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Tis the season to wear a new dress and drink lots of wine! Hurrah! In the spirit of all things festive, I was lucky enough to be invited to the “Bon Prix on the Rocks” event this November. The event was to launch the sparkling new Bon Prix line of Christmas cocktail dresses.
It was a massive hit with more than 30 bloggers getting dolled up in their new Bon Prix finery, over at Malmaison in Leeds. The alcohol was flowing from the get go, delicious canapes were shared and funny props provided more laughs. We had such a good time! A particular highlight was the cocktail making class, hosted by a lone (very brave) male bar tender. I think he left feeling a little shaken, not stirred himself…
Blogger events and meet ups have evolved to be so much more than just networking. (Sorry other brands, but inviting bloggers to ‘learn about your product’ is simply not enough). You must leave an event feeling like you got something out of it and it hasn’t been a waste of time, and I don’t mean branded product. As well as a lovely evening, what struck me was just how much we all embraced and encouraged each other’s diversity. From food to travel blogs, we were all as different as the dresses we wore.
Over the years I have been genuinely touched by some of the stories shared on blogs, not all are happy and it always amazes me to see how kind our blogging community is online. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have seen some lovely words exchanged between Yorkshire bloggers online, including some on the pictures shared after this event.
Here’s 4 stellar reasons why you should make it your mission to attend an event next year.
Blogger Events: A chance to connect and encourage
Put faces to the twitter handles and get known
Social media is great, but sometimes you just really want to put a face to the handle. Events are a great way to do this, to get known and make new connections. Often bloggers turn up often not knowing anyone else, but it’s clear you are always welcome
A place to share ideas
One bloggers success is inspiration for another. Content created on blogs is often centred around sharing tips and ideas, events are a great place to do this as well as encourage each other to make extraordinary accomplishments of our own
A support network: We’re women who stand together
Especially when things are tough. Many blogger connections are made through a shared common challenge; from anxiety and break ups to long term illness. Events can be a place to catch up, see how someone is doing and share support. Guys are of course welcome too 🙂
See each others individual beauty
Rather than be critical of other women and our own style, bloggers at events compliment. This was apparent just by listening to everyone complimenting each other’s dress choice at this event and how they rocked it in their own way. As long as the event isn’t very small or niche, it’s likely everyone will be very different. Meeting other personalities outside your usual group of friends means you may meet people you never thought you would, but you may well be grateful you did!
THANKS SEARCH LABS FOR MAKING IT HAPPEN!
Party Fashion | A vintage style Bon Prix Little black dress
Let’s not forget the clothes! It is party season and this is predominantly a vintage fashion blog after all. I wore a vintage look-a-like dreamy lace dress. It was cheekily short and had angel sleeves that would make Stevie Nicks proud. Here’s the full range of budget Bon Prix party dresses for your purse’s enjoyment.
Hold on a sec…Are you a Yorkshire Blogger?
If this has whet your whistle and you want to join a small piece of the Yorkshire Blogging community, join our Yorkshire Bloggers social meet ups by dropping me a tweet or email. Everyone welcome! Here’s some previous meet ups.
#ad disclaimer: Dress gifted. All opinions are my own
All Bon Prix Event Photos: Matt at Search Laborarory
“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn. Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence.”– Thomas Hood
The worn Dandelion clocks signaled the end of summer a long time ago, yet at this time of year everything still seems so full of life. Brown, yellow and gold leaves fall one by one as the wind rocks through the trees. It’s the colours that make Autumn one of my favourite times of year, everything takes on a deep orange hue, and I believe there is no better colour than this. Wild and untamed; Yorkshire’s countryside offers so many places to wander about and shake off the daily grind. We regularly visit the forests and parks nearby, strolling round, often staying a while on the benches to just sit and stare at the beauty around us. Time seems to stop and much nothing matters at that moment in time.
Though, I admit, it’s a challenge to get me out the door on a Sunday morning, but fueled by copious amounts of coffee and a bacon buttie I’m usually good to go.
Here’s two of our favourite walks in Yorkshire, just waiting for you to explore.
Harewood House’s Himalayan Garden
The vast range of mountain peaks which arc across Central Asia, has an extraordinary diversity of flora. Harewood’s Himalayan Garden.. is this extraordinary world in miniature, a plant-hunter’s paradise.
The Himalayan Garden is a hidden beauty spot just outside Leeds, and a would-be hippy haven if it was anywhere else in the world. Upon entering the garden bamboo stalks rise up either side of you and little walk ways twist and turn, part covered by hanging greens. Walk a little further and you find a stone paved stream and waterfall. Need a little rest? Then take sanctuary in the mini Asian pavilion nestled at one end. This, my friends is a Eastern promise, done Yorkshire style and its flippin’ fantastic.
Location: Harewood House, Sand Gate, Harewood, Leeds, LS17 9LG. The grounds of Harewood are open on selected weekends throughout Autumn/ Winter. Please check the website for more information.
Otley Chevin Forest Park
While the hours away walking down shady evergreen lined pathways at one of Yorkshire’s most splendid forests. A north-facing cliff rises steeply to a height of 280m above sea level and offers magnificent views of the Wharfe Valley. This is one of our favourite spots to spend a lazy Sunday and is only a few minutes’ drive from Otley for some much needed sustenance afterwards.
Chevin Forest Park is found either side of East Chevin Road, Otley LS21 3DD.
As the weather gets cooler, it’s now time to ditch the bare legs and reach for the tights. But Autumn fashion doesn’t have to be all thick jumpers and jeans.
I don’t know about you, but Autumn always gets me in the mood for knitted grandma gilets, prints and different fabrics including velvets in rusty hues that reflect the glorious colours of the great outdoors.
Autumn/ Winter is especially good for mixing and matching your fashion. Layering lends itself very well to a heavy ’70s feel, and no boho wardrobe is complete without fringing, liberty-inspired prints kitsch prints and texture overload.
So if your look is more seventies show than TOWIE, this is the season to REALLY have some fun with your fashion.
Here’s some Autumn style inspiration ideas for a versatile and very vintage season ahead.
1. A patterned shirt layered over a dress and fringed waistcoat
Floral prints don’t have to be reserved for the summer. Instead of wearing a shirt with a skirt, layer up a old summer shirt over a dress and add a fringed waistcoat for a fresh, new look. These two items are from Pop Boutique in Leeds.
2. Ditch classic T shirts for a Folk top
For me vintage fashion is always more folksy and relaxed, than preppy. Something like this blue and cream embroidered top can be worn with anything, in place of a summer T – shirt, and is just as good worn in the evening with a skirt as it is with jeans. Pair with a man’s black hat with some phesant feathers stuck in the side and you have a look that is not only warm but hides next-day hair too.
3. Bag a suede coat to keep out the chill
When it’s too warm for the “big coat” but too cold to go coatless, a suede coat is perfect. Tan is such as versatile colour for Autumn/ Winter and is so much more interesting than plain black; think of it as camouflage but without the hideous print. PS it’s not true you can’t wash suede- I washed this in a cold bath with some Woolite and it came out a treat.
Autumn’s Essential Accessories
A Hillhouse Vintage handbag
I got this vintage beauty from Asos Marketplace favourite, Hill House vintage
From clutches to classic retro handbags, Hillhouse have a fabulous variety of retro women’s bags that are stylish, unique and full of character. This beautiful bag is just one of many vintage leather pieces that are just waiting to be discovered and most are below £30 too. (bargain!)
PLUS they are offering a 20% discount for all readers!! Just add “Style20” at the checkout.
Pieces of silver: A daisy silver necklace*
This little gem is from Browns Jewellers, I like to support local businesses and Browns are one of the leading high street jewellers in Yorkshire. This pretty daisy necklace is just one example of some of the silver items they have one offer and is so delicate it will go with everything. I picked this one as it’s quite 60s, its a little swirly flower made of the thinnest silver and would make a great gift idea for a sister or niece. They also do some stunning vintage pieces including antique emerald broches and art deco pieces if you get some Christmas money and want to treat yourself to something timeless in the new year…Go on you deserve it!
The sun shone down on our picturesque church, overlooking the lush green Yorkshire countryside this August bank holiday and the guests started to filter in. The scene was set for our big day.
My vintage, transport to the church was a 1970s, dark red Daymler, driven by my dad’s best mate KC . He made quite the dapper driver in his pink, linen suit and almost stole the show as we pulled up to All Saints in Kirkby Overblow.
The nerves really started to kick in as they played the bridal march as I waited at the entrance then made my way to join Derek at the front. Friends and family were a complete blur as I walked down the aisle.. I just remember thinking it would be just typical of me, if I were to trip over my super long veil!
Following the ceremony we arrived at Wharfedale Grange for the reception. We spent two days decorating it, and have to admit it did look soooo good with the lace drapes, hanging ivy and coloured bunting. Alas, the sun didn’t last and it poured with rain, but nobody seemed to mind as the good times rolled.
Our band The After Hours Quintet played mashed up Jazz, and classic rock well into the small hours, creating an unbelievable atmosphere. We partied hard in a swirling rainbow-coloured dancefloor, surrounded by twinkling lights that looked looked like stars; it was electric. Great music, great guests and awesome memories; we couldn’t have asked for more. It was the best day or our lives.
Here’s a few of things we did for our DIY wedding. Even if you don’t live in Yorkshire it may provide some help and inspiration if you are thinking of taking the plunge!
- Find a field and a teepee These two things alone provide a perfect blank canvas and will look totally stunning with very little else. We went with Totally Tipi and Wharfedale grange. Two tipi tents were enough for 100 guests; cosy and intimate without being cramped.
- Create a top table backdrop with a lace tablecloth One way to decorate your venue for very little cost and maximum effect, is to create areas of interest with drapes. Originally I wanted a backdrop to disguise the music equipment. Totally Tipi put up a wooden frame and I hung a lace tablecloth and dreamcatcher onto it. This ended up creating the most stunning DIY backdrop behind the top table and a real focal point.
- Go for a 20s or 70s vintage dress to match Glory days vintage in York provided me with the most stunning heavy satin, 20s style dress, cathedral length veil and headpiece. The design was a silk “Zena” dress from their Rolling In Roses collection and as the 20s is closely linked to the 70s in style, it was perfect for a boho wedding.
- Green ivy to complement and save on cost The good thing about dark greens is you get more bang for your buck as they look really full and a little goes along way. Our top table hanging piece was actually made from on a cheese board! I also made hanger from branches for the centre of the room and covered it with more lush dark green hanging ivy.
- Collect lace and throws early to fill your space on a budget Start collecting a year before, you will be grateful you did. I used a lot of lace from Ebay and markets. I didn’t use all of it but it didn’t matter as the cost was minimal. Plus it was lots of fun rummaging through everything as your ideas and plan starts to come together.
- Ethnic touches and fringing to finish I used a vintage fringed shawl at the front of our top table and placed Moroccan lanterns either side. We hired these as they are expensive to buy. Our bunting was from a Thai shop on Etsy and the purple fringing hanging above was a simple trim brought from a haberdashery. Anything Moroccan/ ethnic and fringed works really well with a boho theme.
Some useful advice
- Don’t forget the little things You have hired people to do the job, but you will have to be on top of everything such as glass hire, cutlery, and drinks. Suppliers are there for advice but they are all individual providers. So unless you have a wedding planner it’s down to you to remember the details. Have a broad plan and build on it.
- Consider a partial wedding planner It’s really important you have someone to co- ordinate on the day. You may be drinking (a lot) you don’t want to think about topping up wine, organising the first dance and cake cutting, these are the important details you don’t need to worry about on the day itself. A partial planner is there on the day and typically meets you 6 weeks before.
- Don’t get hung up on the weather In a teepee or marquee cooler weather can be a blessing in disguise. Everyone came in saw the band and we were able to crack on with the fire pit without everyone being too warm. Grey skies work well on photos too, because you aren’t squinting in the sunlight.
- Consider a DIY DJ Kit for background music If you have a band and DJ what about background music for the food before they arrive? We hired a DIY DJ kit and plugged in our itunes so we could love all the music- not just some of it. Sod the harps, during our food our playlist was Hayseed Dixie; banjo covers of classic rock. We wanted something lively when people were eating their hogroast and it was damn good.
- Fag canapé gazebo tent– just really useful if it rains.
Special thanks to Photographer – Natasha Cadman , Partial Wedding planner Angela Jackson, Totally Tipi, Bar Hire Solutions, Hayley at Glory Days Vintage and Claire Thomas for the flowers. Any questions get in touch!
Mini-moon part 2
Are you looking to book a holiday that is a little less touristy for 2017? Perhaps a last minute October break is on the cards. Whatever your plans, I hope to inspire you to make a decision that is a little less ordinary for your next break away.
Last year we stayed in an Air BnB, by Lake Garda. Off the beaten track, up a mountain and in the middle of nowhere; it was a real hidden gem. Its tranquility provided such relaxation, and our hosts home and cuisine made our stay truly authentic. In fact we loved it so much we decide to look for somewhere similar for our mini-moon.
Le Stipe di Sopora, our Tuscan sanctuary
We discovered Le Stipe di Sopora, via Booking.com, our go to site for a smashing last- minute deal.
Sylvia, our host was warm and friendly and quick to respond, which made us feel instantly at ease. She even cooked us a delicious Tuscan meal of home-made pasta, basil and tomato bruschetta and local home-made lager (hic!) on our arrival evening.
Le Stipe is only 4 km from Pietrasanta, a pretty market town in northern Italy in the Province of Tuscany. What made Sylvia’s cosy home stand out against all the other hotels and B&Bs we could have stayed in, was its quirky, personal touches and rustic charm.
Sylvia’s home is a classically furnished 19th-century Tuscan building. The beautiful farmhouse-style kitchen had a large fireplace and original marble skink which was decorated with beautiful coloured mis-matched tiles. You can see Sylvia has restored her home with love, she has kept the original features including the timber ceiling and terracotta brickwork. Colourful artworks line the stairwell providing moments of wonder as you make your way up the stairs. *Starts making plans to transform the flat into a Tusacan farmhouse.*
As you enter the bedroom you are instantly hit with how bright, clean and airy it is. Broderie Analgise cushions, gilded antiques, Moroccan inspired flooring and hanging wall art come together to make a dreamy sanctuary for some much-needed rest. When you open the chestnut brown shuttered windows, you get incredible view over the village, the hills and beyond. You don’t get these views in Leeds that’s for sure.
One of our favourite things to do was relax and waste some serious time in the ancient courtyard, in the hammock reading a book. There are few things more perfect in life than lounging in a hammock with a book don’t you think?
Here’s a few of the town’s highlights
Pietrasanta Marina: One of the best beaches in Italy
The golden sands against a mountain back drop was insanely beautiful and so were the people. Quite possibly the most stunning beach we have been to in Italy.
Pietrasanta vintage market: On first Sunday of the month
As any vintage mama knows there’s always time for a spot of bargain hunting. I got my haggle game on and snapped up this gorgeous blue vintage dress for 5 Euros! I seriously considered leaving all my luggage and bringing a Moroccan rug home instead. And If I have had space I would have tried to smuggle Sylvia in there too!
Le Stipe di Sopora was the perfect Tuscan hideaway. I would highly recommend this or any other similar BnB, if you want to get a true taste of your Italy.
Groovy Threads and Style Inspiration
Office wear. The very thought used to make me sink into my kaftan on a Sunday night – what shall I wear to work tomorrow??
For women, traditionally the corporate office dress code usually meant a strict and somewhat limiting combo of shirt and Next navy trouser suit, or shirt and pencil skirt. If you personal style is vintage, it can mean a trade off between abiding by this conservative dress code, which can leave you feeling unlike yourself or wearing something inappropriate or worse- frumpy.
Unless you work in the fashion or vintage industry, the last thing your boss wants is Janice Joplin’s sister waltzing through the office door on a Monday morning. So just how do you do tailored work wear if your usual style is more quirky than corporate?
Today work-wear is more relaxed, tattoos are even considered more acceptable and jeans are common especially if you work in digital. Yet some sort of tailoring is still essential if you want to keep that professional edge.
For me the easiest way to do work wear is by basing your look around one modern white tailored shirt. Simple and structured; it and goes with anything and everything. Then simply mix and match with different accessories, patterns and textures to give it a vintage vibe.
Work wear inspiration and ideas
- A classic small men’s white oxford shirt from Savile row
Men’s shirts fit better than women’s and they are often better quality. Borrow your boyfriends then don’t give it back. You will look so good in it he won’t even mind.
- A velvet blazer in a rich jewelled colours
A vintage velvet blazer in any colour, smartens up any office look and can be thrown over more or less anything. The velvet adds a luxury twist and is a bit different to the usual black or navy. I have about 5 velvet blazers in a multitude of jewelled colours, but my favourite is this dreamy paisley pattern.
- A thin pure silk psychedelic scarf
If Marc Bolan worked in an office he would have worn something like this. Worn tucked under your shirt with the collar slightly open its a twist on the classic and won’t have you feeling like you are wearing your old school shirt.
- Masculine statement shoes
I have finished my outfit with these western pixie boots, however having a pop of colour wherever possible, just makes life (and your outfit) more interesting and where better than on your shoes. These delicious bespoke double monk shoes are ones I had made by Grenson shoes and would look just as good with this blazer and shirt combo. Who says women have to just wear a court shoe to work?
No tailoring piece would be complete without giving my man a mention, Derek you are the king of modern tailoring. Here he is rocking double breasted luxe and versatile grey in GQ street style SS 16. Fresh from Savile row, this cheeky snap was featured in the same shoot as model David Gandy no less!!
And gent’s there’s plenty of other dapper chaps from London Collection Men’s for plenty of suit-spiration.
Photo: Robert Spangle GQ
Mini moon part 1
The day following our wedding on the 27th August, happy but hungover, we went on the Ryanair website in the hope of a last minute deal and ended up booking a mini moon to Tuscany. Booked at 8pm that night to leave Monday morning at 8am- talk about flying by the seat of our pants!
Our trek across Tuscany started in Pisa. Pisa was a cheap destination but actually other than see the leaning tower, we found there wasn’t actually that much to do! So after travelling to Lucca for a day we spent the following two nights in Florence. There are many things to do, including the Uffizi Gallery to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (you know the one, the gorgeous redhead standing in the buff riding the waves in a giant clamshell) but in a bid to keep it simple, here are 5 things to do if you have 24 hours in Florence.
Get Cultural: The Accademia Gallery & Michelangelo’s David
The Accademia reveals the genius of great Florentine artists and sculptures, the most renowned being the marble marvel that is Michelangelo’s David. Michelangelo carved his masterpiece from an abandoned block of marble, to create this vision of Florentine liberty. It is long debated whether our strapping chap is depicted before or after his battle with Goliath. I’d say after- he looks pretty pleased with himself doesn’t he?
As the museum is home to some of the finest works of Renaissance artwork in the world, lines to enter are long. You can however reserve a ticket down the street and bypass the entrance lines easily.
Marble marvel: Duomo Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
10 minutes from the Gallery you will find Florence’s main cathedral with its magnificent Renaissance dome. The exterior is covered in a decorative sweetshop mix of candy pink, white and green marble which looks stunning when lit against the night sky. Entrance into the cathedral is free, which is one of the reasons why you’ll usually find a long queue (Eugh). And like the length of time you appear to be in the queue- apparently it took two centuries for the cathedral to be finished. We say only visit the inside if you really want to see it, your time here is probably best spent going to the top for the view or sat in the square listening to the talented buskers and taking it all in…
Find a Thrift Store in Florence: Melrose Vintage
Any vintage shopper worth their flares needs to seek out new groovy threads in a new city. Make a retro pit stop at Melrose Vintage. This quality thrift store is well worth a visit if you have time and is close to the Duomo peut on acheter du viagra en pharmacie. Find it here: argo 50123, Largo Fratelli Alinari, 8, 50123
Escape the crowds: Garden di Boloboli
Located just 10 minutes from Ponte Vecchio, this sculpture park offers a welcome break from the bustling crowds. You could probably spend all day wandering aimlessly around this park and exploring everything it has to offer. Statues and fountains are scattered around the park, and there is a breathtaking view from the top. Being Italy it was blazing hot, so pack lots of water oh and factor 50 if you’re a lily white Brit like me.
Watch the Sunset: Piazzale Michelangelo
Finish the day with this beauty. A short (ish) walk from the gardens, this 19th century piazza has undoubtedly the best panoramic view of Florence. Watch the sunset with a bottle of wine, and dream of a city apartment, before you hit one of the restaurants back in the centre. Just be warned – this is a tourist hot spot, at peak season prepare to push your way through a hundred students with selfie sticks just to get a spot.
So what do you do when you are on a budget because you’re saving the pennies for a wedding, or cutting back simply because it’s flippin’ well expensive being an adult with responsibilities.
If you are looking for things to do and a cheap and cheerful day out this summer, I would recommend getting lost in one of the many giant maize mazes around the UK. Although it’s a great day for families, you don’t have to have kids with you; a maize maze can be a low cost alternative to a walk in the country and a great way to get some exercise too!
We decided to try the Maize Maze in Cawthorne, West Yorkshire.
Getting lost in a Maize Maze
Right from the start you are surrounded by rows upon rows of giant maize plants, towering over you either side. As the sun moves higher in the sky and the minutes tick by, you quickly realise that you have arrived back at your starting point… Every turn could be a dead end and every stop could leave you alone… OK, so I am being a tad dramatic but it is big enough and tall enough to get lost in for a little bit, which is kinda fun! That said, I wouldn’t like to be here alone at night. But for those of you who don’t mind being spooked, they do night walks.. venture forth if you dare.
On entering the maze you’re set a challenge to complete 8 questions. Currently it’s on this summer’s Olympics, and the only way to find the answers is by discovering the posts hidden throughout the maze. I had hoped for the glory of achieving the full set of answers, but the giant maze mistress had us defeated and after walking for about an hour we ended up with a mere 3 out of the 8 answers…Pathetic I know! But trust me- it is not as easy as it looks!
Located right next to Cannon Hall and perfectly decked out with food stalls, vintage lawn games, I thoroughly recommend a visit to a Maize Maze if you want to do something a bit different and you are on a budget. Its only £6.50 for adults and £3 parking.