Smells Like Teen Spirit - 90s Vibes From H&M

When I saw this top in Camden's dedicated Divided by H&M store, it was as if I were seeing my teenage years illustrated right before my eyes. I found myself holding onto it, wandering around the store with it, "just to see". I totally wasn't going to buy it.  That was stupid. Stupid. I'm 34 years old with a wardrobe filled with frou frou vintage and photo studio practical. But I held onto it. Clutched it to my beating heart, and then put it back on the rail and sadly walked out.

That was, I walked out for all of 20 minutes. I meet Lord Dicely for a coffee, and began to describe the sweater to him. The cat prints. The heart shaped rain drops. How it was as if someone had mapped my teenage brain and sent it off to some clever illustrator to interpret. "Why don't you go back and get it?" came his simple question. Why not indeed? What was it that was stopping me? Was it just TOO awesome?

Trying something different is more often than not a good thing. I don't think I'd realised that I had a sweater hang-up - apparently this is a thing in my brain. I loved the print, loved the fabric, but just figured with my boobs and hips, it'd look stupid and frumpy. I picked up a size L rather than an XL to make it tighter, and in the changing room, found that it seemed to hit in all right places. Most surprising were the cuffs which are weirdly an on-going problem for me with cardigans and jumpers. And do you know what? I freakin' loved it! Best ugly 90s print sweater ever!

Whilst it's never going to be a part of my a-game wardrobe, it's something cute, fun and comfy for those off duty days hanging out on the sofa. I teamed it here with a pair of trusty ASOS jeans, and a cute necklace from Little Gnashers, and over the past few weeks, it's done a great job keeping me warm and masquerading as a cute pyjama top at London's coldest. I think it would have gone into the "What if?" shopping basket in consumer heaven had my boyfriend not told me in a nice way to stop being stupid. And I'm so glad it didn't - sometimes a garment, cute or not just makes you happy, and surely that is reason enough to say yes if you can.

Until next time,

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


Chick Flicks - Alternative Horror Movies With An Easter Theme

I love Easter. Any holiday which offers up a four day weekend and an excuse to exist on chocolate and hot cross buns is pretty flippin' amazing. It's also a wonderful time to get together with family for food, fun and frivolity - or in our case, lots of boardgames, country walks and tea drinking! Marathon movie watching is something else all too easy to do with several days stretched out for relaxing, but sometimes you want to step away from the saccharine, and find something a little less sweet. With that in mind, I've got some Easter movie suggestions which are more frightful than fluffy, so pull your pillows close, and your chocolate stash closer!

Whether watching on a laptop or a Viera 4K TV, the enjoyment brought on by a day of cinematic fun knows no bounds. First up on the list is something which is child friendly - an 80s offering called Bunnicula The Vampire Rabbit. Whilst technically a show rather than a movie, I thought it worth mentioning in case you wanted younger eyes to get in on the spooky fun.

If you're looking for something which has a more horror or B-movie tone, then you're in luck as the Easter Bunny has been immortalised as a hare-raising killer time and time again. The Night Before Easter (2014) is one example, telling the tale of an axe-wielding killer chasing a group of friends around a storage facility. Made on a shoe-string budget, it's a typical slasher which somehow commands a menacing performance from a dude in a rabbit costume. Equal parts silly and scary, think Scream with bunny ears and you're part wear there.

If you're looking for something which has more gravitas to it, Donnie Darko (2001) with the pivotal character of Frank The Rabbit might be more your speed. Presented as a villain in his terrifying mask, the dark and complex story of time travel revolves around the long eared anti-hero.

Kottentail (2007) and Easter Sunday (2014) are also getting honorary mentions for anyone who's looking to put together a full day of bunny based horror. All you really need to know is that their respective tag lines are "He's hopping mad" and "The hunt is on!"

If you do decide to watch any of them over the bank holiday weekend, please let me know what you think in the comments! And whatever your plans, I do hope they involve lots of fun, and lots of chocolate.

Until next time,

Diana xx

*Please note that this is a collaborative post, but all opinions are my own.

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A Match(stick) Made In Heaven - Cute Prints From Modcloth

Gosh, it was so long ago that I took these photos, I can't believe they're only now just going up on the blog! Even my hair is a different colour! This beautiful dress from online American retailer Modcloth was a surprise Christmas present from my wonderful friend, Chattermonkey. We both share a love of all things mustard-yellow, so I pretty much squeaked with happiness when tearing off the paper come Christmas day.

The dress is one of those easy to wear numbers - cute, comfy and easy to co-ordinate, the holy trinity of all fashion purchases. Print aside, I absolutely love that it has pockets. I will never understand why more items of clothing don't come with places to store stuff, so was utterly thrilled to find somewhere to keep my hands, my SD cards and occasionally, a packet of Jelly Belly jelly beans. I'm not even joking...

Because I love dinosaurs as much as I love mustard hues, I teamed the dress with a Tea-Rex necklace from Cherryloco Jewellery via Etsy. I'd brought this months ago as a birthday present to myself, and need to wear it more frequently for sure. It combines my adoration of both tea and dinosaurs so perfectly, and has proven to be a real conversation starter.

Seeing these photos have made me really miss the dark pink hair. At the moment, the ends are more of a bubblegum pastel pink, and I was contemplating going a much darker purple next, But this has made me reconsider. I'm so indecisive with my hair which is why I love using semi-permanent shades which fade out with ease, and have no idea where to go next. Currently I have a stock of blues, greens and purples, but maybe I'll plump for pink just one more time... Who knows, with hair colour maths a real thing when mixing current shades with new shades, it could end up as anything!

Until next time,

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


Girls On Film - What's In Your Camera Bag?

When I empty out my handbag, I'm much more likely to see discarded film canisters and pieces of lens tissue tumble out than I am lost lipstick tubes and old receipts. With a huge collection of vintage camera bags moonlighting as regular carry alls, their cavernous segments are perfect for hiding and holding all of my everyday junk.

For a vintage loving, self confessed photo geek, those slightly battered, hard cased cases from the 60s and 70s are the stuff of dreams. If you shop smart, they needn't cost a fortune and are perfect whether you're using a compact such as the Lumix Super Zoom cameras or a SLR camera with a range of lenses.


Living La Vida Freelance - Adventures In An Ever Changing Office

We've all witnessed the freelance faux dream. It's less about the work, and more about the Instagram worthy coffee art ran through several editing apps. I should know, I'm just as guilty as everyone else when using the #freelancelife hashtag on social media. Who wouldn't want to trade a regular, rent covering income for the freedom to do their morning (caffeine) run in the middle of the afternoon? 

That said, I do love working as a freelance photographer. I feel lucky that I get to do what I love everyday, and enjoy the flexibility it offers. Occasionally that does include things like choosing which bill to ignore, but on the whole it's a very positive experience and my office can be wherever I plug in my laptop.

Coffee shops are wonderful, but they can easily become an expensive habit. I much prefer working from Sweatpant Central, where I can roll out of bed at 7am and be staring at my email, in my pjs, with a cup of tea by 7.15.
It can get a little lonely though, and perhaps more critical, it's very easy to get lost in a cute-article-click-hole. There are two websites which have helped to overcome these issues and made me a much more productive person in the long term. The first is called Coffitivity, a site which generates the gentle, ambient noise of a coffee shop. It doesn't distract me in the same way that music does, but manages to make me feel less alone. The second is a game changing Chrome extension called StayFocusd. It blocks all websites other than those you tell it not to, so when I'm really swamped, I use it's "nuclear" option to bar everything other than my email and calender for a set amount of time. 

Your tools for working are also key, especially when dealing with large files for editing. The XPS range of laptops from Dell are a freelancer's dream, with a large, high-resolution screen and Adobe RGB profile being brilliant. In addition to being portable, they also have clever back-lit keys which are perfect when working late into the night.

What are your top tips for being productive? I need all the help I can get, so tell me in the comments!

Until next time,

Diana xx

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* This post has been possible thanks to Dell, but all thoughts are my own.
All images (c) Dell.


Pattern Recognition - Monochrome Dressing with H&M

It's so great when you find a dress which fits your shape and makes you feel fantastic. I'm always so worried about things being tight across my chest, so loved the stretch in this monochrome jersey dress from H&M - an item which I know already is going to be a staple as we wade through this transitional "spring weather".

At £24.99, I initially felt like it was an expensive purchase for a jersey dress and was pretty sure it'd go straight back. The second I tried it on though, it was love at first sight with the fabric and cut of it being spot on. The bell shaped skirt and wider neckline made the dress feel like the big sister of the skater dress, with the black and white print so easy to throw accessories at.

I initially teamed with it leggings from H&M+ and a pair of fabric plimsolls which are sadly no longer available online. However with the weather how it is at the moment, I've found myself wearing it with black tights, ankle boots and a black cardigan a whole lot. It's one of those feel good without thinking too much outfits, which is worth the price tag in itself! If I have an early start, I can just throw it on and not have to worry.

I think when a brand offers a plus size collection, it's very easy to forget that their main line exists but a large part of my wardrobe consists of items in X and XL from H&M. If you're a size 20, 22 or even a 24 with stretch fabrics, it's definitely work checking them out from time. Often they will have gems in their main and basics line such as this, with their cardigans and leggings washing really well.

The dress is currently available here, and the leggings here.

Until next time,

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


Walking On Sunshine - Bright Yellow Prints with Simply Be

This Cutie Spot Print Retro Dress from Simply Be is pretty much all the elements of my dream dress in a nutshell. Yellow, spotty and with an adorable Peter Pan collar, I was so excited when I managed to snag it from a Facebook selling group after missing it in my size when it first launched.

I was a little nervous that it might be too tight across my chest as I tend to size up on high necked styles. But the elasticated waist ensured the fit was generous, and I teamed it with some simple leggings and comfy shoes for the perfect outfit fit for weekend adventure.

Cardigan: George at Asda
Dress: Simply Be
Leggings: F&F
Plimsolls: H&M

The hair is just hair sprayed pin-curls which haven't been brushed out for something different. It's so strange seeing myself with hair that short! And the details for the make-up are all in the below Instagram post.

Until next time,

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


The Sun Is Shining, The Weather Is Sweet - SS16 from F&F

Back in December, I popped along to the F&F SS16 preview and ever since have been impatiently waiting for it to drop. Filled with beautiful nautical nods, 70s florals and a strong 90s grunge aesthetic, we have just a week to go until it hits stores and website on 14th March.

Filled with attitude, SS16 from F&F is all about strong silhouettes and sleek lines. Floaty stripes offer an updated feel to the much loved nautical trends, whilst the cut-out jumpsuit is holiday perfection.

These promo editorial shots will give you a feel for the key items from the collection, but click here to see a more extensive peek including stunning ditsy florals and the mustard biker of dreams.

F&F Denim Shirt £14, Culottes £18.

F&F Gypsy Blouse £14, Stripe Short £14.

F&F Pink Floral Top £16, Skirt £20.

F&F Pink Jacket £25, Trouser £18.

F&F Pleat Top £12, Pleat Trouser £16.

F&F Stripe Jacket £25, Trouser £18.

F&F Stripe Roll Neck £14, Grey Trouser £18.

F&F Stripe Top £12, Flared Skirt £16.

F&F White Jumpsuit £28.
Some of the pre-spring seasonal stuff has dropped, so if you're having post payday itchy fingers, there's a whole plethora of spring ready swoon inducing items already available.

(l-r) F&F Striped Tie Waist Dress (£20), F&F Ditsy Floral Print Pocket Dress (£16), F&F Mixed Print Dress (£18).
What are your favourites? The 70s nod of the mixed print dress is adorable, but at the moment, I seem to be all about the stripes and florals.

Until next time,

(All photos (c) F&F.)


Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - Adaptable Clothing From Hipknoties

When I first watched the video for Hipknoties, I was in awe of how one simple tube of fabric could be utilised in so many ways. This is the product to end all holiday packing misery, with the garment's ability to morph from a scarf, to a bolero, to a dress with just a few simple twists and ties.

Available in three lengths, you are in theory able to get a whopping 30 styles out of the one item. Holding it up in front of me, I began to feel a little dubious but once I got past the initial styling intimidation, found myself creating lots of different options with ease.

(c) Hipknoties.
Hipknoties were kind enough to send me the Midi Multi Way Wrap Dress in berry red to see what I could to. It comes complete with a pack of transparent elastic ties which are what securely hold your knots and tucks in place.

It's such a simple. but brilliant concept. I've never known a garment which can keep my arms cool in spring, serve as a summer sun beach cover-up, keep my hair dry in the autumn and keep the chill off my neck come winter.

Have a look at the video below to get some ideas of just how far you can take the simple tube of fabric. It's such a clever idea, and I can't wait to spend some more time trying out some of the other styles.

The "dresses" come in a range of lengths and are all one size suitable for petite to plus. Because of the amount of fabric available to gather once wearing, not all styles may be possible on every body shape. However, whether you're a size 8 or 28, there will be many options available for you to experiment with.

Until next time,

Diana xx

(* Dress was kindly sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.)

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

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