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Saturday, 29 December 2012

It's Oh, So Quiet...

Excuse me, I just tripped over a tumbleweed.

I haven't blogged since April (APRIL!!) which is a lifetime in blog years. I'm sorry (*looks at you with big Kevin MacAllister eyes*), I've been occupied by some things in 'real life' (which isn't as simple as 'internet life' sometimes) so my attention has been elsewhere.

I have had to put this here blog on hold and will need to keep it in my pocket for a couple more months. I will be back in March and hope to give the page a sassy little makeover (how else would I try and get you back?) and put the effort in properly.

I don't like doing anything half-heartedly and that's what I'd be doing if I was still blogging just now. But I would like to say thank you for looking at my page in the meantime - considering there is very little going on over here I can't believe the amount of pageviews this tiny corner of the internet is getting (I'm sure the figures on the dashboard tool can't be right...).

I promise in a couple of months things will be back to normal here (and with a bit of luck, even better). In the meantime I will be on Instagram (@misswestendgirl) if you ever wonder what I'm up to.

Til then...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Think Pink

"Pink. It's my new obsession", Steve Tyler once sang. That may be true in his case, but for me the colour pink has been a favourite for some time. And when combined with black (or, more recently, teal) it makes up most of my favourite ensembles. And it's not just me and Steve - whether on high end or high street looks, hubba-bubba hues of pink are set to be huge this summer. Here are a few of my pink picks for those looking to rock the look...

You can still wear pink and be a tough chick. Fact. Just look at the Pink Ladies. If wearing pink seems like a good idea but you don't want to lose your rocker credentials, no sweat - these baby pink panelled creepers by Underground (£89) are sure to tick all the right boxes:

Pink Underground Wulfrun creepers, £89 at ASOS

As I said before, pink and black is my most-worn colour combo and one of my favourite ways to do so  is by layering a pretty pink dress under a black jacket (blazer or biker style) or cardigan. Bertie Bassett, eat your heart out. This dress (£20) by Sodamix at House of Fraser even comes with a contrasting black belt:

Sodamix Structured Monroe dress, now £20 (was £28)  at House of Fraser

A designer that always caters for my passion for pink and black is Sonia Rykiel. Her previous H&M collaboration truly left me spoiled for choice when picking between pink and black striped pieces. One of my favourites was this crop-sleeved bow cardigan:

Cropped bow cardigan by Sonia Rykiel for H&M

Released back in 2010, this remains my favourite H&M collaboration to date. It crept up on the Glasgow store, with no wristband organisation system required as about a dozen of us turned up to quietly shop. If the frenzies of Jimmy Choo, Lanvin and most recently, Marni are anything to go by - those fuss-free release collaboration dates are long gone!

With Summer fast approaching (fingers crossed), I have noticed many stores defying the miserable weather and urging shoppers to snap up their colourful collections in anticipation of the sunny weather that is to come. Topshop's Hot Pink Hot Pants campaign has been the feature of shop windows and magazine ads, and it can't be denied that the high street giants offer quite a selection of pink denim shorts - from high waisted, to candy striped, to tie-dyed, to metallic. An insider tells me that these neon pink denim hotpants (£22) are set to be a best seller. Wear them if you dare!

Although I am a red lipstick girl at heart, recently I have been known to try some pink shades, particularly for during the day at work. My top picks for pink lipstick are are Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter in Cupcake (£7.99), MAC  lipsticks in Lovelorn & Saint Germain (£13.60 each) and Dior Addict Extreme lipstick in Plaza (£24). The new 'stick on the block (and my wishlist) is MAC's Viva Glam Nicki lipstick (£13.60 with proceeds going to the MAC AIDS Fund), a shade inspired by Nicki Minaj, who is herself no stranger to pink. MAC also released Pink Friday last year, a lipstick named after Minaj's album and a best-selling shade (with some going on eBay for as much as £50). Viva Glam Nicki's colour is described as a bright pink with yellow undertones. I'm looking forward to trying it!

MAC's latest Viva Glam advertising Campaign, featuring Nicki Minaj, Ricki Martin and a whole lot of lipstick 

Will you be feeling pretty in pink this Summer?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Pay Day Treats

I can't believe it's April already! March seemed to disappear in a heartbeat and before I knew it, it was chocolate egg time. Crazy. March was a very busy month so apologies for the lack of activity. A lot has been happening - most notably a change of job/ career to get used to (a good choice - touch wood - as I'm really enjoying it so far) and new hair which also takes getting used to (again quite a jump from what I had before...somewhere between Fabienne from Pulp Fiction and a 'lego man' bob, love it).

At the end of the month I treated myself to a few new goodies as a reward for taking the plunge. Since the "show off your haul" style of blog posts is becoming increasingly popular I thought I would have a go as well*, so here are the highlights of my end of the month goodies...


Blue lace dress, £15, Primark

Having seen coloured lace dresses on everyone from Daisy Lowe to Kelly Osbourne for the last few months, I wanted to try this look out for myself. The great thing about coloured lace is it really suits every skin tone as there is a colour and cut of dress for everyone. I opted for this royal blue skater-style dress from Primark. At only £15 it certainly didn't break the bank and the nipped-in waist and full skirt makes for a good silhouette. I wore mine with a red lip and nail combo for a bit of 1950s chic. Even though the dress was inexpensive the lace is really intricate and really the only thing I didn't like about the dress was the cheap PVC belt it came with (I replaced it with my own studded skinny belt). It also comes in mint green which would go great with darker skin tones.


Pink heart print dress, £13, Primark

Dress number 2! At this point I was on a roll and couldn't resist this cute little number. A few weeks ago the Boy and I spotted this dress in white, at which I huffed "that would be great if it didn't come in white". Et voila! It now comes in pink! Black and pink is my favourite colour combo, I don't mind looking like a liquorice allsort, especially when it involves kitsch prints like hearts. Again, despite the low price there is real attention to detail - like the bows on the pockets and button-up top. Who says 13 is an unlucky number?

Pink car print skirt, £15 (reduced from £30), River Island

Months ago, I had seen Prada's new prints for SS12 and fallen in love. The colours! The Grease-inspired retro prints! The co-ordinating guys n' gals pieces (including a very well-shot campaign featuring Michael Pitt)! It was all too much. At the moment I can't really justify spending what Prada are asking for, but one thing was for sure - I wanted some of that print! I was convinced that it wouldn't be too long before copycat pieces would start to appear on the high street, and I wasn't wrong. River Island have knocked the ball out of the park with this race car print skirt, a short yet full (perfect for twirling) 1950s inspired piece. I snapped it up faster than you could say vroom vroom.  The skirt comes with a great detachable oversized bow belt too!

Prada's print - a gal can dream

River Island's take (at a fraction of the price)

This month I also managed to get a pair of Topshop's sell-out Vectra 3 studded slipper flats. I made the silly mistake of seeing them when they first came out and thought "they're nice...I'll come back for them later". Bad move. They quickly became one of Topshop's best selling styles of the year (so far) and even had people on eBay flogging them for twice the price. Gutted. Luckily, the lovely girls working in Topshop let me know that they were expecting a small delivery of them last week and put aside a pair for me. Score!

My studded Vectra 3 beauties, £28, Topshop

It could be the influence of the many beauty blogs that I follow (although I have always been a sucker for make-up) but I also treated myself to some new products recently. I had been hotly anticipating the UK release of Revlon Colourburst Lip butters - a product that had caused a frenzy in the states - and couldn't wait to try them for myself. Believe the hype - these bad boys not only offer a range of gorgeous and well-pigmented colours, but they also condition and hydrate your lips. Much better than a tinted lip balm if you are looking for a lipstick look that does the job of a high-end lip conditioner. When I purchased my two shades (Cupcake & Sweet Tart - all the colours are named after sweet treats, very cute!), they were in a 2 for £10 offer at Boots - this offer isn't on at the moment but the Lip Butters are currently in a 3 for 2 deal if you are looking to stock up or try a few different shades for yourself.

Finally got my hands on them - Revlon Colourburst Lip Butters, £7.99 each at Boots

Another new product that I have been looking forward to the release of is Benefit's new Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation. There are a few things about this product that get my attention. Firstly, it's an SPF 25 foundation - not too common in a lot of foundations and when it comes to SPF my motto is "the higher, the better". I won't even entertain a foundation with no SPF. I also really like the range of shades available as I previously haven't been able to wear most Benefit foundations as they are too dark for my skin. The foundation comes in 9 shades (including 2 shades of ivory - one with pinker undertones and one with more yellow undertones - brilliant attention to skin tone that I usually only get on a visit to MAC) and the Benefit assistant was very helpful finding one to match me (and also gave me  some samples of other products to take home). The foundation also offers built-in skincare with vitamins C&E and a unique oil-free hydrating complex which can't be a bad thing!  The foundation is £24.50 and available at all the usual Benefit concessions.

Some of the other products I've been trying out this month are: Nail Rock nail wraps (the Marmite of the nail world, I personally love rocking the nail wraps), Models Own Beetlejuice nail polishes (so it's not just a clever name), Katy Perry for Eylure false eyelashes in Oh, My! (these are hands down the best false lashes I've ever used), and No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream for Dry/ Very Dry skin (I have been a bit slow to jump on the BB cream bandwagon, but what I like about these No7 ones is that they have different ones depending on your skin type).

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation (£24.50), Models Own Beetlejuice nail polishes (£5 each), and sample of Benefit's Total Moisture face cream -  all from Boots

Meadham Kirchhoff nail wraps (£7) at Topshop

So it has been a busy month for me and my bank card! What have you been treating yourself to this month?

* - sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, my Blackberry camera is pretty poor and doesn't have a flash!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

High Voltage Kelvingrove

Recently I went along to Kelvingrove art gallery and museum to finally check out their ACDC exhibition. I had been meaning to pop over and see it since it opened in the Autumn, and conscious of it not being around for much longer, set aside a Saturday for it. I'm a fan of going over to Kelvingrove at the best of times and don't usually take much persuading! And ACDC - a band who surely need no introduction - have provided the soundtrack for many a night out, car journey and house party so have a wee special place dear to my heart.

Kelvingrove is hosting the exhibition, titled ACDC: Scotland's Family Jewels in the lower ground area of the museum. The area, featuring displaying the exhibition has been transformed into a rocker's paradise, with lots of connecting rooms painted black & red with ACDC accents, like lightning bolts. I was really impressed with the layout, content and sheer scale of the exhibition - which was beyond anything I had expected.  Sometimes rock n' roll exhibitions amount to little more than a few posters and a roadie's old tour jacket, but this exhibition contained so many items that the several rooms being used were more than justified and of course I couldn't resist taking a few photos to document my visit:

As well as having interesting and personal items on display, there were also interactive sections of the exhibition - such as huge flat screens showing old footage of the band with sets of headphones, and a comments wall where you can scribble a message for ACDC, or to anyone really! I really enjoyed walking through all of the rooms 'in order', so that I could read the band's story and evolution over the years. The exhibition also focuses on the band's connections with Scotland (and Glasgow in particular) which makes Kelvingrove an ideal place to have the exhibition.

An ACDC gift shop is located right next door to the exhibition, which sells everything from ACDC air fresheners to plectrums. We bought a calendar, along with our tickets which can also be purchased at the shop with no booking fee for £2 (£1.50 concession). For a mere couple of quid, I'd say the exhibition is well worth it - but it's only on until the 12th of February so try and get along to see it if you haven't already. You don't need to be a fan of the band to like it, it's just a generally well put together exhibition.

All that rock n' roll made me hungry, so after visiting Kelvingrove the Boy and I headed over to Byres Road to have some lunch. Always a sucker for pretty decor, I chose The Blind Pig, having admired their 1920's-style design from afar since they opened. I spent most of my lunch looking at the walls and ceiling, which were decked out in Prohibition-era chic:

They even had Bugsy Malone on their big screen - nice touch! After our day out it was time to head home and listen to some music - ACDC of course!

Will you be catching the ACDC exhibition before it heads back (in Black) overseas?

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Getting the look: The Artist

This week I went to see The Artist at the cinema after having it on my to-do list since I read about it a few months ago. I loved it from the opening scene, the film was full of humour, tragedy and triumph (and one hilarious dog). Being set in Hollywood's heyday of the roaring 1920's & 30's it was also a goldmine of vintage style. The outfits, created for The Artist, by seasoned movie costume designer Mark Bridges, were the icing on the cake.  Mr Bridges really managed to nail the decadent glamour of Hollywoodland. As a fan of all (well, most) things retro, I took a look at how to recreate the style depicted in The Artist for this blog post.

Let's start from the top and work our way down - beginning with hair. In the movie, leading lady Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) - along with several other females in the film - sports a short bob with tight marcel waves. Learn how to recreate retro waves at home with Belinda Hay's easy to follow hairstyle guide Style Me Vintage.

Cute flapper girl dresses with shimmying tassells and embellishment are a must for any vintage vamp and French Connection have a great selection. This Fringed Freya dress is a good starting point AND currently in the FC sale:

Fringed Freya dress, £37 (was £150) by French Connection

 Antik Batik's Embellished dress (£172 at ASOS) mixes sparkling retro glamour with light fabric - perfect for dancing (Lindy Hop, anyone?), and would look great teamed with some vintage-style stockings.

When it comes to footwear, modest heels are key to this look so leave the YSL Tribute platforms at home. Give your feet a rest in lower-heeled mary-jane styles or peeptoes while still rocking this glam look. Remember, the Hollywood vixens in films like The Artist were spending their days running around town going to auditions, and they wouldn't have got very far in teetering six-inch heels. Metallic shades or black compliment the dresses well, and Schuh have an excellent range of sweet lower-heeled shoes. My pick are these silver Forest Side Bow low  heels would go great with a flapper style dress:

Silver Forest Side Bow low  heels, £60 at Schuh

 Finally, no darling of the silver screen would be caught dead without her 'face on'. The finishing touch to really getting this look right is some retro style make-up. I looked to vintage style guru Dita Von Teese for her take on how to create a 1920's look. In her book Burlesque and the Art of the Teese, Dita explains that skin should be very pale ivory, eyes should be dark with smokey greys & blacks, lips should be rouged with wine or plum shades and nails should be worn short and painted deep crimson or deep burgundy.

To help achieve this look, I would firstly recommend a good foundation that suits your (natural) skin tone. Put down the bronzer - after all, they never had Fake Bake back in those days. A smokey eyes eyeshadow palate will give you a selection of greys and blacks - my favourites are Benefit's Smokin' Eyes (which although priced a little steeper at £28.50, will give you everything you need to create a dark, smouldering eye look, including extras like instructions, eyeliner and tweezers), and Soap & Glory's Lid Stuff palate in Smokey Dokey (a reasonably priced eyeshadow kit with 4 rich colours to play with). For lips, we are truly spoiled for choice with the vast range of dark reds available to suit all budgets - I would suggest going to department stores and high street beauty retailers and playing around with different shades/ brands until you find one that you like (for me, MAC are my go-to guys for red lippy).

Finally, I always break out my OPI nail polish in We'll Always Have Paris - a deep, dark crimson shade - when I want to unleash my inner vamp. Its rich colour is the perfect finishing touch to a vintage style look:


OPI nail polish in We'll Always Have Paris, RRP £10.50 at salons & selected stockists

Will you be trying out 'The Artist' look? 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sale-ing through January

Shortly after Christmas (or, in the last few years, shortly before Christmas), people start to get excited about the sales. You would think that due to the shopping frenzy in the run-up to Christmas, people would be sick of the sight of shops and want to avoid them for a while. Of course we don't. It's just like that quote from The Godfather, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in".

It's amazing how huge red signs in shop windows can convince people that getting out of bed at 7AM (and that's if you're not planning on hitting the Next sale) is a good idea. I do enjoy a good sale, but I enjoy my bed too and this year I was especially enjoying spending time with our families. Which is why I didn't even consider hitting any sales until 29th of December. By then, most hardened sale veterans will argue that "most of the good stuff is gone", and that may be true for the most part but I still did OK. 

I wasn't looking for much this year, I wanted a cape and managed to get it, anything else was a bonus. So now  I am here writing the "here's what I got in the sales" blog.

In October 2010 I blogged about capes having a fashion moment and have fancied one ever since. Last year I had my eye on a little fur-trimmed H! By Henry Holland number, but sadly never got round to buying it. In the long run, I'm quite glad I didn't now, as I would have had less scope to buy this beauty by Monsoon in their sale:

Leo hooded cape, £42.50 (was £85) by Monsoon 

 I had spotted this cape while it was full price. With its buckle fastenings and fuzzy leopard-lined hood, it was everything I wanted in a cape. As soon as it went in the sale, I was declaring (in full Wayne Campbell mode) "it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine". Slashed at 50% off, this was my main sale purchase.

Next up was a trip to Topshop. A quick scan of the clothes rails and my interest wasn't really piqued enough to keep rummaging. There was no chance of me squeezing into a size 6 and that's always what's left in the things I like when I go to Topshop sales, however I notoriously do much better shopping for accessories in Toppers. This year was no exception: I managed to get £54 worth of swag for a mere £11. Not bad at all!

I am a huge fan of cute slipper-style flats, Topshop has really produced an excellent line in them (currently in love with Topshop's Vectra3 studded slippers). I managed to bag these bad boys for a fiver (reduced from £20):

 Wink slipper-style flats, £5 (were £20) by Topshop

I love them, but with their velvety finish I will need to wait until this horrible weather dries up to wear them. I also stocked up on 3 pairs of Topshop's colour pop cotton mix tights in green, blue and pumpkin colours. These were all reduced from £8 each to £1 each, hurrah!

The Topshop haul concluded with a little bit of homeware. I picked up this little guy; he is a candle, but I won't be lighting him. After you give them a name it's much too painful to see them melt, and he goes with my Ben de Lisi dog table lamp anyway:

 Bulldog candle, £3 (was £10) at Topshop

I managed to get some bargainous candles elsewhere that I was quite happy to light (Yankee Candles reduced to 59p and 89p in Clinton Cards of all places). Finally, not one to be outdone, The Boy managed to do pretty well himself in the sales too! He scored a denim victory over at Urban Outfitters, after scoring two pairs of jeans - one pair of Levi's and one pair of Lee jeans - for an impressive £40 all in. Both pairs would have cost £150 total at full price so it was high-fives all round.

I will no doubt pick up one or two other bits and pieces over the next few weeks. Even though I kept my sale shopping to a minimum this year, I'm still pretty happy with what I got.

What did you get in the sales? 

Monday, 2 January 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Oh, I wish it could be Christmas everyday... It's true. I do love a bit of Christmas (or, as The Boy would argue, a whole lot of Christmas). This year has been no exception, Christmas has been brilliant and spent gleefully in the company of friends and family. Am I the only one that still considers it to be Christmas (or at least 'the festive period') until they go back to work in the New Year? Probably not, I suspect there are more people that like to stretch out the season a bit longer too.

I didn't want to do a blog just about what I got for Christmas - that would be a bit OTT for me, but I still want to give some of my presents a mention as they were really thoughtful and incredibly generous. I love giving people presents, wrapping them up and watching people open them (this is why I am always the last person to open theirs on Christmas day, I'm too busy watching everyone else). I even like giving people cards, and I was quite disappointed at the amount of people this year that simply said "oh, I'm not doing cards this year" with a wave of their hand. Er, OK then Scrooge.

We put the tree up in early December and that action, along with the Coca-cola advert (you know the one, 'holidays are coming') signifies to me that it is officially Christmas and I have the green light to put on VH1's Christmas countdowns (the same 50 songs, just in slightly different orders depending on who is presenting..."you only learn that by having it on constantly", The Boy will testify with a groan) and get in the festive mood. Decorating our lovely new flat for Christmas was great, and the place was soon looking the part with decorations old and new.

I also managed to watch lots of Christmas films over the last few weeks - some well-known and watched several times (Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Christmas with the Kranks, Fred Claus & Four Christmasses. Still to watch Scrooged), others not so well-known (Santa Baby 2, The Dog Who Saved Christmas and anything else that Christmas 24 were showing) and my all-time favourite, Home Alone 2. You know it's Christmas when Macaulay Culkin is on the loose in The Big Apple.

On Christmas morning*, I was surprised with lots of awesome presents - firstly from The Boy (I mean, Santa) and then our families. Highlights included gorgeous goodies from Disney Couture, Hello Kitty, Vivienne Westwood, ASOS and Skull Candy, chocolate (chocolate, and more chocolate), perfume, the coveted New Look bird dress (thanks, Santa) and more Lush / Soap & Glory delights than you could shake a loofah at:

My Christmas Bath & Beauty haul - I'm well-stocked for toiletries & make-up now. Me: "people know me so well", The Boy: "people must think you reek". I like to think it's the first statement!!

The last thing I opened was in a small parcel, but inside was a beautiful pair of Tarina Tarintino skull earrings (again, thanks Santa!):

I was feeling well and truly spoiled at this point and the following two days spent with our families were spent in a giddy, happy blur. Copious amounts of food were consumed until I felt like I would pop (Pringles, shortbread & After Eights were the main culprits) but it's nothing a few sessions on the Wii won't sort out (I hope). We didn't get a White Christmas this year but we did get it last year and it wouldn't be a magical as it happened all of the time.

New Year came and went as it normally does, I had a lovely time with The Boy and enjoyed having the time together. So here we are, now at 2012. I hope everyone had a wonderful & stylish Christmas and New Year. 2011 was a blast, I really don't know how I will top it, but I'm willing to give it a good go!

 How did you spend the festive season?

*Christmas Morning was technically Christmas Eve, or as I like to think of it, Christmas Day Part 1. We had to start Christmas early in order to see both the families. Start Christmas early? I, of course, was only too happy to oblige.