Something for the Weekend: Manchester Art Gallery

Last weekend I visited Manchester Art Gallery – one of my favourite places in Manchester. It’s not particularly big or prominent (as art galleries go) but it’s well worth a visit.

The ‘Vogue 100’ exhibition recently transferred here from the National Portrait Gallery and I wanted to take a look. Vogue is synonymous with fashion but I didn’t realise the scale of artistic influence in it’s pages until I saw this exhibition. It was fascinating to wander back through the decades and see the work of some of the greatest artists and photographers lifted from it’s pages.

Sadly photographs were prohibited within the exhibition – so you’ll just have to visit it for yourself to see what I mean. (Entry is free.) If you’re not in the area, don’t worry… you can see much of Vogue’s centenary celebrations online. Including it’s back catalogue of covers here.

I hadn’t planned on seeing much else while I was there – but I was directed out of the Vogue exhibiton and found myself in the most beautiful space – full of a separate exhibition on Modern Japanese Design. It was strangely beautiful and also well worth a look if you are in town.

The Art Gallery is also showcasing an exhibition called ‘Fashion and Freedom’ – sadly I ran out of time on my visit this time around to find out more about this but you can be sure I’ll be back in the future!

10 of the Best Checks

The by-line for this blog has always been ‘Country Chick, City Chic’ – I came up with this because half of the time I can never decide what I like best.

Recently it’s a dilemma that’s affected more than just my wardrobe – but more on that later.

This post is most definitely for the the country bumpkins out there. I’ve rounded up 10 of my favourite checked pieces.

It’s a trend that I adore. It’s cute without being too young and has a fresh, clean summery feel to it. I always associate this style of fabric with summer picnics.

Sadly the weather in the UK is nowhere near warm enough for any of these items – but a girl can daydream right?

1st Row

Dress: Whistles / Dress: ASOS / Top: Warehouse

2nd Row

Dress: ChicWish / Crop Top & Skirt Set: ChicWish / Shirt Dress: Oasis

3rd Row

Dress: ASOS Tall / Shirt: Lee / Shorts: Mango / Dress: ASOS

LV Series 3

I was walking down The Strand in London recently when something caught my eye… It had the words ‘Louis Vuitton’ and ‘free’ on it so I had to investigate further! What followed was a wonderful walk through the Louis Vuitton A/W 15 collection and the opportunity to see how it intertwines with the history of the brand.

In their own words: “Series 3 is a stand alone exhibition showcasing a designer and his creative process and influences. Far more than a simple collection it is a stream of consciousness, dreams and self-reflexive journeys. Inside a designers mind, muses intertwine with cherished memories and visions of new shapes, cuts and meticulous craftmanship. He sits between the past he embraced and the future. The designer’s careful thoughts pair with a delicate artisanal touch: a new moment of excellence born in this union. “Series 3” retraces Nicolas Ghesquiere Autumn/Winter 2015/2016 collection for Louis Vuitton. “Series 3″ is a sensorial journey, venturing deep into the designer’s soul and an artisan’s heart. An adventure along the emotional corridors of Louis Vuitton.”

There are regular tours through the exhibition (led by charmingly handsome tour guides in perfectly tailored suits) and along the way there’s the opportunity to meet one of the artisans who painstakingly manufactures each bag by hand.

This Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition has free admission (online reservation is recommended but not strictly necessary) and runs until the 18th October at 180 The Strand.

If fashion exhibitions are your thing, then you might also want to check out Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé exhibition which will run at the Saatchi Gallery from 13th October-1st November.

The Great Yorkshire Fashion Show

As promised here is a peek at some of the glorious outfits I got to witness at last week’s Great Yorkshire Show. The Fashion Show took place in the Fashion Pavilion and featured a mixture of graduate designers, high-street brands and couturiers.

With so many beautiful dresses on show I was hard pushed to say which was my favourite (though I think James Steward’s gowns may have just swung it!) Which do you like best?

Designers and Collections:

Batley College of Art and Design
Sheffield Hallam University
Charlotte Lucy
Phase Eight
Hull School of Art and Design
Hobbs
James Steward Couture
Beth Hirst (Millinery)

Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield Hallam University
Charlotte Lucy
Phase Eight
Hull School of Art and Design
Hull School of Art and Design
Hull School of Art and Design
Hull School of Art and Design
Hobbs
Hobbs
Hobbs
James Steward
James Steward
James Steward
James Steward

Live in Levis

The last few weeks have been so fun-packed that I’ve not had much chance to shoot an outfit in a while. This post is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time though, so I decided not to put it off any longer. I read on The Elgin Avenue a while back about the #LiveinLevis marketing campaign and realised that I’d never actually owned a pair of Levi’s. 

Jeans shopping for me is always a trying experience. This is largely because I’m pear-shaped and my legs measure 35″ – which is an exceptionally awkward length to find. But after a LOT of experimenting in the Levi’s store (and no small amount of patience from the store assistant) I managed to come away with this pair: a demi-curve with a 34″ leg. 

They aren’t *quite* long enough if the truth be told, but that works for me as it means they avoid the mud (and in summer I’ll just roll up the cuff and wear capri-style). Unfortunately Levi’s don’t sell anything longer than 34″ which is a real shame, because these are hands-down the comfiest pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. Maybe one day they’ll cater fully to us leggy folk… a girl can dream hey?

(Side note: I also bought a pair of men’s 501s – I wanted something more robust as I spend a lot of my spare time outdoors/working with animals and I needed something that would last me a few years. They’re not quite as flattering as the jeans pictured but the fit was good enough. I’d also recommend trying the 501CT if you have a similar body shape to mine.)

Jeans: Levi’s (exact ones here)

Vest Top (worn underneath): Primark

Sheer Top: Zara 

Shoes: Converse

Sunglasses: F&F

Photos by: Rachel Orritt

All Black, Everything

Way back when I was a student, I spent most of my spare time binge watching ‘The Hills’ and desperately wishing I could move to LA and get a job working with LC and the gang. Then they brought Kelly Cutrone into it and I changed my mind – I wanted to be a tour de force like her.

I’ve always thought her ‘all-black’ dress code at fashion week was a stroke of genius. It’s smart, yet unobtrusive and it’s quick and easy to achieve.

I love this shirt dress from New Look Tall at ASOS. In fact ASOS is doing a stellar job lately of catering for us leggy lovelies.

However, if I’m going to be honest, this is one ‘tall’ item that falls a little ‘short’. In the tall blogging community I’m a bit on the short side at only 5’10” – and this dress only just fits me. But it does fit. Just.

Yay!

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Dress: New Look Tall via ASOS (exact one here)
Tights: F&F
Boots: XTI via ASOS (exact ones here)
Four Leaf Clover Necklace: Orelia
Earrings: borrowed from my mum (sorry mum!)

Carrying It Forward

(Jumper Dress: F&F | Leggings: Topshop Tall | Boots: Debenhams | Mittens: Next)

This time last year I wrote about my ‘14 for 2014‘. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I’d suddenly found myself with a lot of spare time on my hands and it seemed like a good way to organise my spare time into something more productive and enjoyable. So far so good-intentioned…

I started as I meant to go on with Number 1: Blog more – and managed to do this for the first few weeks. Then in March something rather wonderful and unexpected happened… I got a promotion at work. And all of a sudden my spare time started to shrink. So number 1 had to be re-assessed whilst I adjusted to my workload.

A few of the other numbers were also neglected whilst I was enjoying my new role, so this year I’ve decided not to make new resolutions, I’m just going to carry some forward:

1) Blog more
2) Keep a Journal
4) Get back in the saddle and go Horse Riding
5) Dust off the Violin and start playing it again
6) Swim
12) Learn to play Poker (it really can’t be that hard)

2014 was still pretty darn great though. Here are some of the things I did achieve!

Number 3: Read more books. I’m going to post about this soon because it’s something I’ve done with a great deal of enthusiasm.

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Number 7: Bake more. I particularly enjoyed June’s Coconut and Lime Cake:

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Number 8 (Pay it forward. Do more random acts of kindness) was easy to achieve. I started taking my baked goods into work, I fundraised for my favourite causes, and every time I saw a charity box I put any spare change I had into it. I also succeeded with Number 9 & Number 10.

Number 13: See more things at the theatre. I’m so glad I set myself this goal – it’s so lovely to get dressed up and go to the theatre for an evening. Here are some of the shows I’ve enjoyed this year:

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Number 14: Try one new thing, especially if it’s outside your comfort zone (I’m particularly proud of this one) This year I abseiled for the first time – 66 metres! Stepping off the edge was enormously daunting, but ultimately such a rush. As a bonus I also raised a lot of money for my local Mountain Rescue Team.

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Red Is The Cure

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness” – Bill Blass

I don’t know much about Bill Blass but that quote seems kinda sums up this week. Whenever I’m having a trying time of it at work I like to compensate for my lack of confidence in myself with an outfit that says otherwise. This one works a treat.

I bought this Mango shirt in the January sales and it’s one of those rare purchases – the kind where you wish you’d bought two just in case you wear the original out.

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Shirt: Mango | Jeggings: Marks and Spencer (longer length) | Boots: Debenhams

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Butterflies

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When I turned 24, I spent my birthday visiting a castle in Wales, and in the garden they had a butterfly house. It was honestly one of the most magical places I’ve ever stepped inside, the butterflies floated around lazily on soft currents of warm, tropical air and everywhere you looked there was colour, grace and beauty. The image of a butterfly just spells out spring/summer to me – so here are my picks of the best butterfly prints out there.

(Clockwise from bottom left)
Butterfly print dress – Yumi £22.50
Butterfly print top – Oasis £18
Body wash – Anna Sui (via ASOS) £16
Watch – Olivia Burton (via Topshop) £95
Butterfly print scarf – Oasis (via ASOS) £16
Butterfly print cardigan – Warehouse £40
Butterfly mesh top – Anthropologie £68
Scent – Anna Sui (via ASOS) £31

Swift

It’s no secret that I am a bit of a swiftie. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to see her live in London. I’d been mooching round the city in the daytime, and had worn the dress below. It being the ‘Red’ tour though, everyone else at the concert was dressed to match the description (and accessorising with fairy lights!) … Anyways I was bemoaning my lack of Taylor-appropriate attire to my sister, when she quite rightly pointed out that I hadn’t missed the boat at all – I was wearing swifts.

So now I love this dress even more. Here’s how I dressed it up recently for a family meal out.

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Dress: Warehouse (Via ASOS) similar here
Tights: tightsplease.co.uk
Shoes: Next
Clutch: Textile Federation via ASOS

And the concert? It was pretty incredible.
Here’s short clip I filmed of Emeli Sande performing ‘Next to Me’ with Taylor Swift.