The end of the blogging road…for now

16 Sep

As you can see there’s been a long hiatus since I’ve filed anything on here, for which I apologise. For my sanity and purse strings, I took the decision to stop writing Consumer Cravings. When I set up the blog, the overiding aim was to curb a slight shopping habit. To my surprise, thinking, writing and talking about my cravings on a day-to-day basis actually had the opposite effect.

I hope to be back with a better-conceived blog (and cure) some day soon. For now, you can keep up with my ever-expanding wish lists on Pinterest.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings – it’s been fun.

Farewell friends

Mid-century modern

1 Apr

Oops well there went March, a month of no blogging. I’m placing my blame solely with my employer, The Bookseller. Despite having worked at the mag for four years, the pre-London Book Fair March-madness, which has squeezed nearly 30,000 words out of me, still takes me by surprise and wipes me out for evening/weekend work.

Here’s how I’ll make it up to you. For those of you who are into the heavier stuff, very shortly you’ll find some of the produce of my blood, sweat and Bookseller tears available here, including an interview with legendary picture book duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (of Gruffalo fame, as illustrated below).

Donaldson and Scheffler, my latest victims

(Picture credit: Amazon.co.uk)

And for the rest of you,  herewith an M-themed blog post to pay tribute to MARCH, the neglected month of my birth.

Design, M-style

(Picture credit: Waterstones.com)

I’ve long been a lover of interior design from the 1950s and 60s (think strong Scandi influences, tonnes of teak and of course G-Plan furniture) but thanks in no small part to “Mad Men”, as well as great titles like the above, the rest of the country seems to have gone wild for it too. Unfortunately, aside from now making me far from original, this resurgence in demand for mid-century modern design has pushed prices through the roof. Take this sideboard (much like the one featured in Sterling Cooper’s offices) that I’ve been craving for sometime, as an example. When I confessed my desire to replace the modern sideboard in my flat with one like this, my Dad couldn’t believe it. Back in the day he’d spent many an afternoon helping his mates throw out their old sideboards straight into the skip, and yet this is a costly £595. But that’s trends for you.  So here’s a quick call to any readers who happen to have one of these stashed up in their loft, who would like to give it a new loving new home for rather a lot less that 500 quid?

(Picture credit: johnnymoustache.shop)

Anyway, with the supply/demand/overpricing situation as it is, you’ll understand my glee when I saw there was a Vintage Furniture Flea, happening down the road from me at York Hall in Bethnal Green last weekend. Battling my standard Sunday hangover, with lucky Steve in tow, I set off for York Hall to sniff out a bargain.

Fun at the fair

York Hall, packed with bargain-hunters

Alas a sideboard was not to be had. There was a fine specimen on show, but with a whopping £1000 plus price tag and only a pair of bikes for transport, it had to stay put. Instead, a delightful duo of West German 1960s ceramic jugs produced by Scheurich and sold by a lovely lady from Retropolitan for an undisclosed sum (my Mum might kill me), made their way home with me. They are now looking pretty on my dining room table, aside some lovely artificial roses purchased by Steve for my birthday. What with Sundays spent pot-shopping and boyfriends buying fake flowers, we might have been mistaken for middle-aged, so afterwards we got ourselves down to Broadway market for some BEERS with the lads.

Best in show


If you fancy heading along to a similar fair, take a look here, and here for some forthcoming dates.

Or if woodworm and mothballs aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of modern interpretations to get your hands on. Here’s a few bits and bobs that have been creeping into my cravings list. WARNING, they don’t come cheap!

(Photo credits: retailer's websites as below)


Where to buy

  1. Grey Ella two-seater, Habitat – £1,100
  2. PS Karljohan side table, Ikea – £50.96
  3. Yellow Dinky sofa, Heals – £1,795
  4. Matthew Hilton Sideboard, John Lewis – £1,450

#LFW: a twitter tale

28 Feb

While I’ve been acquainting myself with the inside of a not-so-glamorous gym to get fashionably trim, over the last week real fashionistas have been busying themselves with a little thing called London Fashion Week.

The LFW Daily Newspaper, 23rd Feb

I’d love to have been one of them, documenting the goings on from the catwalks’ front rows, but unfortunately my bloggersphere influence has not quite reached the level where glossy show invites are dropping through my letterbox (one day!). Never fear though, thanks to the medium of Twitter we can all now share in the highs and lows of the ‘gruelling’ five days that will define my A/W 2011 cravings.  Any fashion bod worth the Louboutins on their feet is sharing their daily fashion lives with their avid followers, 140 characters at time.

In case you aren’t as much of a stalker/wannabe as me, my best twitter bits of #lfw 2011—straight from the mouths/hands of bloggers and fashion editors et al—are below. I hope you enjoy.

The start

LondonFashionWk:

  • The exhibition is open, the shows have started… www.londonfashionweek.co.uk has all you need, it’s hot!
  • #LFW is the top Twitter trend in London! What a start!

fashedatlarge:

  • Ere we go #LFW

The transport

susiebubble:

  • Love people’s expressions when they see the Orla Kiely Citreon car… Zipping over to Topshop now… Yes, I ‘zip’ in this car, not speed
(You can see pics of Susie’s ride, on her blog: http://bit.ly/flwuRl. She can also be seen below (left), taking time out from the shows to give a masterclass on blogging from the front row to newbies like me at Topshop, Oxford Circus)

Topshop Fashion Blogging Masterclass

StylistMagazine:

  • Win your very own Range Rover for the weekend, just like our #lfw one – RT this pic by 6pm to enter! http://yfrog.com/h02asogj

fashedatlarge:

  • Pulling up in my @LFWMercedes to Margaret Howell. Let the day begin! #LFW

fashionfoiegras:

  • When will I ever learn…public transportation and fashion week don’t mix.

Alexxxje:

  • If I don’t survive this, remember me as the girl who rode her bike to fashion week. In her Erdem dress.

The outfits

jo_elvin:

  • I think my outfit must be fashion week-worthy because I’m bloody freezing.
  • Too far away to snap, but there’s a dog wearing a mulberry bag.

fashionfoiegras:

  • Loving Hilary Alexander’s fur hat! Raccoon tail and all. The women IS style!

ELLEmagazine:

Topshop_tweets:

  • #LFW Hmmm – major error! Today was not a day for heels… Sliding here there and everywhere

Fearnecotton:

  • On the way to the Mulberry show. Covered in white cat fur as usual! Not glam!

The nutrition

jo_elvin:

  • Team Glamour enjoying a cheeky vino en route to matthew williamson

StylistMagazine:

  • We just overheard that the official champagne of #lfw is Tesco Finest. Can this be true!?

    Only (Tesco's) finest for fashionistas

Laurenezekiel:

  • Wish i could survive on the fash wk diet of malboro lights and coffee…but I’m hungry goddamnit so eating a ham/cheese baguette and crisps

susiebubble:

FashionBite:

  • Favourite #LFW interviews so far..erin o’connor who told me she was off to macdonalds…

The shows and front rows

Laurenezekiel:

  • Loved @houseofholland show it was a mix of tweed, pearls and bright crochet… very granny on acid #LFW

jo_elvin:

  • Olivia Palermo, Alexa Chung, Yasmin Le Bon front row at Matthew Williamson.

fashionfoiegras:

  • A look at Topshop Unique…101 Dalmations hit the runway! LOVE! @topshop_tweets http://ow.ly/403jx

FashionBite:

  • Anna wintour, philip green, mario testino, alexa chung, kate bosworth all spotted arriving @Burberry #LFW #livestreaming
  • London Fashion Week: Charlie Le Mindu’s gruesome AW11 catwalk and backstage bloodbath http://wp.me/pABIA-1sj

Grazia_Live:

  • EVERYONE has turned out for Erdem – Sam Cam, Alexa and Janice Dickinson (who was applying hairspray front row at Chris Kane!)
  • #lfw red is the colour of AW 11 it seems. It popped up at Erdem too http://twitpic.com/428ulz

The parties (and their aftermath)

vogue_london:

  • Kate Moss wore @StellaMcCartney to Number 10 last night. See the look -and all the rest from last night’s parties- here: http://bit.ly/hQMMTB

StylistMagazine:

  • Sitting waiting for Daks to start, feeling a tiny bit fragile after last night’s Vivienne Westwood party. #lfw

Topshop_tweets:

  • #LFW LOVE Alex Wang party beating Mulberry and Westwood – Beth Ditto performing now! Katie Grand knows how to throw a party
  • #LFW what a way to start the day… with a hangover from the Mulberry party

The trials and tribulations

LibertyLndnGirl:

  • @StellaMagazine if you still need painkillers at jaeger then I have fast acting anadin x
  • So tired can barely think straight , and eyes keep closing, but must get blogs done for today for me & MB [Mercedes Benz]

    Staple LFW handbag item

     

fash_junior:

  • Seriously, if just one show could start on time I’d be so happy #lfw

Grazia_Live:

  • Argh all the models come out at the same time at meadham no time to make notes!!! #lfw
  • London traffic during the shows arrrggghhhh #lfw

The end

ModeHunter

  • On to the next one…#LFW ending #MFW starting…

LucyBAZAAR

  • There’d be some great jobs in fashion up for grabs if this Milan flight went down. Half the industry aboard incl Ms Wintour in full mink…


The Credits (in order of appearance)

With thanks to the following twitterers: 

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The year of skinny

24 Feb

Before I get started on my latest post, here’s a quick update on the ASOS competition I previously blogged about. From my failure to tell you about it before now, I’m guessing you’d all gathered that I hadn’t won (had I done so, I’d definitely have showed off all my new wares!). Following the disappointment, as predicted, I promptly logged onto Asos and bought one of my wishlist items (well I couldn’t let down all those who voted could I?) The item you picked for purchase was the watch, which secured 42% of the vote. Alas, on arrival it had to go straight back to the shop—it was far too big (and I couldn’t be arsed with alterations) and a bit cheap-looking (well I guess it is pretty cheap), plus Asos offers a very easy returns process. So, unexpectedly I overcame the marketing ploy. Are you proud?

Back to the shop: Tortoise-shell watch


With one craving overcome, it’s on to the next set…

So, where on earth did February go? I’m amazed at how quickly a month can fly by these days (these days referring to the fact that I’m currently living out the last month of my mid-twenties. My younger colleagues (Fliss!) unequivocally told me that when I turn 27 I will cross the line into ‘late 20s’. Eek). In contrast, during my teens, even 24 hours could feel like a lifetime, especially if my friends and I were counting down to (and meticulously planning outfits for) the next disco with the local boys school.

Anyhow, the combination of all this reminiscing, rapid time travel and a small age crisis, brings me on to the topic of this post: workout gear. Not an obvious link I agree, but let me take you through my thought process. Back in my youth, I was a bit of an exercise freak, spending hours each week at gymnastics training. However, sessions at the gym were often followed with the reward of a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps and a can of coke (note: fizzy drinks were only allowed once a week by Barbara—head of household rations). The problem is that over the years my love of naughty food hasn’t disappeared but my dedicated fitness regime has. The result = not the four-pack (it never made it to six) I once had.

Every January for the last few years, I’ve said to myself this will be the year I get fit, tone up and return to my pre-university weight. Unsurprisingly, aside from the few months following a rather unpleasant (but very effective) parasitic infection in Peru, this hasn’t been achieved. Until 2011, that is. This, my friends is going to be the year. What’s different you ask? Well there’s three things: I really need to do this before I’m 30 (friends have warned me figure-wise it’s all downhill from there); I’ve signed my life away to a gym, which’ll be taking £52 from my account every month for a year, and I really hate to waste money unless it’s on clothes; and most importantly, I’ve blogged about it now so it’ll be pretty embarrassing if I don’t stick to it.

Thankfully, thus far it’s going well. I’m three weeks and 10 work outs in, which have included aerobics, swimming, running/cycling/rowing, supple strength (yoga without the spiritual stuff), netball, the Ministry of Sound DVD and tonight Zumba! If you haven’t tried it you should give it a go. You feel like a bit of a prat to start with, but are soon shaking your bum like Shakira (in your head at least).

A lager lout no more?

The problem is, I’m currently on a post-exercise high, it’s early days and and my motivation will soon wane (it certainly does post-exercise when I give into my beer and carb carvings). As such, I think I need another driver to keep on track (bikini-time will be here before I know it). And that is where pretty exercise clothes come in.

I’m not sure I’ve every really grown out of the thing I had for branded sportswear when I was a kid. Each year my Christmas and birthday lists would be filled with sportswear from adidas trousers with the luminous green stripes to the latest nike trainers (which when received, would sit pride of place at the end of my bed while I slept—worrying). I try to keep the condition under control now I’m an adult, but it’s really just morphed into American Apparel hoodies and Abercrombie joggers—my staple lounging kit.

Below, I’ve put together a list of session-specific work-out gear that would definitely help keep me on the straight and narrow. Did I mention it’s my birthday next month?

My exercise week, complete with ideal gym kit

Monday: Aerobics

Adidas grey long top (to cover the bum)

Nike black lycra leggings


Wednesday : Netball

Adidas black track top

Nike blue and yellow Livestrong shorts


Thursday: Zumba

Nike black racerback

Abercrombie dark pink trackies


Saturday: Swimming

I’m afraid to say, that despite extensive internet and high street shop research, there is not a single swimming costume designed for big boobs and serious swimming that I deem fit to feature on my blog. It seems that as soon as Speedo add an inner shelf to their costumes, their style goes out of the window.


Sunday: Supple Strength

H&M blue marl sweatshirt

Adidas berry red tank

Adidas petrol grey straight leg pants


Extra bits and bobs

Nike Lunar Eclipse blue/grey running shoes

Black Puma gym bag

The Shock Absorber (essential kit - already purchased)

(Photo credits: retailer’s websites as below)

The shopping list:

  1. Adidas long top, John Lewis – £28
  2. Nike leggings, John Lewis – £45
  3. Adidas jacket, John Lewis – £35
  4. Nike shorts, Pro-direct – £13.49
  5. Nike top, John Lewis – £22
  6. Trackies, Abercrombie & Fitch- £50
  7. Sweatshirt, H&M – £12.99
  8. Adidas top, John Lewis – £23
  9. Adidas trousers, John Lewis – £33
  10. Trainers, Nike – £90
  11. Bag, Puma – Debenhams – £25
  12. Shock Absorber sports bra, Bravissimo – £30

Sorry, that was a bit of a John Lewis overload—they aren’t sponsoring me, promise.

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Ultimate crave: free ASOS shopping for a year

30 Jan

The savvy marketing bods over at ASOS headquarters have come up with a series of very dangerous competitions for weak-willed shopaholics such as myself. Launched just under a week ago, Crave it? Save it. Win it. has been tempting online shoppers in their thousands to log on to asos.com and spend hours filling up their virtual shopping carts with dream purchases, in the hope they might be one of the lucky ones picked to win their wishlist.

Fill your online shopping cart

(Image credit: Maximum PC, via Wikimedia Commons)

Of course the chances of winning are minute, but the prizes just suck you right in:

  • Starting small, the first round offered one winner a basket of goods up to the value of £300.
  • For round two, ASOS upped the stakes to £500 for five victors (although, it was on the proviso that 25,000 people entered – which then happened, of course).
  • And now, they are on to the grand finale, which will see one lucky so-and-so secure a jackpot of £1000 of goods, plus an outfit each month (for 12 months) up to the value of £200 for themselves and four of their most-prized friends.

As marketing plans go, it’s genius. It’s cheap as chips, with the only real outlay being £13,800 for the prizes, and yet going on my experience, the returns should be ridiculously high…

Why it works

Having spent over an hour selecting my wish list for the first round, and another day convincing myself I would win and picturing myself in all my lovely new clothes, the defeat was hard to take. (Other entrants also took it badly,  with the message boards getting increasingly bitchy about how the winner’s choices weren’t up to their standards).

But, ASOS saved the day and gave us all another chance for victory: cue another hour finding £200 of extra bits and bobs to add to my basket. Alas, the second prize eluded me too, and my Friday afternoon was spent overcoming the disappointment.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I should get out now and avoid the final devastating loss, but I’m in too deep. So tonight will be spent finding another £500 of items in a last ditch attempt to secure the prize. But we all know what will happen: I won’t win and I’ll be left with £1000 worth of clothes and accessories sat in a basket, that I feel like I deserve. It’s funny, I hadn’t  realised it before this whole exercise, but I really do need a pair of brown brogues, a new watch and a lovely leather handbag.

And here is where ASOS wins. I’m going to try and be good but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up buying at least one thing from my wishlist, and if others do the same (looks likely going on the message board chat) that’s some serious wonga for the retailer. This is a very rough (and probably a low) estimate, but if you imagine that the 25k who entered round two buy just one item each at approx £25 – that’s £625,000 of revenue. Clever.

Time to Vote


(Pic credits: asos.com)

So anyway, now the damage is done, maybe you lot can help me decide which my one purchase should be. Above are all the accessories included on my wishlist, as it stood at £500. And below is a poll for you to pick your favourite item. (Mum, don't just pick the cheapest!)

Oh and if you're as ASOS-obssessed as me, you can still enter the competition yourself until Tues 9am, here. And as I was kind enough to alert you, please bear me in mind when you're picking your four friends to win with you!

 

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A top drawer Sunday

25 Jan

So I think I might have discovered my new dream job: owning a home decor/gifts/ jewellery shop. I accept it’s probably as cut throat and tricky to get into as journalism, but going on the upbeat nature of the independent retailers picking and choosing which of the latest products to stock in their shops, at the 2011 Top Drawer trade fair (on a Sunday!), it looks like a lot of fun.


(Logo credit: Clarion Events)
 

The three day exhibition, which ran from 16th-18th of this month, is in part (and that’s a large part going on the fact we didn’t see her for quite a few weeks beforehand!) organised by my good friend Julia. As such I got a VIP pass to play shop for a day, ambling up and down the temporary aisles in Earls Court (in which I’m more used to manically sprinting along to try to find a decent news story for The London Book Fair Dailies we produce at The Bookseller) imagining which new designs would make the cut for “Decorate with Davies” or “Hannah’s Homewares”. Hmm, the name might need some work.

It also was a chance for me to work as a proper interior design journalist: swatting up on the S/S 11 trends and spotting some innovative (and just plain pretty) products to feature on my blog. At almost every stand there was something to add to my Consumer Cravings wish list as—perhaps fortunately— mere mortals (sans swanky shop) weren’t allowed to buy anything. Sigh.

Anyway, below are the four key trends, identified by the helpful ladies at Trend Bible, who are partners for the show that you (if you’re as obsessed with trinkets as me) will be buying into this season. Sorry the photography is a bit shoddy; I had to be a bit surreptitious as I wasn’t 100% sure I was allowed to take photos and didn’t want to embarrass Julia by being frogmarched out of the show. Turns out there were so many cheeky journos taking snaps, they had to relax their original no pics rule!

Vintage Vacation

Winter White

Shelter

Spectacle


Vintage Vacation
: Get all nostalgic with everything from knitting and embroidery to tea parties and baking.

Winter White: Think ethereal soft whites, greys and oyster pink, but with plenty of contrasting textures:  matt and shine; rough and smooth.

Shelter: It’s ski lodge central from moose motifs to fair-isle blankets, and lots of rustic wood

Spectacle: It’s all about the weird and wonderful, inspired by folk and fairy tales, and including: birds (I believe I might have already spotted this trend), globes (yes, got one of those!) and antique lanterns.

And, here’s my pick of the designers and products I loved at the exhibition and would sell in my imaginary shop. Some tie-in to these key looks and others don’t (possibly proving I’m not as on trend as I thought!). Happy browsing…

(Image credits: retailers/designers' websites)

  1. Bag, Drift – contact for price and stockists
  2. Cushion, Anorak – £36
  3. Leather Diary, Undercover – £21.50
  4. Makeup Bag, Lisa Stickley, £18.00
  5. Silver Lantern, Lisbeth Dahl via House to Home, £49.99
  6. Scrabble Mug, Wild and Wolf via Amazon – £6.85
  7. Desk Globe, Authentics -£58.22
  8. Throw, 95% Danish via Furnish -£89
  9. Pendant, Kate Rodgers via Ella Georgia Jewellery – £75
  10. Chair, Oficina Kreativa, 349 EUR
  11. Lampshade, Lush Designs – £48
  12. Placemat, Marimekko via Heals – £16

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Blog benefits and faux fur overload

12 Jan

FOUR BLOG-RELATED CHRISTMAS PRESSIES

A nicely-lit corner, educational too....thanks aunties!

Who drank all the wine?...Thanking you Mr and Mrs Brown!

New book and ends...cheers Jane and Mick!

Last but not least, my new blogging aid. Big thanks parentals.


Happy New Year my lovely blog readers.
Yes I know it’s a little late, what with it already being 12th Jan and all, but I’ve had a bit of a sluggish start to the year (I only took down my Christmas tree yesterday—I hope that doesn’t mean I’m in for a year of bad luck). So, my Christmas break was really rather enjoyable, with two full-on turkey lunches and lots of amazing presents. It turns out having a Christmas wish list on my blog really does work—see pics above, thanks all! After a drunken New Year’s Eve, Steve and I decided to put off going back to work until 7th Jan, with a short excursion to a pretty countryside house in Kent—complete with a secret room hidden behind a bookcase—courtesy of Steve’s cousin and wife (thanks Lindsey and Vicky). The purpose: further cheese eating, wine drinking and the odd countryside walk.

My intention was to feature a fetching shot of me dressed in my winter gear on one such country walk, in order to bring me neatly onto the topic of this blog post: faux fur. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught a rather severe dose of Steve’s misplacing things disease, and left my camera in Kent. (Other items currently missing, presumed lost, are my favourite gold bird necklace and the aforementioned bargain of the century £3 waterfall cardigan. If anyone’s seen them, please let me know, I might stretch to a reward!)

Anyway, in the photo I’m wearing two of my recent purchases (now demonstrated below with product shots), which were bought specifically for a last-minute work trip  to -24 degree Moscow last month. On hearing of the baltic temperature, Steve recalled an old Norwegian saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I decided that this (and a small handout from my generous father) gave me permission to buy ‘good ‘ clothing.

Pick up a puffa, Esprit - £95

Stomping through the snow boots, Snow & Rock - £59.99


(Photo credit: Esprit.com)

Now, I’ve never been one for puffa jackets in the past (this blog, is enough to scare anyone off) but for once in my life warmth was going to have to come before fashion. So in between the numerous trips to the Russian visa centre (it’s seriously labour intensive to get into that country!) I trotted off to Esprit on Oxford Street to pick up a coat in the style of a Russian oligarch’s wife (i.e. luxurious fur trim – mine’s faux though, don’t worry). The shop assistant revealed, as if sharing a dark secret, that once you wear a puffa jacket you will struggle to put on anything else until Spring. And, oh how she is right—I’m a convert. Snow boots were next on my, ‘let’s ignore my blog challenge’ shopping list and these furry bad boys are amazing. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any snow in Russia, as I was unfortunate enough to go in an unusually cold spell—think numb fingers, toes, legs and face within minutes, but they were great for whizzing past people who were skidding around on the ice last month on my walk to work. Smug, who me?

Anyway, since discovering the joy of being warm and yes, smug, I’ve basically gone a bit winter accessory mad (you’ll realise it’s mad when you see the state of my scarf drawer in the pic below). Clearly, at the end of 2010, resisting my consumer cravings went out the window. So just to get the confession off my chest, here is my latest loot:

Overflowing scarf drawer, but I still want more

Naughty purchases

Seriously comfy slippers

Now here’s to a better behaved 2011!

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