The Vogue 100 Exhibition – National Portrait Gallery, London

As part of my birthday celebrations myself and my boyfriend had a great day out in London recently and I got to do one of the things I love doing – visiting art galleries.  The Vogue 100 exhibition had been on my ‘to do’ list since it opened in February and I was thrilled to be able to go and see it.  But the question is, is it worth seeing?

Once you enter the exhibition through pillars of different Vogue covers you are faced with this huge image of the late great Lee McQueen and a stark room with a  small selection of the past 100 years most iconic images from which you can then access the different areas grouped by decade.

The layout is quite a strange one as it doesnt run in chronological order so I made my way to the ‘century of magazines’ area first and then worked forward from the 1920’s finally ending in the film area.

I went into to one of the end rooms first  – The ‘Century of Magazines’ room

This room showed a copy of Vogue from every year of the 100 years it has been in publication…including the very first copy (pictured). It is breathtaking to see how a publication can represent its era, carry on through two world wars, touch politics, feminism and the changes to the world that happened during that time but still be a great fashion magazine.

 Another great room was ‘The Planning Room’ 

In this room you entered a darkened space with negatives from all eras presented on top of light boxes and series’ of shoot images being projected on the wall showing how many shots the Vogue team would see before they picked ‘the one’.

  

And then there were the rooms of the different decades…

My highlights

The 1920s/30s –

Aristocracy mixed with silent film stars and glamour girls. Many of the images looked as modern now as they did 100 years ago…


The 1940s – against all the glamour the starkness of these reportage shots from the WW2 really made you realise Vogue was never just a frivolous fashion magazine…

And seeing key fashion illustrations in real life, remembering they had been done at the time and were of the most contemporary fashions.

The 1950’s – this room held some of the most glamorous photos including original by Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson…

The 1960s – Probably my favourite era, style wise, I loved the tone of this room with its retro textured wallpaper and full wall shot of David Hockney, his assistant and glamorous model Maudie James in his studio by Cecil Beaton…

 

The 1970’s – a strange mix of glamour, sexist sterotyping and the grungy beginnings of punk rock. Probably my least favourite of all the rooms although this Helmut Newton pic taken the year I was born stood out…

The 1980s – Big, brash and bold was the order of the day in this room…

The 1990’s- a key time in British fashion with film stars and artists suddenly taking up as many shots as the models and the grungy ‘Heroin Chic’ style starting to appear…

The 2000s and onwards – it is quite breathtaking to see so many iconic images in one place – the curation was perfect and you really ‘felt’ each decade and its subtle changes…

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And finally (of course!) the shop

Look at these amazing Biscuiteers biscuits!  The Vogue 100 book was great too but I’ve got to be honest I’m not going to buy it for a ‘special price’ of £35 in the gallery when Amazon have it for £26. The vintage copies of Vogue on sale (from £35) were tempting though… 

I just adored this exhibition and would definitely recommend a trip. It runs until 22nd May 2016 and adult tickets are £17.00 each.  If youve been I’d love to know your thoughts…

National Portrait Gallery

St Martin’s Place
London
WC2H 0HE
020 7306 0055

Opening hours

Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Thursdays and Fridays until 21.00.
Last admission to the exhibition is one hour before the Gallery closes.
Exiting commences ten minutes before the closing time.

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Easter Bank Holiday Weekend Inspiration

Happy Easter! What ever your personal beliefs, this weekend in the UK is a double bank holiday weekend for most of us that we can spend with our families, hopefully seeing some sunshine, having fun and treating ourselves to lots of naughty food.  I’m a great believer in seizing any free time I have and making the most of it while creating some great memories at the same time. However that is easier said than done – in todays blog I share some things I do to acheive just that. 

Start the day right

Make a healthy breakfast exciting using boiled eggs (well it is Easter!) and some carefully chosen egg cups – I love this stylish cutie by Buddy and Bear or try Etsy or NotOntheHighStreet.com for similar contemporary designs. For a more eclectic look, seek out vintage ones and create a mismatched set.

 photo Buddy and Bear via EtsyUK 

Or maybe choose not so healthy… Creme egg stacked pancakes, you say? Easy to make (one egg per stack was enough sweetness for us) and very, very indulgent.  Yes it’s laden with calories but for one day over Easter it makes an amazing treat! 

Dress for it     

Spring means we can start dressing in pastels and cute prints again so lets embrace it. Spend Easter digging out some of your summer clothing and styling them up to feel and look great.  I love being able to get out of dark jumpers and boots and embrace something more joyful! Fingers crossed the sun shines too…        

Get crafty

More free time means more time for activities! I do like a project with the kids – for Roald Dahl day Reuben and I made this Mr Twit beard as seen below and this Easter I want to make some of these amazing giant origami rabbits that I saw on the wonderful Oh Happy Day blog. Find the tutorial here  Photo via Oh Happy Day

Have an egg and spoon race

Want to get the kids off their games consoles/TV’s and out into the fresh air? An egg and spoon race is easy to do and you dont need to buy anything. We use plastic toy eggs (find race sets in most Easter seasonal aisles) but you can easily use chocolate or hard boiled versions instead.  On your marks, get set, GO!!!

 

Make and bake

If the weathers not so good, another great activity is to bake cakes or make some other special treats to share. We recently made homemade Lemonade as a family (à la Diary of a Wimpy kid) which the boys loved doing and often make cakes over Easter (see our 4yr olds nursery-made offering from this week below). This year we’ve made Spring themed fairy cakes together and I’m sure they will all get gobbled up soon. 

   

  
 

Go for a special day out 

Ok, it can be expensive to go on big days out but across the two weeks of the school Easter holiday we always try and fit one day trip in. Look for 2 for 1 offers, discount codes or free events – whether its to a theme park, zoo or just the beach or play area its perfect for making those special memories. And lets be honest – who doesn’t want to act like a kid again for the day?!?

     Do an Easter Egg Hunt

Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate eggs but I do like my kids to work for them! Last year we hid them throughout the house and garden and our three boys had to follow clues to track them down…they loved it! We will do the same this Sunday, as well as give them a couple of their favourite chocolate bar eggs too.

 
Do some exercise

After all that indulgence some hard work is required to balance all those calories out…I know it’s boring but if you eat lots of chocolate and treats you have to exercise. As someone whos lost a lot of weight and now exercises regularly I will make sure, holiday or not, I’ll run my usual 5k run. As well as meaning you dont put on weight its great to de-stress, have some ‘me-time’ and clear your head and for me, Spring is THE best season to run in.

  
 

So make the most of those extra days of fun with the people you care for the most and make this Easter one to remember!

All photos via my Instagram unless otherwise stated. Follow me on Instagram for lots more here.

ASOS Bridal

Regular readers to this blog may know I got engaged last year and am currently saving up to get married. As this is my second time around I am definitely not planning to spend as much money on a dress as I did in my early 30’s (over £1500 not including accessories and definitely not including underwear) so when I heard ASOS were introducing a Bridal section I was interested to say the least…

Then I saw this Instagram post and I was REALLY interested! Lots of embellishment, with a boho vibe, yet still fashionable and stylish – the first collection is looking perfect for brides like me who want to look fashionable on their wedding day too.

In todays blog I show you my top 10 picks from the range – ASOS has grown up and is ready to commit and and its looking fantastic!

Lace Panelled Maxi Dress – £120.00  Kimono Deep V Fishtail Maxi Dress – £120.00

   Chi Chi London Bridal Tulle Maxi Dress – £65 

To liven things up how about wearing a jacket over your wedding dress?  I love this look particularly for a bohemian style outdoor wedding.

A Star Is Born Bridal Embellished Trophy Jacket – £160.00


And then there’s the shoes…

ASOS PASSIONATE Heeled Sandals – £45.00   

ASOS PRICELESS Embellished Pointed High Heels – £50.00   

And you can’t forget to buy some special underwear…yes this set is expensive but its just beautiful and you have to bring out the big guns for your wedding night!

Skivvies For Love & Lemons Ophelia Bra – £100.00
Skivvies For Love & Lemons Ophelia High Waist Brief – £130


And maybe add some cute (but sexy) nightwear too…

Bluebella Julianna Pyjama Set – £44.00

And finally a bag is handy to keep a lipstick, mirror and probably these days a phone…

ASOS Flower and Pearl Box Clutch Bag – £40 ASOS Flap Over Embellished Clutch Bag – £32.00

So what do you think? Prices range from £8 to £350 and is sized from UK4-18 plus theres some Petite and Curve options too.

Look out for more gorgeous styles to come too.  These are the images Hello Fashion Monthly shared… 

I wont be choosing my dress for a while yet but ASOS will definitely now be somewhere I will look when I’m ready.

All photos via ASOS – find the full range here.

Birthday Buys: BooHoo jersey draped dress

March is my birthday month and I usually spend it shopping!

Ah, if only! However I do get to choose a few bits as presents plus spend any birthday money on some treats for myself and over the next few weeks I will share some my the choices I’ve made this year…dont tell anyone but I turned 43 🙈.

I picked this dress (the Carolina) as a dress I could wear to the office and also dress up for an evening look. The chesnut colour is really nice – a burnt orange/reddish brown and it is made from a mid weight jersey. For sizing I went for a UK12 so it wasnt too tight as the jersey is quite unforgiving to lumps and bumps. 

The main design feature that made me choose it is the unusual handkerchief design skirt. The tight, high-necked top half is perfectly balanced by the flowing skirt and the tie belt cinches your waist in nicely – perfect for a curvy petite girl like me!    I wore it here with knee length boots and statement earrings both from Primark and pulled my hair back,finishing it with a plait.       

It does have a couple of downsides – as I mentioned the jersey is quite unforgiving so lacy underwear is out – a t-shirt bra worked fine though. I love the high neck but being jersey once you’ve pulled it over your head (the dress has no zips or fastenings) it stretches a little and isn’t as snug around my neck as I’d like. This is easily fixed though with a tiny safety pin in the back of the collar pulling it taught.

I’ve already worn this dress both to work and for a night out and it’s got lots of compliments.  For just £10 (its been reduced from £15) its an absolute bargain!  Find it on the BooHoo website here and its also available in black or khaki.

Look out for my next ‘Birthday Buys’ blog coming soon!

Dress – BooHoo.com
Earrings – Primark
Boots – Primark

The thing I have fallen in love with this week: Hello Spring!

Over the last few days it feels like we’ve finally left winter and slowly moved into Spring. Ok, its not totally here, but the suns been shining, there’s flowers blooming everywhere and Easter and all its sweet treats is on the way.  

I need some inspiration – I need bright. I need cheerful. I need cute!!!

In todays ‘The thing I’ve fallen in love with this week’ blog I share the things that are making me smile so far this March. I couldn’t pick one thing so I’ve gone for a few (I do love doing a flat lay!). Bright, fun and sweet is the name of the game…

 

Clouds zipped purse – Cath Kidston
Vintage coral necklace – Etsy
Purse and brooch – New Look
Nail polish – Superdrug
Hello Fashion Monthly – subscribe here
Pineapple dish – Debenhams
Vintage Mother of Pearl necklace – Etsy
Pineapple vase – Store TwentyOne
Scarf – Echo
Love Sick book by Jessie Cave – Amazon
Vintage glass dish – Etsy
Mike and Ike American candy – B&M stores
Mason Jar cup – Poundworld
Face pot stand and beaker – Tiger Stores
Twizzlers American candy – B&M stores
Clouds Gola trainers – Cath Kidston
Hand Food hand cream & Butter Me Up body butter – Soap & Glory 

 

Bright colours and cute designs lift my spirits. I love the Cath Kidston cloud design (well I am the blue sky girl!) and my new Echo scarf is perfect for Spring styling. The yellow Pineapple vase from Store TwentyOne was a bargain must have and ‘Love Sick’ by Jessie Cave is a book of her doodles on love and relationships and it is very funny and VERY relatable…

 

Regular followers of my blog know I love Hello Fashion Monthly (a bargain at £1.50 each month) and I couldn’t live without Soap & Glory products – I can’t shower, scrub or cleanse with anything else! If you like a jelly bean (as I do), it doesn’t get better than American brand Mike and Ike and when I saw that Pineapple dish in Debenhams I just had to have it…

I feel more cheerful already! So, what are you loving for Spring?  

For more flat lay product inspiration follow me on Instagram – here.

Pharmacy 2

Let go back in time…

Its 1998 – London is in the grip of the Rule Britannia phase, Brit Pop rules, as do lads and ladettes doing too many drugs, New Labour were telling us ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and the British art scene led by the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume is changing the face of modern art.

Mathew Freud and Damien Hirst open up Pharmacy, a restaurant in Notting Hill and the rest is the stuff of legend. I went once with some people from Loaded Magazine (remember that!?!) but sadly I cannot mention most of the stuff that happened that night for fear of being sued! It was a pretty cool place though, although the waiters in surgical gowns did freak me out a bit…

Jump forward to now and Damien Hirst, in collaboration with chef Mark Hix, has opened Pharmacy 2, this time based in his Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, South London.  See below what I discovered…

Its small but perfectly formed! The bar area is a mix of neon, pill prints and hanging leds.  Hirst butterfly print medical ‘+’ signs sit each side of the mirrored bar backdrop and cocktails are mixed as you perch on pill shaped bar stools.

There are booths to sit in for bigger groups and loads more Hirst originals. I tried to leave with one up my jumper but sadly there were too many waiters!

img_6420And even the bar stools are cool…  Just like the original piece of art, 2500 or so different pills fill the cabinets on the walls…The menu covers British and European classics, including the likes of shaved winter squash with Treviso and Graceburn cheese, white polenta with a Burford Brown egg yolk and shaved Wiltshire truffles, plus a Mark Hix signature dish of crushed potato and black pudding with pineapple upside-down cakes or chocolate mousse with honeycomb for dessert. Pharmacy 2 covers breakfast, weekend brunches and Sunday roasts, plus it serves a mean cocktail.

What do you think? Pharmacy 2 is now open for bookings – find the details here.

International Womens Day 2016

Something I wrote on Facebook earlier…

Today is International Women’s day.  
 
Do we need it? Hmm, let me think for a minute. In my life every month via my social media I get unwanted advances and dick pics, at work I am called honey/darling etc and told how pretty I am despite being cleverer with a better career history than any of the men around me, in my life I have been the victim of sexual assault and each time I was made to feel I had ‘asked for it’ and I cant even go for a run without being beeped at by men in cars and lorries. Hey, skin tight lycra just asks for sexist cat calling, right? 

It is still illegal to get an abortion without getting the permission of 2 doctors, our newspapers are full of topless or lingerie wearing pouting glamour models, porn showing violence to women (and loving it) is de rigueur, women are paid around 25% less than men in the same job and only 20% of FTSE250 companies board members are female.  

 Do we need it? We appear to be in a retrograde time – feminism as a cause is struggling to prevail having almost become a dirty word and womens rights across the globe have become more and more restricted. 

 So yes, yes we need it!  

Whats your thoughts?  

Sarah

My Limited Edition SS16 picks

I was in M&S the other day having a browse and as ever made my way to my favourite section, Limited Edition.

A fact about me – in my career as a stylist and visual merchandising manager I was part of the team at M&S who came up with the original brand concept (then Limited Collection) so it will always have a fond place in my heart.

The great thing about M&S and its ‘shop in shops’ is you can always find a sub-brand that you like and shop that area. For me Limited Edition is definitely ‘my brand’ – its trend led, stylish, aimed at a younger customer and always has an element of quirky styling that isn’t seen within the other M&S sub-brands.

In todays blog find my 5 favourite pieces all currently on sale in stores. Happy shopping!

Tie neck blouse – £29.50

This blouse is super pretty and perfect for dressing up or down. You’d need a camisole on underneath but I’d team it with skinny jeans or slim leg trousers and heels. 

Shoulder bag – £38.00

I’m a sucker for a cartoon or fun reference and I love the mix of classic design and quirky detailing. Its a size that will hold everything and the nude and black colourway will never clash with what youre wearing.

Dungaree style jumpsuit – £49.50

Pinstripes – check, Navy fabric – check, Tie waist – check, Utility details – check. This jumpsuit has all the style points and will look so stylish through the Spring and beyond. 

Flower necklace – £25

You can go wrong with a statement necklace and this oversized resin one would look perfect with a white skirt or t-shirt, white on white or to create a pop of colour over a bright top or dress. 

Bomber jacket – £55.00

Bomber jackets are EVERYWHERE for SS16 and this is a more premium, feminine slant on the ones I’ve seen. The oriental style quilting definitely makes this look unique and its flattering and easy to wear – perfect!

What do you think? What are your picks for the new season? All products (plus lots more loveliness) available at M&S now – for the online range click here.