Monday, 29 September 2014

Inner City Mermaid - Rodarte S/S 2015 Inspired Lookbook

Sometimes it's a bit difficult to get excited about fashion. For some people, I realise, it's completely impossible. The new Gap ads which I keep seeing everywhere including the tagline 'stay boring' reflect that. This is why I usually only glance at the new fashion week collections, but as I saw last week with Shrimps, the new season fashion is bringing something colourful and exciting to the table. And this is, well, this is something else. Rodarte's S/S 2015 collection was a mixture of mermaid and pirate inspired pieces, displaying such an immense amount of detail that it would be damn near impossible to replicate on the high street.  The dresses are the main thing I'll be focusing on here, which can only be described as 'mermaid sport luxe', Rodarte clearly like to mix up their trends. Although let's be honest, I don't reckon many mermaids actually do much more sport than swimming, but try not to think too much into the odd concept. So unless you've got $22,000 (yes, your next expenditure could be between a couture gown and a car) to hand to buy one of these beautiful dresses, then you might have to stick about for my tips on recreating the look on a um, slightly smaller budget.
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Cardigan - TK Maxx
Dress - Unif via Nasty Gal (only available in xs)
Bralet - Motel (sold out)
Skirt - Topshop via Ebay
Shoes - Nike via Asos

My first look incorporates the use of textures from the collection such as sequins and netting. I've created quite a layered outfit, with a Motel multicoloured sequinned bra under an equally multicoloured Unif dress. I've wanted this dress for a while (spoiler, this post also turns into half a Unif haul), and after seeing it on sale on American site Nastygal, I snapped it up (I also wrote a review about Nastygal founder Sophia Amoruso's book a while ago). I've paired it with my absolute favourite Topshop mermaid skirt and Nike shoes to complete the sports luxe look. The lace cardigan over the top was a last minute inclusion to the outfit, but I think it definitely adds something a little ethereal, as well as adding yet another texture to it!
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Dress (over top) - Unif via Depop
Shorts - Motel
Dress - Secondhand
Purse - River Island
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My second look is less 'practical mermaid playing tennis' and more 'impractical mermaid about to down shots and probably fall down on her butt drunk in the street, but at least wearing comfy shoes'. I'm not sure what the designers at Rodarte would think of this one, but I felt that it pays homage to Rodarte's use of glistening fabrics by layering the sequins under the lacy dress. It's just a bit daring, but if I get too shy, I can always button up my Unif dream dress over it. This dress is absolutely stunning and I can't wait to actually wear it out, but for now I think it replicates the beautiful colours of the sea and the skyline. It's the only garment for mermaids to be seen in, don't you know.
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So in conclusion, if you want to make yourself look like a couture mermaid for your next night out, then look out for netting, sequins, holographic fabrics and sporty accessories. I also added some beachy waves to my hair by spraying Bleach Swamp Spritz after washing. You can achieve the look of these lovely ladies here by layering all these textures on top and going for floor sweeping evening gowns. You could even copy the fish hook eyebrows but frankly I wouldn't recommend it. If you're near the seaside you could even go down there and pick some shells and other such fun things up and glue them to your outfit, although I take no responsibility for any damage to your garments as a result of that.
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Some inspiration from the collection!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My Hair Dye Saga: How I went from Blue to Blonde hair

You may have noticed that I dye my hair a lot. I have been almost every colour, starting off at the age of 16 with my mum helping me put a purpley red tint into my natural mousey brown hair (I have dad to thank for my naturally mousey, wispy, and cowlick-ey locks) and going through to blonde, green, pink, black, blue, and now white, silvery blonde. As you can imagine, this has not been straightforward. There have been total disasters, where my hair has ended up a grey, greeny, sludgy brown colour, yum.
But one of the great obstacles I have faced as a hair dye obsessive is getting blues and greens out of my hair that have stained over time. Let me tell you, going from blue hair to blonde is no picnic. It took months of strategic hard work, patience, blood, sweat and tears (I wish I was joking) and some extremely fortunate friendships with hair experts to get me to my desired white hair colour. I haven't seen a post that goes into this much detail about how to go from blue/greens to blondes on the internet, so I'm really hoping that this can help a lot of people!
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From left to right: My starting point, blue hair, after stripping it three times, a greeny blonde, a blue blonde after further stripping, and now, a white blonde after stripping, two bleaching sessions and toning with purple shampoo. Et voila! 

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Before you get worried mum, I haven't been selling my body so as to fund my hair dye addiction. Stripping refers to stripping the hair of dye. This was a really significant step in changing my hair colour. The great thing about stripping your hair is that it is easy, and cheap, and you'll probably already have half of the ingredients in your house. With certain hair colours, such as pink, it might just take a wash with some cheap poundland dandruff shampoo. However, blues and greens stain the hair like nothing else - so I had to go for a more severe treatment. Luckily, I found this brilliant stripping treatment on Haircrazy. You'll probably feel like a witch mixing all these different ingredients together and putting it on your hair, but the results are genuinely astonishing. Other products I would recommend adding to the mix are Bleach Washing Out Liquid, which I included in the above treatment. I would leave the mixture on the hair for an hour each time, and I think I did this about 5-6 times. It took me to the light greeny blue that you see above - a much better base to bleach over!

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Unfortunately, bleaching can be a crucial component to changing hair colour when your hair has been stained by hair dye. But it's important to stress that bleaching your hair should be a last resort, particularly if your hair has already been bleached. I have to admit, I've nearly killed my hair many times by bleaching it, so it's important to be extremely careful. I'm lucky enough to have pretty resilient hair (touch wood!) and so I've not had any complete disasters thus far. After stripping my hair to a minty green colour, I got my friend Luke to bleach over it for me. I was slightly disappointed with the result (not in any part due to Luke's brilliant work) as my hair was still green (albeit lighter). I guess the important thing to take from this is that bleach is not the be all and end all, and certainly won't turn your hair into a perfect blonde on the first go. However, the important thing is that it made my base significantly lighter and was important to prepare for the next step...

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If you dye your hair lots of different colours but aren't familiar with colour theory and the colour wheel, then it's time to swot up, because it could save your butt. This hair crazy article will tell you everything you need to know about the ins and outs of it. In my case, I was battling against extremely stubborn blues and greens in my hair that even lots of stripping and bleaching couldn't quite budge. So, when I look at the colour wheel, I can see the opposite colour to blue and green are red and pink tones. So, I needed to put something on my hair that has red and pink tones. This was a very gradual process, but after a few months I really did start to see my hair changing and most of the green disappearing. The products that I used over this time were Directions Cerise (I had a bit of a accident with this and turned my hair completely pink, remember to DILUTE with conditioner kids), Loreal Pink conditioner, and ketchup. 'Wait, hold up, ketchup??' Yes, ketchup is known for neutralising green tones in the hair. It wasn't quite the match for that amount of stained green, but it certainly helped.

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This is super, super important. Stripping, bleaching, and dying the hair can leave your hair feeling extremely dry, and essentially killing it. After every stripping and bleaching session, it's important to put conditioner on, and leave it on for up to three hours. This could help save your hair, and after all, the better condition your hair is in, the easier it will be to get an even colour in the future! I personally used this Alberto Balsam conditioner (which smells amazing) and this Bleach London reincarnation mask over the past few months.

After doing all of this, my hair still has tendrils of green, and is by no means even, but it's about as close to white blonde as I'm going to get. I've been using Touch of Silver shampoo and Bleach Silver conditioner to maintain the silvery blonde, as well as using my favourite beauty product Johnsons Baby Powder to refresh it between washes (the great thing about that product is that it makes my hair super white, as you can see in the last picture above!)

If you have any other questions about hair dye related things, let me know in the comments and I'll try and help as best I can!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Shrimps Inspired Faux Fur Lookbook

Hey! Before you read this, please give my friend Freyia's website a look! She's raising money for her beautiful lingerie business and any sort of help from fellow lingerie addicts would be appreciated! You can also get some amazing gifts by donating!

Despite running ('running' seems a far too formal and professional word for what I do here but hey) a fashion blog, I'm not really very into designers. As I've said before, I've found it hard to fill the Luella Bartley shaped hole from when the company went into administration. I've had mild flirtations with certain collections, as well as amazing designers such as Orla Kiely, Charles Anastase and tumblr favourite Meadham Kirchhoff. One of my new flatmates used to work for Meadham Kirchhoff so I've been having a great time waxing lyrical about some of their amazing collections, although sometimes the looks are a bit bonkers, even for me.
London Fashion Week has just been and gone, and as usual I've been pretty terrible at keeping up with things. But there is a new brand (and subsequent trend) that has really caught my eye. Shrimps is a brand by Hannah Weiland that focuses on colourful faux fur coats. Now, I love colour, and I really, really like coats. I have quite a collection going! I was really excited to see snippets of the Shrimps presentation on Susie Bubble's mini documentary on BBC iPlayer. There was so much furry, furry goodness. I thought I'd make the most of my large collection of fur coats and do a little 'get the look' for the new Shrimps collection. I've got two looks for you - hope you like!

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Coat - Charity Shop
Top - Primark
Skirt - Daisystreet (out of stock I think)
Bag - Choies
Shoes - River Island (old)
Sunglasses - Gift Shop in Prague

There was a focus on leopard print coats at the Shrimps presentation. Luckily I picked up this one from a charity shop near me the other day for just £6! The Shrimps ones were accessorised with colourful collars, something I tried to replicate with a burst of colour from my purple ski goggles and yellow vinyl skirt.
'Wait, did you just say, purple ski goggles?' Yes, dear reader, yes. I saw these in a tourist shop in Prague and just could not resist. They haven't had an outing yet, and they look pretty bloody silly on, but I really love them. I think they make me look a bit like Tank Girl, or Crazy Frog, depending on how you look at it. You can of course recreate this outfit minus the ski goggles, but I think they're the icing on the crazy, crazy cake.
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Coat - C/O Sammydress (sold out)
Top - Primark
Skirt - Phoebe Lettice for Illustrated People (on sale at the moment!!)
Wallet - River Island (old sale item)
Shoes - Charity Shop

Ah, this coat. This coat is really, really amazing. It's from a Chinese company called Sammydress, and seeing as it was one size I was actually surprised that it fitted me when it came, but it actually fits like a dream! It's such a vivid colour, that really reminded me of the colourful bags and shoes that Shrimps were showing off at their presentation.
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I paired it with my second Phoebe Lettice skirt, which has an amazing, intricate dinosaur print on it! I think what I really like about Phoebe's collection is the details, which make for incredibly fun pieces of clothing (yes, pieces of clothing can be fun, don't question it). It's as if it was created to go with this coat!
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These are just a few photos of the collection! Lovingly borrowed from Telegraph, Tumblr and Seen.

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You'll probably be seeing a lot more faux fur inspired fashion from me over the Winter months! And I'll also be doing another fashion week inspired lookbook soon!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Inspiration Hour: My University Experience

I have to admit, I've really been putting off writing this post. I think that's because reflecting back on the entirety of my university experience is a big job, like a really big job - and I only graduated 2 months ago! But I really enjoy reading/watching other people talking about their university experiences, so I've decided to talk a little bit about mine, and hopefully give some tips to any freshers or unhappy university students out there!

My university experience was admittedly quite turbulent. Within it I survived essay stress, bereavement, diagnosis of learning difficulties, loss of friendships, and the break up of two relationships. There were many times at university that I was very unhappy, and regretted even attending. But now I look back, I realise that I've gained so much from university and have had the opportunity to become a more confident, happy, well read person, with some wonderful friends and brilliant experiences to look back on. Here are some of what I see as the main advantages of my own university experience: photo graduationjpg_zps6e0a4ac7.jpg
Looking like a massive dork in my robes

1. Living in London
When else would I have been able to get the opportunity to live in London on an interest free loan? So many of my friends were put off of living in London because of the expense, and though that is certainly an issue, alongside the lack of student community that comes with living in such a huge city, but honestly I wouldn't have changed it for the world. The university I studied at, Queen Mary, is also well known for being a very friendly university (and the only campus university in inner city London don't cha know) and I honestly think that it lived up to that. Studying in London gave me the opportunity to have so many wonderful experiences, and was also the springboard for being able to find a job that I love and stay in London, something that can be hard for people outside the city to do.

2. Friends for life
I came to university as a very anxious and naive young person, who came from a very close friendship group, but had never been exactly 'popular' at school, and as a result I really worried I wouldn't make friends. But the truth is, making friends at university really is easy, if you're willing to try new things. There can be a lot of pressure in fresher's week to find your friendship group and stick to it, but truthfully things don't always have to work that way. I found most of my friends after fresher's week, as well as making friends for life through talking to fellow freshers on the internet before I attended (hello, Leigh)! And honestly, the friendships I've made is absolutely the best experience that I will take away from university.

3. Academic insight
I have to be honest, I always felt very out of my depth with my academic work at university. I studied English Literature, but I have never been a naturally academic person, and though I was successful whilst at school, adjusting to the independence and complexities of university work was a huge struggle. After finishing university, I now have a slightly better understanding of why this was, but at times I wondered whether it was right for me. But as one of my best friends Maire once reminded me (thanks, pal) I am so lucky to have had the chance to go to university, and I really do need to remember that. And though I may not have been top of the class, I've broadened the way I think in so many different ways, particularly whilst studying philosophy and theory, which I infinitely preferred to purely studying fiction! I've had the opportunity to read so many books and hear so many different and interesting opinions, and for that university was truly worth it.

4. Independence
Before university, my poor old mum really did everything for me. I came to university not knowing how to do anything, and I honestly look back at myself now and cringe. Sure, my most adventurous meal is probably still a different topping on my pasta sauce, and I'm still slightly embarrassed about my tea making skills, but university really did teach me so much about living in the real world. It was especially intense in London, where I had to learn to manoeuvre the tubes, and accept that I probably wouldn't see a cow or a blade of grass until I went home for the holidays, but the whole experience shaped me as a person, and made me a lot more grateful for the work my parents put into raising me!

So, here are some of the main things I've taken away from university, which I hope can be helpful to some of you!

1.  Immerse yourself in the experience
Join societies, write for your student newspaper, go to a fresher's event even if you're not sure you feel like it. Everyone wants to make friends at uni, and even if people rebuff you, they're probably not worth being friends with!

2. Talk to people online before you go.
There are websites like the Student Room which allow you to talk to other freshers, which means you'll be able to have a few people that you recognise and can strike up a conversation with before you even turn up!

3. Academia is important, but it isn't everything.
As I've proven above, there is so much more to university than just getting a degree. It's a great place to find out what you want to do with your life, meet new people and become more independent. Try your hardest on your work, but it's really not worth having a break down over. And if you're struggling, there will be tons of people and organisations at your university which are there to help you!

4. Use university as a springboard for preparing for the future.
Like I said before, don't sweat it too much and start freaking out about graduate life when you're in year one. But do have a look around for part time jobs, volunteering jobs that interest you, as well as getting involved with student societies, which are a fantastic opportunity to build up your skills, and they look great on your CV!

5. Confidence is something that can be learnt.
This is a bit of a random one, but if you're scared about all aspects of university, just think, what's the worst that can happen? Maybe you won't get firsts on every essay or practical, maybe you won't have the wildest freshers week ever, maybe you won't get the role you applied for in the student society. Just think about the amazing experience you're having in the long term, and how little any of that will actually matter when it comes to graduation day!

I hope any readers of my little blog will find this useful, and I hope you all have amazing years at university! It's such an exciting time and shouldn't be wasted worrying or moping in your student bedroom. Get out there and have fun and learn tons of cool new things!

In the comments, let me know about your own university experience, your hopes and fears if you're about to embark on higher education, or any questions you might have! 
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Suckers

Back in January I did a post alongside the alternative clothing company Offend My Eyes,and I'm happy to say that I'm back to show you two pieces from their current collection!

As a relatively new company, the general theme of their clothing is causing offence, meaning that you can find t-shirts adorned with body parts as well as slogans like 'no more fucking Abba' across them, not a sentiment I entirely agree with, but the general tongue in cheek, irreverent theme of their clothes is really distinctive compared to what you see on the high street. I really love this jumper and shorts pairing, as there is so much incredible detail in the illustrations. They've managed to make the whole outfit have a concept, yes, a concept (there isn't anything I like more than concept based outfits) of a rather gory ice cream van serving eyeballs in cones and feisty ice lollies that tell you to 'get licked!' Sure, Summer might be over, but I kind of see this outfit as a sort of 'fuck you' to summer, which I find pretty funny. The 'what you looking at suckers' main centrepiece is also a great way to get people to avoid you on the street, which if you like your own personal space as much as I do, has its benefits.

You can check out Offend My Eyes here, they're a lovely, talented bunch who always seem to be touring the country and showing off their designs.
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Jumper - C/O Offend my Eyes
Shorts - C/O Offend My Eyes
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Bag - River Island via Asos
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Usually I wouldn't apologise for content in my blog posts, but I realise the set up here isn't entirely ideal. I've moved to a new house in London and am trying to find a good set up, so for now just use your imagination and see that brush and bucket chilling in the background of the picture as 'urban props'.
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

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