So it could Boho, Rockabilly, preppy… what ever works for me.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I love etsy. As it’s an avenue where you can really enjoy hand made creations that are created by fellow artists and designers, from the heart. None of that manufactured, processed malarky!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I want to own a really nice Boho coat. I already have one, but another wouldn’t hurt! The type you can find in Camden. With silks and embroidery that speaks of craftmanship and skill.
Boots or Shoes?
Any works for me :-). I after all am a shoe person full stop. I love demonia boots to look at but I also love a dainty shoe to ponder over.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Milly …it was lovely to meet you …and don’t forget if you are in Northampton pop in to that gem that is the Northampton Museum and be mesmerised, as I was!!! In the meantime, check out her website and have a look at all the other creative works not shown here…Milly J surprises me daily with new creations!!! 
Linda x
Photo Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Linda Hobden
 

 

 

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Rock Chick

Rock Chick – perhaps my favourite genre in fashion/lifestyle terms! The Rock Chick can be casual – jeans,leather,tees,flat boots – and yet there is a twist, the Rock Chick can be devastatingly sexy and ladylike too! I came across a cartoon recently of the definition of  “The Rock Chick” – bleached blonde big hair, dressed in black with a studded black leather jacket and Doc Martens –  it’s a very 1980s viewpoint !! In 2012, the Rock Chick still favours the leather biker jacket and predominantly black clothes but other colours such as red, charcoal and purple do make an appearance.  The all black look is still achieved successfully by mixing the materials – black leather jacket worn with a black cotton tee, black denim skinny jeans and black patent Doc Martens or black suede studded heels – you get the drift!! Roses add femininity and studs adding embellishment …not forgetting the trademark skulls!  In 2012, mainstream fashion has embraced the rock chick look and everybody from designers through to High Street stores have studded and skulled every conceivable item …the leather jacket is seen as a must have item ( although I have owned a leather or faux leather jacket since 1981 when I bought a full length black leather coat with my first ever proper wage packet!)

 TOPS  T Shirts depicting images of your favourite group or the tour t shirts picked up at the concert venue, regardless of the year, are commonly worn by the rock chick at leisure, pubbing it or at gigs/festivals/other live music events. However, if you’re looking for a different sort of top…. tees with roses,skulls,motorbikes or glamourous stocking clad ladies are great alternatives to the band t shirt, in predominantly black, white or charcoal grey.

TROUSERS  Rock Chicks tend to favour black/dark denim skinny jeans or black leather trousers (although the leather trousers are not usually “fashion ” items but are part of the motorbike kit ).  An alternative trouser option would be leggings/jeggings – check out River Island’s Black coated Molly Jeggings; Rock Chick Punk Ripped Fashion Leggings (see photo); Top Shop’s Skinny Biker Trousers; or ring the changes with Boohoo’s Nadia Leopard Print Insert Wet Look Leggings – ideal for making that startling entrance, these look as though you’re wearing the shorts/tights combo!!

SHORTS  Another common trend amongst Rock Chicks is to wear short hot pants with tights and biker boots. Going for leather?  Then it has to be AllSaints Perry Leather Shorts, made with black garment washed lambskin.   For denim, go for Top Shop’s Moto Studded Cut Off Denim Shorts.

HOSIERY This season both Pamela Mann and Livco Corsetti have come up trumps with hosiery to suit the avid Rock Chick and would look stunning with the shorts,skirts and dresses described. Pamela Mann offers the Chainmail Tights, Opaque Crosses Tights and the Criss Cross Opaque Tights. From Livco Corsetti we have the sexy Irem and Merve leggings (see photo). Not forgetting stockings, check out Dolly Dagger’s Fishnet Lace Top Thigh High Stockings…

UNDERWEAR  Bralet tops are popular as underwear or as a top in its own right! H & M do a fabulous lingerie range in a black micro fibre and mesh material with zip details including push up bra, balconette bra, suspender belt, and shorts.  Republic also have a similar looking PU zip up bralet and if you want to really stand out in that Lady Gaga kind of way, then check out Miss Rebel’s Spikes Bralet Top in black with sharp gold spikes!!! For underwear to be worn as underwear…don’t be shocked…but head to Marks & Spencers (ok, I can’t believe I’m actually typing this either!!!)  … I’ve discovered a bra and brazilian knicker set that may tickle a Rock Chick’s fancy… Limited Edition Rose Print Lingerie … this isn’t your normal twee floral this is a black/black rose print – go on, have a look !!

DRESSES  Leather, leather look and figure hugging bodycon dresses are widely available this season which is good news for the Rock Chick when she wishes to party!  Choose velvet – River Island’s Black Baroque Velvet Panel Bodycon Dress is very sensual; Choose multi-leather – Ellos Lined Leather Dress – this shift dress comprises of a leather top section and a suede lower section and available in burgundy red or black; Choose Leather – Mugler’s three quarter sleeved stretch Nappa dress; Choose leather and lace – Mulberry’s Leather and Lace dress has three quarter length lace sleeves and top with a leather skater style skirt; Choose Leather Look – Miss Rebel’s Black Spiked One Shoulder Dress….

SKIRTS  Very popular at the moment is Top Shop’s Star Glitter Velvet Tube Maxi Skirt, which looks fab with a black leather jacket and one of the bralet or crop tops already mentioned. For something short and sweet, ASOS has a full skater skirt in leather – perfect for showing off those pins! My favourite style is the pencil skirt – H & M have an imitation black leather skirt with a small slit at the back or for something a little different, how about All Saints Spitalfields Metal Pencil Skirt ? This skirt is made of a gunmetal grey stretch metallic denim. Very cool!!

BAGS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES  Although bags are the “in” thing but I didn’t really see anything that screamed Rock Chick to me and for another season my favourite black leather studded handbag will be paraded about!   However, check out the craftsmen who make real rock chick and rock dude jewellery – Seventh Circle Artworks, for example – my personal favourites include their Jane Doe Silver Edition Skull Earrings and the Stone Dead Forever Ring ( an eternity ring with attitude!)

 JACKETS The biker style jacket is trendy this season and near enough every High Street shop and designer are selling versions in leather, PU or denim. The biker style jacket is an extremely versatile wardrobe staple and lends itself for a casual look as well as adding a bit of chic to a party dress.  Although the Rock Chick look tends to plump for black…be adventurous and try other colours too …

And now it’s time to welcome to this week’s blog the ultimate Rock Chick herself, Marie of Marie GC Photography! Hi Marie, I’ve been a big fan of your work for ages so I am really delighted to have been able to interview you! Please, introduce yourself to everybody else:

Hi I’m Marie, a pint-sized rock music and portrait photographer from London; with a penchant for skulls, tattoos, Vintage keys, to-do lists, cowboy boots, Jack Daniel’s and my beautiful family! Nice to meet you 🙂
What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?
As a teen, I was always carrying around a disposable or film camera to capture fun times with my friends that it got me the nickname ‘tourist’! To me, photography and pictures have always been a way of documenting memories, and emotions that get locked up in those images that you can re-live every time you look at them. It wasn’t until a good few years later, after being a graphic designer I realised that I actually wanted to pursue photography as a career. I continued to take my camera to days and nights out with friends, to see bands play and snap a few pics. People started to tell me I was really good at it and asked me if I would shoot their band. I got such a buzz out of combining the two things that I love – music and photography, that it seemed too good to be a job. Who can say that they actually LOVE their job?! It’s not really called a job then is it? Ok, well I do love my job!
What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?
Thankfully, I haven’t had a request that I find too unusual! Never say never though, so we will have to save that one for another time.
What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?
Hmmm. That’s like asking me about my favourite memory from my whole life! There are many memorable shoots; because either the band or model were just so much fun to be around and we worked well together. The pictures might not have turned out exactly how I liked or envisioned, but the people made an impact on me. Then there have been awesome images that have come out a shoot cut by time constraints or problems with hair and makeup and I look at those pictures and think about the problems and stress that happened on that particular shoot. There’s one shoot that sticks in my mind that was both an awesome outcome and a great story:
I had shot with a girl called Vykki in her rock band Solsikk. Shortly after that she booked me for some portrait shots to go in her portfolio. These pictures would be with her pet tarantula Zodi. I arrived at the location – a pure white bedroom with, fur, lace, pearls, glitter and Vykki in a pair of knickers and a diamante crown. It was a great setting! Working with a tarantula was a first for me. I wasn’t quite sure if the lights would be a problem and be traumatic for her, or she would pounce on Vykki’s face with her huge spider-like eyelashes and bite her. A couple of times she raised up her front legs, but Vykki calmed her down. I had got the shot that I wanted and it was better than I had even planned in my head. Sadly a week later Zodi died (not from the shoot, but she had a messed moult), but Vykki was so happy she did the shoot with her involved as she now has pictures to remember her by.(see photo)
What do you like best – shooting bands or capturing pin ups? 
That’s a difficult question! I love them equally and for different reasons. Shooting bands was where I started. Capturing a shot of a band/band member on stage that sums up their performance and for people to look at it and say “I was there, that’s exactly how I remember it too!” is such a buzz. It’s spur of the moment, riding on adrenaline and sometimes chasing around a guitarist or singer while they perform to get a picture in a set amount of time (photographers mainly get 3 songs, or 10 minutes in the photo pit for a band). Pin-up photography, for me, is planned, researched and precise. Working on my Dolls ‘n’ Divas projects were months and months of preparation for locations, outfits, hair, makeup, the right models and themes for each model. It is definitely the beautiful side of my photography (the bands mainly being sweaty men with hair all over the place!) With band and pin-up photography, I get to do all the things I enjoy and find challenging.
What style of photography would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 
I know this would never be possible, and it’s a bit crazy, but I do love Space Photography. To see the world from the bigger picture, the planets etc would be pretty cool. I follow the NASA guys on twitter and they post some spectacular images sometimes just from their iPhones. It would be very cool to explore with my camera past Earth. It would certainly put things in perspective when having a bad day with a press schedule or model throwing a strop!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?
My style has never been about fashion and the latest trends. Sometimes I go into shops and not find a single thing I like, and then other times I want everything – that happens typically when I don’t have the money. Rocker and Retro are my main styles, sometimes I mix them up a little. Staple wardrobe items are jeans, leather trousers, leather jacket, vests, cardigans (loving those cropped ones at the moment), customised band tees – some done by friends, others by me. I have a pair of white leather cowboy boots that I’m refusing to throw out despite them being ripped on one all the way down the back and the white leather now looking a bit grey. I will try and re-vamp them again.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
At the moment, I’m mainly looking at ASOS, All Saints, Kurt Geiger, Pin-Up Girl Clothing, What Katie Did, Black Milk, and Aldo. Their styles are very ‘me’ at the moment. Skulls, studs and black are everywhere at the moment so it’s very easy to find things that I like. Also I love to go to the Vintage stores in Portobello, Camden etc to dig out some pre-loved items.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Ahhh I’m drooling over a pair of boots on the All Saints website right now. I have a birthday and also Christmas is coming up. Maybe they might make an appearance at either (ahem, I hope). The Cowboy Stud Boot. They scream everything that I love in a boot – Distressed leather, buckles, studs, and even snakeskin on the toe cap and heel! – http://www.allsaints.com/women/footwear/allsaints-cowboy-stud/?colour=835&category=331
I’ve also, for a long time now, wanted to purchase a pair of cowboy boots from ‘R Soles’ in London. I think the name is AMAZINGLY funny and their boots are just awesome too. – http://www.rsoles.com/
Boots or Shoes?
Boots. That could change though, but I’ve been practically living in boots for the past couple of years. Having had a baby I couldn’t wear high heels during pregnancy, so I pulled out my trusty cowboy boots, with enough of a heel that would make me happy. They’re sturdy, hardwearing and very versatile – to wear with leggings, skinny jeans tucked in, skirts with long socks. Stiletto boots are awesome too on nights out to shows, are a little more feminine and give that extra height 😉
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
My work websites are:

www.mariegc.com

www.facebook.com/mariegcphotography

All my other sites can be accessed from there as there’s too many to mention!

Thank you Marie!  For further shoe and accessory ideas, join BOOTS SHOES et AL on Facebook  …just press the icon.

Linda  x   

Photo Credits: Marie GC Photography; Dave Wise; Amazon UK

Models: Shelly D’Inferno; Bella Simonsen( Miss September in the Dolls ‘n’Divas 2011 Calendar); Vykki

 

 

 

 

 

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Time To Party

It’s getting close to the time when we’re thinking about office parties, Christmas festivities and New Year extravaganzas….and  almost every woman will open her wardrobe, sigh and wonder what to wear…should old faithful be dragged out again or should you splash out on a new dress or two or three!  So, sit back, relax and read on ….I have found this year’s perfect party dresses to suit all…whether you’re going to a posh ball, cocktail party, local pub, disco, office do or family party ….whatever size, I have found mini,midi,maxi ….strapless,sleeveless or long sleeves….whatever your age …and budget!! With accessories and the important hosiery ….plus glitzy footwear…you’ll be ready to party like its 2012!

UNDER £20

If you’re looking for a short dress that would suit all occasions, day or night, then Boutique’s Pleated Skater style Dress available in 9 different colours would fit the bill. If you’re wanting something more suitable for the disco/club then a lace bodycon dress with a coloured lining may fit the bill either in a v neck style (available in black,blue or white) or Crazy Girl’s Drape and Lace detail dress with lining in red, as pictured.

£20 – £50

I must admit this is the most popular price range and encompasses most of the High Street brands. Joe Browns have really excelled this year – I am totally charmed by the Boogie To Your Own Beat Dress – a strapless dress in an eye catching foil jacquard with a muted silver pattern and net lining.  For that posh ball or prom it’s the bees knees!  In fact, Joe Browns designs have been inspired by the music and ambiance of Brazil ( Fabulously Floaty Floral Dress)…floaty, hi-lo hem, long length and fully lined and oh so bright!…. and, have been inspired by Peggy Sue’s Diner in the middle of the Mojave Desert ( Sexy Satin Dress with a cowl neckline, full skirt and net lining). In fact the 50’s style dress with full skirt and in most cases, net lining, is very on trend – Tiger Milly’s Floral Dress in black/white or white/black, as shown,
– other options include F & F ‘s one shoulder or V back taffeta prom dresses.  Smart shift style cocktail dresses include Bon Prix’s Rose Waist Cocktail Dress – a satin dress with an unusual “step” neckline and a giant rose on the waist (not a style I’d recommend if you have a large bust); and Unique Boutique’s Pink and Black Stripe Dress. If tight fitting body con sequin strewn dresses are more your thing then Internacionale’s range of party dresses will fit the bill – a delicate ivory/gold sequin dress with a fitted bodice and sweetheart neckline; Berry crochet hourglass midi dress; Black Stud bustier dress with adjustable straps and a chiffon dip back skirt – to name a few.  If you’re wanting sleeves then look no further than AX Paris’s sequin long sleeve v front dress ( show off that cleavage!) or BooHoo’s Beyonce Velvet Panelled Midi Dress (high necked, figure hugging with a low scoop back with cross over detail). For strapless, La Redoute offer a lined strapless dress in black with gold sequins. BUT if you really want to make that jaw dropping entrance then Love Label’s Sleeveless Flock Print Body Maxi Dress is the dress to go for….

£50 – £100

In this price range you could go for some beading – try the knitted beaded flapper dress from Top Shop – the beading is on the front and around the trim, also there is an under slip with this dress, so you do keep your modesty!! For a long sleeve alternative, the Next Geri Grey beaded dress is absolutely gorgeous – you must check it out! If sequins are more your thing, then Marks & Spencers Per Una range has a lovely short sleeved and flattering slash neck dress that is sequin embellished to perfection. If you rather like the idea of going strapless then Lipsy’s dress in the colour labelled “Barcelona” would no doubt get you noticed. It is red with a vengeance….flamenco red…. see the photo, isn’t it smashing?!
Or maybe how about bright pink? Lovarni’s Hybrid Jane Contrast Strapless Zip Dress – a bright pink stretch satin dress with contrasting black satin and an on trend exposed zip – might fit the bill. If you really want to stand out then Top Shop has the answer with their sequin strapless dress. For a more sophisticated affair, try Lovarni again – the oxblood coloured Hybrid Alonso Satin Contrast Panel Pencil Dress with a sweetheart neckline or the thick strapped black Hybrid Muse Satin Panel Split Dress in a stretchy fabric and a double split at the front – either would do to create that sexy elegant chic look! And for something totally different, check out House of Dereon Cape Tunic Dress in black (see picture) ..ideal as a dress or with sparkly leggings or disco pants!

£100 and above

Here are a few of my favourite designer party dresses : for fans of the mini dress, Versace goes basic with this fuchsia pink long sleeved jersey dress – there are no appliqués,no frills,no pockets,no fastenings and no lining(!); for fans of the knee length/midi styles, Hobbs London Precious Dress is a capped sleeved shift dress in an antique gold metallic silk mix or  how about SoCouture’s red sequin Hampton Pencil Dress to brighten up the party; for maxi dress fans, Temperley London Long Vesta Gathered Dress, a long sleeved gunmetal grey dress with a plunging neckline and cinched in waist, can transform you into a party goddess …or turn heads by wearing the sari style Adrianna Papell Maxi Dress (see photo).

Clutch Bags

Clutches are needed to store your lippy !! There are so many to choose from but have a look at the range offered by Dune, Miss Sixty and KC Mode. For something a bit different, how about the Beaded Little Pouch Shaped Clutch Bag (as pictured) available in 6 different colours – one is bound to match your outfit!
To hunt for more bags, give BagServant a try – an online handbag shopping destination for buying a handbag for any occasion at any price based on your handbag personality!

Shoes

My favourite party shoes seen this week online:

Hosiery

Plenty of sexy tights available for the coming party season from Jonathan Aston …including the Saturn Tights with a pretty gold back seam ( see header photo); Stardust tights – black opaque tights with a sprinkling of stardust in bronze or silver ( see photo -below in interview)); Starburst Sequin Tights in Nude or Black (see photo)….. time to revamp your hosiery drawer!
And now it gives me great pleasure to welcome onto the blog the delightful Anne of Essex’ee Legs….Hi Anne, introduce yourself :
I am Anne Tyler, owner of Essex’ee Legs, based in Brentwood Essex UK
When choosing stock for your shop, do you have a set criteria or do you go with what grabs you at the time or a bit of both?
I try to introduce a couple of new brands every 6 months or so. I generally look for good quality brands. When choosing the stock; I have to like the items I am selling and have confidence that they will sell well, I have made mistakes along the way but hopefully, have learned from them 🙂 I try to be different from the High Street, but do stock some everyday hosiery as well. I like to take the more glamorous route as I find these are the styles my customers want.
What has been the most popular style and colour in recent seasons?
Suspender Tights have proved to be the most popular style in recent seasons. This style first appeared around 2009 and its popularity doesn’t diminish, and is still a best seller. All the brands have come up with different interpretations of suspender hosiery and they are still selling very well.Black is still the favourite colour with greys not far behind.
Have you had any strange hosiery requests ?
 A customer once asked me to find black fishnet footless hold ups for her wedding day! I found these and she was delighted.
 What’s your most favourite item in your collection, current or in the past?
Seams have to be my personal favourite. They are so classy and chic. I am loving the Jonathan Aston Opaque Backseam Tights at the moment. They are new in for AW 2012 and are gorgeous.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
At the moment, I love smart stylish pencil style dresses and skirts with heels and seamed hosiery.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Particularly like Reiss, Monsoon, M and Co and M&S online for outfits. Shoes; so many stunning styles about online, love Reiss and LK Bennett, but a special treat as very expensive.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Some new outfits for forthcoming Festive Season, and a pair of Black LK Bennett shoes I’ve got my eye on!
Boots or Shoes? 
Both! Boots generally for Winter days, shoes for nights out. Has to be heels, hate flats!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Twitter: @EssexyLegs
Thank you Anne!  As ever, join us on Facebook  – press the icon – for more footwear & accessories for the coming season!
 
Linda X
Photo credits: Essex’ee Legs; Amazon UK

 

 

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High Flying Urban Scene

Women’s Hip Hop Clothing/Urban wear first came to light in the 1980s when it was predominantly a style seen in America..but now since the start of the 21st century it has become more and more popular worldwide. Like all fashion trends, new styles have entered the melting pot…. and whereas men tend to wear the standard uniform of baggy low rise jeans and oversized tees…women do mix and match more!! Showing the navel is common, along with the piercing …by wearing sports bras under baggy shirts worn like a jacket, bikini tops, crop tops,tube tops,tank tops or cropped t -shirts. Then comes the trend along the lines of the men’s style –  graphic tee usually accompanied by a hoodie and baggy jeans and, for winter, a padded puff jacket. Celebrities sporting this style include Missy Elliott ( who sports her baggy tees and baggy jeans with chunky shoes and expensive hats) and Tulisa ( especially in her music videos, with plenty of added bling). Celebrities such as L’il Kim and Foxy Brown have popularised glam high fashion hip hop styles, for example, Kimona Lee Simmons fashion line of Baby Phat.  Nowadays, modern hip hop fashion also includes low rise skinny jeans, graphic tees, sportswear, basketball and skateboarding shoes, hoodies, leather jackets, polo shirts, baggy jeans,  cropped/bikini tops and t shirts, and chunky bling jewellery.

I was pleased recently to review the t shirts from up and coming UK urban clothing company, High Flyers Clothing.  This new company has a lot of designs and ideas up their sleeves to keep abreast evolving trends for both men and women!
As you can see from the photos, the t shirt modelled by Amy, look fabulous on! I was impressed with the quality of the t shirt – made from 100% Turkish Cotton, it is thick and soft to touch. There is no label on the neckline, which eliminates itchiness. The design itself isn’t printed – it is a heat applied transfer – the colours are vivid and I would advise using a cool iron (avoiding the design) after washing and line drying. I was impressed that the textile manufacturers used to make the t shirt are part of the Fairwear Foundation (www.fairwear.org) representing ethical trade and justice for workers.  Prices are very reasonable, the quality of the clothing is high and they look good – what more could you ask for?

And now, let’s welcome the first guys to have graced our blog and the brains behind High Flyers Clothing! Hi! Introduce yourselves:

We are a clothing brand named Highflyers Clothing. We originally started as two people in the company but there are now three of us. Us three are known as Shaf, Sal, and Sumi. We all have different roles within the business, but we all share the same dream. We are equally as passionate about artwork; talking about artwork, this was one of the reasons we got together.

What gave you the inspiration for your t-shirt designs?

We all have different inspirations; to name a few that we all have in common would be the love for artwork. This includes any type of artwork such as the simplest design but catches the eye to the most creative art, which may have a bigger meaning behind it. The way we see it is that the designer presents his thoughts and image ideas onto a piece of paper. This for some is an easier way to express themselves than by words.

Have you any plans to expand your clothing range? What’s in the pipeline?

Yes. We have many plans to expand our clothing range. We are bringing out unique and different designs and making sure we stay different to other brands out there. We believe that to be unique amongst other clothing brands we will have to keep bringing out fresh ideas and concepts that have not been used before. What’s in the pipeline? Hmm ,we don’t want to give away too much but so you would have to wait and see…we are at the moment sponsoring a music artist called Liquidsilva who has worked with d12,who are a very well known Eminem’s group from the United States. Also we have a project in the pipeline with Don Mega from D-Block. Watch out for what’s to come…

To date, what has been your most popular item sold?

The most popular item sold to date has definitely been the teddy with a chainsaw design.

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

We love them all so it is hard to pick which one is the best, but if we had to then it would be the teddy design. We are going to have just a teddy collection – so something for all our beloved followers to look out for.

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

We have a few…Big cartel, Karmaloop, Asos and Threadless come to mind first.

Boots Or Shoes…what do you guys like to see a lady wearing??!!

Definitely shoes!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/Facebook etc

Please support us by liking our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/HighFlyers-Clothing/35497740791087

Follow us on Twitter @Highflyersc

Follow us on Instagram – Highflyersc

Subscribe to our YouTube channel @theofficialhf

Check out our online website: www.highflyersclothing.bigcartel.com

PEACE!!

 

Thanks very much guys!  Don’t forget for more ideas on footwear and accessories, join Boots Shoes et Al on Facebook (press the icon)…..

Linda x

Photo Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; High Flying Clothing

Model: Amy Hobden

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Vintage Goth Vamp

It’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.

My 2012 take on the “vintage goth vamp” look : long maxi dresses and skirts that cling provocatively to your figure in luxurious velvet, velour and satin; fur trimmed or fur, faux or otherwise, jackets or coats or gilets that scream indulgence; high heels which elongate your figure and help promote that sexy swagger; and not forgetting that bright red lip pout ..seduction in the highest. This is a look to set not only your Halloween week on fire but the rest of the Party Season too. So, are you ready to release that inner vamp that’s just itching to be set free??? …..

OK, first of all let’s talk hosiery…… stockings and tights in sheer black…or if you’re really daring, go for the Elegant Moments Opaque Criss Cross Camisette – this is a very sexy teddy/camisole with matching thong and stockings.   Or the new range of suspender tights from Pamela Mann , goth cross (as shown) or T cross …both are best sellers this season. These suspender tights would look fabulous with the latest dresses from New Look – the Ax Paris Embellished Bandeau Drop Hem Chiffon Dress, for example has a sheer black chiffon hem which starts from just above the knee and sweeps sexily to the floor. For more of a rock chick feel,go for the Black PU Front Zip Bodice  Dip Hem Maxi Dress. Or feeling a bit more outrageous, show off those suspender tights with the shorter length Tokyo Doll Black and Red Fringed Dip Dye Flapper Dress…. ooh la la !

Other black dresses oozing with seductiveness include Top Shop’s version of the Chiffon Maxi Dress; rock chick style Blue Banana Banned Long Steampunk Dress for maxi combined with corset delightfulness; go designer with Plein Sud Cut Away Dress or Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania Apron Fish Black Dress; or aim for short and lacy with Top Shop’s lace tunic (another candidate for the goth suspender tights);or go for that French vamp feel with La Redoute’s Long Dress by Delphine Manivet…..double ooh la la!!

Then again, vintage goth vamp wear also embraces colour…rich purples,green, deep red and navy.  I was pleasantly shocked when I encountered Marks & Spencers Per Una Cowl Neck Velvet Maxi Dress in Purple…..so bang up to date and so sexy! Other richly coloured candidates include the short sheath dress that fits like a second skin in dark green from the talented designer Alexander McQueen; add a leopard print with Coast Parker leopard print dress; embrace purple velvet with the Planet Velvet Maxi Dress; try a slinky two piece by checking out Yves Saint Laurent Navy Vintage Gathered Two piece – sheer luxury;  or be totally outrageous and go for the Medieval Dark Green Gothic Vampire Square Neck Velvet Dress,as shown …

If you’ve already got a bodice then invest in a slinky velvet maxi skirt that will totally transform your look – I recommend Tribal Earth’s Purple Long Velvet Skirt  and over at ASOS there is a choice of a sexy velvet skirt with slit to the thigh or a slinky full circular skirt. Don’t dismiss Dark Gold  – check out Traffic People’s  alluring Metford Girl Decorum Pleated Maxi Skirt – you’ll be the belle of the ball…

Top off your outfit with a gorgeous fur gilet like the one from La Boutique Essex (see photo), long stretch velour gloves, dramatic earrings such as ASOS spike drop earrings ……and lipstick of course, in Blood Red ….or try Bourjois 3D Effect Lip Gloss in Parme Terrific (see photo)…a lilac- grey combination that looks fab when wearing dark colours and is a great alternative if red lippy just isn’t you! And if your hair isn’t long and flowing …how about a wig?? The one in the photo is from Amazon.

My favourite “Vamp” shoes spotted this week:

And now let me introduce this week’s guest to the blog, who is rather partial to vintage and red lippy…the gorgeous Emma Brooks, MUA , who did the make up for the photo heading this article and has also contributed in the past to this blog with photos and make up advice in the “An Evening of Burlesque and Boudoir” blog post.
Welcome Emma, please introduce yourself!
Hello, I am Emma, owner of Emma Brooks Make-Up.  I specialise in Freelance bridal Make-Up and live in a lovely little village called Tollesbury in Essex.
What inspired you to become a MUA?
I’ve always loved make-up from a very young age when I would sit with my mum and watch fascinated as my mum would wet her brush and apply cake eyeliner! 🙂 Which my little girl Matilda now does with me! I got into disco, ballroom and Latin dancing at the age of 8, where I would apply my own make-up with mum’s help! I just carried on from there! In the late 80s I was crazy about Madonna and would always paint on red lips and a beauty mole to look like her!!! So, actually my mum inspired me! 🙂
What has been the most popular style and make up colours in recent seasons? Any predictions for 2013 make up wise?
Vintage make-up is everywhere at moment – brides,in particular, are loving that red lip, black flicks and strong brows! It’s definitely all about the brows at this season – beautifully groomed and full arched perfect brows! Well,actually, I have just been informed by Gary Cockerill at his Masterclass today, that Winter and into early next year is all about sexy smoky full on eyes, teamed with a full on sexy red lip! Sounds good to me!
Have you had any strange make up requests ?
The strangest make up request was just a zombie, but that was last halloween so I will let them off!
What’s your most favourite make up item in your collection?
My favourite item that I can’t live without, has to be M.A.C blacktrack fluidline, and with flicks being so in at the moment this is the number one product, every girl should have!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I do love a bit of vintage myself,and I often look in charity shops to pick up the odd bargain dress! I do like an original that nobody else will have! I don’t have a particular brand that I love to be honest! I would probably say I’m just a cheap ‘n’ cheerful Topshop girl! Shoe wise,you will normally find me in little flat pumps as I’m on my feet alot working, and I’m not great in heels -tend to fall over lots! But it has to be a heel for a night out – I do love a vintage kitten heel with a peep toe! Love a bit of quirkiness! 🙂
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I would love more vintage dresses – I’ll have to keep hunting in those charity shops! A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes would go down a treat,as I have a posh black tie ball coming up for The Essex Wedding Awards, in which I have been shortlisted as a finalist! Very exciting!
Boots or Shoes?
Boots – I do love it when the winter season comes and I can snuggle up warm, in a lovely pair of comfy flat boots. They look good with jeans, skirts and dresses – they can be worn everyday so they get lots of use and are soooo comfortable!
Links you would like to share :
Thanks Emma!
Enjoy discovering your inner vamp and as always there are plenty of ideas on the Facebook group, Boots Shoes et Al …click on the icon and join in!
Happy Halloween!
Linda x
PHOTO CREDITS: Emma Brooks;Essexy Legs;Linda Hobden; La Boutique; Amazon UK; Adam Hobden Photography
Top Photo: Model: Sian Berry; MUA Emma Brooks; Hair: Tina Crossley (Beautiful Hair 4 Weddings);Dress:Annette Carey

 

 

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