Monday, 29 September 2014

Halloween Costume Inspiration Without Looking Like A.....

Hi guys,
Whenever I start thinking about what to go as for Halloween that infamous quote from Mean Girls always pops into my head: "In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it."

I am not much of a slut: I like to keep myself covered up so I'm not very good at it! That means that my Halloween costumes require a little more imagination. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are throwing a mixed child and adult Halloween party for Halloween this year, so I need a costume that won't scare small precocious children but that feels adequately 'Halloween-y'. I turned to my go to site for all of my one stop fashion needs: ASOS, And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by some of their Halloween offerings. Here are my picks:

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I love this skeleton look because you could wear the pieces individually again - It's a good way to justify the extra expense of the costume's component parts and means that you won't have to wear horrible polyester all night. Those leggings would look cool with a simple t shirt dress and the tee is perfect for pairing with jeans.

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This is a great outfit if you want to wear your favourite black dress whilst still looking like your wearing an awesome costume. Accessories are also cheaper than buying a full costume, which in an added bonus if you're only going to one party and then won't be wearing the outfit again! This is definitely what I would wear if I was going to a fancier evening party.

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This is probably closest to what I will end up wearing: a super casual sweater so I can run around after kids all afternoon but still with a distinct costume-y feel. Wilbur is going as a super-cute (and not at all scary) bat, and Mike is toying between being a zombie or a vampire. Decisions, decisions!

Need a little more costume inspiration?
Here I am as Madonna in 2011
Here I am as Lady Gaga in 2010 
Here I am as Alice in Wonderland's White Rabbit in 2010 

Have you chosen your Halloween costume yet? Do you have any fantastic ideas or inspiration to share? I'd love to hear it!

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Fabfrocks for Mamas: Halloween Crafting With Toddlers

Hi guys,
It won't be any surprise to you when I say that I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. The reason for that is simple: fashion doesn't dominate my life anymore. Don't get me wrong, it's important to me. I still follow the trends and love reading the lastest fashion news. But a blog about what I wear every week (as this blog used to be) just wouldn't be exciting anymore because most days what I am wearing is jeans covered in paint and chewed toddler food! I still love blogging though and I miss it. The separate blog idea I tried last year didn't work for me either, so now I'm pulling everything together here. Instead of just blogging about fashion, I am going to occasionally post about the other aspects of my life. Being a mama, being a busy freelance, decorating and renovating our house which we are so proud to own and call our home. First up, being a mama: the best and my favourite part of my new life! Here's what Wilbs and I got up to yesterday:

Halloween Craft
We love crafting and are always looking for an excuse to get the paints out! So for the next month the focus of our efforts will be on all things Halloween-y: Mike and I are throwing a Halloween party for Wilbur and some of his friends so this is the perfect way to get him excited and sort some of the decorations too! We tried two different crafts. One that looks good and one that was pure fun!
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First we used pom poms and red, green and yellow paint to do some pom pom printing. This is easy and fun because pom poms are so absorbent. We decided that we were smearing monster blood and goo across the page! There's no real rhyme or reason to Wilbur's paintings at this early stage, but he loves getting his hands dirty. He also loves having his hands and feet painted and has since he was a baby, which leads nicely to the next craft: monster footprints!

I painted his feet and then turned green footprints into monsters using nothing more than googly eyes and a Sharpie. These will be turned into invitations for his party and Halloween cards for his grandparents. The beauty of this is that you can do it with baby's of all ages: I first painted Wilburs feet when he was just a couple of weeks old and have been doing it regularly ever since. Its nice being able to see how they've grown!
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Our next crafty mission will be to make pumpkin faces from paper plates and I have a couple of create your own lantern and bunting kits aimed at his age group for us to try too: Wilkinsons is great for cheap craft ideas for kids and they have loads of great Halloween stuff in store. Poundland also has a lot of great Halloween supplies if you need cheap costume ideas: I have no idea what I'm going to dress up as yet! Anyone have any easy but original inspiration?

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Watching Fashion Week From Afar or: How to Deal With Blogger Envy

Hi guys,
For the second season in a row, I made the decision not to attend London Fashion Week. Reminders to request tickets and show invites trickled in, but I decided that this year it wasn't going to be for me. I justified this to myself in several different ways. Firstly, my life has changed so much since my last fashion week and so have my priorities. This Saturday I took Wilbur to the Dinosaur Park to see the animatronic T Rex with his little friend and then out for burgers. That's the place of my life I'm at right now, and I really do love it.

Secondly, the way fashion week works has changed so much since I first started attending all of those years ago. Live Streaming has been both hugely popular and wildly successful. I still managed to catch both the Topshop Unique and the Burberry shows, but from the comfort of my sofa without having to make a huge impact on my everyday life. I've also been trawling my favourite fashion sites checking out the backstage gossip, the details, the trends, the hair. Of course it's different from actually being there. The atmosphere, the electricity that ripples across the room, the details, the chance to see everything up close and with your naked eye. You really can't beat it, and I really don't think fashion week will ever become extinct with models walking in empty rooms whilst every watches from their desks at home or in their offices. I know (or at least I hope) that my time for returning to fashion week will come. But right now I'm happy with my place right here. Does that mean I don't feel a twinge of jealousy when I see all my blogging friends and colleagues strutting their stuff on the cobbles of Somerset House? Of course I do!!
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Photo taken from the Ashley Isham show back in Feb 2012

Blogger envy is a very real thing: I've experienced it myself, and also experienced it from the other side. Fashion week brings it out more than any other time of the year. Who has a ticket to the hottest show? Who's been invited to that party, worked with that new brand, been 'gifted' something fabulous to wear? It is a short but intense period that is a hotbed of competitiveness and the most ambitious of bloggers definitely use it as an opportunity to promote themselves as hard as they can. Good for them: I used to do exactly the same thing! I actually think a little healthy competition is a good thing. It's what makes you strive to be better and to work harder. Each blog is different and each blogger is different. That's what makes the bloggosphere such a unique and valuable place, so you can never compare your blog to others like for like, nor would it be healthy to. But you can see what others are achieving and wish to emulate their success in your own way and with your own distinct brand.

I am certainly envious of those bloggers at fashion week right now. I am jealous of their fabulous coverage and the unique perspective on the shows they have attended that is purely their own, informed by their experiences of being right there. I don't think there's any shame in admitting it. So as I sit here in my pajamas having just put my baby to bed on this, the final day of London Fashion Week, I am thinking of all the bloggers currently having the time of their lives. I wouldn't change the decision I made. But I will be back there again soon....

Love Tor x

AW14: Time for Topshop

Hi guys,
Given the huge success of the Topshop Unique LFW show over the weekend, now seems like the perfect time to explore the Topshop AW14 collection. The campaign images have been out for a little while now and, as usual, Cara Delevingne looks as stunningly beautiful as ever. She typifies who the Topshop girl is for me: low key, effortlessly beautiful and certainly never about to try too hard when it comes to how she looks. Have you ever noticed that those young gorgeous girls (or 'Topshop girls'), much like off duty models, never feel the need to do too much to themselves? Their make up is minimal (just lots of smudgy black liner) their hair is undone, and that's exactly the feel this campaign gives, albeit in a more glamorous and grown up way. It's weird that making so little effort can be quite so aspirational.
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Taking inspiration from a mixture of 90s grunge and rock and roll trends, both of which show no signs of going out of fashion, like all of Topshop's collections every piece here is infinitely wearable. I love this aesthetic. Skinny jeans, leather trews and jackets, sensible flat shoes and even some lovely faux fur coats - all you need to throw in is a 60s retro-style mini dress and you have my dream style (and half my wardrobe) right there!

These campaign images have been released for over a month now, but it took the weather turning cold for me to look at them with fresh eyes and decide that what I (at first) thought was a very plain and mainstream campaign is, in fact, one of the most wearable and inspired high street campaigns of the far!

Everytime I go into Topshop I tell myself I'm getting a little too old to be shopping there. But I just can't help myself: I love the look, I love the effortless style, and I love aspiring to be a 'Topshop girl'. Even if I am just a chubby old mum with paint and playdough on her jeans...

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What to Wear For Your Dream Job Interview

Hi guys,
One of the main perks of working for myself is that I never really have to think about job interviews. My office is in the room next door to my bedroom and if I want to work in my PJs then there's no-one to tell me not to (very occasionally I do too!) However when I'm meeting new clients or attending client meetings I have to shed my house clothes and smarten up. So when someone emailed asking what they should wear to a job interview, I thought it was the perfect time to do a little fantasy 'work clothes' shopping and put together the perfect outfit for a dream job interview:
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You can't go wrong with a crisp white shirt! Every woman should have one in their wardrobe armoury: you'll be amazed by how often you'll wear it. River Island have just launched a new tailoring collection, and I just couldn't resist these pin striped softly pleated cigarette trousers. If you need a really formal outfit then River Island also made a matching jacket to go with these, but I went for a block colour fitted black blazer instead. I always shy away from colour, particularly in a job interview situation, so I went for accessories in similarly dark tones, but with a patent sheen to add a little style.
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Work in a more creative environment or looking for something a little more casual? Inject a little colour and style with slightly more unusual patterns and textures. One of the most important things about dressing for a job interview is to be comfortable, so if you are wearing jeans then why not opt for a low heeled ankle boot rather than a heeled court shoe? You don't want to be worrying about tripping up on your way out of the interview! And as for accessories? Whether you're going hyper formal or super casual, a simple handbag (big enough to fit in any A4 documents) and a chunky watch is all you need: there's no need to distract with layers of oversized bling.I am totally in love with this second outfit and buying those trousers as I type!!!

Companies such as City Calling offer fantastic interview tips and advice for job seekers, helping you know what to say and do when you're in the interrogation suite (I mean interview room!) but as well as prepping your interview technique and making sure you know every detail of your CV, you should also ensure you're happy and comfortable with what you're wearing. Because looking good is half the battle....

Love Tor x

Planning the Perfect Hen Do Part 2: Picking the Destination

Hi guys,
Sticking with the hen do theme, it's time to talk choosing a location! When it was time to plan my hen do I knew there was only one place for me: London. The city I lived in, the city I loved. If you're thinking of travelling outside of your home town and going a little further afield though then three are brilliant hen do ideas that we also considered: all tried and tested and lots of fun!
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Visit Brilliant Brighton
Brighton is the UK's hen do capital and for good reason: it's a brilliant place to have a hen do! I have just come back from my sisters hen do which I organised in Brighton, and the possibilities for things to do was almost limitless. We took part in a life drawing class, had a cocktail making session that was brilliant fun and then partied the night away. No one blinked at our costumes, because every second person you passed on the street was wearing a costume too, and we felt safe all day and night long. The morning after the night before was great too because Brighton is the perfect place to take a walk along the beach to clear the cobwebs.

Take a Mini Cruise 
A friend went on an amazing mini cruise to Belgium for her hen do: mini cruises run by companies such as Fred Olsen often have a reputation as being more suited to an older clientele, but that simply isn't true. They run short party cruises, the liners have a host of bars and even nightclubs and themed party events, and you know you're not going to have too much trouble finding your way home at the end of the night! As an added bonus you then get to spend a day discovering somewhere new you might otherwise have not visited before. I think it's a brilliant idea!

Lovely London!
Don't overlook lovely London for a hen do, particularly if you don't live in the city. This is where I had my hen party and it was brilliant. We went to see Pricilla: Queen of the Desert before having dinner and drinking the night away: simple, but awesome! There are loads of options for shows you can see, classes you can take, and unusual entertainment options. This is the ideal destination if you're looking to have a sober party. Not something I know much about......

Have you been on any brilliant hen dos? Do you have any destination recommendations?

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Goodie Bags: Planning the Perfect Hen Do

Hi guys,
As soon as I returned from our holiday, I packed another bag so that I could get up the next morning and head off for my sisters hen weekend! I had organised it all, so I was very nervous about everything going well. We headed down to Brighton where we enjoyed a life drawing class, cocktail making, a delicious dinner and danced the night away. And it was awesome: phew!!

As well as organising the party I had also organised goodie bags for all of the 12 girls that attended. I decorated the bags and filled them with goodies for everyone:
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The pastel coloured bags are from Hobbycraft. I embellished them myself using stick on gemstones: one painful gemstone at a time! On each name label I also added gems to look like minature Mickey Mouse ears, as a Disney theme was the order of the day. The bags were filled with a host of stuff:
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Practical things: I taped paracetamol to water bottles so that people could soothe their sore heads the morning after the night before. I also added a tin of mints to each bag and some miniature toiletries in case any one had forgotten to pack their own. And because I am the queen of hyper-organisation I also added a copy of our itinerary to each bag so that everyone would also have the names and addresses of our next destination.
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A gorgeous keepsake: My absolute FAVOURITE thing that I put in the goodie bags was the personalized shot glass from Mugshot Glasses which had a picture of Amie's face on it, as well as the date of the weekend we went away. I loved these so much (and so did everyone else) so they really made an impact and Amie got a real kick from drinking out of her own face. I think these were a fantastic addition to the bag because whilst everything else in it was disposable, this was a nice keepsake that everyone could take home and have as a souvenir to remember the weekend. They only cost £5 each too (unless you're ordering more than 10 in which case they are £4 each) so they aren't going to break the bank if you're organising a party on a budget. Hands down the best thing I ordered!!
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Adornments: I popped in 'team bride' badges for everyone to wear (a bargain from eBay) and to keep with the Disney theme (but in a subtle way) I added little tiaras and wands for everyone to wear in the evening too. We had dressed up in full on Disney costumes all day, so everyone wanted to glam up a little in the evening: this was the perfect way for them to do just that whilst still having a hen do feel. Amie had to wear a much more ornate crown, complete with veil, sash and huge 'Bride' badge. And of course it wouldn't be a hen do without the obligatory willy straws, sweets and balloons! I don't think you're ever too old to laugh at a funny willy.....

Have you ever organised a hen do? I'd be interested to know if you made goodie bags and what you put in them? I swear organising these actually took longer than organising the party!

Love Tor x

Monday, 8 September 2014

Shoes: Time for Autumn... Time for Ankle Boots

Hi guys,
Autumn is officially here! The mornings are crisp, I've dug out all of my favourite blazers, and now its time to start looking for my new Autumn ankle boots. I love ankle boots and I always prefer them to knee high boots: they're just so flattering and versatile, you can wear them with pretty much everything. My new go to outfit combination is an oversized blouse paired with rolled up skinny jeans and ankle boots: I'm going to be wearing this outfit all autumn long and will probably be wearing the same outfit but with socks when the winter hits!
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These Bertie ankle boots with the cut out details are currently the ones I am lusting after the most. I have a soft spot for shoes with cut out details: it's the only shoe trend of the last year that I've really thrown myself into! My favourite brown ankle boots are from Bertie, so I know these will be comfortable and that I'll be able to wear them all day long. Without sounding like an old lady, comfort really is important when it comes to buying shoes you'll be wearing all the time: luckily with these I won't have to sacrifice style on the alter of  comfort. I can have both!

You can buy these lovelies from Spartoo for £106.24. I will definitely be picking a pair up and wearing them all autumn and winter long.

Love Tor x

*Post written as part of an ongoing partnership with Spartoo shoes

A Day in London (AKA Holiday Post Number 1)

Hi guys,
Sorry for my long period of radio silence, but we have just returned from our holidays. As I have mentioned before, we spent the week in Disneyland Paris, staying in the Golden Forest Suite of the Sequoia Lodge hotel. And it was awesome. Seriously! A big fat post all about it will follow! Before we went though, we decided to extend our holiday by staying the night in London before we travelled in a much more humble hotel....The Kings Cross London Central Travelodge. And I was surprisingly impressed!
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As our train to Paris was leaving at 6.50 the next morning, staying at the Travelodge was the perfect way for us to just 'Get up and go' the next day. If you're travelling via the Eurostar then there's nowhere better to stay: you can walk to the station from the hotel in less than 3 minutes which is pretty impressive considering we were holding the baby, a pram, and two suitcases!!
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Check in was easy peasy, and the staff really couldn't have been nicer or more helpful: they even offered to help us carry our luggage up to the room because we had so much of it! And the room was great! A big comfy kingsize bed (and a lovely cot for Wilbur), a power shower I stood under for at least 20 minutes, and (essentially) everything we needed to make a nice cup of tea: what more do you want or need for such a short stay?
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Staying in London the day before we travelled on holiday also meant we could do a little sightseeing with Wilbur and start our holiday early. We booked early check in (at 12pm) so that we could leave our luggage and get straight on with having a good time. And I knew just where I wanted to take him: the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs. Wilbur is completely obsessed with dinosaurs! He spent the whole time pointing them out (he calls them 'dinodadours') and roaring: it was adorable! We had a lovely day exploring all of our old haunts before heading back to our room for a goods night's sleep and starting our holiday happy and refreshed. It was a wonderful idea, and one I would heartily recommend.

This actually wasn't the only Travelodge I stayed in over the past fornight: I also stayed in one on Saturday night in Brighton (the Brighton Seafront) for my sister's hen do. (Obviously I will be sharing embarrassing pictures of that shortly) I think when I'm looking for a nice budget hotel for a night or two, Travelodge will be my new go-to!

Love Tor x