Champagne For My Real Friends

'Tis the season for good will to all men right? Erm well at the risk of sounding like Scrooge, not necessarily. Recent experiences has sadly taught me there are plenty of people out there gladly dishing out some cold servings of bad will too this December. Although the timing on this post may seem a little off and a touch "anti-Christmas", it felt relevant and I have no doubt so many of you will relate so let's continue... 

Love Velvet Two Times- Boohoo Winter Collection

I always feel like whenever anyone talks about velvet within Christmas style there's a complete parallel to that one scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda Priestley sarcastically remarks "Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking!". Ok so velvet and winter are two combinations we've seen year after year for as long as you can remember. Heck! Velvet and Christmas go so far back together, I'd put good money on at least one of the Three Kings having styled it out whilst following that famous star! BUT cliches are cliches for a reason and velvet is a prime example of this. As mentioned in my previous post on Christmas party dressing; Velvet is a fail safe, it will be forever timeless and it's a wonderful way of adding a little glamour to any outfit. Cliche or not, I'm most certainly on team velvet and so with the help of Boohoo's current winter collection I thought I'd talk you through how to wear the- sometimes very tricky- velvet trouser in two very different ways.

The Importance Of Being Idle

This week saw the arrival of two rather lovely personal landmarks. First of all it's my blogs second birthday! In my head I kept telling myself it was it's first until I checked dates and then was completely horrified that somewhere along the way I seem to have lost a year of my life? I feel like everything's been a little bit of a whirlwind and as I've been going through the motions (whilst at some points feeling like I'm losing my sanity) time seems to have escaped me! I'm not going to get all soppy but I honestly do thank my lucky stars I decided to start this blog and I am so grateful for the opportunities it's presented me. Which leads me very neatly into my second little landmark- the one year anniversary of my second job, Joanie Clothing!!

French Connection- Welcome Back For Good!

Around a year or so ago I was wondering through Manchester city centre aimlessly shopping (doing what I do best) and I was horrified to discover French Connection had so abruptly disappeared from St Ann's Square! WHAT? How? Why? When? Where?! French Connection was one of my top go to stores for beautiful blouses, day dresses and basics which stand the test of time. Now here I was, stood scratching my head with so many unanswered questions. Well fear not fellow shoppers of Manchester, I now have some answers and phew... It's good news!

Malmaison x My Edinburgh Trip

I've been itching to write this post down for the past two weeks but through one reason or another I haven't quite had the chance but here we finally are! Hooray! So a few weeks back (let's try not to dwell on that) me and Joe went on a little adventure up to Edinburgh, where we stayed on the lovely Leith shore at the beautiful Malmaison Hotel. I can't tell you how excited I was for this trip, I've ashamedly never been to Scotland before... How terrible is that?! And Edinburgh has always been so high on my list of "place I must must MUST visit" and to finally be able to tick it off made me super giddy!

Spooky Little Girl Like You

Happy Halloween you wonderfully spooky lot! I hope you're raring to go with your best pumpkin craving skills and your most frightfully monstrous costume at the ready. This is my officially my most favourite time of year! There's something about all the decorations, the turn in the weather and all the golden leaves scattering the streets which makes me revert back to being a 7 year old kid. So in light of us all get our freak on (Cue Missy Elliot...) I wanted to discuss the notion of how wonderful being your own little weirdo actually is! As Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice so aptly and proudly put it, "I myself am strange and unusual".

Russell & Bromley A/W17 Edit- Diamonds On The Straps Of Her Loafers

Shopping for footwear in A/W can often be a little daunting. There's a lot of limitations and practicalities to keep in mind and unfortunately when sensibility takes priority it can often seem like aesthetics have to take a backseat. As the years roll by one of the biggest lessons I've learned when shopping for my winter shoes is it's all about "investment" styles. The one's you can pull out of your wardrobe time and time again, that won't age and won't let you down. The one brand I swear by for my footwear is without a doubt Russell & Bromley, I've quite literally spent years living in nothing but their shoes and when it comes to winter they have my needs well and truly catered for.

Klarna Pay Later- Smooth Operator

A week or so ago the lovely folk at Klarna set me a challenge to do an online shop using their "Pay later" option, styling together an outfit which best represented both myself and the brand's staple colour scheme... And I jumped at the chance. Why? Well firstly online shopping sounds like THE easiest and most fun challenge ever, am I right or am I right? Secondly as if the premise of shopping for a challenge wasn't enough of a walk in the park, doing it via Klarna's Pay later makes the whole thing even more easy peasy lemon squeezy! Win/win situation!

Hermèsmatic- Waiting For A Girl Who Wears Scarves Instead Of Hats

Oooh I'm so excited to finally tell you all about my adventures with Hermès, I've been putting it off for the last few weeks because I've been waiting for the opening of it's brand new and super exciting pop up shop (we'll get ti that more in full in a mere moment) before I talked you through the full details of my trip down Hermès lane and my masterclass in the silk scarf... And what a pretty chic masterclass it was!

Instagram Killed The Radio Star

I've got a little question for you all to ponder on this week; has social media changed things up for the better, the worst or has it simply just changed? No real positives or negatives just- you know- made things... different? I mean we know it's vastly become a life changer but what I want to know is, is it a life SAVER? The reason I'm asking this is I guess because lately I've been questioning it. Simple. There's no denying the the teen life I led 10 years ago... eww I know- when Myspace was revolutionary and Facebook was just a gleamer in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room- is vastly different to teens lives right now. It doesn't take a genius to work out it's largely down to social media and the pivotal part it now plays in most millennials lives whether they choose to accept that fact or not. Our priorities have changed. The way we think, behave and make every day decisions is different and I can't decide if it's a good thing or the horrible byproduct of our growing reliance on social media.

Links Of London- Timeless After Time

Truth be told I'm a sucker for habits, routine and uniform. In both my personal style and my lifestyle, familiarity is always best. So many pieces of my clothes and jewellery hold sentimental value and so many of my favourite places have a nostalgia them that I hold so dear it's priceless. I think that's a huge reason to why I adore my home town of Manchester and certain little nooks within it so much! I have too many happy (ok... and possibly a few sad) memories dotted around this city that make it just so very special to me. And the older I get, the more lovely memories within Manchester I collect. One of my all time favourite pass times when I'm having a down day is to sit in on of my usual Manchester cafe's with a coffee in hand and gaze out the window. The amount of times I will have probably looked at that same view I'm staring out on to is countless but it never gets old because there's that comforting familiarity to it that you can only find from your home.

Gola X Liberty Arts Fabric- Back To Black

We've hit September which means we're officially treading on Autumn territory and I don't know about you but I'm having a tough time completely letting go of summer dressing. There's definitely an autumnal feeling in the air yet as the weather stays moderately warm it's hard to fully commit to digging out my winter coats and chunky knits. Earlier on in the year I spoke about Gola's collaboration with Liberty Print and how it was the perfect transitional shoe from winter into summer. Well funnily enough I'm finding out that a Gola X Liberty Arts Fabric trainer is in fact equally perfect for your summer to winter transitional wardrobe too! Well done Gola! And here's why...

Lifestyle- So Let's Make Time Work For Us.

We've all heard the term "work-life balance" more than enough times and to be honest it used to kind of make my eyes roll a little. It's often a subject we see in glossy magazines, "how to create the perfect work-life balance", the joys and the importance of it. I used to think this wasn't a difficult concept to get your head around. I'd come home from work and I'd switch off. I'd have the down time I needed and my weekends were strictly my own. As the years have gone by that balance has slowly but surely become off kilter and what was once easily done, is now a impossible task.

Style Inspiration- Send Me Something Sunset Coloured

If you've been nosing enough at my Instagram this summer, you'll have noticed there's one colour which keeps popping up on my feed... I say "popping up" literally because it's the one tone certain to make anyone's wardrobe do just that... Pop, pop, pop! It's yellow. And Lord knows how difficult it was for me to NOT call this post "Yellow, is it me your looking for?"... Sorry Lionel! As an ex colourphob, who only just recently converted her wardrobe from neutral tones such as black, cream and navy into every colour under the sun, I know first hand yellow can often seem like the most daunting of all the tones to style. It's often loud, a little brash and the brightest of brights, however I'm hear to tell you yellow is SO much more than that!

All I Really Wanna Know, Is How I Got All This Way On My Own?

It's no secret that we're our own harshest critics, one man's trash is another man's treasure. You hate your height, another girl pines after your enviable legs. You wish your hair was straight, others pay ridiculous amounts of money trying to create waves. You deem yourself ditsy and clumsy, others call you carefree and wish they could just be the same. We are constantly having a dig at ourselves one way or another and unfortunately that will never ever change. Besides, self confidence is great but if we all settled for thinking we were so bloody perfect, what fun would that be? We'd have nothing to aim for... Or at least that's how I like to look at it. Lately however, I've been feeling a particular kind of discontentment towards myself, specifically in where I feel my life is "at" right now. Call it an oxymoron or just plain odd but this discontentment stems from inevitably feeling content. Some of us are just never happy hey!

Amsterdam X Bloomon- I Daydream Of You Amid The Flowers

This week I've been a busy traveling bee again! For my last post I spoke about one of my all time favourite cities, Rome and this week I was lucky enough take a trip to yet another destination at the top of my "cities I've fallen in love with" list, Amsterdam! I've been to Amsterdam on a number of occasions now but always in the winter months when the city is awash with autumnal hues, the streets are paved with fallen leaves and there's a real cosy feel to it's ornate lamp lite canals. When the fabulous folk at Bloomon invited me down to Amsterdam in August, the height of summer, to attend their Flower Festival and visit their picturesque flower fields, I jumped at the chance. The city did not disappoint in summer, embracing the season with the same relaxed, effortless, yet incredibly stylish approach it has in its winter months. The cosy lighting and rustic tones were now replaced with beautiful greenery, lining the streets and climbing up the mismatched, marzipan like houses. Bright flower boxes decorated the canal rails and potted plants dotted along the stairways, the city was know doubt in full bloom... Was there ever a more apt time to attend a flower festival?

Travel Diary- Rome, Where My Thoughts Escape Me.

The first time I ever went to Rome was exactly 10 years ago. It was my first holiday on my own, without my family and with a boy. Like a real grown up. I don't know what exactly had attracted us to Rome aside from the glaringly obvious Roman ruins and tourists attractions. At the age of eighteen I was stuck in the typical teenage girl phase of being obsessed with Paris, New York and Tokyo (and rightly so)... Rome was somewhere I vaguely wanted to visit but it certainly wouldn't have been high on my agenda. I remember arriving via the train at the Spagna station and walking out to be meet by the Spanish Steps. I was awe struck. From that moment onwards I fell more and more in love with Rome. You see Rome really is the Eternal City. Nothing is contrived or pretentious. Everything about it is homegrown, authentic and full of character, TRUE character. It's not just the beautiful buildings; from the windy path ways lined with small businesses and restaurants to the epic Roman creations of the Colesseum and the Trevi Fountain which make this city so incredibly beautiful. No way, it's the people, the vibrancy, the life and the soul of it. I kind of figured when I was younger that I was just blindsided by the feeling of going somewhere new and exciting all by myself but as I've grown older and I've visited so many different cities, I've come to realise I certainly have favourites but for me, none ever touch my heart the way in which Rome has, does, always will...

Festival Diary- I Get By With A Little Help From Mi-Pac

In the past few weeks I feel like I've been on more trains to and from London then I've spent time in my own bed. Virgin trains have well and truly become my second home and this Friday was no exception. However this time my trip down to London wasn't all work and no play! Oh no no, this Friday was all about having a little boogie, as the lovely folk from Mi-Pac invited me along to Love Box festival to have a drink, a dance and show off my best festival style. What a lovely way to see the weekend in, hey?

Do You Believe In Rock N Roll?

In the past two weeks I feel like I've taken a major trip down musical memory lane. I've been lucky enough to catch some of my favourite bands perform some of my all time favourite songs I would listen to on repeat as a teen. From hearing The Flaming Lips performing The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, to weeping as The Killers go into the introduction of Glamorous Indie Rock N Roll, to just the other day when I chanted along to Arcade Fire, who ended their Castlefield Bowl set with Wake Up and Neon Bible. Hearing these songs has given me a serious twinge of guilt that maybe I'd forgotten just how much I loved them and just how important they were to me in times gone by. It's got me reflecting back on some of the most important, character building years of my life and so I thought I'd discuss how vital the music you listen to growing up can not only shape who you become, but led the way into how our personal style develops and evolves.

Festival Diary- Dream A Little Dream Of Glastonbury

I'm not going to begin to insult your intelligence by telling you, "Glastonbury is the greatest place on earth"... We've all heard it before and if you've ever been lucky enough to go, you'll know this to be true. I'm also not going to begin to possibly try describe Glastonbury in one mere blog post, where would I begin and how long have you guys got? You just have to see it to believe it and no words could ever do it justice. It's quite literally magical. Where the weird, wonderful, talented folk from all walks of life gather together to put on a show like no other spread across 1,100 acres of dream like fields. Yikes... I walked on average 23,000 kilometres a day without even trying... Seeeeriously mega!

Hair Tutorial x Melissa Timperley- We Can Smile And Wave

Since the beginning of time or maybe just since the beginning of my blog there has been one question in particular which crops up (excuse the pun) above all others and that is, how do I style my shaggy mop of hair? I've tried on many occasions to explain this in the limited refinements of an Instagram comment but it's never quite the same as going into full detail and breaking things down step by step. As time's gone on I've toyed with how I can answer this very simple, yet kinda long winded question for you guys on my blog, but without a running commentary of photos the idea always feel flat (unlike my hair... Again excuse the pun). Then a brain "hair" wave (I'm so sorry, I can't help it with these hair related puns, they practically write themselves) suddenly came over me and whilst booking my next appointment with my wonderful hairdresser Melissa Timperley, I decided I'd ask her if she'd lend a helping hand/hair dryer/scissors. Who better to help demonstrate the best technique for tussled, waved locks right? And as summer draws closer this seemed a better time than ever for us all (including myself) to get that beach/bed head, "oh I feel asleep on my sun lounger and woke up all sun kissed like this" hair refined and perfected! So without further a-do and with the amazing aid/expertise of Melissa, here is a step by step guide on how to replicate my wavey bob...
1. The Cut and The Colour
Now Melissa made a very good point from the offset, there's no use in showing you how to style your hair without explaining the cut and colour which are both equally important for this kind of look. First things first, I have my hair dyed via the technique of balayage highlights. Balayage is a technique used to create natural, sunkissed highlights and is done so by gentle brushing the bleach on to your hair. As you can see for the photos, Melissa carefully sections and separates my hair to brush on the bleach so that the colour will mix in nicely with strands of my natural, untouched hair to give a more subtle effect. Melissa is a balayage genius and takes a substantial amount of care and attention when applying it so be prepared for a long appointment! As displayed in the least classy way ever, my hair is left in foils for around half an hour to an hour depending on how the bleach develops and then after about two of Melissa's amazing hazelnut coffees later, it's rinsed out. A toner will be added afterwards to ensure there's no brassiness. And voila, you're left with the upmost Au Naturale, yet super golden hair colour.

For the cut it's nothing too complex. I like the front to sit neatly on my shoulders with a slight graduation towards the back, going slightly shorter. I know, I know! When you think graduated bobs, you imagine footballers wives/Victoria Beckham circa 2003 but that's completely NOT what this is. Promise! The graduation will simply give the back of your hair the body and volume it needs for that super messy, shaggy feel you're after. For extra volume I have it cut quite blunt but with layers running throughout. You don't want harsh layers, just something which will give your hair movement and allow for it to wave more easily. Lastly my fringe is cut choppy and rounded, I love love love a gringe (grown out fringe)! A rounded shape will mean you can part it without creating curtains which could give early noughties Leonardo Di Caprio a run for his money.

2. "Wet Hair" Products and How To Dry
Three key products to use on your wet hair are; volumising spray (only if your hair is angling on the thin side, I have super thick hair so this is a no no pour moi), a salt/texturising spray and heat protector. I've given you a shoppable list of some of the products I love to use for further guidance. Now there's two ways you can go about drying your hair. If you've got all the time in the world/are washing your hair the evening before I would suggest spraying your salt/texturising spray, scrunching your wet hair for maximum waves and leaving it to dry naturally. This is by far the best technique for that tussled vibe... It's called bed head for a reason ladies, low maintenance is key! But if you're getting ready in a hurry or like me you're pampering yourself at your hairdressers than I would suggest spraying a touch of salt spray, then a touch of heat spray and blow drying straight. Melissa has done mine uber straight in the photos simply because she needed to check my cut was tip top, this isn't mandatory if you're styling at home! 

3. Now Let's Make Waves
To begin with you'll need to roughly section your hair into three parts; at either side and then one at the back. See picture above because I think I explained that terribly. Take big chunks, I'd say a good one to two inches of hair and pick at random! Remember you're basically creating organised chaos on your head so don't be to regimented with your chunks. Now with your hair straighteners (if you can use a hair wand/tongs then I salute you), start at the top and curl round, think big flicks that never stop flicking and curl away from your face. The best analogy I can give you when I say "away from the face" is Farrah Fawcett flicks. Google it and everything will suddenly make more sense. Do this technique a section at a time and the golden rule, I just can't stress enough is... Do NOT be too strict with yourself. 

4. Shake It Off, A-Shake It Off!
The best tip Melissa gave me is move your hair about as much as you like, once your hair is waved/curled it will always bounce back no matter how much you play with it! Learn to be tactile with your hair! For some reason we feel the need to walk on eggshells with curled hair, DON'T! It's messy hair your after so mess it up good!! You want to really run your fingers through your hair, shake it up and separate the curls so they become disjointed and disheveled. Once you're happy with the right amount of mess, apply your hair spray to hold in place and a touch more texturising spray to eliminate that fluffy, "just washed" feel to your hair.

And ta da!!!! There you have your super shaggy, super summery, tussled bob ready to hit the beach or a festival near you!

Big thank you to Melissa at Melissa Timperly Studios for helping me finally demonstrate this style for you guys. Before all of the above I would alway recommend making sure you find the right hairdresser for you, one that will put the care and attention in you need. A balayage can be risky business if applied wrongly and the trouble with short hair is, if it's a disaster you have no where to hide!! If you're Manchester/Northern Quarter way I would whole heartedly recommend giving Melissa's studio a try where they put the time and love into your lovely locks! See her details below along with a shopping list of products I've tried and tested and bloody love.

Happy Waving Ladies,
Sophia x

Melissa Timperly Salon:
Visit her website HERE
Pop in at 67 Tib St, Northern Quarter, Manchester
Or call on 0161 834 5945