An Interview With Kevin Garlick – Shoemaker

January 9th, 2015

Talking shoes this week – but not just any shoe –  oh no! I’m chatting to a shoemaker who makes shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres, TV and museums from Madame Thaussauds to Plimoth Plantation USA, amongst others.  His skill, attention to detail and workmanship really is wow – and I bet most of us have seen on screen, at least, a pair of shoes lovingly recreated by Kevin. Without further ado, let’s meet the guy … welcome, Kevin ..image

Hi! My name is Kevin Garlick, I am a shoemaker who specialises in making historic period shoes. My all time favourite period are the shoes from the 1920s – 1940s. The age of sensible footwear.

Have you always wanted to be a shoemaker?

I worked in Engineering as a fabricator for half my working life but as manufacturing in this country declined I realised that it was time to do something else, so that is why I turned what was a hobby into a business.

What do you like best about handmaking shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres & museums?

I suppose there is a certain sense of achievement in knowing that lots of people will see your work.


You have a background in re-enacting yourself – what characters have you portrayed? Who was your favourite?

I was once very interested in the Napoleonic period and spent many years as a re-enactor. I was never interested in being an officer and was happy to stay in the ranks as a French infantryman. I also took part in living history events as a shoemaker, teaching and demonstrating to school children different periods of shoemaking.image

You have produced footwear for many famous institutions such as BBC Television, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Madame Taussauds, and Plimoth Plantation USA. What was the hardest or most unusual footwear you have had to make?

I have been involved in many productions for theatre companies, television, operas, and films. I would have to say that the most interesting work was for Shakespeare’s Globe as I was often making ladies shoes in men’s sizes and some of the shoes I was asked to make by the costume designer were often very unusual and not the everyday stuff that the re-enactors were ordering.

imageThe measuring process includes asking for 2 outlines of the client’s foot. What’s the main differences between bespoke footwear and “on the shelf” shoes? What are the most important measurements or details you need when making a shoe?

The outlines and measurements of a customer’s feet are very important as a fit can only be as good as the information you are given. I ask my customers to draw around each foot with an upright pencil but you would be surprised how many of them get this wrong.

imageHave you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

As I have said I love the shoes from the 1920s, I love the colour combinations and the different textures of leather and of course the styles.

You specialise in making pairs of ladies & men’s Swing Jive shoes. What is so special about these shoes?

Shoes for Swing Jive and Lindy Hop are normally higher in the back than normal, also the shoes have to be well balanced for ease of movement and comfort. Particular attention is paid to the pitch and heel height so that the shoe can rock to lift the heel quickly for faster steps.


What famous person would you like to see parading around in your designs?

I have made shoes for lots of famous names but I can honestly say that although it’s good these people don’t ever think about the shoes as they are just a prop and not something personal to them. I get a lot more satisfaction making a pair for somebody who loves their shoes and appreciates the work that went into them, you never get this with actors.

imageWere you ever tempted or are you tempted, to introduce “ready made” shoes to your repertoire in future?

It would be nice to produce ready made shoes in stock sizes but then the shoes would all be the same just different sizes. By doing what I am doing I can offer customers a choice of colour and style and produce a shoe that is unique to them.

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

Normally I will be found in dirty old work clothes as I seem to be working long hours, but I still wear 1920’s shoes, although in desperate need of repair after five years of continuous wear. When I do get a chance to go out I usually wear 1930’s style clothes as I hate modern styles as everything is cheaply made and looks like a sack.

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

I plan to make a pair of 1940’s triple wedge sandals in red, white and blue. I have wanted to make these for some time but never had the time. It will happen soon as it has become a bit of an obsession.



Thank you Kevin … I adore the shoes and boots!  I find it interesting that some of the shoes from yesteryear are not too dissimilar to the shoes available for general wear today. I have shown photographs of my favourites out of Kevin’s collection – what era of shoe making tickles your fancy? Do drop me a line and let me know!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission of Kevin Garlick


An Interview With Spa Sweethearts W.I.

January 2nd, 2015

Happy New Year!  At the start of every New Year most people make resolutions – lose weight, stop smoking, join the gym, etc.  The resolutions made, often reflect our need to enhance our lifestyle by becoming slimmer, healthier and ultimately happier. Your resolutions can also include stimulating your mental wellbeing by starting a new hobby or joining a group…such as the Women’s Institute.  The W.I. are celebrating their 100 year birthday in 2015 and despite its “Jam and Jerusalem” image, young ladies whose average age is nearer 30 than 75 are joining groups and having a ball. I’m chatting to a lovely young bunch of ladies from the Spa Sweethearts W.I. this week about why they joined and is it all about Jam and Jerusalem…. Welcome Becky…image

Hi! My name is Becky Warburton, I’m 26 and I’m the president of Spa Sweethearts Women’s Institute in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. In my day job, I’m the Student Activities Manager at the University of York Students’ Union, which basically means I organise extra curricular activities for students while they study.

The Women’s Institute is celebrating its centenary this year. What was your initial incentive to become a member?

I’d just come back from uni in Newcastle and a lot of my old school friends had moved out of Harrogate. I wanted to do something that would help me get to know some new people, so my mum and I went along to a meeting. Within a few months, we’d both joined the committee, and I’ve been president since February 2014.

I imagine a lot of people perceive the WI as being all “Jam & Jerusalem” with an average age of 75 and with the saucy antics of the Calendar Girls. I am sure that there are groups like that in the UK but not everywhere is that the case. Being a group of women in their thirties who are very active members how do people react when you say you’re a member? How did you join – was it via word of mouth, out of interest,etc?

Yes, whenever I say I’m in the WI, people look a bit confused, then they either ask me if I can make jam or they make some reference to stripping off for a calendar. With 100 years of history, it’s a shame that that’s all people can think of! There’s so much more to it than that.
The WI has done a lot of campaigning over the last century and has done an enormous amount of good for society. The jam link actually stems back to the Second World War, when there was a huge drive to preserve fruit and vegetables, so WI members made a lot of jams, pickles and chutneys to help the country get through food shortages. In the 1950s, they launched a drive to reduce littering which was the beginning of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign group that has just celebrated its diamond jubilee. More recently, campaigns have been about things like increasing the number of midwives to make childbirth safer, and supporting local businesses to make sure our high streets survive the recession.
I heard about Spa Sweethearts at the Great Yorkshire Show as I visited the WI ‘tent’ to find out some more information and see if there was a group local to us. One of the advisors mentioned the Sweethearts and I knew immediately that that was the group for me.

So what do enjoy most about being members of the Women’s Institute? Have you a favourite activity that you do as a member of the Women’s Institute?

I really love the sense of community that I get from not only being a member but also from working alongside my amazing committee members. They never fail to make me smile, even after the worst of days at work! But I also enjoy learning something new and different every month and getting to step outside of my comfort zone every so often.

Baking and jam making still are popular pursuits, and joking aside, the Women’s Institute do know how to bake and make jams. Even TV shows like Masterchef call on the Women’s Institute for judging events. Be honest, how’s your baking? Are you expected to have expertise in culinary skills or an interest in that field?

I love baking and I’m not too bad at it, but not all of our members are. A lot of them have other talents, like sewing or knitting. Some aren’t interested in that sort of thing at all, and that’s fine too – we’re a very diverse lot! But we’re all pretty good at eating the cakes even if we can’t make them ourselves.

What benefits do you feel that the Women’s Institute could offer the lady in her 20s,30s,40s,50s?

When Spa Sweethearts was formed, the ladies from the WI who guided us through the process told us “The WI is what you make of it” and we’ve found that to be completely true. If you want to join the WI to learn traditional skills like baking, jam-making and knitting, you can. If you want to find an outlet for your campaigning side, you can do that too. You can be part of your community just by turning up to meetings, or you can use the meetings to invite people from your town or city to tell you about what they do, such as charity workers, police officers or even unusual things like forensic scientists. There’s no limit on what you can do with your meetings. We try to make our programme as varied as possible, so everyone can find something they’re really interested in, but we also encourage our members to come to all the meetings even if they’re not so enthusiastic about the topics. Quite often, people find they have a hidden talent that’s only uncovered by giving something a go for the first time at a WI meeting!
Of course, many people also come along just for the social aspect – to have a chat and a cup of tea, or even something a bit stronger. The great thing about the WI is that there are thousands of branches, so whatever your age and interests there is more than likely one to suit you. And even if not, you can just start your own – you only need three ladies!

What famous lady would you love to see strutting through your doors asking to become a member?

This is a really tricky one! Well the obvious answer is someone like Mary Berry, as I think our members would love a master class with her! But then I would have to say someone like Giovanna Fletcher, who is one of favourite authors (and also married to Tom from McFly!) because she loves so many aspects of the WI like baking and crafting as well as sharing her opinions through her many social media platforms but she also writes about a traditional WI in one of her books, Billy and Me, and so I would love for her to experience a Spa Sweethearts meeting to show how diverse we are as an organisation and the amazing things that we get up to.

Going back to the Calendar Girl reference – that must have been quite a giggle and at the same time it did stir some interest in the Women’s Institute as well as the charitable aspects of it all. Have you had any funny moments that you can tell us about at WI?

Nothing quite as headline-hitting as that! Our committee meetings are always hilarious – we have lots of work to do organising our monthly meetings, but we have such a laugh as well. One of my highlights was actually from the very first meeting I attended, which just so happened to be on jam making! It was led by two members of our federation who have been members for years and years and who were just this incredibly funny double act, telling us all about the organisation and why they love it so much and I just thought to myself, if I’m still involved at their age and enjoying it as much, then I’d be pretty happy.

Any advice to any ladies wishing to join the Women’s Institute? How should she go about joining?

Do it! The easiest thing to do is to go onto the WI website,, and put in your postcode to get a map of all the WIs near you. Alternatively, search for your nearest federation (regional office) and give them a call – they’ll be able to tell you which WIs are most likely to suit you in your area. Get in touch with one and find out when their next meeting is, then just go along. Most WIs let guests come to their meetings for a small fee, so you can try before you buy! And membership for 2015 is only £36, so if you do sign up for a year it’s really good value.

What outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing at a meeting?

For me, it’s whatever I’ve been to work in as I never have much time in between getting home, grabbing some dinner and getting to the meeting, to think about changing. I’ll usually just be in jeans or something comfy as there is often a fair amount of setting up or cleaning to do before and after meetings – we all get quite stuck in with that.

You must have had many inspirational speakers visit your group – what speaker or topic did you feel was the most inspiring for you personally or inspired the group as a whole?

One of my favourite and more inspiring meetings was when we had Dee Marshall, from Welcome to Yorkshire, come to speak to us about Le Grand Depart in June 2014, about three weeks before it arrived in Harrogate. I’ve become a massive cycling fan since London 2012 and so was incredibly excited about all these world class cyclists racing through the streets of my home town. I’d also signed up to volunteer at the finish in Harrogate and so to hear Dee talk about how they had won the bid and all the preparation that had taken place was really interesting and made me even more excited to volunteer and be part of something that made me so proud to be from Yorkshire.

What’s next on the Women’s Institute event calendar for celebrating the 100 years?

There are loads of events planned to celebrate the centenary. We’ve got a lot of competitions going on for WI choirs, an official centenary fruit cake, heirlooms which can be passed down the generations… And there will be a couple of focal points in the year. Our national AGM is in June at the Royal Albert Hall and there will be lots of celebrations there, plus there’s a three-day WI Centenary Fair in our hometown, Harrogate, from 3rd-6th September, when WI members from around the country will be descending on us to meet up and celebrate.
At Spa Sweethearts WI, we’ll be going along to as many of the events as we can, but we’ve also got our own centenary fair planned for mid-September. We’re hoping to have lots of traditional elements like baking and craft competitions, but of course we’ll be putting our own spin on it as usual. It’s all part of our year-long campaign to get to 100 members of Spa Sweethearts in the WI’s 100th year. We want to prove there’s still plenty of life in the WI, and to get younger women in particular to put aside their preconceptions and come to a meeting with an open mind. It’s our way of making sure the WI will still be around to celebrate its 200th anniversary!
I’ve also launched a Twitter campaign under @WomenoftheWI. Every week, a different WI will take control of the account and tweet about their week – hopefully including live tweeting their meeting. The aim is to show how diverse our membership is, and how many amazing and wonderful things are going on around the country every week. The interest from other WIs in taking part has been really encouraging and I’m so excited about seeing how it all pans out.

Boots Or Shoes? 

Completely depends on the time of year but spring and summer I live in ballet flats as they just go with everything and are so comfy, but then as soon as autumn and winter hit, I live in boots. I’m someone who gets very grumpy if I get wet feet, so I’ve got to keep warm in the winter months.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about your Harrogate group and the Womens Institute in general.

Our details are:
You can also find a lot of other WIs on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the national accounts:

Thank you Becky – I’m sure that you and your fellow WI friends will encourage many other younger ladies to take the plunge and go and find a group to suit them. It sure sounds that you have lots of fun and I wish the whole WI organisation a fabulous centennary year!  

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission of Becky & the ladies of Spa Sweethearts W.I.

Alexander McQueen’s Most Memorable Shows

December 26th, 2014

London, Paris, New York, Milan…it doesn’t really matter. Fashion shows are often flamboyant, colourful and spectacular and to showcase a fashion collection in that manner requires as much attention to detail as the clothes themselves.  Alexander McQueen has had some memorable shows over the years, and with the help of my friends at Farfetch,  we’ve put together a little picture reminder of those shows. Enjoy!  Linda x


An Interview With Kara, The Fairy Maker

December 19th, 2014

Christmas Time is certainly a magical time… twinkling of fairy lights, Santa & his gang of reindeers, a snowy scene, the majesty of the Christmas story, the nativity plays, the Christmas songs, the parties …. and as this is the last blogpost before Christmas Day, my interview tonight is with somebody who is totally magical – The Fairy Maker!  Welcome Kara…image

Hi! My name is Kara and I live in London with my husband and our three children. I am the owner and creator of The Fairy Maker, we make one of a kind fantasy creations which the customer designs.

Your beautiful unique and bespoke fairies, angels and dragons are certainly very collectable. What made you start up your business? Have you always done that line of work?

I started sculpting many years ago, but gave it up due to family and getting a new job, I only made them for friends and family. It was the guys I worked with who told me I should start up a Facebook page and show off my work, I didn’t think anyone would be interested but after a year of not having the confidence to click publish one night I decided to go for it. I was 4 months away from giving birth, some people move house or get a puppy, I decided to start a business ! I didn’t expect it to be capable of being a full time business, but it has and its great as I get to do something I love so much.

imageThe fairies are bespoke handmade pieces, so each is totally unique. The owner can design their own piece by picking a sculpture – adding hair (can be real) – picking colours,clothes and optional extras. What was the most unique fairy/angel/critter that has been requested?

I have a few customers who are very detailed in their requests, many have spent months designing their FairyJar. It’s nice to be able to make those ideas come to life. I have a lot of requests asking if I am able to add real hair to the fairies, a lot of the time it’s hair from a late loved one or the first lock of their child’s hair, I get so nervous doing those as I know how sentimental it is to the customer and how valuable the hair is to them.

imageI have just finished reading the Eragon series and so I was drawn to the cute Eragon Dragon Critter Jars on your site. What other books have influenced your choice of mini sculptures?

I have a wonderful book called Dragonology, I love how it is written and the illustrations are beautifully done, I like my critters to have that cuteness to them.

Aah… my sons have that book, Dragonology! We love the illustrations in it too…I personally adore the “Small Caitlin” (Collector’s Edition) – so cute! What’s your favourite sculpture?

imageToo many to list !!! but I did have a sculpt which was initially in my bin fairy box (the box rejects for whatever reason end up) I got her out for training purposes to teach how to wig them, but after I added the hair this fairy which I had previously discarded many months before had transformed into such an amazing looking fairy I came very close to keeping her for myself. I love how it’s even a surprise to me how they will look once completed.

Prices for each item includes the jar, decorations, fairy/angel wings, plaque, postage within the UK, and a signed certificate from you, the artist – they look very intricate – how long does it take to produce each fairy?

imageAll depends on the size, some can take a few days others can take a few weeks, there is a lot of drying times between stages too and then there is bad sculpting days when nothing ever seems to work how I want it to, which is normally in the summer, summer is not good weather for sculpting.

Have you any plans to extend your range?

I have a list of LOADS of new ideas, boy fairies are first on my list as I have had so many requests for them. I have been wanting to invent some new critters too. We are also in the middle of getting a book published to compliment the FairyJars, hopefully next year we will be able to have more news on this.

imageCongratulations on being awarded one of the runners up for Mum Entrepreneur of the Year on This Morning TV based on your fairy jars and artwork as well as being a Mumpreneur Magazine 2014 finalist! The accolades are well deserved! Being UK based, do you ship overseas at all or have any plans to sell globally?

Thank you, still can’t believe how lucky I was to get to the finals ! I do ship globally but we would like to expand more on this , the shipping costs can work out a fair bit of money due to the weight and the insurance which is a bit of a pain, we do have other options like baskets instead of jars to help reduce the shipping costs but people seem to prefer the glass displays.

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

The older I got and the more kids I have I tend to choose comfort over fashion, anything which is quick to put on and covers the sins of flabby bits ! Elasticated trousers have become my best friend when it comes to clothes. I still have bags of trendy size 12 clothes in the loft, I really need to come to terms that I will never fit into them and throw them out.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Primarni girl (Primark) if I go out to look for something that’s where I aim to visit first, but I tend to do my online clothes shopping in Next.

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

A big quilted long winter coat, I heard we may be in for some rough weather this winter so want to be prepared this year ! Every winter I see them and now I want one I don’t seem to find any I like!

Boots or Shoes?

BOOTS ! And the reason why is because the only skinny part of my body is my ankles and my wrists. When I wear boots it evens me up a bit.

imageLinks you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and your fairies! – web site which has prices and options – Facebook, has latest updates and photos

It’s been brilliant chatting to you Kara!  I look forward to seeing more of your work in 2015 as I find the fairies simply adorable! Wishing you all a magical Christmas!

Linda x

All photos have been published with the kind permission of Kara, The Fairy Maker

An Interview With Hollie Kamel (Wedding Singer)

December 12th, 2014

With less than a fortnight to go before Santa does his rounds over the world’s rooftops, I felt that my guest this week should be someone who is a bit Christmassy yet a bit sazzy …. someone like the dropdead gorgeous Hollie Kamel, with her seasonal name, her angelic voice, and her sazziness!  Hollie is a popular wedding, party and event singer – and I caught up with her recently to chat about music, her wedding business and her passion for fashion too .. welcome Hollie…image

Hi – I am Hollie Kamel and I am a Professional Singer and UKA Salsa Dance Instructor & proud mummy to a gorgeous little 5 year old called Jasmine Lila.

You’re a professional wedding, party & event singer. When did you realise you had a passion for singing?  What made you take the plunge to pursue wedding singing as a career?

I first started singing as a child, as I come from quite a musical family (my brother has had a few top 40 download chart hits!). To begin with I was in the school musicals and then went on to perform on radio and at about 16 started to train classically to give me a strong foundation of technique and skill to perform from. However, my career took a very corporate path, in media, marketing and sales and my singing and dancing was always a part time profession. This all changed once I had my little girl, as part time corporate doesn’t really exist, so I took the leap of faith to launch myself as ‘Hollie your Wedding Singer’, perfect for Weddings, Parties & Corporate Events!! 😉

imageYou offer an excellent range of bespoke entertainment including solo singer, duo, and a mini function band.  What tends to be the most popular package?

I provide Solo Singer, Party Duo & Themed Show packages and to be totally honest, they are all really popular and different in their own right. Where everything I do is bespoke, I always tailor make the package to meet and exceed the client’s needs and depending on their event, the service they choose will reflect this. (I do find that Vintage/American Songbook/Jazz is hugely popular & of course, Party Singer!!).

What do you love most about being a wedding singer?

What I love most about being a wedding singer, is that you are blessed to share and be a huge part of their wedding day and all the love, celebration and emotion that surrounds it.

imageYou have a vast range of songs in your songlist portfolio. What are the most popular songs requested for the wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast/reception, and for the evening do?

Most popular Wedding Ceremony songs include:
• How Long Will I Love You
• At Last

Most popular Breakfast/Champagne Reception songs include:
• Let There Be Love
• All of Me

Most popular Evening Reception songs include:
• The Shoop Shoop Song (in his kiss)
• All about the Bass
• Dance with Me Tonight

imageIs there any song on your list that you really enjoy belting out? Any song on the list that makes you groan?

Songs I love to sing:
• Somewhere over the Rainbow
• At Last
• Rather Be

Songs I could live without singing for a while
• Wind Beneath My Wings
• I Will Survive

What music genre do you enjoy listening to?

Where do I start with the genres I like listening to…..I love SO many kinds of music and it really depends on my mood. I love vocal based music like Eva Cassidy and the Carpenters, James Taylor etc, but I also love R&B and of course Salsa!! I have a HUGE passion for West End Musicals!

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

If I could duet with one singer (dead or alive) in the whole world then I would love to choose to sing with Jessie J (as I think she is vocal Viagra) but her range is SO huge that I wouldn’t be able to – so instead I choose to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow with Eva Cassidy !

Have you had any unusual song requests?

I have had some very strange requests in my time including ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’ numbers and Copacabana!

Singing all year round at weddings, parties and events must be a strain on your voicebox. How do you try to keep your voice limbered up and ready for performing? How do you avoid the dreaded sore throat/croaky voice etc?

As a Singer it is really important to continually look after your voice, so I always do the following before a performance:
• Warm up
• Avoid dairy
• Take Vocalzone
• Drink lots of water

As a cure for a ‘sad’ voice I do the following:
• Take Singers Throat mix (the most evil tasting liquid in the WORLD)
• Drink Honey and Lemon (Hot)
• Steam
• Hum
• Vocal REST!!

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

On stage you will find me wearing very glamorous evening dresses or ‘themed’ attire (such as Vintage) with ridiculously high heels and accessories and ALL my hair and make up intact!! Lol!
Off stage you will normally find me in skinny jeans, ugg boots with a skinny rib t-shirt in the summer and a trendy jumper or hoody in the winter!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

As far as retailers go Amazon is amazing for costumes and accessories. I love QUIZ at Lakeside/Westfields for glamorous party wear and Ali Express for every kind of costume, dress or outfit (but it takes about 8 weeks to arrive but is CRAZY cheap!!)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

My next purchase needs to be another shorter style, sparkly or sequinned party dress for xmas season (more laid back events).

Boots or Shoes?

For me, boots or shoes is hard, because boots at home and shoes at work nearly always!

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

Many thanks for chatting to us today – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous, Fun  & Eventful New Year! For those readers in the UK who are looking for some fabulous entertainment then Hollie is your girl – she’s simply divine! My wedding song was Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” – what was yours? Please do tell!

Linda x

All photos were published with kind permission of Hollie Kamel.

An Interview With LM Glow Tights

December 5th, 2014

There’s nothing better than wearing some smooth thick tights on a cold winters day, underneath trousers as a thermal layer or as part of an ensemble with skirt, baggy jumper and boots.  Being just 5 foot 3 , I don’t have a problem finding tights to fit my height and can wear the one size offerings quite easily.  My taller friends have a problem though – whilst catering for the wider girth, the plus size tights are still the same size as ordinary tights in the legs.  So, what do you do when you’re around 6 foot?  A couple of months ago, fellow hosiery blogger Hosiery For Men reviewed some new tights he received from a business called L M Glow that specialises in tights designed for people who are 5ft8″ to 6ft 3″ tall.  He waxed lyrical about them!  I chatted to the lovely Charlotte to find out more about these fab tights.  Welcome Charlotte:image

Hi! I’m Charlotte Harris, a twenty-five year old Londoner and founder of LM Glow, a new business providing comfortable tights for taller men and women.

What inspired your brand name, “LM Glow”?

The brand name “LM Glow” was inspired by a Victorian phrase – “Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies [merely] glow” – and summarises my ambition for the brand. I want men and women to be able to wear comfortable tights that reduce the effects of clammy feet and leave them free to Glow.

Did you have a love of fashion at a young age? What made you want to enter the hosiery world?

imageI’ve always loved clothes and there is nothing I like more than to see someone elegantly – or bravely! – dressed. I decided to enter the hosiery world because, at 5’11” and with clammy feet, I was sick of ill-fitting, uncomfortable tights. I’d spent years worrying about how to subtly pull up my tights before they ended up around my ankles, having gussets cut into my mid-thighs, and stressing about whether my feet smelt in my tights. In 2013 I finally decided to do something about it. The result is LM Glow and nearly a year on, the Tall Comfort tights are available to purchase in black. Specifically designed for heights between 5’8” and 6’3” and containing Bamboo Charcoal which helps reduce the effects of clammy and sweaty feet, they are for tall women and men who want to give their legs and feet an easy ride through life.

Your Tall Comfort Tights currently only come in black – and I think that that colour would always remain a firm favourite amongst customers as the colour goes practically with everything! Have you any plans afoot to launch any other colours in 2015?

I would love to develop the range of products further. There have been requests for the Tall Comfort tights to be available in natural skin tones and this would be where LM Glow will hopefully go next. Any suggestions from potential customers are always welcome and can be made by email ( or on Twitter @lmglowtights. To see what suggestions other people are making and to follow our offers and updates, please follow me at

The tights are comfortable, long lasting mould to the body and provide odourless relief from the impact of clammy feet. What materials make up the tights to ensure that? Do they need special washing treatment or can they go in the washing machine?

The tights have a 20% spandex content which mean they mould to the body thus ending the curse of mid-thigh gussets whilst providing some support to the hips and thighs. This is further aided by a broad waistband. Incorporating bamboo charcoal, a wicking material, the tights also provide odourless relief to the effects of clammy feet, allowing the wearer to get on and make the most of their day. The tights are hand wash only and this is the recommended washing treatment but I have stuck mine in the washing machine with no adverse effects.

Ideal for both men and women, they are designed for people from 5’8″ to 6’3″ – as the sizing goes on height not width, do the tights stretch around the thigh if you are more portly in that region?

The tights have fitted various body types and they will fit a lot of people who may consider themselves to be larger in the thigh region. If, however, you buy a pair and they are too tight or do not fit at all, you are always welcome to return the tights and you will get a full refund.

imageI love the fact that your tights are available in single packs as well as in packs of 5, 6 and 7. What pack size tends to be most popular?

The single packs have tended to be the most popular to date as people will often buy a pair to check they like them before coming back to buy more. The second most popular is the 5 pack. It is worth noting that even when you buy the 5, 6 or 7 packs, the tights are always individually packaged so that if you wanted to give them as presents, perhaps as stocking fillers or a secret Santa gift, whilst keeping some for yourself, the bigger packs will probably prove the more economical option.

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

Ooh, that’s a difficult one! I think I’d want, at least, one female and one male “legs”, and for the female “legs” I think I’d have to go with Gwendoline Christie who plays Brienne in Game of Thrones and is incredibly elegant. For the male “legs”, I think Jack Donnelly who plays Jason in Atlantis or Usain Bolt as I think they’ve got fantastic legs!

 Are your tights only available in the UK or do you cater for overseas customers too?

imageThe tights are only available in the UK if bought through the website ( International customers, in particular those in the US, Canada and the rest of the EU, can, however, purchase the tights through eBay.

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

Jeans and a jumper, or jumper dress with thick tights are probably my favourite outfits. I love winter for the very reason that you can layer up and wear the big jumpers. I have a big, heavy winter coat which I love and I will often be seen going for walks in my knee length coat covering a winter dress or skirt, tights and walking boots. The only downside of winter is that in poorer weather I can’t always wear my heels and I love wearing heels! Unless I’m going for a walk, I like to be in sizeable heels as they make me feel great and I think they create an elegant silhouette.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love the actual act of shopping and I like looking in a wide range of shops and online sites, even ones that don’t necessarily cater for someone of my age, build or height, just to get different ideas about what to wear and what colours and styles to put together. Being quite tall, I can struggle to find clothes that fit and so, I tend to go to certain shops for certain items of clothing. For example, I always get my jeans from GAP because they size their jeans by height as well as width. In addition, I like to get my everyday shoes from M&S where they do half sizes as a matter of course and I tend to find the fit and comfort of their heels to be quite exceptional.

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

This is a hard one because I never know what I want until I see it.

imageBoots or Shoes? 

Boots. Definitely. There is nothing more versatile or empowering than a pair of calf high boots with a little heel. They can be worn with anything and, if they fit properly, they feel great.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow LM Glow

The website is and you can keep up to date with our offers and updates via:

• Twitter: @lmglowtights

• Facebook:

• Instagram:

• Tumblr: or

• Google+:

Any suggestions from potential customers are always welcome and can also be made by email (

Thanks Charlotte! I hope that all you lovely tall ladies and gentlemen fill your Christmas stockings with these tights!  Let’s all be snug as a bug in tights this winter!  Don’t forget to let me know how you got on with the tights – I love to read your feedback :)

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Charlotte Harris (LM Glow)




An Interview With Miss Brazil & Miss England 2014

November 30th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Miss Brazil: Yes, that reason attracted me too.

What is your current occupation?

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

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

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

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

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

Have you had any embarrassing moments so far?

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

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

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

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

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

imageAny favourite shopping haunts?

Miss B:

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

Boots Or Shoes?

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

Miss E: Shoes. Most definitely.

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

Linda x

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

10 Wonderful Winter Knits

November 28th, 2014

It’s that time of year – time to get THE winter knit or two!  Whether you wear it to rock around the Christmas Tree or wear it to brighten up the long, dull days of January and February – the winter knit, in the colder climes at least, is an essential part of one’s winter wardrobe.  There are so many to choose from nowadays from the traditional Nordic style to the colourful quirky designs – every boutique and supermarket, whether upmarket, on the High Street or online, are filling their shelves with these knits of good cheer. In the UK, National Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 12th December 2014, raising money for Save The Children … so, if you haven’t yet got your jumper then here are 10 wonderful winter knits I’ve spied:

ASOS Christmas Jumper With Reindeer Face & Pom Pomimage

Pepe Jeans Blue Striped Jumperimage

Missguided White Christmas Tree DIY Knitted Jumperimage

French Connection Penguin Knit Jumperimage

Izabel London A-Line Knit Dress in Winter Tree Knitimage

Wildfox Fairisle Christmas Jumperimage

Bellfield Parrot Feather Print Jumperimage

Tibi Forest Print Bear Sweaterimage

J Crew Black Cabin Sweaterimage

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Multicolour Zip Front Print Cardiganimage


All knits featured are available from as well as from their own individual websites.  Alternatively press my Lyst button on this page and you’ll also see other winter knits I’ve recommended not featured on this blogpost.  Make your Black Friday shop colourful by adding a winter knit or two and have a wonderful winter! I’d love to know what wonderful knits you’re wearing this year, do tell! 

Linda x

Photo Credits: Lyst

An Interview With Born Bad Betty

November 21st, 2014

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

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

What inspired you to start up Born Bad Betty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

imageHave you got any personal favourites from your collection?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

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

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

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

Boots or Shoes?

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

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

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

Linda x

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


An Interview With Wingz

November 14th, 2014

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

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

What was the inspiration behind Wingz in the first place?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you got your own favourites?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

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

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

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

Boots or Shoes?

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

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

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

I must give credit to Sarah Clark for all the Social Media we do. Sarah is amazing. She is a published author with a mean sense of humour; efficient and organised I am blessed to have her work with a tangent lover like me. Thank You Sarah X is my Tall Plus Size website and I am moving towards specialising in dresses only. FatPhRocks has an amazing blogger called Eloise, she has more spunk than even me, I adore her and always have a giggle when reading her posts. is my Wingz website, simple and easy to use with links to our social media. We give a 50% discount code to customers that post a photo of themselves wearing Wingz with their outfits on Facebook. We hope this gives other ladies ideas about how to wear their own Wingz and add sleeves to what they wish. is my website about Lipoedema, it is lifestyle focussed and I hope it is and positive place for those with Lipoedema. All links to Lipoedema Ladies facebook pages and twitter can be found on there, there is also a ‘Hub’ page on this website that has live posts from our social media, so those that do not want to be a part of the ‘Social Media World’ can still read the latest news without having to be members of these sites.

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

Linda x

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


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