Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Happy Feet

Reader, I bought them.

I went shopping for a hairclip and came home with a hairclip, underwear and my dream shoes. As soon as I saw the Dune shop in Southampton, and the 'Sale' posters plastered across the windows my heart started racing. Could it be...? Could my shoes really be there, the shoes I fell in love with weeks ago and vowed to one day possess...? Dune still hadn't emailed me so perhaps they had run out of stock full stop...? And then I saw them. Elbowing the other shoppers out of the way and sending shop assistants scattering I bee-lined towards the shelves, diving on the shoes and scooping them tightly into my arms. £24.50 in the sale.

They are just as beautiful as I remember, and every time I look down at my feet they make me giggle with happiness. I even have toe cleavage when I wear them, which makes them even more fabulous. I was right, I now have very happy feet. :)


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Domestic Goddess

Yesterday I made a cake so beautiful that I had to stand back and admire it for a while, revelling in my newfound role as Domestic Goddess. I was unashamedly proud.

I love baking. For me there is nothing quite so relaxing and with quite such satisfactory (read yummy) results. I take a disproportionate amount of pleasure from feeding people cake. If I ever had children I would be one of those mum's that spoils them rotten with freshly baked goodies. My kitchen cupboards would be filled with an array of tins and cookie cutters that would no doubt topple out every time I opened them. At school fetes my competitive streak would raise its ugly head and I would spend sleepless nights with a wooden spoon and mixing bowl in an attempt to prove myself as the ultimate woman amongst all those other mothers. Any burning / inadequate icing issues would bring on a wealth of insecurities and most probably tears. All in all I would be a bit of a nightmare. One of the reasons why I think it's probably best that I never have children. Ever.
Nonetheless, when planning what to bring with me to university I realised a cake tin and scales are essentials. I could not last 42 weeks without baking a cake. I recently found out where I will be living coming September - in a university owned building in Hackney split into flats of 4 rooms. I am beginning to become slightly concerned about what will happen if one of the other 3 have a strong aversion to pink / girlyness. My room is going to be tiny but I'm planning on Libbifying it with pink cushions, bunting and pages from Vogue decorating my wardrobe. I will be bringing with me a pink apron, pink collander, pink cooking utensils and a cake tin. Oh dear. They are going to hate me.

But at least I will bake them all cake.

After all, this is me, and Minnie Mouse IS my style icon. (See image above: Minnie Mouse's Kitchen. And if I only knew the Disney Store made pink Minnie Mouse play kitchens like the one below when I was younger...)
How could you fail to love this pink cookie cutter (£1.75) that just happens to be shaped like a bunny. No prizes for guessing what my favourite animal is.
Nigella Lawson offers up the prettiest measuring jug I have ever seen. (£22 John Lewis)
And for taking the freshly baked cakes out of the oven: this pink gingham oven mitt will fulfill all Minnie Mouse fantasies. (£5 John Lewis)
To achieve the full effect when using these flower shaped cases (£8 for 12, John Lewis) top the cake with some fresh flower petals.

What an egg timer... (£5.50 John Lewis)

And this apron (£17.50 John Lewis) is so pretty I'd be tempted to wear it out and about. Either way, it is the perfect apron for a Domestic Goddess.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Holidays à la Libby... Stage 1: Packing

It is fair to say I am far from an inconspicuous traveller. My luggage repetoire consists of: mini pink suitcase for make up, pink polka dot wheelie number from Animal, leather satchel to fill with books, passport and sweets for the journey, bright pink Longchamp holdall, and pink basket for the beach. Oh and just incase it's not obvious which suitcase is mine, a pink sparkly 'L' luggage tag.
When embarking on holiday I think it is always important to think to oneself, what would Elle Woods in Legally Blonde do? Would she throw her clothes haphazardly in a grey suitcase? I think not.

So here's to the pink suitcase. Holidays are supposed to be fun after all...
When I was younger I used to want to go to boarding school, however this yearning was based purely on the jolly-hockeysticks books I used to read, full of midnight feasts, pigtails and gossiping girls. Despite having long since grown out of this fleeting wish, I long to channel my Malory Towers dreams by packing my things in this classic pink trunk...

...or this baby pink version, big enough for a deliciously substantial amount of dresses, bags and shoes.
(£259 John Lewis)

However for all this without the price tag, I present this gorgeous pink Kangol suitcase (£99.50). Perhaps I may not REALLY need another suitcase, but I am extremely tempted to add this to the collection.
Just look at that lining! I am in love.
And it also comes in a vanity case version, perfect for all those bits and bobs that always seem to take up most of the room in my suitcase (hairdryer, hairbrushes - plural- , make-up, toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser.....ah the pains of being a girl). (£24.99 Kangol)
This Radley suitcase is incredibly stylish, and the colour of strawberry ice cream to boot.
I love the wacky print on this Animal suitcase (£70 at John Lewis)
Baby pink and complete with furry monkey... (£185, Kipling at John Lewis)
...0r fabulous hot pink. (£164.42 Kipling)And who said pink can't be practical? This North face holdall proves that you can be intrepid and love pink at the same time. (£69 at John Lewis)

And for stylish weekends away, opt for this pretty overnight bag. (£41.99 at It's Gorgeous)
Of course it doesn't end at the luggage. To achieve the full effect it is essential to whip a hot pink passport from your bag when passing through security. Preferably from Smythson like this one. (in the sale for £39. You can have your name stamped on the corner for an extra £5.95 per letter. At that price I'd be tempted to just do it myself in Tipex, however I feel the finished effect might me somewhat less glamorous)
And to attach to your bag, this Smythson luggage label (£40). Of course, where it says 'Destination' you do NOT write Bognor Regis or 'my friend's house'. Instead *insert exotic location here*. Naturally.
And a little bit of flower power never goes amiss, not even on your passport cover.
(£24 Radley)
And finally if you love the Smythson but are working to a budget, go for one of these (practically identically but shhh don't tell Smythson that) passport covers that come with matching luggage tags. (£7.95 The Original Gift Company)

Bonnes vacances!


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

We need to talk...

We need to talk. It just isn’t working. I never expected to say this, I thought we were soul mates, you and I. But 2010 has arrived, the flowers are bursting, and it is time to move on. You have darkened my wardrobe for years, shrinking into the shadows, sneaking your way onto shelves and into drawers... but the time has come. Oh trusty black pumps, oh favourite black cardigan, oh jet velvet jacket, oh staple black vest top, oh mass of wrinkled black opaques - it is time to say goodbye.

We have come a long way together; you have been the comfort blanket of my wardrobe, the simple synonym of cool, and the fallback of my sartorial choices. Because black goes with everything, doesn’t it? Ah, but along comes a new decade, and these fashion feet begin to itch. 2010 is about growing up and tearing away the blanket; it’s painful, but necessary.
I’m sorry, but the passion has simply died; there are new heartthrobs in town. Rose, buttercup, mint, parma violet, forget-me-not blue... mouth watering shades that cry out in voices so innocently sweet that it would break my heart to resist. Christopher Bailey wooed with lilac ruching and lemon chiffon as light as air. If Burberry is the celebrity swoon, Topshop is my school crush. Floaty floral dresses, sherbet denim and the new staples: peppermint, cornflower and sorbet pink strap tops. This is a cleansing palette of shades to wash away the memories of our over-stretched love.

It’s not you, it’s me, I just need a change. Vampish has lost its allure; I want to make like Dorothy in Christopher Kane gingham and become a pistachio princess in Chanel couture.
I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have fallen for your arch enemy. Phoebe Philo makes her return at Celine, the lights go up on the catwalk, the models stream out and it is love at first site. White: a fresh breath, a clean canvas. White in the form of billowing trousers and pristine shirts; collarless, starched sleeves and draping pussy bows. In the depths of my heart grows a yearning for that perfect white shirt.

Goodbyes are never easy. Sometimes it is hard to let go. My faithful tights, loyal jacket, and sturdy black handbag make this parting bittersweet sorrow. Yet detox I must. I’m tired of playing the cool game, of this surly expression and this gloomy chic facade. I can’t do this anymore - I just want to look pretty. As each patch of darkness is removed from my wardrobe I feel the giddy, frightening, delicious excitement of this new love. White, pink, blue, caramel, lemon, anything as long as it’s not black. So long, adieu, you have served me well. But it’s just time to say good bye.

P.S LBD, you are excused. Because as Coco knew, there are just some times when nothing else will do.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

When the dog bites, when the bee stings...

It has not been a good week in Libbyland. But in moments like these, I just try to think of Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'. No, I'm not talking about her uncanny skill for creating dresses out of curtains, but for that infamous song trilled in a rainstorm: "These are a few of my favourite things." As much as I love the whiskers on kittens and wild geese that fly with the moon on their wing, here are a few more of MY favourite things...

When I'm feeling sad and not sure what to do, a bath always seems a good place to start. However, I have just realised what my baths have been missing - a pink rubber duck complete with feather boa. With that pink pout, lashes and furry collar she really is a glamour duckie.

And for the ultimate bathing experience, Lush has the answer. These are pink glittery 'bubble bars' that you pop in the bath to infuse it with scent, colour, and in this case, glitter. A pink, sugary scented, SPARKLY bath. Yes please.
I recently paid a visit to the Dune shop in Cambridge, and would have gladly left with the whole shop in a size 6. However, of all the gorgeous shoes there was one pair that stood out. Because this pair just happen to be the embodiment of the perfect Libby shoe. When I saw these heels adorned with polka dot ribbons and bow, my hands couldn't help but reach out to stroke them, and my face couldn't help but light up in an enormous smile. To make it even better, guess what the shoes are called? Joy. :) I was dangerously close to parting with £80 before reality struck me. I sadly realised that no, I am NOT going to a glorious garden party this summer, and no, I am NOT going to Ascot either.
However, all was not lost. Because they come in pumps too - pumps that won't kill your feet or make you fall over. And that cost £35. This evening I decided that these pumps are a neccessary investment based on a simple equation: polka dots + ribbon + bows + shoes + Libby = these shoes would give me a lot of happiness. Unfortunately, they are sold out in my size, but I have put my name down to be notified as soon as they come back in stock...
When I think of Monsoon I tend to think of beautiful dresses, and trying on said dresses with my girlfriends (yes we do pretend we have somewhere fancy to wear them just because we enjoy putting them on but can't really afford them). Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I saw these cerise pink shoes on their website. They actually make my mouth water, and at £55 they are less expensive than they look. Only trouble is, I'd need the dress to match...
Pretty pink polka dot knickers always make me smile.

I love the bright pink watch I bought recently from New Look, but part of me wishes I'd seen this one from Accessorize first. Mine may be lovely, but it doesn't have my favourite word printed on its face.
Here is a rather strange one from my list of favourite things: the sound of bangles jingling and jangling on my wrist. Just the phrase 'jingling and jangling' is enough to make me giggle. These Accessorize ones are fabulously colourful - they make me think of sweeties. And I class anything that makes me think of sweeties as a very good thing.
I have great admiration for the person who stood up in a Topshop meeting and said: "Ok, so we've conquered the high-street with our clothes. What we really need to be making now are pink hair straighteners." I personally don't have the patience for straightening my hair, but I think I might have to start just to warrant buying a pair of these mini pink straighteners. Well they are only £10...
Fact: listening to happy music is scientifically proven to cheer you up because the beat sends a signal to your brain to release happy chemicals, which then fill your body like helium filling a balloon. (Ok, I just made that up, but I'm sure it's true).

Here are a few of my favourite cheer-me-up songs:

Build me up buttercup - The Foundations (Possibly my all-time favourite song)
Big girls don't cry - Four Seasons
Dog days are over - Florence and the Machine (I would secretly love to be Florence Welch)
You really got me - The Kinks (Preferably when listened to whilst dancing around the sitting room with two of my best friends)
Don't stop me now - Queen

And even better would be to listen to these songs through these fabulous pink headphones from Urban Outfitters.
One of my favourite things: gingham. Preferably when pink.

Whilst shopping in John Lewis the other day I accidentally made the fatal step across the invisible line that is supposed to seperate the plebs like me from the designer shoppers. You can tell you have crossed this line when you notice the massive security tags accessorising the handbags, and the fact that all the bags around you are chained to their stands. If you still haven't noticed your faux-pas a shop assistant wearing a neck-scarf and heels will come up and ask you if you are ok. That is your cue for realising your error and heading sheepishly back across the line.

Before this happened, I just had time, however, to clock this pink Mulberry handbag. Big mistake. I will now never be able to stop wistfully pondering ways of conjuring £495. Because that is one lovely pink bag.
Another one of my favourite things: colouring pencils.

And the perfect home for some freshly sharpened colouring pencils - this Mulberry pencil case. :) (Who knew Mulberry made pencil cases??)
The phrase on this picture says it all really, and made me smile.
I love this Cath Kidston teepee. It looks perfect for piling with cushions and then climbing inside to hide from the world.
And finally...this has to be one of my favourite films. Elle Woods, (as played by Reese Witherspoon) is my role model. She prints her resumé on pink scented paper. Need I say any more?
This film comes with lashings of pink and a dollop of cheese, and is the perfect pick-you-up film. (Did you know that tiramissu means 'pick me up' in Italian? Anyway...)
And best of all is that constant, 100 watt smile. Julie Andrews would be proud.