Category Archives: Bridal

An Interview With Essex’ee Legs

Way back in November 2012 I interviewed Anne Tyler from Essex’ee Legs (to read the original interview, click HERE) – my favourite hosiery shop – and since then Anne’s business has continued to grow and this year the website has had a revamp, her daughter Victoria has joined the business, but I’m much more excited to announce that Essex’ee Legs have now launched their own brand range of hosiery.  I caught up with Anne and Victoria to find out more …. image

Welcome ladies…what made you want to introduce your own hosiery brand?

Our own brand is something we wanted to introduce from day 1. We wanted to see the Essexee Legs name on our own hosiery that we were proud to sell, and is of an excellent quality, and to see it finally happen is great. To see our Essexee Legs branded bags, in pink of course, is amazing.

Was it difficult to decide what hosiery styles to include in the brand family?

No not at all. This is something we will build on. Hosiery essentials was a good start, with a few fashion items, and fuller figure, as there is limited choice out there for larger ladies.

imageWere your choices dictated by your personal tastes, popular customer requests, hosiery trends, or bits of all three?

A bit of all 3. What the customer wants, was priority.

What is your favourite pair?

We love them all. If I had to pick from present styles I would say from regular range: Essexee Legs Footless Tights with Lace Cuff, and from Large-Plus range definitely the Essexee Legs Open Toe Tights

If it was possible, who would you like to see being the “legs” of Essex’ee Legs?

Abbey Clancy and Rebel Wilson if they want to give us a call 😉

imageYour own brand has only just been launched, but has there been one style that has begun to create a stir already?

The Essexee Legs Open Toe Tights for large-XXL are selling fast. Due to a gap in the market, and the high quality. Ladies are coming back for more.

Are there plans to add to your own brand any new styles in the future?

Yes, we want to grow the brand and will be adding lots of new styles in the future.

imageLooking ahead to the Autumn/Winter season – what hosiery styles do you think will be hitting the headlines?

Bold statement tights with very striking patterns are on the horizon, plus lot’s more choices for fuller figure ladies. Lots to look forward too.

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

http://www.essexeelegs.co.uk

imagehttps://www.facebook.com/tightsandstockings
http://essexeelegs.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/EssexeeLegs

http://www.pinterest.com/essexeelegs/essex-ee-legs-tights-and-stockings/
http://essexeelegs.tumblr.com/

https://plus.google.com/111792881149222095036/posts

imageThank you ladies for telling us about your exciting new range – I am already a big fan but any readers who haven’t yet checked out this online hosiery site you should do so as they also stock major brands and swimwear too, fabulous customer service and speedy delivery…. the real service with a smile  🙂

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Essex’ee Legs

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An Interview With The Miniature Perfume Shoppe

20140130-133720.jpgLove is in the air… it’ll soon be Valentine’s Day and what lady doesn’t like to be wooed by perfume? For this week’s interview I’m chatting to Leslie Ann and Allen Aaron White of the Texan based Miniature Perfume Shoppe – a perfume bottle shop and museum rolled into one. Leslie Ann White is the Founder and Owner of Miniature Perfume Shoppe. Her professional career of more than twenty five years in the cosmetics industry includes time spent as the Cosmetics Buyer for Foley’s (now Macy’s) Department Stores, and an Account Executive for Clinique Labs responsible for 24 accounts and $10M in annual sales. When not out on the hunt for the next great mini through either her travelling or surfing the web, most of Leslie Ann’s time is spent researching, processing, and professionally cleaning/restoring minis for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. As co-owner, Allen Aaron White (Leslie Ann’s husband), created the MPS website that launched online in 2009. With a varied and successful professional career that has included work as a retail manager, human resources executive, and ordained minister, Allen joined Miniature Perfume Shoppe full-time in 2011 where he currently serves as curator, photographer, and resident perfume historian.

A big welcome to you both, I adore your idea of a miniature perfume shop – it is the first & largest online store of its kind in the world devoted exclusively to the collector of miniature perfume bottles – where did you get your inspiration from?image
Leslie Ann : The inspiration for Miniature Perfume Shoppe began with a small sample bottle of Chanel No. 5. My mom had  just finished using a mini of her “signature” fragrance and asked me (I was thirteen and living in Scotland at the time) if I would like the empty bottle. Little did either one of us realize then that this would not only be the beginning of my personal miniature perfume bottle collection, but also my professional career in the cosmetic industry. Soon, I had two, then ten, then dozens of tiny perfume bottles. My collection continued to grow through the years (I still have that original bottle) with some of those minis ultimately becoming the first inventory for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. My personal collection today is less than a hundred bottles – mainly vintage Chanel minis – but being surrounded by literally thousands of minis every day, I feel a special connection with each and every one. It’s hard to let them go!
20140130-133731.jpgYou stock over 5,000 minis including limited editions,famous brand names, antique, vintage and new too.  What’s the oldest bottle you have, the rarest, the most extravagant, the priciest and the newest?
Allen: First launching with about a hundred bottles, Miniature Perfume Shoppe has since surpassed the 5,000 bottle mark (we currently have our eyes set on that 10,000 mini milestone.) Truth is, since we’re constantly searching for and buying minis from all over the world – individual bottles and entire collections – our inventory is constantly changing. With collectors in more than 35 countries our minis are often here today and gone tomorrow, and with hundreds of “new” minis arriving each week, every day is like Christmas around here. Through the years, some of the oldest (and rarest) minis we have had include miniatures from the mid-1800s, with quite a few regularly arriving from the 1920s such as a Grossmith Phul-Nana, Jaspy Myrodata, and a scarce La Mysteree by Lothaire. As for the most extravagant mini, well that is in the eye of the beholder, but it is hard to beat an Adrian Designs miniature or early Irice Czech glass bottle. Although most minis sell at our shoppe (on average) in the $10 – $25 price range, we also offer “Paris minis” as low as $2.95. Of course, scarcer, hard to find, discontinued miniatures in very good-to-mint condition sell for much, much more. The Priciest? A sealed Guerlain Shalimar “Umbrella” bottle from the 1950s, and a signed, numbered, Serge Lepage Botticelliana mini by Schiaparelli c1970s come to mind – each valued at around $200. We work hard to maintain as diverse a selection as possible with a mini for every taste and every pocketbook. As for the newest, well that depends on what arrives on any given day. Last week it was Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift and Flora from the Gucci Garden Collection.
20140130-133756.jpgTo date, what has been your most popular bottle requested?
Allen: There are some minis that are considered timeless and classic, usually because of either the bottle design or the fact that the fragrance has been discontinued or reformulated. Minis that we find very difficult to keep in stock (and usually sell within days of arriving) include: the original Shalimar, Lauren, Must de Cartier, Poison, and Anne Klein II.
What’s your most favourite perfume bottle?
Miniatures
Leslie Ann: Chanel No 5 from the 1920s-1930s
Allen: Champagne (with wire) by Yves Saint Laurent
 
Commercial
Both: Hedonist by Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris
You also buy in bottles – have you any that you are particularly hoping to come across?
We are always on the lookout for very early Guerlain minis (especially Jickey and Shalimar) and early ornamental Czech glass minis – the older the better.
You’re a big supporter of the Institute of Art and Olfaction – every mini that is bought you make a donation to the Institute – plus you’ve made a donation of books for their perfume library.  How did you get involved with the Institute?
Allen: Since we first opened for business, we knew that at some point we wanted to partner with and financially support a worthy non-profit organization. That happened last year when we discovered the Institute for Art & Olfaction, based in Los Angeles. For us, it was love at first sight (or sniff) because in the IAO we found the best of all worlds: fragrance, art, and perfume education. When we learned they were trying to build a perfume library we jumped at the chance to help, so since their opening in January of 2013 we’ve supported the IAO monthly. We also donate 10% of any sale made with an IAO discount code. The Institute is involved in some of the most innovative, cutting-edge work being done in the perfume world today and we’re proud to play a mini part in their success.
20140130-133709.jpgThe Vintage Bottles are intended for display purposes and not for use as an everyday personal fragrance.  So, tell me, what is your perfume of choice for everyday wear?
Leslie Ann: Because our miniatures come from diverse people and places from all over the world, we seldom know for sure how a bottle has been cared for over the years. Ideally, minis are kept in a closed display case protected from light and extreme heat or cold, but we cannot always say that with absolute certainty. For that reason, we don’t guarantee that “the juice” in a bottle is still good or wearable. That said, often the perfume in a bottle may be perfectly fine – even after decades of sitting on a shelf, although more often than not some of the top notes have “gone off.”.  As for my personal perfume of choice? That’s easy. My “signature scent” at this time in my life is Hedonist by Viktoria Minya. I think it is the most beautiful, intoxicating perfume on the market today. In fact, I love it so much (and my husband loves it on me so much) that we now carry the line at Miniature Perfume Shoppe. But I also have a fragrance wardrobe that I can choose from based on the season or special occasion. Of course, I also have the luxury of being surrounded by thousands of minis and fragrances every day. Depending on my mood, I can wear just about any fragrance I want anytime I want.
You also sell very cute perfume pins/brooches – I love the Montana silver tone – what’s the most popular? What’s your personal favourite?
Leslie Ann: All of our perfume pins and brooches are adorable – that’s why they are so collectible (especially in Europe), but you’ll almost never find my favorite in stock. That’s because they sell as quickly as they come in – vintage sterling silver perfume pins by Judith Jack.
20140130-133805.jpgYou have a library/resource area too – a great idea – what sort of historical enquiries do you get?
Allen: There is no shortage of great books, websites, and blogs on perfume. Through the years we’ve tried to include links to some of the very best on our website. But we’re excited to have just launched a perfume project we’ve been working on for sometime – The Mini Museum. (www.TheMiniMuseum.com) Although our ultimate goal is to one day have a brick-and-mortar building for our collection (we’re looking at sites in Houston and Paris, Texas), our virtual museum and timeline provide a photograph, fragrance facts, and perfume history for “every” miniature perfume bottle in our collection. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re hoping over time it will become a great perfume resource not only for mini collectors, but lovers of fragrance as well.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Leslie Ann: Less now, than when I was in the corporate world, I have always enjoyed wearing timeless, classic, tailored clothing and accessories. Generally, some of my favorites include: Clothing: Christian Dior & Talbot’s, Cosmetics: Clinique, Handbags: Gucci and Coach, Shoes: Clarke’s (casual) and Vaneli (dress), Watch: Gucci, Coach, Mondaine
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Leslie Ann: With my many years in retail, I do very little shopping at department stores anymore, preferring to do almost all of my shopping online. Besides, the internet is open 24-7-365 and delivers right to my front door! However, Allen and I both love vintage so we really enjoy “going antiquing” (and mini hunting!)
 Boots or Shoes?
Leslie Ann: Always shoes, maybe an ankle  boot. I prefer comfort and simple elegance. For me, I find boots too constricting – like I can’t breathe, lol. Besides, more often than not here in Texas the boot of choice is the cowgirl variety. Definitely not me.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Spring, Texas 77388 USA (Near Houston)
 
 
(New) Instagram/Miniature_Perfume_Shoppe
Thank you both very much for chatting to me…I love perfume and have found your shop and museum really fascinating. Hedonist is the featured fragrance of the Miniature Perfume Shoppe this Valentines Day – so don’t forget to sniff out a bottle soon…
 
Linda  x
 
Photo credits:  Photos have been published with kind permission from Allen Aaron White and for the Hedonist photo, with kind permission from Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris.
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An Interview With Barbara Lea Pottery

This week I’m interviewing a lovely lady whose business is a real family affair and she makes the most exquisite figurines… If you’re looking for gift ideas that would be cherished, then take a peek at what this lady can do! Hi Barbara, welcome to the blog:20131206-131920.jpg

Hi I’m Barbara from Barbara Lea Pottery, based on the Fylde Coast. I make handcrafted figurines and gifts and am helped by my lovely family, husband Allan,  son Adam and daughter Clare.  

You started trading in 1989 and your beautiful unique and bespoke figurines are certainly very collectable. What made you start up your business? Have you always done that line of work?

That’s a good question!  My first career I trained for was a cook/baker, then I was a singer, but I have always loved art, painting,  photography etc… but it was only after I had my first child that I decided I needed an outlet and signed up at a local pottery evening course and loved it ! Although everyone there were making pots the tutor didn’t mind that I did my own thing and made figures.  I had a good reaction from family and friends so decided to jump in the deep end and invest in a kiln and trade fair! I never looked back. 

20131206-132011.jpgThe figurines are bespoke handmade pieces, so each is totally unique. What inspires each sculpture?

I have always been inspired by people’s attitudes and stances, there’s just something special about capturing a moment, whether it be in clay, paint or photography.  In my work I endeavour to capture the spirit of children and family.  Just observing my family and friends is all the motivation and inspiration I need, in fact each child range is named after a member of the family!

Your elegant collection of figurines include depictions of mother & child, brides/bridesmaids, father & son etc. What type of figurine seems to be the most popular?

As we can incorporate wedding colours and add names, dates etc..our wedding  range is the most popular, bridegrooms, bridesmaids and pageboys gifts, even the cutesy Bride and Groom customers sometimes buy for cake toppers! But a close second is the `Mother & Baby’.

20131206-131932.jpgI personally adore the Winter Ladies Collection – they are so cute! What’s your favourite figurine style?

This is a difficult one! Erm,  well I always love the latest design I’m working on at the time, probably because its fresh and I’m excited to see how the piece will be received, but I suppose the design I enjoy the most is the `Three Sisters’.

Each item is crafted in white earthenware, then painted in a cream glaze with touches of colour  – they look very intricate – how long does it take to produce a figurine?

Well each piece is different, I tend to start a few pieces at the same time,but from starting all pieces to completion is approx 10 days. After I have made them, it usually takes approx, 4 /5 days to dry out, then into the kiln to bake, when cool, glazed, then back into the kiln.  

20131206-132001.jpgHave you any plans to extend your range? 

Yes, I have a few new ranges that will be going on the website in the New Year. One is a little boy range called Lewis. Also a range called `Cherish You Angels’, I have had numerous commissions for angels over the past few years so have designed the new range, it has took me a while to get them just right, but I’m now happy with the range now.

Have you ever been asked to produce any unusual figurines?

Well I haven’t had that many unusual requests but I did have a commission from a rock band, who wanted themselves depicted in clay, that was fun!

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

Well if you popped around for a brew, you would find me in Jeans and Jumper! I know, not very exciting, but when you are working with clay, you have to be practical and warm!!

20131206-131942.jpgDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Oh dear, well I have to admit I am a lazy shopper, I do a lot of online shopping, the sites I tend to use are `Very’ and `Next’.                                                                                                                                                                                                

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

Well at the moment I have my eye on some blue DM’s , been hinting for a Christmas pressy, but if not,present to self!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely boots! Love them and have many pairs. Plus love the fact I can wear high boots but never feel I’m teetering!!  

Links you would like to share eg website/Facebook/Twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Barbara Lea Pottery:    

                                                                                                                                                                                 www.barbaraleapottery.com .  

twitter barbaraleapottery . 

www.facebook.com/barbaraleapottery

www.etsy.com/shop/barbaraleapottery  

Thank you very much indeed for chatting to us Barbara, and I wish you continuing success in the future – you are one inspiring lady!

Linda x

Photo credits: The photos have been published with kind permission from Clare Peace.

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An Interview With Petra Jewellery

Tonight I’m really pleased to welcome onto the blog the delightful Mitch from Petra Jewellery. Hi Mitch, please introduce yourself and Petra Jewellery:Mitch

Hello, I’m Mitch! I am a local Hampshire girl, happily married with one gorgeous daughter. Look out for her as she sometimes models for us! I took over from my Mum, Petra who started the business, about 8 years ago.  I’m a mechanical engineer grad, ex Royal Engineer officer, investment banker and construction project manager – actually all proven to be perfect training to become one of the best jewellers in Hampshire!

What’s the background to your business?

My Mum started the business when she met my dad (on a ski slope in the Alps – he was an Army Officer, she spoke no English) and he’d left the Army. They arrived in Basingstoke needing her to make some money.  She did not speak any English, so had to do something with her hands! The only thing she could do was make jewellery (trained with a Master Goldsmith in Germany).  My Mum has always insisted we keep her high German standards in terms of product offering and also customer services – we take huge pride in both of these!

Capture_00018The company description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers”…the Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples and the Engagement Offer in association with Tylney Hall .. are just two examples of the little extra you offer. What’s the inspiration behind these ideas to highlight the engagement of couples?

Our official description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers” And we’re sticking with that! We take such time in getting to know our customers and understanding exactly what they want and need.

The recently launched, Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples at our workshop that really helps make the moment even more special! And the Engagement offer in association with the local, beautiful Tylney Hall are just two examples the little extra special bits you get with Petra!

We always Mystery Shop at other jewellers – including some big names in London and were shocked at how little enthusiasm and compassion the retail assistants demonstrated as we posed as customers looking for engagement rings.  So we’ve decided to blow our customers away with the most amazing engagement experience ever, that they will remember for ever with tons of expert design advice thrown in as well. So you come away with a unique experience rather than just hearing the tills ringing as you leave!

As well as offering a comprehensive range of jewellery services and you have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything and everything: I’m constantly taking photos of things that inspire me, I’m a magazine junkie, I always ask to look at people’s jewellery even if I’m not in the shop, trade fairs… but the underlying emphasis is creating beautiful jewellery that lasts a lifetime.  Not many designers seems to care that much about how their designs are actually going to suit the lifestyle of the wearer.Unbenannt-1

What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

Loads of unusual and wonderful requests: a vial for someone’s dog’s ashes, a child’s tooth made into a pendant, copies of crazy costume jewellery designs, a major’s badge, wedding rings for a pilot mum who met in the cock pit of a plane (yes, up in the sky), banana cufflinks, snooker cue brooch and diamond set ball triangle pendant for a snooker World Champion…BUT – for me, these creations are amazing in their own way, they are truly individual and the recipients have been beyond excited at the end result.

To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?

Hard to say as we don’t do any one design en masse – our new Angel Whisperer Collection is really, really popular. I think because it is so beautiful and different and again, it can be personalised and changed immediately, depending on where your mood takes you!

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

That’s an easy one! My 30th birthday present from my Mum: an 18ct gold bangle immaculately set with 30 diamonds.  It is stunning and is so me! So many customers have seen it and asked us to re-create it for them – that’s an honour.

You do a “your gold” service – using old gold provided by the customer melted down to make a new piece of jewellery – what a lovely idea!  What’s the most popular recycled jewellery piece?

It’s all about memories again and making something special and unique. Our solid gold handmade bangles that will last forever – we normally use the customer’s old gold and they talk to us about how they would like it ‘recycled’. Every single customer who has used this service, has been over the moon with the final result – that’s a pretty satisfying thing at the end of the working day.

DSR11.jpg (white)When it comes to wedding rings, you can make rings out of platinum; 9ct, 14ct, & 18ct white, rose, & yellow gold; palladium and titanium.  My own engagement & wedding ring are platinum (I’m a lucky girl :)) …what metal is the most popular with your customers?

You are a lucky lady – platinum is still the best!  I’m also big fan of palladium – it is a good alternative to platinum although our goldsmith moans like crazy about making anything bespoke from it as it’s not easy to work with!  Our best-selling metal however is our 18ct white gold – it’s ‘palladium rich’ so naturally much whiter than normal 18ct white gold so we can guarantee it will never will look yellow like most High Street white gold will – this is a huge selling point and our customers trust that we are right (we always are!)  Lots of people are disappointed with their white gold as once the rhodium plating wears off their rings take on a ‘straw white colour’, not a nice experience!

You do offer branded jewellery from other designers that you’ve picked for their creativity and flair – what brand seems to be of interest this season amongst your customers? Any favourites yourself?

Both from Germany: unrivalled quality and finishes:

My iMenso – interchangeable pendants –

Angels Whisperer

Festina and Candino watches (new brand to UK – swiss mech and sapphire crystal face but only £200- £300)

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

Calvin Klein style but sometimes from charity shops, Primark – anything plain which works well as it shows off the jewellery I’m wearing.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Oh dear, I discovered LK Bennet dresses: perfect for Saturdays in the shop – makes me feel like a lady!  Off duty I’m on ‘Wiggle’ buying cycling kit!  Always on the look out for sexy sports clothing!

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

Our brand colours ,sports kit that I can brand as Petra Jewellery and advertise as I run and cycle round the Hampshire countryside!  And then a new time trial bike in Petra colours and I might even add some diamantes!

Boots or Shoes?

Now – boots ‘n’ skinny jeans – so I don’t get wet feet!

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

 

https://www.facebook.com/PetraJewellery

www.petrajewellery.com

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Petra Jewellery

 

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An Interview With Crystal Bridal Accessories

Summer is well underway here in the UK and weddings are in the air…my interview this week is with a fabulous bridal company that are definitely worth looking up if you have a wedding coming up later in the year or are planning your nuptials  beyond! I’ve been chatting to Amy of Crystal Bridal Accessories…Hi Amy! Please introduce us to yourself and your company:Amy_Karim

I’m the MD for Crystal Bridal Accessories, a mum of three girls aged 10 and 5 year old twins and I love shoes!

What made you start up your business?

I was working as an e-learning tutor on a local schools project and discovered I was having twins…I decided that I wanted to take a career break but as I am such a workaholic…I thought perhaps I would need a ‘hobby’ whilst on my break. I love jewellery and I adore shoes – the bridal industry is full of sparkle and glamour and all things beautiful…so this all combined to create Crystal Bridal Accessories. The aim was to create a one-stop shop for the best bridal accessories on the market so that brides can easily find everything they need to accessorize their bridal look!

Swirl_Pearl_Comb£45_model_shot_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukWhen choosing stock for your shop & website, do you have a set criteria or do you go with what grabs you at the time or a bit of both?

A bit of both really! I won’t put anything on my website which I wouldn’t wear myself…I really do believe in choosing only the best, most beautiful things and putting them all in one place together. Some of the criteria is based on current bridal dress trends and quality of the items – everything  has to be manufactured to a high quality otherwise I won’t even consider it.

You have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?

Ava crystal bridal belt mood shot_£249_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukThe inspiration for my Signature Collection comes quite simply from a mixture of gaps I’ve seen in the jewellery market over the years combined with vintage design! The backdrop necklace was my very first idea for my own piece because I noticed that there simply wasn’t anything so glamorous for brides as a back piece…all the other pieces in the collection are designed to mix and match so that brides can choose one piece – such as the Ava Studs – or add the Ava Necklace and Ava Belt depending on how much glamour they want to create!

What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

The most unusual accessory I’ve designed is the Ava bridal belt…it is completely unique as it’s made entirely of crystals and a refreshing change to the other types of bridal sashes you can buy which are all set on ribbon or satin. The brooch with tassels and navette crystals gives it a distinct vintage edge which is all the trend nowadays!

To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?

This would have to be our rose crystal trailing flower bridal brooch! 

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?Grace_Forehead_Band_model_shot_£55_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

My favourite item is our own Grace Forehead band – I love the simplicity of it but it is still such a glamorous fashion statement!

You do a shoe dyeing service for the blushing brides & for other special occasions, so what has been the most popular colour in recent seasons?

Cadbury Purple and Fuchsia are always the most popular colours – but we have seen a trend for more peach / blush nude shades as well recently.

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

Marina_exclusive_Harriet_Wilde_for_crystal_bridal_accessories_£419_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukI love my High Street brands…Zara, Mango, Aldo and Warehouse…but most of my shopping is done online…of course!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Asos…of course, Zara, Mango… and as I’m a mum, I love the French site Vertbaudet for their pretty kidswear!

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

Hmmm…very practical…but I’ve got my eye on a Knomo laptop trolley for my trips away 

Model_shot_Charlize_shoes_£299_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukBoots or Shoes?

OMG…shoes all the way! I’m not really a boots person…a pair of peep toe heels transform your look instantly!

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

Our website www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

Join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalBridalAccessoriesLtdSheffield

Follow us on twitter @wedding_queen

It’s been a real pleasure to chat to you Amy and your accessories are certainly exquisite…thank you for joining us.

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission of Crystal Bridal Accessories.

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Pink Heaven – An Interview With Cuppies ‘n’ Cream

1254This week I’m delighted to welcome onto the blog the talented Natalie from Cuppies ‘n’ Cream, home of exquisite and delicious cupcakes …… Hi Natalie, please introduce yourself:4

Hi, I’m Natalie, I’m 30 years old (eek) and I live in Wokingham, Berkshire. I am originally from York but have lived down south for 8/9 years now. I do still have quite a broad Yorkshire accent though! I run a bespoke cake and cupcake company called Cuppies ‘n’ Cream.
I loved your cakes when I saw you at the Northampton Shoe Museum – how long have you been making cakes?
I have always enjoyed baking & have been making cakes, biscuits and treats since I was little.  My mum often reminds me that she would often come home to find I’d baked cupcakes (or buns as we called them then) – I’d have added something completely random from the cupboard and use up all the butter too. I remember the first time I discovered food dye and made some horrendous green cupcakes!233
Your cakes are extremely yummy – where do you get your inspiration from for the flavours and topping ideas?
I love trying new flavour combinations and will often use seasonal fruit and fresh produce. I believe in using real flavours rather than artificial ones. I often visit food fairs and will buy treats for myself and then develop a cupcake/cake flavour from that too. Sometimes some flavours may seem quite strange but they actually work really well. I like certainly flavours to be strong too. For example I love lemon cakes to be really zesty and strong or coffee cake to blow your head off a little 😉
What’s the most unusual flavour cake you’ve made? Have you had any strange flavour requests?
The most unusual flavour that I have made would have to be chocolate and Mexican chillies! The customer was specific that I had to use Mexican chillis.  Whilst this is becoming a more popular flavour now at the time it wasn’t so people were a little thrown with it! But, it did taste very yummy with a lovely kick to the icing. 
To date, what has been your most popular cake?
My most popular cake flavour has to be chocolate fudge.  Its super moist, decadent and of course full of chocolate!
What’s your favourite cake that you have ever made?Alice1
My favourite cake has to be my Alice in Wonderland tea party cake.  It was very time consuming making all the little pieces, but was really good fun and I struggled to hand this cake over!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I would say I go for quite classic styles, A-line dresses and skirts, heels and ballet pumps.  I love vintage dresses and have recently been searching for these. I’ve found some beautiful pieces and love how they fit. I’m a typical English pear shape (big hips and a small waist) so find these styles suit me so much more. I love cropped chinos with blouses and little blazers too. 033 (640x580)
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
My favourite shops… oooh this is a hard one! I would say that overall I love French Connection (for pretty summer dresses), Reiss (for trousers and blouses), Topshop (for vests and tees), online I love shopping at Aldo as there isn’t one local to me, Notonthehighstreet, Etsy for one off pieces and of course my new found love of vintage boutiques.  One my new favourites is a lovely little shop called Alexandra Vintage in Reading.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
On my “need” list I currently have nude peep toes (for summer weddings), I’m travelling to Venice in June so also want to find some nice comfy flat sandals that are still a little glam, and I have a lovely polka dot dress that I’m looking to find a matching skinny red leather belt to go with. I also really want a new leather tan coloured clutch bag.094 (640x480)
Boots or Shoes? 
ooooh Im going to say boots, no shoes! yes, def shoes. I love boots, they keep you warm and can really jazz up any outfit. I have a lovely pair of suede shoe boots too.. but overall it has to be shoes. I love heels too much! They make feel a little more special and fancy!
whitetowerprofessionalLinks you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
My links are:

Thank you Natalie, I really enjoyed our chat and your cakes!!! 

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission of Natalie Dickinson.

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Reviving The 50s – An Interview With Amanda Moorhouse

This week I’d like to welcome the beautiful and talented Amanda Moorhouse, founder of Lipstick & Curls. Hi Amanda, introduce yourself and tell us what was the inspiration behind Lipstick & Curls:Amanda_Lipstick_and_Curls copy

Lipstick & Curls was born out of my love for the vintage look and my career as a hair & make up artist in the fashion industry. I studied hair & make up at the London College of fashion and then went down the usual route of assisting a established make up artist to learn my craft and make industry contacts. I assisted Illamasqua’s Alex Box for two years, whilst also working for a vintage inspired make up and hair retailer called Pout as their main stylist and product developer. For the last 15 years, I feel lucky to have maintained a career in hair & make up styling, a job that I still find stimulating and an area I continue to learn and grow in.

Whilst I had always loved watching old glamorous films I really found my passion for vintage whilst I was a student. There was the music of course but also the clothes. I’m sure partly due to student poverty I used to trawl the charity shops looking for interesting items and in those days it was easier to find some lovely vintage pieces. With these interests I began to research through old magazines and film clips looking for authentic period looks and incorporating them into my work.

Lipstick_and_Curls._7I founded Lipstick & Curls in 2009.with a team of two artists, this has now grown to a team of 15. Lipstick & Curls specialises in hair and make-up from the past and can transform you into a jazz era flapper girl, a golden era Hollywood starlet, a rock n roll pin-up or a Mad Men sex kitten. We pride ourselves on having a fully qualified team that are all part of the different strands of the vintage scene, rockabillies, 40’s enthusiasts, Mods, Northern soul enthusiasts etc. While all experts in vintage styling, they are able to create any look from a bygone period. 

What, in your opinion, has been the most popular styles and make up colours in recent seasons? 

 We continue o look to the past for our inspiration in style and fashion. Media also play s a huge role in our influences, and now more than ever with TV hit series such as, Madmen, Downtown Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Mr Selfridge …and many, many more. This is reflected in fashion across the board and even in hair and make up styling. Women are wanting a more glamorous appearance and are requesting styles from the 20’s to the 60’s. We also see the music industry being heavily influenced by the vintage styles, vintage is really everywhere and in my opinion is here to stay!!

I love the “Pop Up Beauty Parlour” idea …. and judging by the sell outs so do a lot of ladies!! What service tends to be the most popular? And what is your favourite treat at a beauty parlour? Stephanie & Dale's Wedding

The pop up parlor is a great addition to an event! We have a few regulars at vintage fairs and festivals, and ladies can shop as well as getting beautified giving a complete experience. Most of our ladies choose our hair and make up package receiving a full vintage make over, this is our most popular service.

I find I spend most of my time making other ladies beautiful  however when I get the time I do enjoy a manicure and the odd massage, for me that is a real treat!

What’s your most favourite make up item in your collection?

Ooh that’s a difficult one! I am torn between my red lippy and my eyebrow pencil, it would have to be the brow liner.Lipstick_and_Curls_5

Congratulations on Lipstick & Curls  being the Winner of Best Vintage Hair & Make Up in the 2012 Vintage Awards. Have you any new ventures/ideas that you’re planning for 2013?

We are always looking at ways of pushing the company forward. Our new Lipstick & Curls take away has proven popular and is a mobile service that takes glamour to the home. Made popular in the 40’s and 50’s the mobile stylist gives the company a connection with the hair & make up artists of the past.

We have recently started an exciting new venture with a company we love the Vintage Patisserie. It is a hair and beauty academy and our aim is to teach the basics in vintage glamour so ladies can look amazing without a daily visit to a salon. It’s more than just teaching skills though and it will have that very distinct vintage patisserie experience with lots of delicious food and drink.

 In the next few months we are also launching our online shop. From my experience as a hair and makeup artist I have sourced together many of the products and companies that are invaluable to my kit. Many not available in this country at the moment.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?Lipstick_and_Curls_6

I love dressing up and have some loads of original clothes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s but I also have a 3 year old so tend to dress more casually at home in reproduction and keep the originals for work and going out. I have to say I live in my ‘Freddies’ jeans (a reproduction of a classic 1950’s pattern) While I have a passion for shoes and have a great collection, I am on my feet a lot, so wear a lot of flats. I am a huge fan of French Sole ballet pumps, Remix Sandals, Miss L Fire and Terry Smith saddle shoes.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Lipstick_and_Curls_2I’m a big fan of Vintage fairs, where they have the best original clothing dealers but also love to find bargains scourering the charity shops and car boots. Some favourite shops for Vintage are Radio Days in Waterloo and Blackout in Covent Garden. As for reproduction I love Freddies of Pinewood (http://www.freddiesofpinewood.co.uk) , Morellos (http://www.morellos.co.uk/) and What Katie Did (http://www.whatkatiedid.com/)

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

I have recently bought quite a special gold 1950’s wiggle dress and I am on the look out for the perfect pair of 1950’s healed mules to wear with it!

Boots or Shoes? 

Shoes! I wear a lot of skirts dresses and capris and a boot wouldn’t work with either really. I do love my vintage court shoes and even my repro sandals … even in the winter!

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

 

Info@lipstickandcurls.net

www.lipstickandcurls.net

https://www.facebook.com/LipstickandCurlsLtd

https://twitter.com/#!/lipstickcurls

http://pinterest.com/lipstickcurls/

 

Thanks Amanda!  I do like your idea of an online shop and I love the whole set up of Lipstick & Curls! I wish you continued success! 

Linda x

Photo Credits: Rhapsody Road; Claudia Rose Carter Photography; Steve Hart Photography; Tony Nylons; Nick Clements

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