Monochrome With Melissa…

EVERYONE approaches styling in a different way, I often start an outfit build with one thing – a bag, a piece of jewellery or in this case a pair of statement shoes. As I’m simplifying my style lately, this week I’ve gone all monochrome with a pair of Melissa platform boots as the starting point for my outfit. The clean design and chunky platform are perfect to pair with simple jersey basics and chunky silver jewellery. The boots are the focus of the outfit, so I’ve kept the rest simple accessorizing with a pair of aviators and a clutch bag. The white t-shirt is a burned out jersey so you can see the crop top through it, if it’s super hot or you’re feeling daring you can do away with the tee altogether and just go for the cropped look.

Melissa is THE place to go for statement footwear, collaborating with iconic designers like Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld and Jason Wu you can buy into the designer dream without killing your credit card. This Brazilian brand have been making their statement shoes for the last 30 years, creating iconic collections which have been included amongst the Design Museum’s list of “Fifty Shoes That Changed the World”.

Monochrome is a trend that keeps coming back, whether it’s Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter it’s a look that’s simple to style and suits pretty much everyone. Whatever your interpretation is, keep it simple, clean and classic – make a statement with one piece and make that piece count…Melissa ShoesMelissa ShoesMelissa Shoes

Melissa shoes Melissa Stellar platform boots £125, black jersey skirt was £3.99 now £3.39 from H&M, black crop top £2.50 & white t-shirt £5.00 both from Primark, small chain previous season by Dior, sparrow necklace £165, skull pendant £80 & skull ring £160 all from The Great Frog, anchor pendant £53.95 by Muru from Lulu Winter, stud pendant previous season by Ti Sento Milano, silver bracelet is vintage, aviators £125 by Ray Ban and clutch bag is vintage. Prices correct at time of publication. Styling & photography by Helen S Stanley.  

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes…

I TRY to include foodie posts on here, despite the fact I am useless at cooking, because I love food! This week I’m making ice cream cone cupcakes which are perfect if you want to do something different for a party or just because you want cake. I love cakes and deserts with lots of colour, which is quite hard to achieve in this country because someone seems to have stolen all our E-numbers (I want them back!) So I’ve done my best to create some afternoon delight in the form of ice cream cone cupcakes… ice cream cone cupcake

Whip up some chocolate chip muffins (you specifically need to make muffins to get the right size and shape for the ice cream cones), this recipe makes 12 :

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 150g milk or plain chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200 c/400 f. Line 12 muffin cases. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter untill the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and the chocolate chips (replace with cherries or blueberries if you prefer). In a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk and vanilla extract together, then pour the mixture all at once into the dry ingredients and mix briefly. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen, golden and firm to touch. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.muffinsice cream cone cupcakeice cream cone cupcake

Make sure you buy ice cream cones with flat bottoms so they stand up, then you’ll need icing, sprinkles and chocolate stars to decorate – these are all from Sainsbury’s. Before you start to decorate you will need to shape your muffins so they fit into the ice cream cones, you will also need to round the edges off to achieve an ice cream scoop shape.

Once you’ve done that pipe icing all the way round the muffin, then sprinkle! The icing might slowly start to drip but don’t worry that all adds to the ice cream effect. Enjoy…

ice cream cone cupcakeice cream cone cupcakeice cream cone cupcake

Photography by Helen S Stanley.

Celebrate National Piña Colada Day with Funkin Cocktails…

JULY 10th is officially National Piña Colada Day so obviously I’m going to be celebrating that one! Funkin Cocktails have teamed up with Malibu rum for this special day, creating the perfect partnership. All you have to do is add ice to a glass, followed by a measure or two of Malibu rum, then top up with Funkin Piña Colada mix and if you don’t drink alcohol just leave out the rum. Easy! Funkin and Malibu have even created a National Piña Colada Day kit and party packs so you can turn it into a proper celebration.

Funkin mixers are 100% natural containing only sun ripened fruit and each mixer is created in consultation with some of the world’s best bartenders. If you don’t like Piña Coladas they do lots of other flavours too and if you do then sing along! “Yes, I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne!…” (That’s been stuck in my head for days so I’m passing it onto you…)

So how will I be celebrating? Well, I was treated to a Piña Colada mixer from Funkin which I used along with Malibu to create this awesome cocktail in my favourite Tiki glass, I added some pineapple straws, then adorned some pineapple sunnies AND flamingo and pineapple print socks! Whilst this is all going on I’ll be burning a Piña Colada candle handmade by Kiss Air Candles. Stuff is going to be getting crazy round here on July 10th, good times!

National Pina Colada day

Photography by Helen S Stanley & Stephen Turner

Festival Style, Part 2…

FOLLOWING on from my Festival Style, Part 1 post I wanted to create something else with a few tips for festival visits. As well as seeing Blur last week in Hyde Park, we went back this weekend to see The Who supported by Johnny Marr and Paul Weller and over the years I’ve been to Glastonbury, Reading and V so I’ve got some experience in this area…

So for Hyde Park this time I wore my favourite Mambo men’s muscle tank, a thin parka style jacket from New Look, denim Tommy Hilfiger cut-offs, Ray Ban sunnies (of course), Gola trainers, necklaces from Dior, Anna Lou of London & Ti Sento Milano & trademark skull ring from The Great Frog. Absolutely no flower crown – I wore my hair up to keep it out of my way – it was hot that day. A pretty good reflection of my usual style, tomboy. Stephen wore a Fred Perry polo, Levis Big E jeans and vintage Levis denim jacket, Ray Bans and flat cap.

The Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde ParkThe Who Hyde Park

FESTIVAL TIPS:

1) Be comfortable – I’ve seen girls trying to walk around fields in heels which isn’t the best idea. If the weather is good trainers are perfect and if not stick on some wellies.

2) If you’re staying the weekend take essentials: pocket tissue packs are great for the obvious, sun cream, sunglasses, wet wipes, plasters and a bottle of NatraSan.

NatraSan is 100% natural and made from <5% Hypochlorous acid, which is produced naturally by white blood cells to aid healing and fight infections and bacteria. As well as protecting against germs and bugs on surfaces and wounds, it has also been proven to fight against acne and spots as it kills 99.9999% of germs. As it can be used as a disinfectant, you are able to use it for a multitude of beauty chores including cleaning your make-up brushes (we all know how annoying that is), cleaning your make-up bag and cleaning the make up casing. It can also be helpful to have in your beauty bag/draw as it takes the sting out of minor burns. NatraSan is the first of its kind to have EU approval to be sold to consumers. It is pH neutral, non-irritating and free from alcohol, preservatives and fragrances.

I’m giving away a bottle of NatraSan, visit my Twitter to find out how to win!*

3) Layer up, you never know what the weather will do from one day to the next, with layers you can take things off when you’re hot and pile them back on when you get cold. Include a thin waterproof in that layering!

4) Enjoy the moment – by all means capture some elements on your phone or camera, but don’t forget why you’re there – to experience live music. Why spend the whole time filming bands and watching it back later when you can watch it live then and there?!

5) If you’re at a festival or gig with me don’t talk over the music! I’m there for the bands, you can talk to me anytime.

*1 x bottle of NatraSan available in the giveaway. To enter visit Twitter, retweet my NatraSan giveaway tweet(s) and follow @HelensWardrobe. One winner will be chosen at random, competition runs from 29th June to 14:00 on 13th July. Entries after this won’t be counted. Decision is final. 

Photos by Helen S Stanley & Stephen Turner. 

Festival Style, Part 1…

EVERYONE gets a bit crazy about “festival style” now, it’s always been a thing but recently it’s become a bigger thing. I’ve been going to festivals for 19 years (gasp) and I’ve always dressed in my usual style, for practicality, the weather and most importantly the music – because that’s what it’s all about. Music. Lately it seems to have become more about flower crowns, fake tan and fashion rather than the sounds.

As I’ve got older (yuck) I’ve made fashion work for me rather than the other way around, I just wrote an article for Huff Post Style on creating balance with your style and I think people should read it and take note. Those who make a huge effort to look like they haven’t made an effort aren’t kidding anyone other than themselves. The desperation shows. The same applies to festival style. Be yourselves! If you don’t know who you are then read my blog from beginning to end, you might find yourself somewhere in there.

I went to see Blur this weekend as part of British Summer Time at Hyde Park, it’s been set-up like a mini festival so although we’re not going to any this year (due to Skull & Pistons commitments) at least it felt like it! I love Blur, they’re my favourite band of all time and I always have so much fun watching them live. So what did I wear? A Blur t-shirt of course. I was shocked at the lack of people wearing Blur t-shirts, not like the old days. That’s generally my rule at festivals and gigs, band tee, denim shorts or skinny jeans (depending on the weather), trainers and Ray Bans.Blur Hyde Park

Blur Hyde Park

Blur Hyde Park

Band tees and biker tees are perfect festival wear, I keep on the look out for them all the time. I prefer the way men’s t-shirts fit so I normally cut the sleeves off and wear them loose. Pop a lightweight parka or army shirt over the top and I’m festival ready. No flower crown needed.

Here are some great examples: Jimmy Buffett tour t-shirt £15, biker t-shirt £15, Zombie tour t-shirt £15. (I created a festival mood board a while ago, mood boards are a great way to hone your style).

Next week I talk about The Who and festival essentials – handy things to pack for your long weekend of music and beer.

Photography by Helen S Stanley & Stephen Turner. 

California Soul…

THOSE who know me will also know I love California. I’ve always wanted to live there and dream about it all day long. We were due to go on a three week holiday to Southern California earlier this year but with our debut Skull & Pistons Garage build taking over our lives we had to postpone. We’re very lucky to have relatives over there and our niece visited us recently which made me miss California even more so I had to create a post ode to the Golden State.

Crystal Cove

I’ve been to California a few times and one of the places that sticks in my mind is Crystal Cove, I especially love the beach cottages which throw you back in time. Built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s and developed as a South Seas movie set, Crystal Cove is in a world of its own. The community thrived and became popular because of its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and incredible landscape then in 1979 the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The majority of the original cottages have been authentically restored to reflect the era between 1935 and 1955 when the Cove evolved as a community and you can visit for the day or stay in one of the beach cottages.

Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove

Some of the buildings are still in disrepair and look abandoned, so I was in my element (as you know I am obsessed with taking pictures of abandoned buildings). So with the beach, abandoned cottages, food, drink and Californian sunshine I’d found my place in the world! I can’t wait to go back to Crystal Cove and aim to stay there for a few days (notoriously hard to do – the booking process is a bit like a riddle) and with all the stress of a new business the thought of this place is keeping me going, I love you California…

Inspired by Mad Max Style…

WITH the release of Mad Max Fury Road (it’s incredible, go see it!) I had an idea for a personal style post – a Mad Max inspired feature with a distinct nod to the 80’s. The original Mad Max films were released in 1979, ’81 then ’85 so there was a real 80’s vibe to the post apocalyptic attire which I wanted to channel in today’s outfit. Combining tassels, tie dye, studs, white denim and a mohawk seems like my idea of a party…

The whole outfit came from New Look, their Fashion Flashback page is a great source for comeback trends from different eras, helping to channel your chosen decade. I wanted to create something perfect for running around in the desert and appropriate for driving hot rods, (plus all the pieces work really well with other outfits too!) I distressed the denim jacket even more with extra rips and holes and chucked on some skull badges for good measure. Tie dye, tassels and studs are a match made in style heaven so I think the whole look works really well. I think I might dress in Mad Max 80’s awesomeness all the time!.. Helen's WardrobeMad Max StyleMad Max StyleMad Max StyleMad Max StyleMad Max StyleMad Max StyleMad Max Style

Mad Max Inspired 80’s Awesomenesswhite ripped denim jacket £22.99, tie dye fringe hem dress £18, studded fringed bumbag £12.99, leather studded boots were £54.99 now £20 all from New Look, large stud necklace previous season by Ti Sento Milano, silver skull ring £160 & skull necklace £80 from The Great Frog, diamond ring is custom.

Prices correct at time of publication. 

Photography & styling Helen S Stanley. 

Bank Holiday Essentials…

DEPENDING on the weather (as per usual) the bank holiday might consist of a visit to the beach, chilling out in the garden, or a picnic in the park, whatever you’re up to check out my bank holiday style essentials before you go.

I don’t go anywhere without a camera especially this Polaroid, if you can find film that doesn’t cost the earth it’s well worth taking with you. Summer feet need flip-flops and these Gandys Flip Flops are from my favourite independent boutique The Women’s Society in a beautiful aqua colour, perfectly suited to tanned feet (come on sunshine!) Always take a book with you in case you’re by yourself or the company is dull, Hey Nostradamus is by my favourite author Douglas Coupland, I’ve already read it but could read his novels over and over. The little blue lip balm by Balmi with a minty flavour/scent is very handy and the clutch is from Primark – a great size for little bits and pieces. The bracelets are all vintage and the frozen Mojito by Parrot Bay is like an alcoholic slushy – love it! All you need for a stylish bank holiday…

Bank holiday style essentials Bank holiday style essentials Bank holiday style essentials Bank holiday style essentials

Photograph by Helen S Stanley. 

Boyfriend Tees…

DUE to the motley nature of my look with my shaved hair and tattoos, I don’t want to overdo it with prints/pattern/silhouettes and risk looking like a walking magic eye picture and I don’t have time to fuss over clothes anymore either so I’ve been simplifying my style. One of my wardrobe staples is the boyfriend tee: easy, simple, versatile. I’ve got a huge collection and like to borrow Stephen’s as well, I love to buy vintage Harley tees although these are becoming over priced now because too many people have jumped on that particular band wagon, so it was about time to find some more.

With that in mind I thought it would be a good idea to do a feature on boyfriend t-shirts and show a few ways to style them in a no fuss manner. I’ve taken two graphic tees from Blue Inc and styled one with a skirt, heels and statement clutch perfect for a day-to-night look and the other with denim cut off shorts and vintage cowboy boots ideal for festivals or just going about your business. I’ve exercised my right to customise by distressing the crap out of the second one, creating rips, holes and cutting off the sleeves whereas the first tee I’ve left alone and just rolled the sleeves up. I’ve kept my hair and make-up the same in both to show how versatile the simple boyfriend tee can be…

Boyfriend teeBoyfriend teeBoyfriend teeBoyfriend tee

SIMPLE SUMMER STYLE: Smiley face t-shirt (sold out) by Mambo from Blue Inc, striped midi pencil skirt £9.99 also from Blue Inc, patent leather shoes previous season by Kurt Geiger, comic book clutch bag £4 by Primark, silver skull ring £165 by The Great Frog, turquoise ring is vintage, diamond & white gold ring is custom-made. Boyfriend teeBoyfriend teeBoyfriend teeBoyfriend teeBoyfriend tee

UNCOMPLICATED DESERT THREADSPin-up Hells Belles t-shirt was £12.99 now £7 by Ringspun from Blue Inc, shorts made from Tommy Hilfiger skinny jeans after they had worn out, leather studded bag from a Spanish market, cowboy boots are vintage, silver skull ring £165 by The Great Frog, turquoise ring is vintage, diamond & white gold ring is custom-made.

Photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

Art Exhibition…

A few weeks ago Stephen (Turner) and I went along to a local art exhibition by Stephen Hill. An artist specialising in cartoon style works themed mainly around cars and bikes, a self-confessed petrol head Stephen’s exhibition definitely couldn’t be missed. Here are a few of his works from the show…

I love Stephen’s style, there were so many pieces I would like to hang on our walls. A fan of line work I especially liked the car and motorbike sketches exploring this technique. The subject matter, colours and recognisable style of Stephen Hill’s collection were a hit in my book and I look forward to owning some of his original artwork.

To buy one of the works from this exhibition visit The New Maynard Gallery.

Photos by Helen S Stanley.

Skull & Pistons Garage Launch…

AS well as writing about fashion and style I am one half of Skull & Pistons Garage along with my partner Stephen. At Skull & Pistons Garage we renovate and customise classic British vehicles to our own unique design as well as commissions for individuals. We had our official launch and introduced our first project to press and special guests in association with Pistonhead Lager at the world-famous Ace Cafe London on Saturday and thought we’d share some of our snaps with you. Our custom restored 1968 MK2 Cortina went down really well with everyone even though it’s not quite finished and we’re really looking forward to taking it to a few car shows before we sell it so more people can see our Skull & Pistons Garage Cortina.

We are both total petrol heads and had such a great day talking to people about our first project and what we do at Skull & Pistons. At the after party we celebrated with Pistonhead Lager, lots of pizza and pic ‘n’ mix, what better way to spend the day?! A massive thank you to everyone who came to see us and support us on the day, we look forward to seeing you all again very soon…

Special thanks to Jessica Speller, Adam Speller & Leigh Rees-Reynolds.

Photographs by Adam Speller.

A Good Old Night In…

THOSE who read Helen’s Wardrobe will know as well as blogging for HW and other publications I also co-own Skull & Pistons Garage with my partner in life and crime Stephen. If you are one of my regulars you will also know we’ve been going hell for leather to get our first project finished and have literally had no spare time to socialize or even have any time off! So we really are in need of a night in and I’ve come up with a few ideas for a night in with a difference. So if you fancy some quality time with your mates or your other half here are a few ideas to make staying in a bit more interesting…

Make some hot chocolate a pirate would be proud of: Ingredients – 600ml (1pt) whole or semi-skimmed milk, 200g (7oz) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces, 2tbsp golden or dark rum – I highly recommend The Kraken Black Spiced Rum and finally marshmallows to decorate, (serves four).

Instructions: Place the milk, dark chocolate and rum into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Give it a quick whisk to blend it all together. Pour into four mugs or heat proof glasses and add the marshmallows. Bosh!

Rum Hot Chocolate

Create your own pic ‘n’ mix station: We’ve always got jars lying around that we’ve saved for no good reason, so here is a very good reason. The supermarkets usually have an offer on own brand sweets, alternatively you can track down some retro sweets online and I found the polka dot confectionary boxes and scoops from a local party/catering store. This is one of my favourite things to do before watching a DVD, I absolutely love pic ‘n’ mix…

Pic 'n' mix station

Chocolate Pudding Tea Cups: Ingredients – 115g Butter, 115g Dark Chocolate, 3 Eggs, 35g Plain Flour, 150g Caster Sugar.

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 200c/180c Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6, butter the tea cups and place on them on a Yorkshire pudding tray to stop them sliding around (make sure you use oven proof cups). Melt the butter and chocolate together in a pan over a low heat, whisk together the eggs, flour and sugar in a bowl, beat in the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Divide the mixture between the four tea cups and pop in the oven for 12-16minutes. Serve whilst warm and enjoy! 

Cup Cakes

Spring Is Here, Bring On The Beer!..

IT’S no secret that I like a cold beer, especially in the sunshine and what with all the chaos of starting a new business beer is needed increasingly. A friend introduced Stephen and I to Pistonhead Kustom Lager and we got a little excited because look at it! It has a skull on the can AND it’s called Pistonhead, not only is it rock ‘n’ roll it sound like it came from an engine!

Pistonhead is brewed by Brutal Brewing in Sweden (we might be related as I am of Swedish decent) and they are all about the music, supporting live, original music and the artists who create it as well as the venues they play in. I was sold without even tasting it, but I did taste it and I’m in, Pistonhead Kustom Lager is now in our fridge. Beer time!

Pistonhead LagerPistonhead Lager

Please drink responsibly folks!

Casual Threads For Another Abandoned Adventure…

IT was my birthday this week and although I didn’t have much time to celebrate with all the work we’re doing at Skull & Pistons I did manage to sneak a few hours for lunch with my partner in crime Stephen and a little bit of urban exploration with my friend Jessica.

Regular readers of Helen’s Wardrobe will know that this isn’t any old fashion blog, I like to do things a little differently and this week was no exception. After previous visits to an abandoned theme park, a derelict lido, a defunct asylum and church ruins my obsession with abandoned architecture continues with a deserted hospital. I love taking photos on these last-minute deviant adventures, they come out so much better than anything planned! We went super casual, because heels aren’t really ideal in these post apocalyptic type environments, who knows when we’ll need to run away from zombies!? So here’s the latest fashion folly as we depart from the norm in Dr Martens and wellies…

Abandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalAbandoned HospitalJessica’s Outfit: Oversized shirt & ripped jeans from Primark, quilted wellie boots from Select, backpack (just seen) is a Kiss & Hello Kitty collaboration from Hello Kitty.

My Outfit: Swallow sweatshirt from H&M (cropped by me), grey and black vests worn underneath from American Apparel, skinny jeans by Levis, boots from Dr Martin, American baseball cap is vintage, aviator sunglasses by Rayban, silver skull ring from The Great Frog, silicone & diamond ring from Anarchik, diamond & white gold ring is custom.

Photography by Jessica Speller (the ones with me in!) & Helen S Stanley (the rest).

Wedding Guest Outfit…

MY regular readers will know my views on traditional weddings and the outfits that go with them. I don’t know what it is about weddings that makes people forget their style, forget what suits them and forget that fascinators are not an acceptable form of anything. So when challenged to find a wedding guest outfit using ThatSaleSite.com I jumped at the chance because it gives me yet another opportunity to try to get through to those who can’t dress for weddings!

ThatSaleSite.com collates sales from loads of brands into one space, it makes shopping for sale bargains so much easier. It’s the ideal destination because you don’t want to spend a fortune on a wedding outfit, especially as you’ve already spent enough on the engagement gift, wedding gift, hen night, getting to the wedding, then staying at the wedding, sigh. So, back to styling the wedding guest outfit, think of it as any other occasion – I approach this kind of thing the same way I approach any day/night out. I have tattoos and my hair is coloured and shaved on one side so I keep the outfit simple, less is more.

I normally wouldn’t go for anything white or cream but when I saw this halter neck jumpsuit for under £50 by Little Mistress at ASOS I thought it would be perfect to channel the neutral trend I’m loving right now. It originally had a tie waist which I cut off and replaced with a studded waist belt, giving it a bit more structure. I accessorized it which my union jack clutch, neutral wedges and vintage bangles. I’m imagining this as a look for a Vegas wedding where the bride is in a sexy black number and all the guests are in white/cream. That’s my kind of wedding and this is my kind of look, I’ve retained my style and it’s comfortable. Perfect!Wedding guest outfitWedding guest outfitWedding guest outfitWedding guest outfitWedding guest outfit

Wedding guest outfit mixing high street, vintage, designer & alternative: Halter neck jumpsuit by Little Mistress at ASOS via ThatSaleSite.com, union jack clutch bag previous season by Aspinal, studded waist belt from H&M, wedges (just seen) from Office, bracelets all vintage, silver skull ring from The Great Frog, nude diamond ring from Anarchik, white gold diamond ring is custom.

Styling & photography by Helen S Stanley. 

Key Trend: Denim…

THERE might not be anything revolutionary about this trend, but rather than blending into the background, this season denim is the star. It was all over the SS’15 catwalk and that’s a good enough reason to talk about denim and translate it into wearable outfits. I’m looking specifically at specialised denim by NYDJ because of their incredible fit:

“Our exclusive Lift Tuck Technology®, designed to make you look and feel a size smaller. A patented criss-cross panel helps flatten in the front, while lifting and smoothing in the back. It works so well, we recommend that you order a size down from what you normally wear. The rise hits just slightly above the natural waist to provide not only a slimmer silhouette, but also comfort without gapping at the waistband.” NYDJ

This technology spans across their denim range so it’s a great way to experiment with different looks, offering a large range of slimming jeans and therefore making it super easy to channel such a versatile trend. They do a great flare jean, which works really nicely for the dominant 70’s trend as well. The waist is a really flattering cut and the silhouette looks even better with some wedges. Denim with a 70’s vibe makes me look forward to summer even more!

NYJD Denim

Channeling the influence of 90’s chick flick Clueless, this denim-led outfit mixes high street with vintage and designer, combining texture and colour along with super skinny jeans and denim accessories. It’s a simple look, playing with bold classic shapes to create a statement with minimal styling. You really can go any way with denim, and while these are two very different looks to inspire your thoughts, there are tons more. Investing in a pair of jeans that fit impeccably is the starting point, from there the trend is led by you…

NYJD Jeans

Outfit one, 70’s denim: Tan tooled leather satchel bag was £45 now £29.25 from Rokit, Farah flare jeans $124 by NYDJ, sunglasses £460 from Linda Farrow, gold-plated coin pendant £30 by Kenneth Jay Lane at Net-a-Porter, printed silk kimono £450 by Matthew Williamson at Net-a-Porter, turquoise bracelet set £8, bead friendship bracelet £8 & leaf bracelet all from Accessorize, turquoise cork wedges £19.99 from New Look, gold nail polish £11 by OPI.

Outfit two, pops of colour: Mirror round sunglasses £49 by Le Specs at ASOS, vintage denim clutch bag £25 by Motel, M clip-on earrings £150 by Moschino at Selfridges, Ami super skinny jeans $114 by NYDJ, coral faux fur cropped jacket £395 by Shrimps at Net-a-Porter, denim polka dot watch £60 by Kimono at John Lewis, plain white t-shirt £69.95 from T by Alexander Wang at Harrods, striped ballet flats £115 designed at Shoes of Prey.

Prices correct at time of publication. 

Rufus Country…

STYLE evolves all the time, individually and generally. I’ve started to simplify my style because there’s a lot going on with my hair cut/colour and my tattoos, so I’m dressing more tonal, choosing clean lines and simple silhouettes, basically cutting out the fuss and decluttering my look : which brings me to todays blog post.

Rufus Country is a range of beautiful leather bags and accessories all designed here in Hertfordshire. The pieces are made from top grade, vegetable tanned leather sourced directly from a tannery in Tuscany, each ageing individually and beautifully as they are worn, creating something unique to the person who wears it. The designs are classically styled with quality detailing and functional construction. The hand applied vegetable tan produces rich colours perfectly suited to the form of the bag, in tan, brown and petrol. The designs are pretty much all unisex, there isn’t one that looks too masculine or too feminine for anyone to adorn and love forever. Rufus Country produce bags you fall in love with, a piece that becomes your favourite bag and gets better with age. What more can you ask from a design?

Rufus CountryRufus CountryRufus CountryRufus CountryRufus CountryRufus Country

All bags available from Rufus Country, skinny jeans from Levis, white pumps from Fred Perry, grey sweater from TopMan, polka dot shirt from Musto, silver skull ring from The Great Frog.

Styling & photography Helen S Stanley. 

Neutrals…

AS soon as the weather picks up here in Blighty we are poised with our Spring outfits, we need a lift style-wise and neutrals are a fabulous way to do it. You are forgiven for thinking neutrals could be a little boring, that is a popular assumption, but I’m going to show you how neutral tones can look stylish, effortless and luxe. Not only am I going to plan a few inspirational outfits for you, I’m using flats so you’ll be super comfy as well. My usual rule is to mix high street with designer, vintage and alternative fashion where possible to achieve a good balance, this also makes it very unlikely you’ll turn up somewhere looking the same as everyone else, which isn’t that tragic on the grand scheme of things, but in the bubble of fashion it’s a blooming nightmare. 

This look is perfect for a day out or as a summer work outfit, the neutral palette combined with a pop of black is current yet timeless, any age could pull off something like this and as promised it’ll be easy to wear all day with these leather sandals from Reef. Compliment this with simple black eyeliner and matching nail polish, some nude lipstick and you’re good to go.

Reef raw leather natural sandals

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get into a pair of flip-flops again, it’s been too long! So my next outfit is created around these gorgeous tan and pink flip-flops also from Reef. I’ve gone for a nineties vibe with this look, which is very on trend, adding a bit of pink to warm up the neutral palette. 

Reef We Heart Stargazer Sandals

Outfit one, stylishly calm: Belted ecru voile mini dress £360 by Isabel Marant at Net-a-Porter, felt fedora in oatmeal £20 from ASOS, animal print bucket bag £290 by Maslin & Co at Net-a-Portrer, black nail polish £2.99 by Barry M, square-framed sunglasses £166 by CHLOÉ gold skull ring from The Great Frog – price on request, raw leather natural sandals $105 by Reef.

Outfit two, neutral with nineties charm: heart stud earrings £2.99 from New Look, stone zip backpack £17.99 from New Look, baby pink nail polish £1.99 from Barry M, Malibu Barbie sunglasses in pink $179 by Wildfox, cropped knit top £625 by Alexander McQueen at Net-a-Porter, faux leather skirt in mink £25.99 from Zara, we heart stargazer sandals $29 from Reef.

Prices correct at time of publication.

Transitional Style & Understated Bling…

THIS time of year calls for transitional style so today I’m addressing fashion and practicality. Jewellery is one of my favourite accessories and it’s something I tend to go for when it comes to buying gifts too. I especially like necklaces, layering them up as well as wearing statement designs with a buttoned up shirt. So that’s exactly what I’ve thrown together for a casual look which is on trend, easy to run around in on a busy day and keeps those chills out because it’s not flip flop weather yet people!

A biker jacket is an easy way to add something special to a simple outfit, combining this with a cute button up shirt and skinny jeans creates a clean silhouette. A wooly bobble hat and trainers keeps the outfit warm and practical, adding colour pops with red lips and a purple bag keeps the look interesting and the addition of a necklace and ring for a bit of understated bling ties it all together.

The Golden Hare necklace I’m wearing here is made from sterling silver with a 22ct gilded hare, the slightly matt appearance of the metal gives this piece a contemporary twist. This necklace fills my criteria too, perfect for layering up and just as lovely worn on its own. I found this from a jewellery site called Jewel Street, boutiques within the site allow you to find designers you like and then view their individual collections. I came across Xuella Arnold on Jewel Street, her pieces have an individual, pastoral quality and prices range from £44 to £200 so falling in love with one of her gorgeous designs won’t break the bank. Just what I like to hear!..

Helens WardrobeHelens WardrobeHelen's WardrobeHelens Wardrobe

I’m Wearing: The Golden Hare necklace £78, grey beanie £8 from New Look, polka dot shirt previous season from Musto, black leather biker jacket £165 from TopShop Boutique, black skinny jeans £80 at Levis, Trinomic XT-1+ Trainers were £70 now £32 by Puma, purple leather satchel bag £90 by Brit-Stitch, silver skull ring £160 from The Great Skull.

Prices correct at time of publication. Photographs & styling Helen S Stanley. 

Disney’s Cinderella…

A LIFE LONG fan of Disney, I was really looking forward to the release of Cinderella and was absolutely thrilled to receive an invitation to the preview screening at the Odeon in Leicester Square on Sunday. One of the reasons I admire and adore Disney is for the fantasy they create, the escape from real life and the momentary holiday it gives my mind and body from the stresses of running a business! Watching Cinderella made me think about the evolving connection people have with Disney, through books, films, the parks, fashion, collaborations, food, jewellery and even artwork. Creating a common ground for people from all walks of life with extremely different interests and styles is something only really achieved by Disney, the relationship people established from childhood into their adult lives is quite unique. Cinderella was no exception: the colours, music, costumes, props and extraordinary effects along with well placed humour and just the right amount of theatre all came together to form the most enchanting motion picture.

You may be forgiven for questioning how this well-known fairytale could be revitalised, but Kenneth Branagh along with the cast and crew delivered surprises throughout, Cinderella was so captivating I actually forgot I knew the story. Lily James plays Cinderella perfectly, she embodies the kindness and purity of the character not to mention the natural beauty. The rest of the cast was an altogether inspired choice too with Cate Blanchett playing Cinderella’s wicked step-mother full of twisted glamour and sadness, an intelligent illustration of a woman with a regretful past and shattered dreams. Helena Bonham Carter, one of my favourite actresses, is the Fairy Godmother who is full of humour, eccentricities and charm, the perfect choice for this role. They were the three who stood out for me, I also thought Richard Madden was a wonderful Prince, just the right amount of handsome teamed with intelligence and humour to compliment Lily as Cinderella.Cinderella Review

This film really is perfect for everyone: you could have a girly day out to the cinema, a romantic date, go as a family with your kids or even treat your Mum for Mother’s Day. I highly recommend you see this film in the cinema and don’t just wait for the DVD to come out because you really experience the atmosphere and get lost in the fantasy. Cinderella is on general release in America on March 13th and throughout the UK on March 27th and you can follow the conversation via social media using #Cinderella

Check out the trailer here…

Inspired by Oscar winning Costume Designer Sandy Powell, who was responsible for the captivating vision of Cinderella, I have put together a few looks. Obviously wandering around in a ball gown and glass slippers is preferable, but the volume of that skirt in reality wouldn’t even fit in my Land Rover, so I’ve found a few outfits which hint at Cinderella so we can all pretend…

Cinderella Inspired Outfit

Outfit One, a nod to Cinderella: Blue organza & tulle skirt £125 by Coast, lace long sleeve crop top £39 by Goldie at TopShop, mirrored silver shoes £425 by Jimmy Choo at Net-a-Porter, butterfly clips £1.75 each from eBay, starburst ring £99 by Swarovski, vintage Neiman Marcus silver pumpkin clutch bag $495 from 1stdibs.Cinderella Inspired Outfit

Outfit Two, a modern twist: Blue gown £680 by Halston Heritage at Net-a-Porter, white waist belt was £28 now £8 from ASOS, sequin biker jacket 729€ from Jades24, Swarovski crystal choker £695 by Alexander McQueen at Net-a-Porter, shoes designed by me at Shoes of Prey, multi-strand bracelet £59 from Swarovski.

Trailer courtesy of Disney. Product prices correct at time of publication. 

Interview With Applied Artist Hannah Getley…

Today I’m talking to the extremely talented Hannah Getley, an applied artist originally from Devon who has worked in the movie industry making props on big budget films such as the Harry Potter series, James Bond and The Dark Knight films to name a few. Hannah paints and works with textiles as well as prop making, displaying a unique and captivating style honed over years of experience following her initial Applied Arts degree from the University of Derby. Let’s find out more about Hannah’s incredible flair…Hannah Getley Hannah Getley Props Wand making HP studio tour

HW: Tell us about the movies, how did your prop making come about?

Hannah: After I finished University I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I went back to Devon and worked as a milliner in a small hat making company for a year. While I was watching the local news I saw a feature about a local man who had made props for the film Titanic in London. It was like alarm bells went off in my head. I knew instantly that props encompassed everything I loved about my Applied Arts degree. I wrote his name down and hassled him for a whole year until he finally invited me up to London just to shut me up. My first job was sieving fruit and nuts out of chocolate coloured syrup which had already been used for a commercial, so they could re-use it. It was the worst job there, but I loved it. They offered me a junior position in the company the same day and it was there I met the person who was to give me my first big break in films, Peter Bohanna, a real film legend. He invited me to work on 007, The World Is Not Enough in the action vehicles department and it was there that I met his brilliant son Pierre Bohanna, who I still work for now.

HW: Do you feel your techniques and attitude towards your work have changed since working in the movie industry? 

Hannah: Working in the film industry has given me such a diverse set of skills. On a typical day working on a film I could be etching in the morning and welding in the afternoon with a bit of sewing in between. Every day is different. It has taught me about the design process and knowing exactly how to go about manufacturing anything. I would say that working in the film industry has had an infinite influence on the work I now produce in my own studio.

HW: Is prop making an area you wish to continue working?

Hannah: Even though I now have my own artist’s studio I still work as a prop maker when I can. These days I tend to be more picky about what I do as I have two little girls now and I want to be around for them as much as I can. I do a lot of work in the Warner Bros Studio Tour which can be anything from demonstrating wand making to snowing up Hogwarts Castle for Christmas. I have recently been in to re-paint the brooms which the visitors ride and have their photo’s taken on. I love meeting and being around the real Harry Potter fans and seeing the work we did through their eyes. I worked for 10 years on the Harry Potter films and it was there that I met my husband Adrian. By the last two films which were made back to back I was carrying my first child Honey.

HW: After looking through your artwork and being a fan of anything skull related I was drawn to your sea skulls, can you tell us where the idea for these came from?

From an early age I have loved skulls and skeletons. I remember doing a school project on Mexican Day of The Dead so my obsession goes a long way back! I started out making little papier-mâché skulls and painting them and decided I would love to progress to making ceramic skulls. I found an amazingly talented artisan ceramicist to work with based in London called Kate Luck of Kiss Me Kate Ceramics and my sea skulls were born. The first skulls were very simple peacock feather designs and swirls. It wasn’t untill my husband bought 3 very old sea chests adorned with tall ships and anchors that I had the idea to decorate my skulls with nautical, tattoo images. The lovely part of creating my skulls now is I often get commissioned to create personalised skulls with people’s favourite things on them. I did one for a sea themed wedding with old school surf boards on, crabs and lobsters. It was really fun.

HW: The sea skulls are painted with tattoo designs and you obviously have an interest in the art of tattooing so do you feel/hope this will be your next progression as an artist?

I am heavily influenced by tattoo art particularly the artwork adorned by sailors of old. I really enjoy creating new designs and people tell me all the time I would make a good tattoo artist. It is something I would really love to do but it seems like a hard industry to break into. I guess some would say that about the film industry too.

HW: As you grew up on the coast your work was influenced by your beautiful surroundings, what do you feel are your influences now? Have they changed over your time as an artist?

I don’t think my influences have changed much over time but now I am led more by the materials I choose to use. I am always looking for materials I can manipulate and repurpose and upscale in some way. It’s a wonderful time to be an artist right now. We have never had a better time to get our work out there and seen using social media. That’s exciting for me.

 HW: In art as in any creative industry trends and tastes change, do you see any current trends and if so how do you react to these trends?

There is a big trend towards curiosities right now and as part of this I have noticed lately that skulls, skeletons and The Day of the Dead are becoming more mainstream. This isn’t a bad thing for someone who makes skulls! I tend not to pay too much attention to trends really though as it can become overwhelming. I just do my own thing. Long after everyone is bored with skulls I will still be making them.

HW: In an age where many people have multi-faceted careers i.e. model/DJ, teacher/writer, artist/prop-maker in your case, do you feel this is the way forward in such a competitive industry?

When it comes to art I am so inspired by everything around me that I want to make and do everything. I have a huge note-book where I jot down my ideas before I forget them. I just do what my heart tells me. I am an applied artist at heart and like to work in many different mediums. I need to challenge myself and innovate what I do but I try not to force my art. If I’m not feeling it that day I never push it as I always get bad results that way. My studio is my sanctuary. Some days I get in my studio and I don’t feel like making skulls and I am dying to do a painting instead so I follow my instincts and let it happen. Art should never be forced. You should always just make art for yourself. You need to love what you do.

HW: What would be your advise to others trying to get into prop making, painting and/or textiles? 

Work hard and study your craft. Gain experience in any way you can. Be tenacious and use your initiative. Be happy. ♠

You can follow Hannah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Imagery & video courtesy of Hannah Getley. 

Looking Ahead to Spring Style…

THE sun is (currently) out and Spring is not too far away and with this comes inspiration for fresh new style. It might still be cold but there’s nothing wrong with getting prepared for spring and shedding those stuffy winter outfits. So let’s imagine the day when we can adorn clean, fresh, simple spring looks and start getting excited for Summer. As this is predominantly a fashion blog, every now and then I put together some outfits to provoke a little style savvy stirring in my readers, mixing high street with designer, alternative and vintage wherever possible to inspire and hearten. Whether it’s clean white apparel mixed with blocky accessories or classic stripes and fluro, there will be something to love in these Spring ready outfits…Spring style

MINTY FRESHPalm print wallet £9.99 from New Look, mesh-panel jersey mini dress £230 by Monreal London, black headphones £169 by Bang and Olufsen, Lethal Lips Cross Gloss in Poison Ivy $15 by Manic Panic, white flatform sliders £19.99 from New Look, round frame sunglasses £275 by The Row, Sony personal cassette player £24.99 from eBay because I’m bringing back the mix tape, metallic iPad mini case £50 from Marc by Marc Jacobs. (If this looks a little cold, stick a black leather biker jacket over the top).50 shades of grey style

50 SHADES OF GREYgrey leather tote bag £570 by Jil Sander, grey tie-dye sweatshirt £25.99 from Zara, shark iPhone 5 cover £40 by Stella McCartney, silver court shoes £39.99 from Zara, ripped skinny white jeans £205 by Frame Denim, grey nail varnish in Hyde Park Place £14 by Nails Inc, crystal skeleton ring £115 by Alexander McQueen.Fluro and stripes

FLURO & STRIPESgrey tie waist trousers £29.99 from Zara, Oxford shoes with silver toe caps & skull detail were £49.99 now £29.99 from Iron Fist, silver spike earrings were £25 now £15 by Maria Francesca Pepe, neon yellow crisp packet clutch bag £995 by Anya Hindmarch, reclaimed vintage sunglasses £20 from ASOS, fine knit striped jumper £7.99 from H&M, neon yellow nail varnish £4.99 by Models Own at Superdrug.

All prices correct at time of publication. 

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas…

NOT for everyone, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all hearts, teddy bears and tat. If you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your significant other make sure you put some thought into it, don’t worry it’s not that difficult, my gift ideas will help you…

Create your own bespoke ring with Anarchik: choose from 22 different colours of silicone ring and 9 different precious stones, the stone can then be placed into whichever colour ring you decide on making the design totally interchangeable. I went for black and latte silicone rings and a brown diamond which work so well together and anytime I want to change things up I can order more. The beauty of this as a gift idea is that you can buy more options for other occasions too, so this is perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas! Look out for my Anarchik rings in upcoming style features, I’m a big fan of this fabulous concept 

Anarchik RingsAnarchik RingsAnarchik RingsAnarchik Rings

You really can’t go wrong with perfume and flowers, especially if it’s Chanel and Orchids. Chanel is the only perfume I wear and Coco Noir is a good choice, it’s a slightly lighter version of Coco which is my weapon of choice for the evening. Personally I’m not a fan of cut flowers because they don’t last, I much prefer white Orchids. Gorgeous and the perfect gifts for Valentine’s Day.

The Magnitone Lucid has featured on my blog before in my Christmas gift guide, but I have to recommend it again because it’s amazing! If you’re looking for a gift that will be useful and beneficial then this is ideal. This is the Pixie Lott edition, it’s a daily facial cleansing and exfoliating brush with electromagnetic technology for softer, clearer and brighter skin in 7 days. Plus it can be used in the shower and it’s perfect for traveling, I do love a gift with that’s useful! (Modelled here by a Monster High Doll).

Ah the gift of Gin, Hendricks Gin to be precise, and this one is the Midnight Tea Party gift set with a cup and saucer which makes it Valentine’s inspiration rather than encouragement of a drunken lush, which we don’t want. Another idea for a Valentine’s gift for him or her is to frame a playing card: UL13 Alchemy gave me these amazing playing cards at the last LondonEdge show and I’ve framed one of them to create a great piece of artwork and a unique gift idea.

So, there are a few ideas to keep you away from plastic roses and heart-shaped chocolates, and if this hasn’t inspired you then you’re in the wrong place so with all due respect you’d better leave ♠

Photos by Helen S Stanley. 

Vinted Style…

THERE’S a new way to buy, sell and swap clothes through Vinted, a website where you can create a profile and link up with other sellers so it becomes a social/selling type of thing. It focuses predominantly on secondhand pieces rather than anything spectacularly vintage which means items are not overpriced and if you can find a match people are also willing to swap.

Stripes are a no brainer when it comes to style and this season is no different with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Preen, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Temperley London sending stripes down the catwalk. The good old Bretton stripe is a favourite in my wardrobe, it’s a must have staple that can be styled in a classic way or easily mixed up with a rock ‘n’ roll twist. This brings me to my piece from Vinted, I went for a striped, sequin, shift dress originally from Zara which was the ideal blank canvas screaming out to be given a new lease of life. I mixed my Vinted find with opaque black tights, a grey fedora, a shaggy faux fur coat, heeled Chelsea boots, silver necklaces, bright red lips and purple hair. Yes of course it works, see for yourselves…VintedVintedVintedVintedVintedVintedThe fedora gives the silhouette a little structure, whilst the shaggy faux fur provides a little 70’s swagger (another catwalk favourite this season). My trusty chunky silver pendants consisting of a swallow, skull and spike break things up a little and maintain my “just stepped off a tour bus” vibe. I kept the shoes simple, they could easily be swapped out for some biker boots if you prefer flats. The red lips are a must with a stripe and the purple/half shaved hair is just how I’m rolling at the moment. 

Vinted also kindly sent me some Helen’s Wardrobe marshmallows made by Boomf taking self promotion to a whole new level. My face on a marshmallow? Oh the vanity! Love it ♠

MarshmallowsOUTFIT DETAILS: Secondhand striped dress from Vinted, faux fur coat by Kate Moss for TopShop (previous season), grey fedora from John Lewis, boots from River Island (previous season), skull & swallow pendant & skull ring by The Great Frog, diamond ring is custom, spike necklace from Ti Sento Milano.

Photos by Helen S Stanley. 

London Edge 2015…

I don’t have time to attend as many events as I would like but LondonEdge is a show I never miss. Last season saw the first blogger meet-up bringing together fashion and lifestyle bloggers to experience the biggest and best alternative trade show. Full of incredible, diverse and innovative designers, brands and entrepreneurs, not only is it a fantastic opportunity to meet people it’s perfect for scouting out inspiration for blogging, styling and generally mixing things up.

The New Alternative defines a new perspective: a new era of subcultures, fashion trends and emerging markets, all forged in the fires of the underground and cultivated on the blogs and social networks of the world-wide web. LondonEdge.

I had another fantastic day at LondonEdge catching up with all the lovely bloggers as well as meeting Kat Williams from Rock N Roll Bride and listening to her advice and experiences as a successful blogger and entrepreneur. It’s always interesting and useful to hear from other bloggers, have a few inside jokes and take a ton of photos. The crowd at LondonEdge is always the most fun, like-minded and full of stories from the world of blogging.

As always the brands and designers were amazing this season, surprising us with their new collections and supplying us with amazing goody bags to sample their products. As my regular readers will know I love to mix high street, designer and vintage with alternative pieces to create something different and complimentary and once again LondonEdge has inspired me to create more style features sharing this with everyone. Make sure you check out LondonEdge for yourselves ♠

A huge thank you to the following awesome brands and designers for the incredible goody bag – I will be incorporating these beauties in upcoming features: Absolute Garments, Alchemy, Asgard Crafts, Banned, CherryLoco, Collectif, Disturbia, Fanpac London, Ferozee Yung, Hell Bunny, House of Intelligence, Illegal Behaviour, Iron Fist, Iron Fist Loves So So Happy, Jawbreaker, Manic Panic, Metamorf-oz, Miss Candyfloss, Petronie & Bonieface, Phaze, Rat Baby, Righteous London, Seekers of the Sun – Temporary Tattoos, Sourpuss Clothing, Stargazer, Too Fast.

Photos Helen S Stanley.

ReFirme™ Skin Tightening at Cranwell House…

AFTER suffering with bad skin for more years than I care to mention I finally have it sorted out, so it’s time to tackle the next issue, ageing. In my opinion prevention is better than cure when it comes to ageing, so when I heard about ReFirme™ Skin Tightening at Cranwell House I thought this was the ideal treatment to start my anti-ageing mission.

Cranwell House is a private clinic and medispa specialising in skin and medical aesthetics as well as health, beauty and lifestyle therapies. It was founded by leading skincare aesthetician, Charlotte Nial in October 2008 and sits in the picturesque village of Ingatestone, Essex. As well as ReFirme™ Skin Tightening, Cranwell House also offers skin peels, microdermabrasion, CACI non surgical face lifting, LED Light Therapy and beauty treatments, Hydrafacial serum based skin resurfacing and Derma Roller mircroneedling skin rejuvenation treatments – as used by Angelina Jolie and the Soprano XL Laser, which is the world’s only painless laser hair removal system.

Cranwell HouseReFirme™ is skin tightening through wrinkle reduction, it’s advised to book a course of six treatments and after that two treatments per year to maintain the effects. So how does it work? “The combined bi-polar radio frequency and light energies of elõs technology precisely heat the dermal tissue within the target treatment area. This stimulates collagen production and produces a firming effect in lax skin. Wrinkles are reduced, noticeable lifting can be observed and the texture of your skin becomes smoother, more luminous and toned.”

After the therapist had treated one side of my face with ReFirme™ she showed me the difference, I could actually see the results in comparison to the untreated side and my skin felt firmer. The whole experience was relaxing and over the weekend I received several (unprompted) comments about the freshness of my appearance, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before! I would highly recommend this treatment as well as Cranwell House, I’ll definitely be returning and I hope to complete the course of ReFirme™ because as I mentioned results were obvious after just one session. I also love the atmosphere at Cranwell House, it’s extremely welcoming, the team are very knowledgeable, friendly and it’s in a lovely location – plus they make great tea! Check out the full range of treatments offered at Cranwell House and how to contact them for advice and information about their services.

Photographs & illustration by Helen S Stanley. 

French Shoe Designer, French Innovator, French Genius…

GUEST post written by my dear friend Joanna Collins…Christian LouboutinsI vividly recall my first encounter with the red soled wonders: it occurred whilst perusing an article in VOGUE, as I skimmed the words, I was particularly drawn to a photo showcasing the most remarkable patent noir ankle boots I had ever seen. The attraction was immediate, I was hooked and I could understand instantly why others craved his designs, how Danielle Steele could own 6,000 pairs! Since that memorable day I have longed for those exquisite creations to adorn my feet, damning the reality that I was not blessed with petite pieds délicats.

Born 7th of January, 1953 in Paris, Christian Louboutin spent his teens ignoring his academic studies and began sketching shoes. He claims his fascination with shoes began in 1976 when he visited the Musee National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie. It was there that he saw a sign that forebode women to wear sharp stilettos for fear it would damage the wooden floors. This image stayed in his mind and he later used this idea in his designs. “I wanted to create something that broke the rules and made women feel confident and empowered.” (Louboutin) He opened a shoe salon in Paris in 1991, and Princess Caroline of Monaco was his first customer. His professed goal has always been to “…make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as they can.”

“I wanted to create something that broke the rules and made women feel confident and empowered.” Louboutin

Despite being synonymous with celebrities, Christian Louboutin rarely gives his shoes away, instead offering discounts to his high-profile fans. He believes to do this would be unimaginative. He does of course value his customers and adoring devotees: once he was contacted by a lady desperate to possess a pair of his shoes, but she had size 13 ½ feet, nevertheless he designed and made some shoes for her, no doubt resulting in endless happiness and joy.

Back to the sole, the concept that differentiates the Louboutin from its competitors. The actual soul of the designs (sorry, it had to be done), the red colour is of such significance that it is a registered Pantone, 18-1663 TPX to be exact. It is a statement, a signature and a status. Even though I have been cursed with feet unsuitable for such delicate beauties, I can still admire from afar and appreciate the true artistry that is the red soled Louboutin.

Christian Louboutins

Written by Joanna Collins, illustration by Helen S Stanley. 

Style for The New Year…

NEW YEAR, new you – it’s what most of us warble on about in January and who am I to argue with these false promises?! That said it is achievable, by taking a leaf out of my book and mixing high street, designer and vintage with alternative clothing whilst maintaining your core style, you can create an aesthetic balance of fashion, style and personality. (The same applies to your surroundings). It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged using my ‘style plan’ approach so I thought it was about time for some fashion talk, outfit builds, decor and bargains. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by rock ‘n’ roll Gatsby or intrigued by rock chic chique either way let’s get dressed up!..

Rock ‘n’ Roll Meets Flapper Style: Way before everyone jumped on the Gatsby bandwagon the 1920’s was and still is my favourite era for fashion and lifestyle. The androgynous silhouettes, clean lines and pure glamour are classic, classy and timeless. However I am certainly not a fan of that ‘vintage fancy dress’ look, it’s overdone and tacky, instead I like to inject 1920’s style with modern pieces, mixing the best of old and new and therefore staying true to my existing style. This is a great example of my aforementioned advice all neatly illustrated here as rock ‘n’ roll meets flapper style…

Rock n Roll Gatsby

Rock Chic Style: This needs little explanation; a graphic tee with ripped jeans and heels, what’s not to like? This one is for the ultimate music fans – Elvis heels, vinyl and a magic 8 ball. Bosh.rock chic style

1) FLAPPER INSPIRED OUTFITFringed dress by Jay Ahr at Net-A-Porter was £1’410 now £423, cropped vintage biker jacket by Jean Paul Gaultier from Farfetch £890, clutch bag by Roland Mouret at Selfridges £450, Mary Jane pumps with embellished heel by Dolce & Gabbana at My Theresa were £660 now £462, head chain from New Look £7.99, starburst crystal ring £99 & wide crystal cuff  £369 both by Swarovski. WHERE WITH: Matte black lipstick and black leather effect nail polish like this beaut by Nails Inc from Debenhams was £12 now £8.

FLAPPER INSPIRED DECOR: Art Deco style overmantel mirror from John Lewis £200, black skull candle by D.L. & CO from Selfridges £79.95, chrome lobby phone by Wild and Wolf from Bloomsbury £59.95, framed 20’s reproduction car poster from Easy Art £57.43, starburst mirror by Joanna Wood £235, wall clock by Newgate Clocks £105, art deco inspired tea cup & saucer from Fishers Catering Supplies £13.44.

2) ROCK CHIC OUTFIT: Classic lips t-shirt by Vivienne Westwood £55, Faux fur jacket from Zara was £79.99 now £49.99, boyfriend jeans from H&M £29.99, Elvis heeled shoes by Irregular Choice were £160 now £112, Bell Air frame sunglasses by Wildfox £196, cassette tape clutch bag from Accessorize was £25 now £12.50, vintage gold charm bracelet £450 from Antiques Avenue. WHERE WITH: Matte red lipstick & red nail polish £2.99 from Barry M.

ROCK CHIC DECOR: Crosley turntable from Urban Outfitters £100, red desk lamp from John Lewis £25, I woke up like this mug £9 from Urban Outfitters, magic 8 ball from Amazon £10.99, Keith Richards poster from Sour Puss Clothing $7, Union Jack cushion by Jane Hornsby £94, vinyl clock from Urban Outfitters £30.

All prices correct at time of publication. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

AFTER a great year of blogging I wanted to wish all my gorgeous readers a Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful evening full of fun and frolics, and I wish you the best for 2015.

Obviously I couldn’t say goodbye to 2014 without some shameless self promotion by way of a New Year’s Eve personal style post. So here’s my NYE outfit, full of sparkle and rock ‘n’ roll, combining an ombre sequin midi skirt with a muscle car graphic t-shirt, my faithful biker jacket and my favourite spiked shoes. I’d love to see how you style up your bad selves for the last night of 2014 so send me some selfies of you rocking your New Year’s Eve outfit to @HelensWardrobe on Twitter…

New Years Eve OutfitNew Years Eve OutfitNew Years Eve OutfitNew Years Eve OutfitNew Years Eve OutfitNew Years Eve Outfit

MY NYE OUTFIT: Sequin midi skirt from Miss Selfridge, muscle car graphic t-shirt from Dead Legacy, leather biker jacket previous season from Top Shop Boutique, spiked metallic heels previous season from Kurt Geiger, silver skull ring from The Great Frog, black crystal ring from Swarovski.

Photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

The Parka to End All Parkas…

A LOVER of parkas and a hater of the cold, I’ve spent many years with inappropriately insulated coats which may have looked the part but didn’t quite cut the mustard. After getting soaked through and very cold on too many occasions it really is about time I embraced technical fabrics and practical design. The problem with this approach though, is waterproof and warm jackets aren’t exactly my style aesthetically, it’s just not very rock ‘n’ roll being swaddled in oversized feather down with straps and toggles sticking out everywhere. I don’t do quilting and I really despise anything belted, shiny or cheap looking, all I really want is a practical parka.

Voila, Musto answered my prayers with the Arctic Parka. I used to wear Musto back in my Pony Club days but it’s come a long way since then and their collections contain some great pieces which can easily be styled to suit anyone’s look. Back to my epic parka, it was inspired by explorers seeking the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, with an MPX GORE-TEX® shell fabric it’s breathable and waterproof. The lightweight PrimaLoft® insulation retains up to 95% of body heat and importantly from a visual perspective the parka isn’t too bulky. The only aspect I would change are the reflector strips on the sleeve, I would make them removable because for me the silhouette looks slightly too technical with them. So if you’re in need of a warm, dry jacket that looks the part and can be styled easily look no further than this, the parka to end all parkas…Waterproof Parka Waterproof Parka Waterproof Parka Waterproof Parka

 

I wore my Arctic Parka with high-waisted skinny jeans from Levi’s, leather biker boots by Harley Davidson, a cropped fluffy jumper from New Look, union jack scarf by Vivienne Westwood, aviator sunglasses from Ray Ban, silver skull ring from The Great Frog, gold anchor necklace from Lulu Winter and cobweb Coin Keeper necklace from Emozioni.

Photographs by Helen S Stanley. 

Christmas Gift Guide…

CHRISTMAS is a wonderful time of year but it can be quite stressful trying to find the right gifts for everyone. It’s important to remember that a token is enough and thoughtful gifts are more impactful than just spending loads of money. I’ve put together a little Christmas gift guide for her, him and the dog – hopefully this will help and inspire with your Christmas shopping…Christmas gift guideChristmas gift guide

GIFTS FOR HERPicture One: Pow! Clutch Bag £4 from Primark because this Winter it’s all about colour, Pink Instax Mini 8 Camera from £75 by Fujifilm to capture instant snaps throughout the party season, skull shot glasses around £30 from Crystal Head Vodka, these don’t need an explanation, they are pure rock ‘n’ roll. Picture Two: Magnitone Lucid Daily Cleansing & Exfoliation Brush Ltd Edition by Pixie Lott £69.99 – this little beauty is a great gift, with Active Electromagnetic Technology Magnitone promise softer, clearer and brighter skin in 7 days. I’ve been using mine for two weeks and I’ve definitely seen a difference; the set includes a travel charger and headband with the waterproof brush, which has two cleansing modes. Easy to fit into your daily skin care routine and it looks the part! Picture Three: Absolutely Fabulous DVDs, get the whole lot in a box set for classic 90’s humour from £22.40, Why Hello t-shirt £29.99 from Dead Legacy because you can never have too many graphic tees, Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Conegliano Prosecco £7.50 tastes crisp and fresh and it’s a lot nicer than champagne in my book, Now That’s What I Call The 90’s compilation CD £11 from Amazon because there is only so much Christmas music one person can take. The Winter Forest Matte Palette £4 from MUA is a gorgeous selection of winter tones for the eyes and another great gift idea is the Emozioni Coin Necklace which is interchangeable, there are lots of gorgeous coins, coin keepers and chains to choose from, coins start at £24.95.Christmas gift guide

Gifts For Him, Picture One: Dolce & Gabbana reactive sunglasses (these are previous season) similar are available from Sunglasses Hut, Antaeus Pour Homme Eau de Toilette by Chanel from £47.50 at Boots because it smells delicious, beer flavoured Jelly Belly Beans £6.99 from Firebox for the perfect stocking filler. Vintage Playboy is a superb gift idea, you can buy them directly from Playboy, it’s a nice idea to get the issue from when your fella was born, these are so fun to look through, (prices vary). Picture Two: Star Wars mugs available in store at Sainsbury’s, Bulldog Gin £22.84 from Master of Malt, Cards Against Humanity £20 and Book of Skulls from £7.96 then Guardians of The Galaxy (which is absolutely hilarious) on DVD for £9.99 all from Amazon.Christmas gift guide

Gifts For The Dog: This is only half of Molly’s Christmas hoard, I’ve just selected a few bits to talk about. Doggy Chocolate Drops by Good Boy are part of a selection box which is £5, snowman toy £7, squeaky ball £1, chicken rolls by Pepper’s £4 and Snowman jumper £10 all from Pets at Home in store.

All prices correct at time of publication. Photos by Helen S Stanley. 

Casual Festive Glamour…

AT this time of year it’s very easy to succumb to the glitz and glam of the festive season and it is possible to do ‘glamour’ without going all out drag queen. Try channeling the AW14 Gucci look, faux fur and jeans, team this with a statement graphic t-shirt and heels to achieve a great balance of casual glamour. Adding colour and texture to your winter wardrobe also makes it all more interesting without going over the top…Faux fur cropped jacketFaux fur cropped jacketFaux fur cropped jacketFaux fur cropped jacketChristmas outfitJoan Collins Make-Up

As well as dabbling in sparkles in the wardrobe department it’s also great to inject some festivity into your make-up bag, I’ve been using The Crystal Mirror (£35) by Joan Collins Timeless Beauty which is utterly fabulous as well as useful, with a normal and magnified mirror for make-up on the go.

My Look: I used the Brow & Eye Definition Kit by Joan Collins Timeless Beauty to create a defined brow as well as Contra Time Super Lift Eye Serum (£35) which I’ve been using for a few weeks now, perfect for a bit of a pick me up around the peepers, it’s important to prepare for all the holiday partying!

Styling: Cropped faux fur jacket £30 from Primark, statement LiveLoveLearn t-shirt £29.99 from Dead Legacy, skinny jeans from £80 by Levi’s Curve ID, spiked heels previous season from Kurt Geiger, studded white belt previous season from H&M, silver skull ring from £160 and silver swallow necklace £165 by The Great Frog.

Prices correct at time of publication, photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

Christmas Mood Boards…

I AM the self confessed queen of mood boards and I haven’t created any in a while so I thought I’d knock up some Christmas numbers for you. (I also have a mood board page in case you’d like to see my previous creations). Generally when making mood boards I choose two or three main colours, then include tone variation and lots of texture to create inspiring visuals. Christmas is the perfect excuse for mood boards, it’s too easy to go down the tacky route, tasteful Christmas style is the way forward. You really can’t beat the overall look that considered styling achieves and hopefully these Christmas mood boards will help.

I created this one using similar tones, black highlights, the ever present skulls and lots of texture…Christmas Mood BoardTurquoise is one of my favourite colours and although it’s quite summery it works equally well for Christmas mixed with white and silver/gold (and skulls)…

Christmas Mood BoardNavy, gold and white work really well especially when you use lots of light and texture to bring the colours together. Combining this with strong shapes (and even more skulls) creates a rich Christmas look…

Christmas Mood Board

It’s Starting to Taste A Lot Like Christmas…

I was invited to The Snug Bar in Hertford this week to taste their new bar nibbles, treats from their Christmas menu and help make some Christmas themed cocktails. So to start we tried bar nibbles from The Snug Bar’s exclusive new menu, which are perfect for after work or when you’re having drinks with friends. These small dishes are freshly made and include: Honey and Mustard Glazed Sausages, Rosemary Garlic Roast Potatoes, Sausage and Tomato Roll, Fish Goujons and Chips, BBQ Pork Belly Squares, Pitta and Houmous and Homemade Scotch Egg. Then we tried their new Christmas burger, a homemade 7oz British Beef Burger topped with turkey, Cheddar cheese, smoked back bacon, bourbon and cherry sauce and pickles, served with a side of pulled pork in BBQ sauce and skinny fries – everything we tried was so delicious, I’m wondering how soon it’s appropriate to go back and eat it all over again!

We had a quick break from food, which we needed after all that, and made some Christmassy cocktails. The Snug Bar has a fantastic cocktail menu and they serve The Kraken Rum and Hendricks so that’s me won over already! My favourite of the Christmas cocktails was The Mince Pie Martini:

Ingredients:

  • 10ml Brandy
  • 10ml Apple Schnapps
  • 10ml Cassis
  • 10ml Goldschlager
  • 50ml Apple Juice

Instructions:

Shake all ingredients and double strain into a Martini glass. Top with foamed milk and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg then garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve with a mince pie!

Back to the food, deserts this time. We had Eggnog Cheesecake which had a ginger biscuit base, with an indulgent cream cheese, crème fraiche, Advocaat, cinnamon and nutmeg topping. Then The Snug Trifle which had delicious layers of Jaffa Cake, fresh strawberries and raspberries, strawberry coulis, custard and whipped cream, topped with a cherry. Finally a Terry’s Chocolate Orange Sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, layered with crushed chocolate orange pieces and topped with whipped cream. Amazing.

It’s so nice to do something local and experience new things where you live, I had a great time at The Snug Bar, the food and drinks were delicious. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and fun, there was good music and I liked the decor. So all in all it was a great evening and I’ll definitely be back! Make sure you check out The Snug Bar’s website and Twitter to keep up to date with their menus and cocktails.

A Twist of Colour: Blogger’s Picks for Wayfair…

I recently worked with Wayfair to choose some interior items from their website. Wayfair is the online destination for all things home, with something for everyone and every budget, so I was absolutely spoiled for choice! Take a look at my key pieces and hopefully they’ll inspire you to add a twist of colour to your home

“Combine pops of colour, soft texture, sculptural shapes and clean lines to create a strong aesthetic. Distinctive accessories and furniture will complete your individual look.”Interiors

London Photography Walk…

THIS week I was invited to a photography walk in London with a big group of other bloggers hosted by giffgaff, Best LDN Walks and Joe Blogs Blogger Network. Charlotte Kennedy from Best LDN Walks was our spiffing tour guide as we began our night at Waterloo, walked on to Southbank, Westminster then ended at the centre of London in Trafalgar Square. Half-way through the walk there was a chance to see the Banksy Tunnel (on Leake Street), snap everyone’s colourful work and even try graffiti for ourselves. We also had a professional photographer on the walk, Phil Hibberd from Photography Made Simple, to teach us how to take better pictures with our camera phones.

The great thing about this walk was taking in the sites, I lived in London prior to relocating to the Shires and you tend to miss things, when rushing to work or meetings or events it’s so easy to pass by wonderful places. The other great thing about this event was using our camera phones, I’m so used to using my selection of Nikons for blog posts, so it was nice to utilise another device. I have a great camera on my Nokia Lumia 1520, it takes lovely wide-screen shots and after adjusting the ISO settings I was able to capture some interesting views.

I try to go for the less obvious angles, capturing colour, light, and movement, I was pleased with the snaps I achieved and flooded Instagram with my results on the night. You can check out everyone’s work by searching #giffgaffsnaps on Instagram and make sure you have a gander on the Best LDN Walks website, they offer some really unique experiences. So here are my results, I haven’t added any effects, these are exactly how the photos turned out on the night. Thank you giffgaff for a wonderful evening!…

Images in order: Purple lights highlighting the architecture, skate park, The London Eye & Carousel horses as part of the Christmas market, strings of lights and the fairy light walk (light painting) all along the Southbank. Creative colour, graffiti and street art on Leake Street, plus the obligatory selfie all in Banksy’s Tunnel. The lion on Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and a London Bus both taken with a slower shutter speed to show movement through light.

Photographs by Helen S Stanley. 

Sleepover!

AFTER attending the fabulous Mink Pink sleepover at the Electric Cinema on Portobello Road where we were treated to hot chocolate, sweets, popcorn, cakes, white chocolate milkshakes, a screening of Clueless AND the amazing Mink Pink sleepwear I was inspired to create my own blog sleepover. This time of year is perfect to cosy up with all things fluffy, warm and tasty whilst watching your favourite flicks. That said, I am a firm believer in keeping the comfies stylish, we want to maintain a cute meets rock ‘n’ roll type vibe, not a frumpy, lazy look. So let’s all have a Helen’s Wardrobe sleepover and get ready for the pillow fight…

SLEEPOVER STYLE: I won’t even pretend I prance around the house before bedtime in tiny shorts and vest tops in the winter, living in a period townhouse with original sash windows dictates layers and I’m not going to argue with that. So the reality, as it should be when it’s cold, is the Mink Pink Panda-Monium Robe. Teaming this simply with black jersey leggings from H&M, a black vest and wooly bed socks from Bedroom Athletics. sleepwearsleepwearsleepwearHOT CHOCOLATE WITH RUM: As well as sweet treats for those cold nights, the best way to keep warm whilst pleasing your inner pirate is to make some hot chocolate with The Kraken Rum. This recipe serves 4, or one person 4 times depending on how you look at it! This is what you’ll need:

  • 600ml/1pt whole/semi-skimmed milk or soya milk,
  • 200g/7oz Lindt Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces,
  • 2 shots of The Kraken Rum,
  • A handful of marshmallows.

Place the milk, dark chocolate and The Kraken Rum into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Give it a quick whisk to blend it all together, then pour the mixture into four mugs and top with marshmallows, you can also dust with cocoa powder if you like. Simple.hot chocolate with Kraken rumMink Pink sleepwearFLICKS: Everyone has different tastes when it comes to movies and it really does depend on the day you’ve had and the amount of idiots you’ve had to deal with. Sometimes I want to watch girly things, sometimes I want pirates, but I always want funny. Here are my recommendations for the perfect sleepover flicks:

  • Mean Girls – I don’t need a reason for this and no, you can’t sit with us,
  • Talladega Nights – Cars, comedy, Will Ferrel, a comedy classic, you’ll find yourself quoting this ALOT,
  • Silver Linings – One of my favourites, it’s funny, it has Jennifer Lawrence in it and in all seriousness it’s a great point of view on being bipolar, everyone should watch this to gain some understanding,
  • Almost Famous – For those with music in their souls, you will appreciate the greatness of this movie,
  • Tank Girl – A classic 90’s flick taken from the iconic comics. Colourful, stylish and kookie, it also has an epic soundtrack,

Girl, Interrupted – Beautiful. Angelina Jolie steels the show in this one. A film everyone must watch, a real cinematic treasure.Mink Pink sleepwearPhotography & styling Helen S Stanley, guest appearance from Molly the Chorkie.  

Remember to drink responsibly and all that jazz. 

Short Fashion Film, Beau Ideal Until The End…

ALONG with a small team, no budget and very basic equipment we decided to make a little film. Using vintage clothing sourced from antique fairs, online auctions and secondhand stores together with statement shoes designed by Julian Hakes a distinctive look was created. Make-up and hair was carefully designed to have a fairytale look, combining all this with props and simple effects produced an ethereal narrative.

Beau Ideal Until The End is the story of a girl who dreams about the end of the world. Unsure if this was just a dream or a vision of things to come, she decides to live that day as if it were her last. In true style. The girl appears on her own throughout the film, looking good for no one else other than herself and experiencing her world, in her own way, on what could be her very last day.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel.

 FILM STILLS:Fashion FilmFashion FilmFashion FilmFashion FilmFashion FilmFashion Film

Model Georgina Goodman, Styling Helen S Stanley, Make-up & Hair Allison Boyd, Props & Effects Jessica Speller, Adam Speller and Ben Smith.

Halloween Style Special…

HALLOWEEN is by far my favourite holiday, I’ve created lots of style posts in the past to help with costume ideas but this year as I’ve branched out into lifestyle I wanted to create a style special looking at costumes, jewellery, decorations, events, food, drink and even a little poochie styling too…

HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS: This year I teamed a pumpkin lantern with recycled jars and munchkin pumpkins, I filled the jars with candy eye balls, retro sweets, plastic spiders and plastic skulls all from Sainsbury’s. This sits in the middle of the dining table on top of a black and white striped place mat from Ikea. I also hung a sparkly ‘Happy Halloween’ garland from the window (from Tesco), to go with this I’ve placed a silver skull also from Tesco with an antique apothecary bottle, more recycled jars filled with chocolate eye-balls, blood-red candles (both Sainsbury’s) and a sparkly skeleton which is my own. I’ve also placed some homemade bat silhouettes (skilfully drawn by my boyfriend) on one of the walls, it’s a good idea to mix old with new and DIY when it comes to holiday decor, it creates a nice balance.

LE FREAK C’EST CHIC: I’ve styled two extremes for Halloween, full blown scary fancy dress and a bit of a vampy nod to All Hallows’ Eve.

Look One: Inspired by Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride I have created my own version of Emily. I made this costume quite a few years ago, the mint corset was from eBay which I distressed with black fabric paint on a dry brush and added the exposed rib detail, I then sewed small roses along the top. The skirt was made from some thin turquoise cotton mix fabric which I over-dyed with watered down black Dylon. I left all the edges raw to create a more distressed look. The spiked shoes are from Kurt Geiger and the flower crown is made from white pom poms and foam roses. My make-up was created using white body paint on my face, arms and legs, the shading and detail was added with an Urban Decay Book of Shadows palette and black kohl eyeliner. I made my hair look more white by spraying it with dry shampoo. My ring as usual is from The Great Frog.

Look Two: If you don’t want to wear loads of make-up you could just theme your outfit so it simply has a spooky feel. I’ve combined a skull print maxi skirt from Miss Rebel UK with a handmade corset top over a sheer black shirt from Matalan. (I made the corset by sewing scraps of vintage black fabric to a black basque). I’ve then added some shoe boots with block heels from Primark and black cropped leather gloves from AllSaints.

HALLOWEEN TREATS: My boyfriend will willingly testify that I am next to useless in the kitchen, the ability to cook or even function like a normal person in the kitchen evades me. So when it comes to creating treats for Halloween I’m afraid I cheat. This year as well as jars of retro sweets I’ve chosen toffee apples, you can make your own but as previously explained I can’t possibly, so I bought mine. (After taking the wrappers off) I tied black paper ribbon around the stick for a simple Halloween look. Then I decorated some plain fairy cakes with chocolate fudge icing, white chocolate buttons for eyes (pupils were added with a black icing pen), I also popped on some jelly teeth and green sugar pearls to create little halloween monster cakes. Finally I made black jelly by adding some black food colouring to blackcurrant jelly, this was set in recycled jars and simply decorated with black paper ribbon around the top (all from Sainsbury’s). Easy, tasty, Halloween treats…

HALLOWEEN TIPPLE: With all the complications of trying to arrange food I’m keeping the drinks simple, vodka. Crystal Head Vodka to be precise. Not only is this vodka pure and untainted the bottle is the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. So why mess with something so good? For Halloween we’ll be drinking shots from the incredibly cool Crystal Head shot glasses as well as on the rocks with a little lime. For added Halloween styling I’ve made ice cube with fangs. Fangtastic… 
POOCHIE STYLE: Molly, my pride and joy is a scruffy little yorkie x chihuhaua and I obviously want to include her in Halloween, but she doesn’t like being dressed up. So along with her everyday skull and crossbones collar I added a pirate neckerchief from The Mutz Nutz in Nottinghill (she’s actually had this for a while, but it’s fitting for Halloween). Then for something a little more spooky I customised a Kreepsville 666 hair accessory, so she’ll always be watching…

SPOOKY JEWELLERY: If for some bizarre reason you’re not dressing up for Halloween you can easily add a bit of spookiness with the right jewellery and if you are dressing up then throw in some extra Halloween style with these… Picture one, the skull statement necklace & bracelet are from Loulebelle, the ring and earrings are from Grimoire and the skull bangle is from Siren London. Picture two, the silver skull pendant is from The Great Frog, the cobweb coin necklace is from Emozioni and the skull bead and crystal bracelet is from Shebee. Picture three, all three rings and the skull earrings are from The Great Frog, the spider earrings are from Zoe & Morgan.

 

HALLOWEEN GIFTS: Of course there should be gifts for Halloween, why wouldn’t there be?! This year as TBP Approved Blogger I was sent a swag bag filled with amazing Halloween goodies, some of which I’ve used in this post…

Skull maxi skirt (as above) from Miss Rebel UK, black ring and star earrings from Grimoire, skull bangle from Siren London. There were also some great sweets, novelty halloween decorations (I used the cobwebs in my Corpse Bride photos) a zombie apocolypse t-shirt, Flashmob lipstick and a House of Wonderland badge. Amazing Halloween swag!!

 

HALLOWEEN FUN: There are loads of things you could do on Halloween, so here are three really different ideas to ensure everyone has fun…

HOME MOVIES, for those who like a night in why not invest in some popcorn and DVDs? I’m not a fan of scary movies but there are some perfect atmospheric rather than frightening flicks for those scaredy cats like myself:

  • Maleficent was released last week on DVD and is a wonderful tale, Disney explores the untold story of the very iconic villain from Sleeping Beauty, played by Angelina Jolie. It’s full of incredible costumes, make-up, special effects and delves into the complexities of a very misunderstood character. Amazing.
  • Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, this gem is nearly ten years old and it never gets tired. With Burton’s distinctive style and stop-motion animation this feature captures the heart with dark romance and enchanting visuals. Captivating.
  • I do love zombie films, I don’t see them as scary movies, I see them as training for when the zombie apocalypse comes. World War Z is such a fantastic take on the zombie genre, a haunting tale depicts an earth changing epidemic from the first encounter to the final solution. Brad Pitt leads the cast and helps to ensure the realism of this story. Love it.
  • Resident Evil has the distinction of being based on a series of computer games of the same name. We see Alice who was once a security operative working for Umbrella (a bioengineering pharmaceutical company responsible for the zombie apocalypse as a result of creating the T-virus) battling zombies and generally looking awesome in her many apocalyptic relevant outfits. This year Alice is the inspiration for my own Halloween costume. I like all the RE films, they really are a must for Halloween.

THORPE PARK FRIGHT NIGHTS, I’ve been to Thorpe Park on Halloween on two occasions and had loads of fun. The Halloween maizes are an absolute scream (excuse the pun), this year they’re based around iconic horror films including The Blair Witch Project, My Bloody Valentine, The Cabin in The Woods and SAW. Plus going on the rides in the dark is so much fun! I would advise getting the fast track tickets or booking a VIP package because it gets super busy. If you’e like me you’ll be doing loads of things for Halloween and so I highly recommend including a Fright Night with your friends along with your other plans.

Have a House Party, with all my style inspiration from this post why not have a party? Dress up, create a playlist, stay away from the public, perfect! Ideal if you’re as anti-social as me, if not check out the internet for Halloween nights in your area. Happy haunting people!

All photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

Pimp My Heels…

HERE’S the second of my shoe dominated posts for this week, today I’m looking at customizing an existing pair of heels with Shoe Licks. An easy way to transform your high street heels using stickers, there are loads of patterns and prints you can choose from and even have you’re own designs made, which I love the idea of, I think photographic images would work especially well.

Shoe Licks are simple to apply and easy to remove when you want a change, I picked Flamboyant Flamingos from the Party Animal Collection, but there are so many other great choices too. I applied these to a pair of plain black leather Chelsea boots which were in desperate need of a pick-me-up and viola! Pimped heels! Check out their website and give Shoe Licks a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for regular news and updates, plus just for being awesome and reading Helen’s Wardrobe you can get a pair of Shoe Licks for just £2 with this promo code: pimpmyheelsagain Happy pimping people!

Shoe stickers from Shoe Licks, woven clutch bag from Primark, glitter flamingo by Plastic Bat, fur stole is vintage, turquoise bag from Aspinal, animal print leggings from Loulebelle.

Photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

Classic Footwear with Spirit…

MY LOVE of trainers has been rekindled in the last year or so, I used to wear them religiously in the Brit Pop years of my early teens but shelved them in exchange for heels in my twenties. Now I’m embracing them again and revamping many an outfit with the addition of a cheeky pair of trainers. A great example are my new Gola Classics, with just the right amount of retro and a great silhouette these are fast becoming my favourite pair.

Gola are a British brand who started life in 1905, well-known for the iconic Gola Harrier and worn by the likes of  Paul Weller, they moved from army boots to sports and fashion. So these kicks deserve an interesting mix when it comes to styling: it would be easy to throw them on with a pair of skinny jeans and a t-shirt (I will be doing that too of course) but today I’m combining femininity with comfort, texture and simplicity. Against the backdrop of my favourite place in the house, I give my new trainers some real spirit Helen’s Wardrobe style…fashion bloggerHelen's Wardrobe fashion bloggerHelen's Wardrobe fashion bloggerHelen's Wardrobe fashion bloggerHelen's Wardrobe fashion bloggerHelen's Wardrobe fashion bloggerGola ClassicsGola ClassicsGola Classics

Navy & Ecru Women’s Spirit Trainers by Gola £50, tulle skirts (layered) are from Japan, cropped jumper £12 from Primark, silver skull ring £160 from The Great Frog, Rouge Allure lipstick in Fatale by Chanel £26.

Prices correct at time of publication.  

Styling & Photography by Helen S Stanley. 

Thank You for Voting…

I was lucky enough to be shortlisted again this year for Best Established Fashion Blog at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, unfortunately I didn’t win, but to get through 43k other entries is pretty damn incredible! Plus I know my blog rocks and the feedback I get from my readers is amazing, so thank you very much to everyone who did vote and for all of you who continue to visit Helen’s Wardrobe.

Up until the day before I had no idea what I was going to wear, mostly because the weather was changeable but also because I didn’t have time to think about it! So I went for a black jumpsuit from In Love With Fashion with wide legs and big side slits so I could get the pins out. I teamed this with a studded waist-cincher belt from H&M, my spiked metallic heels from Kurt Geiger, union jack clutch from Aspinal, trademark skull ring from The Great Frog and the rest of my jewellery was from Loulebelle.

I had my hair vamped by Butchers Salon (check out my previous review on them, they are fantastically talented) and to create volume I added Volumizing Styling Powder by Got 2 Be Schwarzkopf. My make-up was a combination of classic Chanel red lips, black liquid eyeliner and tons of Lash Architect Mascara by L’Oréal and my nails were a adorned with posh polish in silver foil and posh polish in topaz over the top to create a nickel colour, both by Beauty UK.

I didn’t take any of my super cameras because they didn’t fit in my clutch bag but I was armed with my giant tablet phone and so I managed to get some snaps in between the cocktails. The great thing about going to these awards is meeting new bloggers and catching up with existing blogger friends as seen below: Louise O’Reilly from Style Me Curvy, Andini Ria from Adventures of an Anglophile, June Olsen from Nostalgiecat, Lucy Meek from Decorenvy. Thank you Cosmopolitan UK for a great night, hopefully see you again next year!..

My Denim Diary…

I visited the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Ashford this week to snap up some denim essentials for my denim diary. I chose two items which I have styled five ways to celebrate the classic wardrobe staple, denim and coincide with McArthurGlen’s launch of New Denim Icons this October. The New Icons, made up of talent from across the globe including actress Ashley Madekwe, International male model Sebastian Suave, influencer Shini Park and Parisian it girl Jeanne Damas, have been shot and filmed for the campaign, letting us into their world of denim and style.  You can find out more about this fantastic campaign by visiting a McArthurGlen outlet, check out their site and follow #DenimTheIcons for offers, news and inspirational denim style.

I’m a Levis girl so my essential denim pieces had to come from there, I opted for some black, skinny, high-waisted jeans from the Curve ID range in slight curve, then I chose a denim shirt covered in stars. I’ve styled these in five completely different ways to show the versatility of denim and key part it plays in all our looks…

One: My favourite look is very classic, simply jeans and a white vest. You can’t go wrong with a classic, simple denim look. The jeans are as before, the vest is Levis, the leather biker jacket is TopShop Boutique. The head scarf is from Be Bop A Hairdbands  and the necklace is as before. The shoes are Kurt Geiger.

Two: Simple, rock ‘n’ roll and very me. The t-shirt is a reworked Skull & Pistons Garage tee, the jeans are Levis high-waisted Curve ID in slight curve, glasses are Dolce & Gabbana and the spike shoes are Kurt Geiger.

Three: A little big grungy, the jeans are as before, the denim shirt and logo tee are both Levis, the trainers are Converse and the hat is Accessorize.

Four: A little bit 80’s with Disney platform trainers from H&M, a stripe tee from Next tied up to make it cropped, the jeans are as before and this time I’ve styled them with a skinny studded belt also from H&M. The clutch is from Aspinal and the hat is Vans.

Five: I’ve styled the denim shirt really simply, buttoned up with a swallow necklace from The Great Frog, the block heels are from Primark and the clutch is LOS.

Photography & styling by Helen S Stanley. 

Vagabond Tattoo Studio…

After happening upon Vagabond Tattoo Studio whilst walking down Hackney Road in East London last year I made a mental note to find out more about it. I had been looking for a new tattooist and I wanted to find somewhere comfortable and inspiring with a strong artistic team who I could come back to. Vagabond Tattoo Studio is the result of two different artists coming together to form a tenacious partnership, Paul Hill is an accomplished tattoo artist and Rebecca Morris a masterly graphic designer. Andrew Hulbert is another tattoo artist working at Vagabond and predominantly uses the hand-poked technique, tattooing without the use of electricity, two very distinct styles from Paul and Andrew equal instant recognition through their artwork which is very positive thing in such a growing industry. The result of this teamwork is the creation of an atmospheric space and a successful aesthetic union producing strong tattoos and a well-earned reputation.

My first visit was for a small skull on my forefinger to add to my growing collection, I figured this was a good place to start a new tattoo relationship and scope out the place. Rebecca and Paul were so friendly and accommodating, I felt at home straight away and proceeded to drink a very well made cup of tea whilst getting my new tattoo. With the expansion of Helen’s Wardrobe from fashion blog to fashion and lifestyle blog I wanted to draw attention to awesome creative types and therefore thought it was time to return to Vagabond for some more ink and a chat with Rebecca and Paul about their history, thoughts on the industry and their demiurgic future. So as I endure more exquisite pain in the name of all things splendid let’s chat to this cordial duo.

HW: At the risk of humming an all too familiar tune and for those who haven’t heard of Vagabond, what do you think sets you aside from other tattoo studios?

V: Our approach is to ensure that everyone feels welcome into our studio. We designed the space to be light airy and open with hygiene at the forefront of our image. We pride ourselves on great service and work together with a customer on a design allowing them to view the custom artwork prior to the tattoo appointment.

HWPaul what inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

V: I started off as an air-brush artist working with cars and motorcycles, the skill-set is quite similar so it felt like a natural progression. I’d been interested in tattooing from a young age and would hang out in my local studios a lot. I ended up being pretty heavily tattooed, the more I was around tattoos and tattooists the more I wanted to do it myself.

HWRebecca do you think your graphic style has changed since you started working in the tattoo industry?

V: Previous to starting up the business with Paul, the only graphic design I was doing was computer based. It has been really refreshing to go back to pen and paper and hand-draw some of our smaller more illustrative pieces. The technique used to transfer an image into something tattooable requires good clean line work, so I’ve learnt how to adapt my drawing style from sketchy to solid.

HWWhat made you combine your talents?

V: Combining the skills we’d learnt felt like a really natural thing to do. Paul’s experience of working in a busy tattoo studio meant he knew the process and already had a good style established it was just a case of packaging it right and using an approach that would help us stand from other studios.

HWHow did you meet Andrew and when did he join the team?

V: Paul met Andy through mutual friends, he was working in another studio and then apprenticed with us for just over a year and now works as our second artist.

HWAre you surprised at the rise in popularity and acceptance of tattoos in recent years?

V: Tattooing tends to have boom times and we’re definitely in one now. It has certainly been popularised by celebrities and fashion icons more recently.

HWThat said, do you still encounter preconceptions because of your appearance and career choice?

V: Most people are generally quite inquisitive and interested to find out more, the only negativity we’ve ever encountered is from much older generations who perhaps still hold some old preconceptions.

HWWhat is the biggest obstacle facing tattoo artists?

V: Competition and originality.

HWDo you have an industry pet hate?

V: Scratchers, illegal tattooing.

HWThe great thing about tattoos is that people who started young – like many of us did – tell stories through their tattoos, some slightly questionable, but stories nonetheless, do you encounter many people requesting cover-ups?

V: Lots of people enquire about cover-ups and we really enjoy doing them. They are a challenge but it is satisfying to turn something a person has fallen out of love with back into something they are proud to show off.

HWWhere do you see the future going for Vagabond Tattoo Studio? 

V: We have some exciting collaborations coming up and with this who knows what doors it may open. We’re hoping to expand our team this year and welcome some great guest artists. As well as this we hope to keep attracting other creative businesses to the area helping to make Hackney Road a real destination for art and fashion.

●●●

Paul, Rebecca and Andy are very happy to discuss designs by phone or by email. Better still, pop in and have a chat with one of the team who will aim to give you some creative guidance with your tattoo idea. Vagabond is open Mon-Thurs 11am-7pm, Friday 11am-5.30pm and Saturday 12pm-5pm. Vagabond work on an appointment basis for most pieces, however they often have availability for small walk-in slots too. ♠

Please contact the studio for more details:

STUDIO@IAMVAGABOND.CO.UK

07966 516868

Vagabond Tattoo Studio, 471 Hackney Road, London, E2 9ED.

Article & photography by Stephen Turner & Helen S Stanley.

Trick or Treat…

IT’S October which means it’s Halloween for the entire month because that’s my favourite holiday. So the themed posts will be a plenty folks and I’m kicking things off with candy toned treats and autumnal metallics for your nails. I do love a bit of nail polish despite breaking two nails fighting with a motorbike on the back of the Land Rover the other day (long story). These beauties are all from Beauty UK, a brand I’ve blogged about loads in the past, especially for nail polish because it lasts really well.

This time I’ve chosen Moonstone, Amethyst, Elfstone and Topaz, these jewel shades work really well to carry colour through to fall. Then Sunstone, Olympic Bronze, Sirmaril and Olympic Gold metallics which work equally as well for fall evenings. So here’s a little visual eye candy which will hopefully inspire you to treat your talons… 

Photography by Helen S Stanley. 

Butchers Salon…

THIS week I was invited to Butchers Salon on Hackney Road to meet the team, see the new salon and have my locks pimped. I love East London especially Hackney Road and as it happened I was in desperate need of a new colourist so this was a very welcome invitation.

The salon is a really light space with a salutary atmosphere created with a combination of concrete, wood, vegetation, huge windows and high ceilings: it’s the kind of place you could easily spend all day in. Butchers Salon has only been open a few months and the great thing about the space is, not only is it full of epic talent it can also be hired out, there is even a pop-up space available within the salon itself. This is definitely one to keep your eye on for upcoming events as well as super savvy hair styling. The owners, Katie and Susannah, have really thought about every detail even down to the eco-friendly towels they use which are biodegradable and the products which are organic and free of nasty chemicals. The team is super welcoming too, I instantly felt at home and this was definitely helped by the fact that Katie is a 90’s fan. We talked for hours about music, TV shows and fashion from the 90’s while she worked her magic on my hair.

My hair, where do I start? I’ve always struggled to get the right blonde and it had become a mixture of yellow and green tones which looked horrible. Katie totally got what I was after and the result was even better than I hoped: it was THE blonde! The one I’ve been after for about two years and no one could achieve, the unicorn of blondes! Needless to say I absolutely love the results, I’m so pleased that Katie listened, understood and went way beyond my expectations to achieve blonde awesomeness. Overall my experience at Butchers Salon was more than positive, I’ll definitely be going back and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. To find out more about the space and the services available visit their site and check out their social media for updates and news (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), even better get down to the salon and say hi!…

Here’s a closer look at my new grungy blonde hair courtesy of Katie at Butchers Salon… 

In these snaps I’m wearing a polka dot shirt from H&M, red lipstick by Chanel and necklace from Loulebelle.

Photography by Helen S Stanley. 

Iron Fist Party With Megan Massacre…

IRON FIST is one of my favourite brands so when I was invited to the AW’14 Iron Fist Launch Party hosted by Megan Massacre obviously I was there! I knew a fair few people from attending London Edge and there were some awesome DJ sets from the bands Turbonegro, Skindred, The Blackout and acclaimed DJ’s Last Resort and Shorebitch.

I cannot wait for the latest Iron Fist collection, I’m a massive fan of their prints in particular, the pieces work so well with my styling: mixing high street, vintage and designer with alternative clothing, definitely great brands to mix up your look. With that said let’s a have a look at the celebrating we did to mark the launch of their latest collection and the cool people we got to meet…Iron Fist Party Megan MassacreIron Fist PartyIron Fist PartyIron Fist PartyIron Fist PartyIron Fist PartyIron Fist Party

From the top: Stephen and myself from Skull & Pistons with the gorgeous super talented tattoo artist Megan Massacre, some stylish folk from the party (didn’t get their names or maybe we did but were too drunk to remember), Stephen with Shaun Hodson from Loki Films, my vintage Harley Davidson tee & Iron Fist nails, me with drunk snood guy (legend) and finally Stephen with alt model Jun Vahe Simon Khanbekian ♠

Spellbound…

I like to cover beauty as well as fashion on Helen’s Wardrobe, but it’s even better to combine the two. So when I decided to create a piece on nail polish (one of my favourite areas of beauty) I thought I’d include some styling too. I have been trying out three different shades of nail polish by Spell Polish and styled some outfits alongside each one to create three different looks to compliment them.

Spell Polish is handmade nail polish created with care in small batches, with glitters, micas and pigments to form amazing finishes and captivating tones. Spell Polish is also cruelty free and free of toxins: no Toluene, no Formaldehyde,no Camphor, no Formaldehyde Resin and no DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate).

Here are the three looks I created around my different shades of Spell Polish…

Look One: Spell Polish in Get Into The Groove $17 with silver studded trainers £5 from Everything 5 Pounds, sculpt training leggings £70 from Nike, skeleton hand vest was £15 now £9 from L.O.S, black Yankees rapper cap was $34.99 now $24.99 from New Era, skull bracelet £10 from Loulebelle, Las Vegas purse was a gift from Vegas!

Look Two: Spell Polish in All She Wants To Do Is Dance $17, inflatable neon yellow shopper bag £10 from Cyber Dog, glitter heart necklace was £6 now £3 from Plastic Bat, skinny jeans from £80 at Levi’s, worn in long sleeve shirt – belongs to my boyfriend (I like to borrow his garage clothes!), white trainers previous season from Fred Perry, neon cuff £10 from Cyber Dog. 

Look Three: Spell Polish in Invisible Forces $17, leopard print leggings from Iron Fist, Union Jack clutch previous season from Aspinal, patent leather heels previous season from Kurt Geiger, bracelets and jumper from Loulebelle and silver swallow necklace £165 from The Great Frog.

Spell Polish in Get Into The Groove over a white base, Spell Polish in All She Wants To Do Is Dance over a silver base, Spell Polish in Invisible Forces over a metallic green base.

All prices correct at time of publication. Styling & photography by Helen S Stanley. 

Endless Summer…

I refuse to let the summer end and so I’ve created a feature inspired by this gorgeous Indian Summer we’re having in the UK. So I’m hoping this outfit will please the sun Gods and stretch this warm weather out for as long as possible!

I love to mix vintage with high street and designer, I also like to throw in a bit of alternative fashion where I can too, this kind of combination creates a unique balanced look. So I took a vintage Japanese Kimono, combined it with a statement satchel bag, a few studs, some 90’s accessories and the result is something comfortable, original and summery. I love this look, it could easily work from day to night and if you want to make it slightly more transitional simply add some black skinny jeans or leggings. I added some glitz to my nails and some volume to my hair and voilà, endless summer style!..

FASHION: Silk Japanese Kimono is vintage, black jersey dress £3 from Primark, purple leather handbag sale price £67.50 full price £90 by Brit-Stitch at Nigel O’Hara, plastic tattoo choker necklace £3 from Extreme Largeness, silver skull ring £160 by The Great Frog, wide studded waist belt previous season from H&M, studded silver shoes previous season from Kurt Geiger, silver chains stylists own.

BEAUTY: To create something different on my nails I used Beauty UK Under the Heather £2.99 as a subtle base coat, then two top coats of Spell Polish Invisible Forces $17 – this stuff is incredible! (I’ll be doing a full review on Spell Polish next week). To add even more interest to my mitts I used the silver diamond shapes from Beauty Sparks Cleopatra by Face Lace £4.95. Then for my mug, I chose a gorgeous purple bindi from a set by Extreme Largeness to add a little something something to this look. Done!

Photography & Styling by Helen S Stanley. 

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