7/16/2013

Date With The Night

Peggy Lee Dress from Vivien of Holloway, belt from ASOS Curve, Bolero by Yours Clothing, Bag is vintage, shoes from Primark and leggings from Simply Be.
Love has certainly been in the air this past week, and it was with a feeling of intense sappiness that I celebrated my second anniversary with Howard. 

Card doodles; clearly you can see why I'm a photographer and not an artist!



 We had spent hours on our very first date walking the streets of London in the sunshine, and somehow found our way to the courtyard of St Pauls Cathedral. It was there where we shared our first kiss, so we decided that it'd be nice to go back there with a picnic lunch in the sunshine after he'd finished work.
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This little guy clearly didn't believe that three was a crowd, and seemed quite determined to sit in my lap at one point.

Since we were in the middle of an incredibly busy week for both of us, we decided to take things easy. We ditched plans for the cinema in favour of a cosy evening of boardgames which was silly and cute - even if I lost!
Customised necklace from Bete Noire Jewellery back when it was Clutterfly, flower (just seen) from Pearls & Swine.

Peggy Lee Dress from Vivien of Holloway, belt from ASOS Curve, Bag is vintage, shoes from Primark and leggings from Simply Be.

The next loved up adventure was just outside of Wiltshire for a 50th Wedding Anniversary. Cue the most unforgiving car and train journey on my life which served up humidity, dehydration and the worst traffic ever seen on a motorway.

The journey was worth it though, with a beautiful day celebrating some beautiful people.
The happy couple! (A sneaky back of camera shot).
Another back of camera grab.
Sunday morning meeting.
Beautiful countryside views.
Stonehenge.
Stonehenge.
The payload when we finally made it home!
Until next time,
Diana. x

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7/13/2013

Asleep On A Sunbean

Photo taken by the lovely Sarah-May.
As we so frequently play weather roulette with the ever changeable British summertime, those days of blue skies and tall shadows are ones for fun times, not editing. It was with that spirit in mind that Howard, my wonderful boyfriend booked two tickets to the Idler Garden Party at Fenton House in Hampstead.

It was as if they'd designed it for the two of us. For Howard and his interest in martial arts, they had various displays of gentlemanly fighting techniques whilst I was very happy to learn how to Lindy-hop in the sunshine.

How to use a cane when crime fighting.
The martial arts techniques were genuinely useful with some female exhibitors bringing out the girl power. However it was definitely the gin and Lindy-hopping which stole my sunshine filled heart. Hendricks gin cocktails whilst sat under a shady tree definitely felt like the height of decadence.

Mmmmm.... gin.
For the event, I wore my ever trusty black Collectif swing dress as it's always the perfect choice for dancing funtimes. As I am whiter than milk, I teamed it with a straw hat from H&M which I'd brought for my Narrow Boating trip in the Springtime.

Because my head and hair are quite big, I tend to use hairgrips to keep it in one place. It's great as it means you don't have to worry when dancing, running or even when faced with a gust of wind.

My Sunday was also spent outside, but under very different circumstances. I would be the person shooting an Autumn editorial on the hottest day of the Summer!

Necklaces from Tatty Devine and Sugar and Vice amongst others.
Hello Kitty biscuits - the ultimate Photoshoot essential!
Although the day felt more like bronzed goddess, we were channelling Autumnal Queen with some stunning results. The images will be coming out later in the year, but here's a sneak peek of the colour scheme.
There were lots of rich reds, golds and Autumnal hues on set.
I bet you can't guess where on the body this was worn... it's not a tutu!

Until next time - have a great weekend!

Diana x

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7/10/2013

You Spin Me Right Round

Dress by Igigi. Details below.
On Monday I was lucky enough to be invited to a private view of the V&A's new Club To Catwalk Exhibition.Knowing the sort of fashion crowd I was going to be walking with, I went through the biggest amount of wardrobe angst of my life before deciding to wear my beautiful green Igigi dress which had been given to me by a wonderful friend.

My wonderful dates for the evening - Howard and Lana.
I certainly made the right choice - I have never received so many compliments before, and felt confident that I really held my own in the style stakes. It was just as well as my dates (my wonderful boyfriend Howard and 80s icon Al Pillay) looked incredible and we met a long list of interesting people including Nick Rhodes, Pam Hog, Steve Strange, Zandra Rhodes, Sue Tilly, Toyah Wilcox and Patrick Cox. I was also lucky enough to chat at length with bespoke tailor extraordinaire, Mark Powell - a fascinating and dapper chap, and someone who has had suits commissioned by the likes of David Bowie.






The exhibition itself is brilliant, and I cannot wait to run back for a second look to fully take it in. It explores the creative and artistic looks from one of fashion's most experimental periods, with pieces from the likes of Betty Jackson, Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and more. It traces the thread between London's Blitz Kids from the club scene, and how they influenced the designers of the decade. It also seeks to celebrate the likes of Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery with specific segments for New Romantic, Goth, High Camp and Rave as well as enabling the viewer to step back into Blitz in the form of a dark room with pumping music and multiple screens showing footage from "back in the day".

Patrick Cox and Al Pillay.
Steve Strange with Al Pillay.
Toyah Wilcox and Al Pillay.
Myself, Al Pillay, Howard and Nadia in the V&A's #clubtocatwalk Twitter "Photobooth".
So what does a girl wear when her vintage wardrobe doesn't stretch to the 80s? It was time to pull out the corset and up the glamour factor as much as possible. The weather was against me as London is currently amidst a scorching heatwave but none the less, I donned a corset and heavy dress all in the name of fashion.

Dress by Igigi, bag by ASOS, belt from a vintage thrift store.
Roses in hair by Pearls and Swine, Emerald Parakeet Necklace by Tatty Devine, Black pointy ring by Tatty Devine, Crystal Kitty ring is a gift and the red and silver teardrop ring is from a vintage thrift shop in Brighton.
Because it was so hot, I kept my hair and make-up simple. Loose waves, gold eyes and red lips complimented the green of the dress and although I felt a little Christmassy, it worked in the setting of the exhibition and grounds. Underneath the dress I wore a Gok Wan Banger Booster Bra from Simply Be along with a corset from Neve Lingerie. As the dress had a very prominent high split to the side, I gave a nod to the 80s with my Black Fishnet Lace Top Hold Ups from Yours Clothing.

I had such an amazing evening, and cannot wait to pop back and see the exhibition again. It's one to spend time on to truly appreciate just how incredible the outfits are.

Club to Catwalk runs until 16th February, and you can find out all the information for it here.

7/08/2013

One Way Or Another.

I wrote this post a few days ago, and it's left sat in my drafts folder as I'm not usually one to put my private life into the public domain. However I am incredibly aware of how difficult it is to be taken seriously by health professionals, and what a difference having a good or bad GP can make. I hae decided to publish it in the hope that this will help someone else, and encourage whoever is reading this to push their doctor for answers and question their opinions if you feel they are wrong. D x

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I am 31 years old and have been overweight since my mid-teens. As a fun loving and active child, it snuck up on me. I'd never been skinny thanks to my larger frame and swimmers shoulders, but twice weekly dance lessons and a love of long walks with my dad ensured I was healthy and fit. Yet something with my body wasn't right, and aged 15 my weight was quickly sneaking up on me.

I'd turned from a happy child into a self-conscious teenager, and the weight gain was something I really struggled with. I had been following a vegetarian diet since the age of 12 and had no clue as to what was happening with my body. Hormones. Puppy fat. Women's troubles. These were all reasons thrown at me as to what could be going on so I continued to be careful with what I ate and waited for things to go back to normal. Eat less, exercise more, lose weight. It's meant to be that simple, right? Except for some reason, it just wasn't working for me.

The breaking point for me came when my mother asked in the least tactful way possible if I could be pregnant. As someone who hadn't even had a proper boyfriend yet, it completely broke my heart. I stopped going to my dance lessons as I didn't want to be seen in the form fitting practice clothing and promptly found my self confidence dipping. I had dry, flaky skin on my face and body which was being laughed out by my teenaged oily spot-prone patches. I felt an utter mess, both inside and out.

My periods started to be incredibly erratic and it was this which alerted me that there was an underlying issue. After going to see my doctor, his response was to tell me that my periods were playing up because of my weight gain, and to just eat less. No blood tests, no further questions, not a care given.

I felt completely alone and helpless to stop the weight gain so embarked on a war against my body with the intention of clawing back control. What it mean in reality was years of abuse; starvation, severe food issues and self inflicted mental anguish. I constantly found myself defining myself by the numbers on the scale or the size of my clothes. Even how I looked at my creative work was shadowed by how I felt by myself. If I was having a "bad day", my best work suddenly became pointless.

This self-abuse went on for years. I went to diet clinics where I purchased "vitamins and medication" which were effectively legal speed. Despite having researched the danger of taking them, the key one being heart valve failure, I still decided the danger outweighed my current situation and would take them before going to the gym. Looking back, I want to scream at myself for being so stupid, but I was utterly desperate to change the situation as I had no answers for what was going on. It's interesting to note that many people who suffer from PCOS also have tendencies towards bulimia as they frequently experience carbohydrate cravings. This was definitely true for me, and although it didn't help with weight loss, I'd convinced myself that I was somehow helping. The truth was I was giving my body even more of a reason to rebel against me, and I am sure has set my current situation back even further.

Moving forward to now as a 31 year old, I have recently found out some of the answers. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, subclinical hypothyroidism and glucose deficiency disease are the underlying causes for why my body piles on the pounds and refuses to shift them.  But the diagnosis wasn't easy to come by. Having moved to North London with my wonderful boyfriend, I struck gold at my local GP with a young, female doctor who listened to what I said. Many ultrasounds and blood tests later, we were getting somewhere.

Despite the tests on my blood coming back mostly normal or borderline, she allowed me to go on a course of pills called Levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone and is typically used to treat hypothyroidism. Although it didn't produce any weight changes, within days my dry skin which has been a huge issue for me for my entire life vanished. It's not perfect, but bar the skin on my shins, it's normal. For the first time in my life, foundation doesn't make me look like I'm hiding lizard skin underneath and I don't wake up in the morning looking like I've fell asleep face down in a bag of desiccated coconut. It hadn't even occurred to me that my painfully dry skin and weight issue could be related but since all my underlying problems are triggered by hormones, it now makes complete sense.

I felt like I was finally getting somewhere and there was an actual chance that I could get things under control. I know that my natural body shape is curvy and I am absolutely fine with that, but I wanted to look curvy AND healthy. I wanted to be able to enjoy food without fear, I wanted to be able to exercise for fun not for torture. I wanted to be able to spend hot Summer days in sun dresses without feeling the need to layer them with cardigans and leggings as if we're at the start of Autumn. I finally felt like I had someone who was going to get things done; and then she dropped the bombshell that she was leaving my doctors surgery to move to working in a hospital.

Upon meeting my new doctor, it was as if the previous six months of tests and research hadn't happened. I was immediately quizzed about my eating and exercise habits and referred to a dietitian. I was made so miserable by how the situation had turned that I had pretty much given up. I was very honest with him and told him how I was feeling, and to my surprise he started to listen a little more than he had been previously.

After another round of blood tests, the doctor prescribed some medication called Metformin. The pills are usually used to treat type 2 diabetes, but since PCOS is frequently associated with insulin resistance, he decided that it might be the way forward. He also believed that it might help aid a regular cycle, but this has yet to be seen. In fact I've not noticed any difference other than that I feel exhausted and fuzzy much of the time and my eyes keep getting very dry when I'm editing.

And so we come to my appointment on Wednesday. Perhaps the only good thing about my second doctor was that he was keen to make me someone elses problem as soon as possible. So to the Royal Free I went to meet with a consultant who has spent most of her professional career researching and writing papers about PCOS. It was both fascinating and terrifying; she said a lot of things I'd heard before and a lot of things I haven't. The crux of it was that I could starve myself forever and nothing would change - this wasn't my fault, and it wasn't a fight I could win by myself. Diet and exercise help, but ultimately there needs to be some sort of medication based intervention, perhaps even surgery. And that is why for half my life I have been fighting against my body and not able to understand what I was doing that was wrong. The only suggestion was that I make my vegetarian diet a low GI one, so this is what I am going to try next.

It is important for me to say that there is no intention to "fat-shame" with this post. As a photographer, I've come to adore all bodies of different shapes and sizes and have previously found myself completely humbled by people have who contacted me to say that my work has helped them to make them feel better about themselves. I regularly shoot ladies with curves, and love it. But this is a personal journey for me, and a desire to feel comfortable in my own skin. I know I've never going to be smaller than a size 14 - my hourglass shape with it's hips and boobs will make sure of that. This is about me feeling healthy and happy, not sluggish and despondent.

It's very rare that I talk about personal issues with anyone other than those closest to me, but I decided to write this in case the symptoms and issues resonated with anyone else. If you're trying to lose weight but struggle despite doing all the right things, chances are there is an underlying issue. The type of doctor you have will definitely affect your course of treatment - don't be afraid to question them and push for other tests and treatments to see what they say. It has literally taken me half my life and a lot of heartache to get to this point, and I still feel like I am just at the beginning. My next appointment with the consultant is in October, so I guess we will see where we go from there.

7/01/2013

Rip It Up

Flowers from Pearls & Swine. Necklace from Primark. Cardigan from the main range at New Look. Belt, vintage. Vest and leggings from Simply Be. Glitter Jelly Shoes from eBay. Grey Skater Skirt and black handbag from the ASOS Curve sale here and here.Whiskey Kitten tote bag is a one-off design.
Whenever the Whiskey Kitten Saturday rocks up, my day seems to fall into a similar routine. It tends to be a day of preparation of both the musical and personal variety, with lots of 50s rock and roll being played to get into the mood.

Gems like this are always on hand, as there's no mood a little Buddy Holly or Little Richard can't fix.


My outfits for Whiskey Kittens vary wildly - sometimes I'll be found in 50s swing dresses and petticoats, other times it'll be a simple tea dress dressed up with some vintage shoes. Either way, I try to keep a vintage aesthetic with a mixture of high street and vintage finds.

The first thing I always do is prepare my hair. Once it's washed and mostly air-dried, I wrap the front section around a cut doughnut and pin it in place to create a faux Bettie bang. I then proceed to pin-curl the rest of my hair with just a little mousse in it to help. Next I spritz with hairspray and then place a hairnet and scarf over it so that I can leave the house without looking too crazy.

Definitely not crazy.
From then, I ensure I have everything I need for the night sorted and packed (I normally burn about 9 hours worth of music to play from) and tidy up eyebrows and nails just to feel a little more polished. I always feel like I need to dress up as although I am not in any way a performer, people are always watching what we're doing. I try to make as much of an effort as possible so that my aesthetic fits in with what we're playing.


Because we are experiencing what some suggest to be Summer, I found that I needed to dress a little differently to what I would have liked. It gets very hot where we DJ, especially with a packed dance floor and a hundred bodies next to us so I decided to go on the side of caution and dressed as lightly as possible. The end result was a little 50s meets 80s and I felt like Rizzo from Grease, having time travelled to kick Marty McFly's ass. I quite enjoyed it! The ASOS Curve skirt still enabled me to feel 50s flirty when dancing so I didn't miss my swing dresses as much as I thought I would.

Rock and Roll accessories #1 - Bowie ring from the current V&A exhibition.

My trusty mirrored teardrop ring by Tatty Devine - perfect for checking your lipstick.


I often get asked about what make-up I use, and to be quite honest, it's a real mixed bag. My foundation is Mineralize Foundation by MAC in NW15, their palest pink based shade. My WK Lips are by Dainty Doll in Couture which I always apply over a red lipliner which fills in my entire lip.My eyebrows are combed with an old mascara wand and I then use a dark brown Barry M eyeshadow over them to ensure that they are even. Then for the eyes themselves, I have used colours from the MAC Wonderwoman Eye Palette which is a set of four lilac to burgundy shades. It's lined on top with Bourjois' Intuitive Liner and a Barry M white eyeliner along the waterline (it works as a great brightener for tired eyes!). It's finished off with MAC False Eyelash Mascara which gives my real lashes more of an impact and balances out the black liner. As a final touch, I've run a line of white eyeshadow from the Bourjois Illuminating range across my cheekbones as a highlighter. I never bother with blusher in the Summer as with my pale skin having naturally red cheeks, they tend to show through after a while. The highlighter still gives my face the definition it needs, and catches nicely under the lights in the club. I've also used a small amount of white eyeliner following the V of the top-lip underneath the philtrum - again, it catches the light and somehow lifts everything.

The night is always a lot of fun, and as ever as we arrived home to the tune of early morning birdsong and 4am cheese on toast cravings.

Until next time,
Diana x

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