Liebster Award Nominations

I had a very sweet surprise yesterday when I found out that the lovely Kat of Murder of Goths had nominated me for a Liebster Award. It's a really cute idea - it's bloggers nominating other bloggers, with the idea being that it introduces their readers to some new material to browse through.

In return, you are meant to then nominate three other blogs who you follow, and give them a list of questions to answer. I've chosen to nominate three of my favourite people (as well as blogs), Claire from A Monkey Fatshionista, Miranda from Black Chick Tit Cancer and my darling Lord Dicely from Confessions of a Gentleman Gamer.

1. A Monkey Fatshionista - amonkeyfatshionista.co.uk

Before I started to use my blog to talk about fashion, it was mostly a scrap book for my photography work. I still followed a few bloggers, and Claire was one of the first who really caught my eye as she always looks so well put together in every single photo. I love her style, her accessories and she always looks effortlessly cool - something which I really struggle to pull off when I'm trying to be casual. I was so happy when I got to meet her whilst shooting the first Plus London event, and over the last few years we've gone from being fashion-friends to boardgame playing babes and she is often the first person I'll send a message to when in search of outfit advice.

2. Black Chick Tit Cancer - mizzilla.wordpress.com

I've known Miranda for almost half my life now, and as you can probably guess from the blog's title, this last year has been a difficult one. Her blog is inspirational, and a helpful read for anyone dealing with breast cancer, or with friends or family affected by it as it is a real, raw and powerful journey through a fight which thankfully she is winning. (Sidenote, we shot some epic photos together a few months ago which you can see here.)

3. Confessions of a Gentleman Gamer - lorddicely.blogspot.co.uk

Lord Dicely (aka Howard) is responsible for getting me hooked on boardgames. With his super hero power being trying to save the world from the drudgery of Monopoly, his blog is witty, insightful and accessible for anyone who is dipping their toes into the world of the games for the first time. He is also owner of the most enviable hair, which deserves a separate blog all of it's own, but that's another blog post right there.

The Rules:
- Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you.
- Answer the 11 questions that they have asked you.
- Nominate bloggers who have a following of <200 on Bloglovin’
- Ask them 11 questions.
- Notify the nominees.

1. What has been your favourite discovery since you started writing your blog?
2. What are you currently reading?
3. What is your favourite boardgame?
4. What is your favourite movie quote?
5. What made you decide to start blogging?
6. How do you pick yourself up after a difficult day?
7. What's your cocktail of choice?
8. Who inspires you?
9. What's your getting ready to go out song?
10. Favourite place to visit?
11. Favourite London hideaway?

And now for the questions given to me by Kat.

1. Why did you start your blog?
My blog initially started out as a scrap book for my photography work. I'd use it as a place for out-takes and magazine editorials, and something of a diary for what I was up to creatively. I'm not quite sure when the balance shifted in favour of fashion content, but I think I missed writing about sartorial trends and vintage lifestyle pieces so it all just kind of meshed together into one thing.

2. Best piece of advice you’ve heard for bloggers?

Always be yourself. It sounds so obvious, but it's much more fun being an individual than trying to shape yourself to be someone else. Also good lighting is your friend. It doesn't have to be studio lighting - natural daylight is beautiful to shoot it, even when streaming through a window. 

3. Who is your favourite female role model?
This is so hard, as there are so many of them. I would probably have to say Diane Arbus or Cindy Sherman as they are undoubtedly two key female photographers who broke boundaries with their work.

4. Favourite item of clothing?
This depends on my mood, but I love anything which nips in at the waist. This lace collar 60s number is probably up there quite high, but I am also a massive sucker for swing and tea dresses.

5. Best decision of your life so far?
That first date with Lord Dicely.

6. What would your perfect day be like?
It'd start with tea and pancakes at home with a morning spent at one of London's museums followed by a cheeky afternoon matinee at The Prince Charles Cinema. Dinner would be pieced together from items found at Borough Market, or skipped over in favour of cocktails. Or ignore the whole thing and spend the day holed up in a cute cafe with lots of cake, Earl Grey and boardgames.

7. What are you most proud of?
I still feel that getting my first magazine cover published before 30 is up there. I'm just about to start work on my second solo exhibition and it's different to anything I've done previously so I'm feeling pretty good about how the concept has changed and grown to where it is.

8. Most embarrassing fashion choices in your past?
Oh my goodness, there are SO many to choose from. I am so glad that there are very few photos of me as a teenager, as I had the worst home-dyed streaks and lived in baggy t-shirts and oversized jeans. Even now I make the odd mistake here and there though - buttons flying off my dresses, things being more see-through than I'd imagined, that sort of thing. Thank goodness for good undergarments to save the day! 

9. Favourite plus size brand?
I really like mixing vintage with high-street pieces, with ASOS Curve and HM making up a huge part of my wardrobe. I love the affordable fast fashion of F&F too, who really took huge steps forward with their plus size line last year. Collectif also get a mention, because although they're not strictly a plus size brand, they do go up to a size 22 and have the most incredibly cuts for busty figures.

10. Your favourite hobby?
Am I allowed to say sleeping? No? Ok then. Howard has pulled me into his world of boardgames which I love, but I'm still a sucker for sneaking out to afternoon movie matinees or hiding in a cafe somewhere with a good book. I love to write as much as I enjoy taking photographs, so often have a project or two on the go with the intention of growing them into something more substantial.

11. What is your dream career?
I'm very fortunate that I get to do my dream career every day. Working as a freelance photographer has it's downside in terms of financial stability, but the creative freedom it brings is indescribable. I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life,  and love that I get to do something which directly makes other people feel pride and happiness with themselves.

Until next time,

(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos unless otherwise stated. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)


Some Like It Hot - The Beautiful "Caliente" Ruby & Silver Ring from Harry Fay

My taste in accessories has always been a little on the eclectic side, with a jewellery box filled with vintage treasures, perspex kitsch and sparkling gems. However one thing has always remained constant - I love anything which has a slight teardrop or marquise shape to it so instantly fell in love with the gorgeous ring collection from Harry Fay.

Very much a family business, each Harry Fay product is hand-crafted to the highest standards to ensure the perfect finish and sparkle. When asked if I would like to be sent an item, it was the Caliente silver ring which caught my eye. How cute is the heart shaped box which it arrived in?

The Caliente ring (£29) is a stunning sterling silver ring with a darling centrepiece ruby surrounded by two round cubic zirconias. To me it felt like an incredibly vintage inspired style, with the pink-red gem sparkling thanks to it's marquise cut.

Caliente is the Spanish word for hot, and it's certainly the perfect name for the flame coloured creation. The ruby measures approximately 6 x 12mm, and along with the four cubic zirconias and it's four claw setting, the ring is the perfect size for a classic styled sparkle.

In addition to the stunning range of engagement rings and wedding bands, Harry Fay also design and sell necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more. There is also a dapper collection of men's silver rings on the site, which go right up to a Z+3 size for the perfect fit.

Until next time,

(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos unless otherwise stated. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)


Smells Like Happiness - Beautiful Solid Perfumes from Gorilla Perfume at Lush

Many years ago, Lush had a glamour filled sister shop called "B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful". The store was cavernous, a vintage lover's dream, a treasure trove stocked with stunning cosmetics and a selection of intoxicating concoctions all sold in boudoir ready bottles.

Whilst working there in my youth, I began to discover the importance of "owning a scent".
Fragrance to me became a sort of DNA game, and it endlessly fascinated me how smells which made me swoon on one person could smell poisonous on another. It was like some sort of cosmetic alchemy, and felt finding the perfect match was like a magical high-five.

I soon had a whole range of fragrances which I would use to compliment my mood. If I was feeling a little sexy, I'd wear something rose based. A fragrance for everyday would probably have vanilla. If I was going out, maybe something jasmine based, with a fruity kick. I enjoyed exploring what worked on me and layering different perfumes with oil based face and body creams. I loved how as the hours passed, my scent would change and it never ceased to seem magical, like a Willy Wonka of perfumers.

I was so excited when Lush started to create new scents under the name Gorilla Perfume, and even more thrilled when they brought back some old favourites under "B-Sides and Rarities". I'm not going to lie, I'd love to see Cocktail and Ladyboy back on my dressing table, but I'm happy to have been introduced to some other beauties too.

Furze is my current go-to perfume for everyday use. It settles on my skin initially smelling of sun tan lotion, but in a lovely, happy, summer holiday kind of way. It's the coconut and vanilla working together to make you dream of sunny skies and sandy beaches, but it mellows quickly into something soft and floral based which can lift your mood swiftly.

I had wanted to expand my perfume choices, so opted to nab myself some solid perfumes which I've found to be a less expensive way of trying things out. They enable you to see how they settle on the skin over the course of a few hours without having to pay out for a whole bottle. I opted for Lust and Kerbside Violet which sounded to be at different ends of the fragrance spectrum.

Kerbside Violet was the first one I tried. What it's name lacked in beauty, the scent more than makes up with the wealth of notes hitting you throughout the day. On first contact, you are met with a very earthy scent. There is a definite smell of grass which feels like a refreshing Spring day, and then the violet creeps through subtlety, very much like the name suggests. It's sweet, but the grass undertones stop it from becoming overly twee. Whilst it's not one which I'd wear everyday, it's a great choice for when I want to feel strong and positive. It fades into a beautiful floral flourish which you will find yourself catching all day.

Lust was the other I tried, and I'd be lying if I said the tin wasn't a factor when it came to deciding whether to buy it or not. I'm a sucker for a pin-up, and it was just too cute to not be a handbag staple. When reading the ingredients list, it seemed to be my dream fragrance as it combined jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, vanilla and sandalwood. The combination of jasmine and rose ensured that the scent was going to be sexy and powerful, and it certainly didn't disappoint. However I love that it softens to a floral finish which still smells heady without the head-ache. It's intoxicating, but in a light, airy way which makes it wearable for all occasions whilst still remaining special.

Whilst Lust has probably become my go-to scent of choice,  I love that there are a whole range of combinations out there for people to explore and try. Fragrances cheap in ingredients can often be amongst the most expensive when created for mass market, and there is something so wonderful about wearing a scent which smells different to everyone else because of the quality of ingredients and your own body chemistry. The solid perfumes from Lush start at around £7 so they don't have to break the bank, and are a great way to explore what works for you and your chemistry. But be warned, once you try and fall in love with them, you'll never buy a drugstore fragrance ever again.

Until next time,

(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos unless otherwise stated. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)


This Just In - SB Edit for Simply Be

Hello lovely readers,

Sorry it's been a little quiet of late. Between deadlines and germs, I've either been an editing machine or a sleepy patient trying to get rid of the flu. I do have some news though - a few weeks ago, I wrote an article for the lovely people at Simply Be, having joined some wonderful blogging ladies as part of their team of SB Edit writers.

I'm happy to say that my first article is now up on their website, and you can read it here. It's all about finding the perfect dress to wear as a vintage loving wedding guest, so if you've got a diary filled with summer functions coming up, have a look.

Hopefully once I've fully got over these sniffles, I'll be back posting several times a week. I have lots of Spring beauty finds and season straddling outfits planned which I can't wait to share with you soon!

Until next time,

(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos unless otherwise stated. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)


Summer Dreaming - Spring Into SS15 with F&F and their Utilitarian Traveller

I love pouring over look books, but it takes something really special for one to stick out amongst a sea of PR prettiness. Yet the SS15 offering from F&F did just that when it fell into my inbox. With a mixture of stunning art direction and beautiful separates on show, their introduction of "Utilitarian Traveller" chic for Spring Summer 15 really raised the bar had me dreaming of the impending warm temperatures.

The collection which drops today is from the F&F main range, with most pieces going up to a UK22. There is an understated feel to the collection, with laid back silhouettes and loose fitting separates ready for exciting adventures with a classical style.

SS15 - (c) F&F.

SS15 - (c) F&F.

SS15 - (c) F&F.

SS15 - (c) F&F.

The lookbook was shot on location in the Nevada desert by fashion photographer Frederic Pinet. In it, we see a collection introduced which combines a utility feel with flowing 70s shapes. Long-line waistcoats and flared trousers mix with maxi dresses and trench coats for a series designed to be layered together. The colour palette consists of light and neutral hues contrasting with khaki and stone creating the ideal selection of mix-and-match separates. What we have with F&F's SS15 offering is the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe which also translates well for tough city living at the height of Summer.

The relaxed silhouette is key, but pieces such as the khaki-trench and loose fitting trousers are such classic shapes that they will go beyond seasonal trends to become key, classic wardrobe staples.

In addition to the look book images, we can also expect too see a take on the sports lux trend, with all-in-one shorts suits, smart joggers and neoprene shift dresses blurring the lines between office and gym wear. We'll also be seeing a futuristic 50s nod, with metallic tees, bomber jackets and tailored shorts all finished with a retro shape. Nautical Breton stripes and kitsch prints and polka dots will also make an appearance, once again putting forward an easy to wear selection which follow trends without dating.

(l-r) F&F Black Wedge Sandal £22, F&F White Crossover Sandal £10.
(l-r) F&F Black Flared Trouser £25, F&F Black Sheer Pleated Dress, F&F Black Utility Jumpsuit £28, F&F Long Black Waistcoat £22.

(l-r) F&F White Flared Trousers £25, F&F Longline Shirt £18, F&F White Flared Culotte £20, F&F Long White Waistcoat £22.

(l-r) F&F Navy Trim Kimono £18, F&F Khaki Trench Coat £38, F&F Safari Utility Parka £35.

It's almost impossible to pick my favourite item as I think many of them could easily be the basis of a killer capsule wardrobe. However my love for the F&F Khaki Trench Coat knows no bounds, and despite being a fairly modern style, it wouldn't feel out of place with my 1940s loving aesthetic. The F&F Black Sheer Pleated Dress is also stunning, and is the perfect holiday item to go from beach to bar as the summer sun dips. My final pick would be the versatile F&F Long Black Waistcoat. It's a piece which works well to compliment a smart pair of trousers, but would also fit over a  pair of denim cut-offs for a laid back 90s look.

With so many stunning pieces to choose from, which are your favourites?

Until next time,

(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos unless otherwise stated. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

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