Wednesday, 29 December 2010

'Librarian Chic!'

There is something rather appealing about cosy cashmere cardigans on snowy winter days. Of course, they're perhaps the most appealing when you're watching the snow fall from indoors (it was absolutely freezing outside), but I couldn't resist posing in this Elizabeth Lau knit in daylight, in order to do the colours justice.

Talking of colours, you'll have to excuse the matchy-matchy-ness of this outfit! Orange and pale blue are certainly not colours I would normally put together, but they work nicely thanks to the little heart details on the cardigan. My vintage beret (bought in Paris, no less!) and orange frame bag seemed to be obvious additions to the outfit, which I've decided to define as 'librarian chic'...
As if it couldn't get any more quaint, that's a little bag of hard-boiled sweets in my hand, bought at an old fashioned sweet shop - the type with shelves and shelves of twinkling glass jars, an old wooden counter with scales, and childlike excitement on the face of each customer that enters. :)

And now back to the cardigan: it's the second of my two cherished items from the designer Elizabeth Lau. It's so characteristic of her designs - cute and playful, retro yet modern, and of course, beautifully made. I can't wait to incorporate it into some more outfits - it looks great with a little white collar poking out from the top too!

Cardigan: Elizabeth Lau
Top: Topshop via eBay
Skirt: Laura Ashley via Charity shop
Tights: New Look
Shoes: Clarks
Hat, Belt and Bag: Vintage

Anyway, I want to know - do you avoid overly colour-matched outfits, or do you like to embrace simple colour palettes from time to time?

Sadie xxx

P.S. I'll be back soon with a sewing post! I'm just adding the finishing touches to a retro blouse I'm making!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Black and White

I'm home from uni for Christmas and it feels great! I have a new found appreciation of all the mod cons such as dishwashers and televisions, as well as fully stocked food cupboards and somewhere to do the laundry! To add to my list of home delights, my parents have just purchased a log burner, so I've been spending a lot of time huddled in front of that to warm up after trekking into town in the snow.

I've been waiting to show you this dress since the clothes show. Isn't it stunning? It's from Elizabeth Lau - and is one of Elizabeth's more sparkly designs! The dress itself is actually a tunic, but I think (hopefully!) I can get away with it as a dress. It hangs beautifully on its own, but I thought I'd cinch in the waist with a brown belt for added definition. I love how elegant oversized clothes look - this one especially, as it has a lovely off the shoulder detail and low back. Very demure. What do you think of it?

I'm going to chase after my boyfriend with this mistletoe tomorrow! hehe.

Lots of you have been wondering where my usual sewing/thrifty/outfit posts have been - well, they're back now! It's very difficult to sew at uni, not to mention the fact that I haven't even seen a charity shop for the last 3 months! Boohoo. But I'm back home now, sewing machine and retro patterns at the ready! So watch this space!

Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Elizabeth Lau @ Clothes Show Live

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to go to Clothes Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. It was a welcome break from university work - I've just had a horrible week of deadlines so it was nice to indulge in a bit of retail therapy! Over the weekend, the exhibition centre was absolutely jam packed with people, so-much-so that it was hard to move in some areas! Luckily, the Elizabeth Lau stall provided a peaceful haven amongst the chaos, with its ever-beautiful clothing in soft pastel colours and with sweet little peter-pan details.

I first became aware of the brand at London Fashion Weekend, where I fell in love with a beautiful coat in their boutique. Elizabeth Lau's designs fit well with the much coveted chic 60s aesthetic, but always include a quirky modern twist - refreshingly managing to avoid the throwaway-fast-fashion-machine in favour of unique, high quality designs that will last forever. These designs certainly appeal to the inner English-eccentric in me!

Some of my AW 2010 favourites include this gorgeous coat (yes, I know I have too many coats!!), and the sparkly tiered dress below - very 1920s, don't you think?
Elizabeth Lau have also set up a Pop-Up shop in London, which I've seen gushing reviews for all over the blogosphere - have a little peep at its cuteness over at Style Slicker and The Style Crusader. Unfortunately I live to far away to visit, but if you're in London doing some Christmas shopping, definitely head over to Carnaby Street as, by the sounds of it, you won't be disappointed. Look at the stunning interior!

Address: Elizabeth Lau Christmas Pop up Boutique, 2 Ganton Street (just off Carnaby St.), London, W1F 7QL. - open until Christmas Eve!

I maaay just have come away from the stall with some items, but I will keep you in suspense until I return home for Christmas, where I can photograph them properly!

For the time being, I'll leave you with their charming SS11 Look Book video!

Sadie xxx

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Styling Challenge

I was recently tagged by the lovely Kirsty of Belle Fantaisie (make sure you check out her blog!) to take part in a Tesco styling challenge! I chose to style this lovely lace turtle-neck top from Tesco's Couture range. As demonstrated by the photo on the website, I think the top lends itself really well to a muted palette, and I thought these H&M Garden Collection shorts would be the perfect pairing. Quite a simple outfit, but with the shoulder pads as a (very!) prominant feature, I thought the top would look best with the rest of the outfit toned down!

I really like the top, the crochet-style lace seems very 60s, it's easy to wear, and I love the little details such as the mini buttons along the cuffs - it wouldn't look out of place on the rails of the original Biba!

I have to say, Tesco and Couture are not two words I would usually expect to appear in the same sentence! I'm not too sure what to make of their collection - it's certainly a little different to the usual supermarket ranges, and this particular collection seems to be making a slight reference to high-end designers such as Balmain. The clothes retail at between £40 and a whopping £120 - an interesting pricing decision for the Tesco brand, so I'd be interested to see how successful the range is!

What is your opinion on luxury, high priced supermarket clothing ranges?

Sadie xxx

P.S. I'm off to Clothes Show Live tomorrow! So you can expect a full report soon!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Christmas Market in the Snow

This weekend my boyfriend came to visit, and on Saturday we walked into town to look around the Christmas Market. Our route took us along an icy canalside walk - the cold air stung our cheeks, snow crunched under foot, and everything was quiet, still and idyllic. It was nice to snatch a few moments like this, trying not to slip over whilst watching the sun go down behind the railway bridges, and studying the reflections on the frozen canal.

In a way, I quite like wrapping up warm in winter, even if it means you can barely move your limbs for the amount of layers you're wearing! On this particular day I sported my vintage fairisle jumper, my beautiful new River Island coat, a chunky bobblehat from H&M and my mum's old leather gloves. I should have worn a scarf too, as we discovered that the temperature had dropped by the time were on our way back home (after watching Harry Potter!).

In complete contrast to the canalside scene, the Christmas Market was warm, bright and bustling with people buying sweet german delights, wooden toys and mulled wine. The crowds were so thick that it took about 20 minutes to move 10 metres, not that we were complaining - because it was much warmer this way!

As it was rather expensive, we had to be a bit choosey about what we bought. In the end we sampled some mini doughnuts, cooked before our eyes. They were served in a paper cone with a dusting of sugar. They were like a hug for your mouth - still warm from being freshly cooked, and all puffy and delicious! We also purchased some caramelised peanuts, which lasted approximately 3 minutes... yum.

As you can see, I got a bit snap-happy with my camera. I thought I'd try to convey the sights, sounds and smells of the market, as it was such a lovely Christmassy experience (and I'm not even a massive fan of Christmas!).

Has anyone else visited a Christmas market? What did you buy there?

Sadie xxx

The Wellington Boot Voucher Winner!

As selected by, Comment #57...

Olivia from What Olivia Did!


Sadie xxx

Friday, 26 November 2010

Emily and Fin

It isn't very often that I treat myself to clothes that cost over £30... or even £10, for that matter! But something about this dress just made me part with my money. It wasn't a spontaneous decision - I saw it when I first visited Pop Store in Birmingham at the beginning of October, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I eventually decided that me and the dress were meant to be!

The dress is from Emily & Fin, a brand I hadn't heard of before, but they seem to be making a presence both online and in little independant shops. I chose the 'Alice dress', and it's my idea of perfection; nice and neatly tailored, with a smart high neck and a pretty, but subtle, polkadot design. I'm hoping it can work in several different situations; dressed down as day wear for uni, something demure enough for work experience (don't worry, I will let the hem back down a little!), and of course, a nice little number for nights out!

Here's a snippet about the brand from their website:

"The design duo behind emilyandfin met in London whilst Emily was studying at Central St Martins and Fin was managing an independent boutique. Sharing an interest in all things vintage and quirky they soon began making their own one-off pieces inspired by their travels to faraway corners of the world. In discovering their passion for beautiful clothes, and encouraged by their friends and family, they produced their first collection which was quickly snapped up. Sourcing beautiful cotton prints is their starting block from which they'll cut their collection, striving to flatter all silhouettes to create colorful, creative and wearable designs. The ethos behind emilyandfin combines simplicity with individuality. Gorgeous dresses for day and evening to beautifully cut skirts and pretty tops are all designed to complement the everyday wardrobe."

Oh... and guess who bought the glasses? hehe. With an overwhelming majority of 'yes's', I took the plunge and I'm now rather happy with them!

Sadie xxx

P.S. If you haven't already, enter my jewellery voucher competition (for The Wellington Boot etsy store)! The deadline is this Sunday, and it's open to international readers too!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Win a $15 e-voucher for The Wellington Boot!

Some of you may remember that last December I hosted a giveaway for The Wellington Boot, a charming online jewellery shop filled with quirky delights. Well, as a special treat, Fern, the jewellery designer, is offering another brilliant giveaway!

Fern has now moved her store over to Etsy, and now has 5 pages of beautiful necklaces, earrings and charms for sale. They vary from classic cameos and little brass woodland creatures, to something a little more unusual - that London taxi particularly caught my attention!

So, without further ado...

The Giveaway! - Now closed

Fern is kindly offering one lucky reader a $15 voucher to be spent on anything in the store!

All you have to do is pop over to The Wellington Boot shop on Etsy, browse through the items, and let me know which one is your favourite by leaving a comment on this post! Simple :). Make sure you leave a way to contact you in your comment - blog/email address is fine!

The best thing is - the competition is open to international readers too!

I'll pick the winner using a random number generator on Sunday 28th November at 9pm GMT.

Good luck!
Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I need your opinions!

I've never really mentioned it on the blog, but I'm a secret glasses wearer (shh!)... that means that during my photoshoots, I actually can't see a single thing - barely even the camera! For the last 3 years I've worn a horrible pair of half-rimmed metal glasses, which have left me feeling rather personality-less, at least in terms of glasses. I really dislike them.

Anyway, the other day I tried on this fabulous vintage inspired pair from Pepe Jeans, and I'm pretty keen on them, to say the least. I'm in a bit of a quandary though, because I think they might make me look a bit pretentious!

What do you think of them? And do they suit me?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Sadie xxx

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Sunday Carboot

Last Sunday I went to my first ever city-centre carboot. When you're used to carbooting in a huge grassy field set in rolling countryside on a warm summer morning, its a bit of a shock to the system to find yourself in a grey concrete industrial estate on an icy winter's day! Nevertheless, I found many a bargain - although admittedly, it took a while to find them amidst stall-upon-stall of wholesale household products and dodgy electronics.

The find of the day was this little leather suitcase, for... wait for it... 20p! I pounced on this case when I saw it - I don't know how it hadn't already been snapped up by vintage buyers earlier in the morning. It now resides on top of two other leather suitcases on my wardrobe; you think I'd have enough of these by now, but I'm not going to say no at 20p!

I was also lucky enough to find a working 1975 Roberts radio! It's a true piece of eye candy; the red leather panelling and wooden sides are reminiscent of an era that I so wish I was a part of! It's a shame that some of the buttons are missing on the top, but it still tunes in perfectly and has a lovely tone.

Sat next to my radio in the '70s corner' of my room is a Sadler tea (or coffee?) set. I loved the tall upright design and the retro styling, which, funnily enough, almost matches my gaudy curtains! The lady was selling a whole set - with pots, more mugs, and a jug, for £3, but I had to persuade myself not to buy them all as I'd never have been able to carry them home. I feel a bit guilty for breaking up the set...

And finally, a pretty sleeveless lace top with brown shell buttons. It really reminds me of something that Zara might sell! It needs a bit of taking-in, but I can foresee it being a summer staple of mine (yes... already thinking about the summer...). I can't wait to wear it buttoned up and tucked into my brown shorts!

Sadie xxx

P.S. I've got a brilliant giveaway coming up - open to international readers too! Keep checking back!

Friday, 5 November 2010

River Island: Turning over a new leaf?

River Island is always a high street shop I’ve avoided – on so many occasions, I’ve wandered into the shop and then walked straight back out again, disappointed by the quality of their clothes and also their weird tendency to over-embellish things. After multiple trips to the shop which served to confirm my feelings about their clothes, I didn’t go back for a few seasons and they were mentally noted down in my mind as a ‘not worth looking’ shop.

So when I popped into my local branch a few weeks ago accompanying my best friend, you can imagine my surprise (and delight) when I discovered a shop filled with rails of 60s inspired tops, dresses and coats, as well as mock-Alexa bags and stunning knitted cardigans and jumpers. It seems they’re reverting back to their 60s roots, when the brand went under a different name – Chelsea Girl.

A photo of the Manchester Chelsea Girl (photo credit)
I would so love to have lived back then - you don't get shop fronts as cool as this nowadays!

Their new stock is a far cry from the items I remember from my last visit Рout with the diamant̩, and in with the retro tailoring and quirky pieces that I could easily see slipping nicely into my own wardrobe. I hope this new River Island image is here to stay!

Here are some of my top picks from this season's stock:

I may have made a sneaky purchase of one of the above items... I'll leave you in suspense until I visit home next weekend, where I plan to do a little photoshoot with it :).

Has anyone else noticed a big change in River Island over the past year?

Sadie xxx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Interior Design in a Small Space: My University Challenge!

Before moving to University, I was thinking a lot about what my new surroundings would be like - especially my new room! I was half dreading the idea of leaving my comfortable space at home for a small boxy room in university halls, and half ready to embrace the challenge of decorating this new blank canvas.

Trying to jazz up such a small space when you're a) not allowed to paint the walls, and b) not allowed to hammer anything into the walls, was a difficult proposition, but I was lucky enough to be given a book about retro caravan interior design by my boyfriend for my birthday, and it has proven to be quite an inspiration! The book, My Cool Caravan, is filled with eyewateringly beautiful caravans decorated to reflect the owners' unique tastes - with the end result of a book containing both immaculate examples of the ever popular shabby chic trend, and slightly more unusual design concepts- one Frieda Kahlo inspired caravan was particularly attention grabbing!

I'd completely recommend the book for any lover of retro-inspired design - or indeed any university student who is in a bit of a quandary about how best to leave their own stamp on what can be a very small and oppressive space. The book has little design tips throughout, as well as hundreds of photos by the talented Hilary Walker (I would show you them but I don't want to break copyright laws!) and a nice little paragraph about the history of each caravan. Just a warning though: you will end up wanting to buy a caravan after reading it!

So... here are a few snippets of my university room so far! The photo at the top of the page is of a cushion cover I made from offcuts from previous sewing projects. Working to the colour scheme of blue and green, I selected materials with similar sized patterns in order to make a subtley matching cushion that adds a little homeliness to my space. The cushion filler was about 79p from Ikea!

My sewing box, material for my next project!, books, tea, and Eustace the owl...

Cheating slightly with these fake roses, but I think they're charming all the same, and add a nice pop of vibrancy to my bed side table. The vase was 10p at a carboot, and the roses were 3 for £1 on the local market.
Some friendly faces and... a cactus in a teacup. As you do.

This poster is possibly my favourite part of the room. It's an old school educational poster from the 40s (to the best of my knowledge) and its just oh so cute! I found it on ebay for under £10 - best purchase ever!

I've chosen quite a bold patterned duvet cover, seeing as its the only major thing I can change about the colour of the room. I absolutely love it - and for only £3 in a charity shop, you can't go wrong :).

I hope you've enjoyed my little tour-de-la-chambre! What do you think of it? Are any of you facing similar small-space design dilemmas?

Sadie xxx

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Winners of the Max C Competition!

Comments number 28 and 41:
Liset from Petticoats and High Heels
Catherine from Girl Once Known As!


To those of you who didn't win, don't forget that Max C are also offering a free top to anyone who buys a Max C coat or jacket - simply email Max C quoting 'SADIE'S TOP OFFER' and your order number, with the e-mail title 'SADIE'S TOP OFFER'. Write down three tops of your choice in ranking order with size and colour details, and Max C will post out according to availability. Offer ends on the 31st October.

Max C are also giving away tickets and vouchers to next weekend's Britain's Top Model Live! Add them on Facebook for more details!

I'll be back soon with a post about my new room at uni :).

Sadie xxx

Friday, 8 October 2010


As an extra special treat, Max C are offering TWO lucky readers the chance to win the dress and blouse that I posted about recently. Yes - thats two items each!

The bird print dress has been spotted on the likes of Sophie Ellis Bextor and has a very flattering fit, nipped in at the waist and a cute sweetheart neckline. Perfect for a modern take on this season's Mad Men style!

And the blouse is made from delicate chiffon, ideal for tucking into highwaisted skirts, or just over jeans on a lazy day. I'm hoping to wear mine to an office internship!

The lucky winners can choose their size and the colour of their items - the blouse comes in brown, white or black, and the dress in black, red or blue.

Competition Now Closed!
So, how do you enter?
All you need to do is pop over to the
Max C website, and leave a comment back on this blog post naming your favourite item in the online store (as well as leaving contact details - email address or a link to your own blog). The competition closes at midnight on Friday 15th October! I'll pick the winner using a random number generator. Simple!

The competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck! xxx

P.S. Max C are also offering a free top to anyone who buys a Max C coat or jacket - simply email Max C quoting 'SADIE'S TOP OFFER' and your order number, with the e-mail title 'SADIE'S TOP OFFER'. Write down three tops of your choice in ranking order with size and colour details, and Max C will post out according to availability. Offer ends on the 31st October.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A final outfit from Max C!

I'm channelling a bit of a 50s/Mod mixture with this outfit, again courtesy of Max C! This is the last in the series of outfits - it has been great being their blogger of the month!

I can't decide which of these two items is my favourite - the jacket or the dress. The dress will certainly be useful for nights out at uni (I had a wardrobe crisis last night and just couldn't find anything to wear). It's in a classic Max C 'bird print' - cute but sophisticated.

The jacket conforms quite well to my mod style tendancies - but the necktie adds a great feminine edge, making it perfect for many occasions! It's a great transitional piece :).

I'm back on Monday with a giveaway for this dress!!!!!!!!!!! As well as the brown spotted shirt from a previous post... so don't forget to check back!

Sorry my blog posting has been a bit slow recently - I've been settling in at uni and have barely been on the internet!

Sadie xxx