CrossEyes Camden

A while back you may remember me blogging about an eyewear company called CrossEyes. Well a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of their newest store in Camden and it’s safe to say I certainly was not disappointed.

As someone who struggles with eyesight, I’ve supported CrossEyes from the beginning and their concept is rather admirable. The prices are set so what you see is what you get and you won’t be sold add ons or additional costs which, as a student, is a major thing for me. All the designs are unique and they change around every month or so, so there’s always something new and interesting. What I find great about this company is their honesty and independence. The staff are incredibly helpful and know their stuff and everything is made in house, even the furniture you see in the stores.

You’ll be sure to find a style to suit you. From quirky wooden frames to the brand new Nordic Collection which features some of the lightest frames you’ll ever try on, there will be something that reflects your style and personality. There will only be one of each frame in each of the stores, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t rock up to a house party and see someone with the same glasses as you. I also love the fact that all the frames are displayed on individual shelves rather than having about 50 pairs of glasses in one row. You are able to see them so much clearer, which makes the overall shopping experience a rather pleasurable one.

I’ve got my appointment tomorrow and after five years of wearing contact lenses every day for almost 12 hours per day, I’m very excited to start wearing glasses again. I know I’m going to be well looked after at CrossEyes and I think my eyes deserve some pretty cool specs to guide them through life!

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Things You Might Not Know About Me

So I’ve been nominated by the lovely RowBow to answer 11 questions about myself. Some of you may already know the answers but some of them might surprise you (probably not though, I’m pretty predictable) but there you go! Thought it was about time I did a fun post for a change!

Do you see your blog as a hobby or a job?

Definitely a hobby. I only post when I’ve done work I’m proud of or if I feel I have something to say. I’ve done pointless posts in the past and I’ve stopped doing that now. My blog is a platform for me to speak my mind and it’s a way for people to access my thoughts.

What is your favourite part of the blog posting process?

Just being able to say what I think. It’s so lovely and amazing to come back home from university and see people from school out and have them ask what inspired my posts or tell me they read my blog. For me, there’s no bigger compliment than people who you think wouldn’t read it telling you they have and being interested in what you have to say.

What is one thing you hope to achieve by the end of 2015?

Doing well in my internships. I want to read more books. You can learn so much just by reading so I think that’s really important. And I want to get through my first term back at university with as little breakdowns as possible!

If you were to be the 6th Kardashian sister, what would you be called?

Hmmmmm, Kaya? I think that’s what Hayden Panettiere has called her daughter. I think it’s quite a pretty name!

What will your OBE (honour from the Queen for an achievement) be for?

Eating the most Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter’s in a day!

If you were to teach any skill or subject, what would it be and why?

I’d teach people how to play The Sims 2. I love that game, but since I got my Macbook I haven’t been able to play it. I’m contemplating buying it again but that might not be the best idea if I want to graduate from university next year!

How many lip products are currently in your handbag?

Waaaaay too many to count! I’m desperate to add Mac’s Velvet Teddy lipstick to my collection!

What are you saving up for at the moment?

I’m saving for when I graduate university. Really interesting I know, but living in London isn’t cheap!

Which Taylor Swift song describes your situation right now?

Oh gosh, so many! Probably Clean off the 1989 album. I feel like it’s all about moving on and ‘cleaning’ yourself of all your past drama and that’s where I’m kind of at in my life right now.

If you had a pet called Gertrude, what kind of animal would it be?

A zebra. Definitely a zebra.

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My Story

His comment was the single worst thing that anyone has ever said to my face. “You need to be more interesting.” Ok I have been hurt worse but not by much. Multiple questions rushed through my head: Does everyone think that about me? Will I ever get hired? Am I boring? How will I ever find a husband if I’m not interesting? Man, was I disheartened.

I quickly came to realise though, it’s all subjective.

In the arts world, interesting is visiting the latest exhibition or seeing the newest ballet to come to town. Don’t get me wrong, both of these activities can be gripping. But what if these aren’t the things that you find interesting? Does that seal your fate as the dullest of personalities? My sort of show? I’m more of a ‘Blood Brothers’ kind-of-girl. The brilliant Willy Russell’s painful story about twins who grow up leading completely separate lives, exploring the transition between youth and adulthood – now that’s interesting, but to some it’s too “mainstream.”

You see, when someone asks me what I find intriguing, I resist the urge to recite the plot line of Lucas and Peyton’s star-crossed love story from ‘One Tree Hill’, or explain my admiration for ‘The O.C’. and how my heart jumps when I hear the ‘California’ theme tune. And that’s when it hits me. What do I find interesting? Stories. Great stories. The ones that make you laugh, cry and take you on a journey with each of those characters so carefully crafted to intwine themselves into our emotions. In a story, you see someone else’s life through your own eyes. And then you see your own, through theirs. You find yourself, and identify with them. It may only be for that 40 minute show across 20 minutes of adverts, but I’m captivated. Completely. Entirely. I have escaped from my world. I’m free.

I suppose what I’m saying is there’s a hierarchal scale of “coolness” in the alternative secret society people refer to as “the arts”. Ballet and opera is at the top and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ is at the bottom. If I walked into an interview today and started ranting about my love for American TV dramas, they’d probably label me ‘couch potato’ and put a big red line through my name. But if I reeled off all of the names of the male swans in Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of Swan Lake, (drop dead gorgeous by the way), I’d suddenly pique their interest. To me, that’s just not fair. We should be allowed to like what we like and if I like stories, people should have to listen long enough to understand why. Like you have, thank you by the way.

It’s the same with music. There are some snobs out there. I’m a lover of country music. Sign me up for a long route-66-drive in a top-down convertible and throw on a bit of Dolly Parton or Blake Shelton, and I’m sorted. I see a truth in country music that I don’t see in anything else. I see the old man with his Gibson, writing about his epic love story. (I do go on about love stories but then again, who doesn’t?) To me that’s interesting. And it’s beautiful. But the amount of times people have laughed at me when I say ‘I like country music’ is too many to even count.

So what’s the solution? Honestly I don’t know and I don’t think anyone really does. I just needed to vent all of my feelings into words, in the hope of sparking the same outrage inside of anyone else who paid attention long enough. So thanks for helping me see it that way. I’m not going to change who I am to suit the interests of others, and neither should you.

Words by Natalie Walsh

Edited by Andrew Kirkham open_book_on_tabl_450

Orla Kiely SS15 Catwalk Review

As part of my university course this term I was asked to pick a fashion show from the SS15 collection to review in the style of style.com. After having received an Orla Kiely umbrella for Christmas, I chose her show as I admire her designs and am a huge fan of her work. I found this to be the most enjoyable project yet, and you can read my review below. Enjoy!

Orla Kiely Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Irish designer Orla Kiely gives us a taste of spring with her all grown up, flower power collection for SS15.

A white picket fence, huge bright flowers and lively colours. The familiar extravagance of Orla Kiely’s theatrics put us in a dream world where everything is perfect and fun. The quirky 60s based collection, inspired by films Le Bonheur and Daisies was bound to put smiles on faces all day. Kiely said, ‘our girl, no matter how grown up she is, always has that happy go lucky attitude.’

Although we come to expect light-hearted patterns, belted tea dresses and cigarette pants from Kiely, she offered a twist to the usual tale this year by lighting up the catwalk with a fluorescent pink jacket. The collection was relaxed yet extremely tidy, offering a classic yet youthful touch to the garments. Models all held a wooden daisy or wildflower and daintily placed them in the plant pots which were arranged along the catwalk, showing the growth of the garden. A pale pink pleated midi skirt with a jacquard daisy print was paired with a white crochet cropped t-shirt, creating a breath of fresh air around the room. A darker look then took a stroll around the Orla Kiely garden proving that serious and playful can harmonise into one collection. A black button down shirt with a peter pan collar which was lined with white daisies reflected the mood of the show. The darker tone of the fabric contrasting with the daisies mirrored the differences between childhood and adulthood. Teamed with monochrome shorts with a mustard floral print, the pieces stood out as the blossoming of the Kiely girl. In SS14 we saw the girl guides group together and get lost camping in matching blazer and short sets and cute berets. Although we witnessed polished and sophisticated young women in this most recent collection, Kiely was sure not to completely lose the fun and bright patterns that launched her career as a designer.

All of the shoes in the show were from her collaborative collection with Clarks and were bound to put a spring in those structured model steps. Most included a block heel, making tiptoeing through the tulips much easier. They all had a botanical element to them, whether it be a large plastic daisy attached to the front or small petal shapes cut into the material.

Amidst the action, Canadian artist Alia Penner painted child like flowers on a glass screen behind the models, flourishing the garden. Penner is no stranger to the fashion industry having previously designed sets for New York fashion week.

From little girl lost to flourishing young lady, Orla Kiely’s fourth season at London fashion week shows the growth and transformation of her designs shooting off from her pattern design roots. It really was a pretty petal paradise which challenged the serious world of fashion, exploring the idea that growing up doesn’t always mean packing up the lemonade stand.

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Image: http://uk.glam.com/files/2014/09/ORla-K.jpg

Words: Natalie Walsh

Shop and Style

As part of my university project this term, I was asked to come up with a trend for this season based on the A/W14 catwalks and create a shopping page. Of course, me being me, chose fairy tale fashion. I’m proud to say that my piece was awarded an A, and after tireless library sessions and endless caramel lattes, I’m very happy with my piece. We were asked to do the piece in the style of Vogue Scrapbook, and we had to provide a photo shoot which accompanied it. You can read the piece below and view the layouts just a little further down! Enjoy!

Once upon a time…

…in a land far away, catwalks charmed us with a romantic trend for winter 2014.

It’s the world of magical forests and divine ball gowns and this winter we all get to escape to a glittering utopia. References to childhood stories filled the catwalks for this season; meaning princess ensembles with excessive embellishments will occupy our expanding wardrobes.

Trees, foxes and medieval keys graced the Dolce and Gabbana catwalk. The hood of an alpaca and fox fur blend coat entwined itself into our hearts; its red hue offering a dynamic colour for the winter months. Red marks the tainted glow of Snow White’s apple evoking not only passion and romance but danger too. It’s a sinister reminder of the blood that poured from Sleeping Beauty’s finger and the crimson complexion of Red Riding Hood’s cape. Follow Dorothy down the yellow brick road in Dolce and Gabbana’s embellished ruby flushed Mary Jane heels or opt for a shade of scarlet with Roberto Cavalli’s fur stole to mask you from the spine-chilling wolf. Transfer the trend to the living room and spend your evenings reclining on an exquisite Versace sofa and infuse the air with Lily-Flame’s Fairy Dust scent. A perfect setting for those romantic nights.

Tilda Lindstam was Dolce and Gabbana’s image of a ‘damsel in distress’ in an amethyst chiffon dress including a lace-up waspie, cinching in her slender waist. Amidst the defiant shapes, ruching detail attracted eyes to the upper section the garment incorporating softness and elegance. Elie Saab and Ashish also embodied the whimsical trend, presenting dresses with oversized underskirts reminiscent of those worn by Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

McQueen offered a more sombre side to the innocent fairy tales, pairing white broderie anglais dresses with an eerie and uncanny setting. The pieces were of course very elaborate with Tudor collars and puffball sleeves transporting us back to a dated era. Pure white school girl socks peeped over the top of black military style boots, mixing a wonderland with the nightmares of the disequilibrium.

To explore the trend further, 19th century Russian painter and designer Elena Polenova is set to make a spark at the Watts Gallery with the exhibition A Russian Fairytale: The Art and Craft of Elena Polenova (18th November- 8th February). The artist’s rarely seen illustrations for children’s narratives including Father Frost will be unveiled to the public breathing life back into the old folk stories that dominated the catwalks. So take a right turn into an enchanted world this winter and you might just live happily ever after. NW

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Model: Chloe Porter

Styling and words : Natalie Walsh

Make up- Heloise Milburn

Photography: Phoebe Pittman

 

Back to School

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Dress: Primark

Shoes: Topshop

I’m back after taking a break from blogging these past couple of months. Now I’m back at uni and enjoying my second year here. So for my first post back I thought I’d transport you all back to your school girl days. I have a lot of love for tartan and all that it symbolises. It’s the notion of the naughty yet nice school girl. I’m thinking Clueless? I got this dress for an amazing £13 from Primark last year and it’s one of my winter staples. The shorter hemline gives it a little more edge than a typical school girl dress and you can add a dark twist to it by pairing it with deep red lips. The shoes are plain so they don’t take away from the dress. Overall a quirky look that you can have a lot of fun with. Be sure to tune in for the next winter post, I might even be smiling!

The Rome Diaries- Day 1

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Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Dress: Missguided
Shoes: New Look
Bag: Next

So on my most recent travels I visited the beautiful city of Rome, Italy. The culture and beauty of Rome is fascinating and it truly was a trip to remember. Whilst I was there I documented my outfits so here goes, day 1.

I started my journey at Manchester Airport, where I didn’t even have time to look at the Mac store in duty free (very disappointing). However I soon got over this and boarded the plane. It’s safe to say my lips were actually a pale shade of blue when I got off due to the plane being freezing. After shivering for two hours straight I was just happy to be in a warm place!

We got to our hotel and went for a walk. It was soon clear to me that there were many shops that needed my attention, so of course I did a spot of shopping. Don’t worry, I’m not completely addicted to shopping. I did look around the ruins, which I found very intriguing. It’s amazing to think how old some of those stones really are. If you ever go to Rome, the ruins are something you have to explore.

So for this jam packed and busy day, I chose to wear something comfy. There’s nothing worse than sitting on a plane for hours in something tight and unbearable. This simple t-shirt dress style was easy to move in and relaxed to walk around in. I felt the pattern somehow fit in with the Roman setting which is always a plus! Sunglasses are a must in the sun and I splashed out a bit this year to get some cat eye ones, which I’ve been after for a while. Again I chose function over fashion with my minimal white sandals which I wore all throughout the holiday! The only down side to this outfit is that it wasn’t very warm on that cold plane! My advice, take a jacket!

Stay tuned for day two of the Rome Diaries, coming soon!

Words by Natalie Walsh

 

Cocktail O’Clock

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Lipstick: Kate Moss for Rimmel 107
Denim Shirt: Stradivarius
Leather Mini: H&M
Bag: Next
Socks: Oasis
Shoes: Office

I know I look like a moody teenager in this picture but I promise I’m not like that! I’m very new to this blogging/standing in front of a camera thing! Anyway, this is an outfit that I wore out to Revolution Bar for cocktails with a friend of mine. I wanted to be casual so I chose to dress up a simple denim shirt with a leather mini and red lipstick. As you may already know, I’m not a heel fan so I put my faithful and comfy boots on and gave them that hint of femininity by adding some frilly socks. These ones are my favourite because the frills are crochet rather than lace so they sit better over my boots. You can’t actually see the bag I had but the pattern is leopard print which gave the outfit a spot of colour and spiced it up a bit. All in all it was a successful night with 2 for 1 cocktails (always a bonus)! I’m a sucker for comfort and red lips and this outfit just about sums that up nicely. Seriously guys, get to a Revolution Bar near you, the cocktails are to die for!

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Words by Natalie Walsh
Photography by Samantha Wells

My Little Black Heels

So I’m not the biggest fan of shoes. The whole process of buying them just stresses me out. They’re either too big, too small, too wide, too tight. Then I get annoyed and give up. But in a little local boutique called Flouncy Flouncy, I found my perfect pair of heels. I could have screamed with joy!

I don’t like to wear heels to be honest. But I knew I needed a nice pair of black court heels that will go well with any outfit (my mother kept telling me I needed to look more like a ‘lady’). My little black heels are by Moda in Pelle and I love them! They’re just the right height as I’m 5ft6 so I didn’t want anything too high. The heels are chunky so I won’t look like a penguin when I walk and the suede material is just a classic look. I truly believe you don’t need 10000 pairs of heels, but maybe I’m just a poor excuse for a girl!

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Different? Individual? We’ve Heard it all Before.

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Popular culture is exploding now more than ever. You can bet that there isn’t a single household in the UK that haven’t heard the name ‘Miley Cyrus.’ The word ‘different’ is fast losing its meaning in the world of fashion, with people taking styling choices presented to us by popular culture and simply copying them. So what exactly does being ‘different’ mean? And how can we express our individuality without reiterating what has already been done?

Take this as an example. You see a girl with two hair buns on each side of her head. You immediately think, ‘Wow, she looks cool, really individual!’ Not really because Miley did it at the VMAs and even before her Princess Leia from Star Wars was sporting the look. If you look at it this way, the hair buns are just as mainstream as Yorkshire Tea.

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Over the past ten or so years we’ve seen the word ‘vintage’ everywhere. In the words of Regina George ‘vintage, so adorable!’ And in the words of ‘Mackelmore it’s ‘f**king awesome.’ Vintage clothing is seen as a way to get something no one else has got at a cheap price. However now you can’t even go into town without seeing someone in tie die pants and a crazy embellished grandma sweater. If that’s your style then fair enough. You look great! It’s just not ‘different’ anymore because everyone is doing it.

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Through influences such as Rita Ora the word ‘hipster’ has also had a huge impact on mainstream fashion. Hanging around in that ‘Supreme’ top with the massive glasses? Again you probably look good, but not different. The Supreme logo is almost an exact replica of Barbra Kruger’s 1980’s statement artwork, for example the famous ‘I Shop, Therefore I Am’ piece. And as for the glasses, well, Deirdre Barlow was rocking those jam jar bottoms way before the teenage generation today were even born.

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After considering all of this we have to ask ourselves, does individuality even exist anymore? It’s a very cynical way of thinking, but it seems as though everything has already been done. Popular culture and the media have such a huge hold over our fashion conscious brains that it is as though we are being controlled. We’re just consumers. And we will keep on consuming.

Words by Natalie Walsh

Image credits:

Image 1- http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/ymusic-stop-the-presses/e4af9d84-c32b-49f3-8b26-2e3cf7a5a762_MileyCyrus_082613.jpg

Image 2- http://aprilpameticky.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/princess-leia.jpg

Image 3- http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkoqajxHBU1qjefcdo1_500.gif#regina%20george%20quotes

Image 4- http://www.lithiumandchips.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/deirdre_1450129c.jpg