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Beauty

After a short but sweet trip to London a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a flight to Tampa, Florida for a little R&R with the parents.  My family and I have been to Florida quite a few times over the years, as well as the frequent trips to Disney World – I last went when I was 19 and I’m itching to go again – we’ve travelled South many times to scope out beaches, eat our weight in seafood and keep watch for the elusive dolphins that dip and dive below the waves.

While we hadn’t been to Naples since I was 4, our last trip was very memorable to me as it ended up with the family floating in a car in the aftermath of a tropical storm, an incident which I only have fond memories of weirdly enough.  As my dad is a creature of habit, we returned to the same hotel on the shoreline of Naples beach and spent 10 days relaxing in the scorching hot sun, only to be moved off our sun beds by the occasional thunder storm.

While this was definitely a relaxing holiday, I still had my dissertation to focus on so spent late afternoons and evenings concentrating on my work in my room while wrapped in a hotel dressing gown munching on pillow chocolates.  The Suite Life.  

I didn’t really take too many photos as my camera managed to conk out half way through the holiday and also, it would have just been a whole camera stream of hot dog/legs by the pool and who really needs those anyway?!  So I thought I’d just put this one of the beautiful sunset on here and you can check out a few more on my Instagram.

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As well as sunbathing, I ate oysters by the bucketload, had a hot stone massage, got soaked a couple of times by the torrential downpours that anyone who has visited the State will be familiar with, peered over fences into some of Naples most outrageously huge homes, got some amazing bargains at Nordstroms, watched some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and even bumped into an old friend from travelling!

One of the best things about the holiday was undoubtedly the location of the hotel.  Perched on Naples beach which goes on for as long as the eye can see, its the perfect place for a bit of dolphin spotting.  I took to getting my feet wet and swimming in the warm water out to a little sandbank everyday where I quite regularly saw the tell tale fins of a few Flippers as they effortlessly swam past.  As fun as it is to go to Seaworld, (well until you’ve watched Blackfish anyway) its always more enchanting to see animals in the wild where their appearance isn’t guaranteed.  Here our finned friends have a large expanse to wander over rather than just a minute pool  which they’re confined to day in and day out.  While I managed to spot quite a few dolphins, my dad wasn’t so lucky and even though he tried, he kept missing them, which I think is just another excuse to go back to our little slice of heaven in Florida, perhaps with a little visit to our old friends Mickey and Minnie next time as well…

I think this holiday has been one of the best and while I now have returned to the real world, atleast I’m be sporting a tan!

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I have a confession.  I am irrevocably obsessed with Tumblr.

During my final year exams I found myself signing up for anything which would stem the boredom of revision.  Survey taker? Yeah!  Hard spin class?  Sign me up!  Tumblr…?  Um, okay then.  And thus, my newest love affair began.  Just call it the Kim to my Kanye.  

Scrolling through endless pictures of landscapes, interior designs and clothes, accessories and shoes which I can only aspire to own has quickly become my go-to past time and I often find myself burning the midnight oil refreshing my homepage.  Sad, I know.  

As the new University term is starting I should probably start weening myself off this stellar procrastination tool but I’m going to add some fuel to the fire by requesting your Tumblr’s!  Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie! 

P.S. The lovely Allie from Love From Misbehave! kindly named me the site’s ‘Blog of The Week’ and asked me to answer a few questions so if you want to look at what I said, click here.

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It may be obvious from my Oscar time tweets about the current It Girl of Hollywood, but my newest and most uncontrollable girl crush has got to be Jennifer Lawrence.  J-Law, as she will hereby be known, has captured the heart of almost every 20-something girl around the globe in the last year and not just because of her outstanding fashion choices.  Let’s have a look at some of J-Law’s best moments:

– After facings jibes from the media and die hard Hunger Games fans about her weight, Jennifer Lawrence decided to take the bull by the horns and address the trolls straight on by declaring that she wanted to portray a body image that was strong and healthy rather than one which was achieved through eating a singular grape a day, and she said all this in an interview with the LA Times while munching on some bread, shock horror.  

– While wearing the most ladylike of Dior Couture dresses at the 2013 Oscars (where she won the coveted Lead Actress gong) J-Law managed to fall up some stairs to collect her prize and give the middle finger to the press and I could not love her more for it.  Will I be trying out a J-Law fall at my graduation, we’ll just have to wait and see…

– At the age of 22 she’s twice been nominated for Oscars and won one, while I have a trophy from Pony Club lurking around in the back of a cupboard at home.  Drama lessons anyone?

– Jack Nicholson is without a doubt a Hollywood legend, but at the same time he is also a 76 year old man who probably shouldn’t be leching over a 22 year old woman in the middle of a Q&A session post-Oscars.  So seeing that moment play out in real time, with J-Law’s incredulous reaction was priceless.  

– Bradley Cooper and Jennifer’s dance scene in Silver Linings Playbook is perhaps on par with Dirty Dancing’s iconic moment.  First dances at wedding’s will be forever transformed into fusion style dances with a White Stripes slant, perhaps we won’t all be wearing the get up that J-Law modelled though…

– Dior recently released their newest campaign featuring our favourite actress and it wasn’t soon before J-Law publicly and proudly announced ‘I love Photoshop more than anything in the world’ to Access Hollywood.  So do we, so do we…

– Her refreshingly honest admissions to craving a McDonalds while wearing an impossibly expensive evening gown on the Oscars red carpet make me wish she was my best friend; after all, the majority of us have ended up queuing up under the golden arches after a night out.

– The girl is best friends with Bradley Cooper, need I say more?

JKA x

Apart from Givenchy’s amazing show which I’ve already mused over, Paris Fashion Week threw up some amazing collections.  Stella McCartney, Chanel, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, Hermes and Celine are just a few whose collections made it down various runways in Paris and to celebrate the end of this seasons fashion weeks (can’t they just happen all year round please) I’m going to give a quick review of the best and biggest shows.

Louis Vuitton 

The overriding message from Louis Vuitton’s AW13 show in Paris, was that nightwear is endlessly chic and seductive.  The audience were granted a peak into these women’s lives, as they made their way down a faux hotel corridor, before heading back to bed (where I can only assume they joined their lover) in their LV’s.  These femme fatales wore glamourous satin nightdresses with vintage inspired prints, topped with plump red Old Hollywood lips, transforming the audience into a different era. Menswear coats had ombre glitters climbing up them, while models wore lace bras and trimmed slips underneath.  Glamorous coats, which a modern day Grace Kelly would adore were cuffed with feathers and worn with delicately strapped heels, while an amazing co-ord suit in a boxy silhouette stole the show early on.  Of course, Marc Jacob’s enlisted supermodel best friend, Kate Moss to close the show in the most decadent slip of all which would look perfect on Daisy Buchanan from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  

Celine 

Celine and ladylike go together like two peas in a pod, and this collection married the two even further.  Knee length skirts with gentle flares were presented in soft greys, creams and denim blues while ornate details were subtly added to each outfit in the shape of large slouchy clutches and choker style necklaces with baubles.  The shin length soft leather boots in navy, greys, greens and mustards were an added sense of perfection while, Philo played with furs dresses, skirts and a coat in browns and bottle greens.  A couple of the dresses were made to look as if they had a hoodie tied around their waist, however, this detail, also seen in Givenchy, was actually an all-in-one dress.  Clever.  The show was refined gorgeousness, and encapsulated ready-to-wear collections with every piece guaranteed to be seen on fashion royalty next season.  My favourite?  The mix of plaid’s used in the latter section of the collection, I will definitely be looking to replicate the beautiful plaid coat next season.

Stella McCartney


Pinstripes, vibrant colours, and beautiful plaids were the highlights of Stella’s Paris show.  She described this collection as ‘redirecting lines’, a phrase which is conducive with the revolutionary tailoring which was present throughout the show in the shape of voluminous coats with curved shoulders and low lapels and masculine suits tailored for the female – paying homage to London’s iconic Savile Row (where she honed her own talent).  A continuation of the use of plaids (trend) as seen in Celine earlier in the week  cemented my plans for next seasons coat, while a relaxed jumpsuit in deep purple worn with an oversized clutch on the hip and that bright purple coat were my favourites from the show.

Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton has well and truly proved her right to take Alexander McQueen’s fashion crown after his untimely death in 2010.  A series of three private presentations showcased ecclesiastical designs that transported the models back to the Tudors.  Think Cate Blanchard portraying the Virgin Queen in Elizabeth.   Pure white ensembles with decadent collars encrusted with pearls, billowing and intricate sleeves and delicate lace gloves were juxtaposed with leather studded dresses and to the knee boots.  Burton’s designs would look perfect on the set of any historical film, and as beautiful as they are, it will be interesting to see how and who will translate these for the red carpet.  However, the McQueen team informed those who were watching that the collection features up to 500 pieces which will all grace the shop floor, this small private presentation was just a show of craftsmanship which few designers could emulate.

Chanel

Chanel has always been my favourite designer and my fascination with my 2.55 handbag is to the point of obsessional that my family tease me saying that if I’m made homeless, I will be the only homeless person with a Chanel bag strapped to them.  So, for me, it was fitting that Karl Lagerfeld chose to have a large globe placed in the middle of the Grand Palais while Daft Punk’s Around the World played to symbolise the brand’s global power.  The brand, and its designer, really have conquered the world.

The collection carried on this global theme with a deviance from the brand’s strictly French aesthetic.  Layers were the key with short and pleated skirts matched with leather biker boots covered in chains which creeped up to the thigh.  Coats were streamlined with strong silhouettes in pinks, charcoals, monochromes and navy tweeds and some had cut-away’s to reveal what was underneath – it would be a shame not to.  Accessories were paramount, with orb purses hanging off models arms, Lego-inspired clutches grasped tightly and silver bracelets piled high on arms all proving chic.  Chanel, I am in love with you.

What were your favourite shows at PFW?

JKA x

Paris Fashion Week is still ongoing and yesterday saw my favourite of all the shows so far.  The luxury French brand, Givenchy, had their show yesterday in the Halle Freyssinet warehouse and I want every single piece which went down the runway.

Boyfriend sweatshirts with Bambi prints and shark motifs hailed back to the iconic Rottweiler sweats of past Riccardo Tisci Givenchy shows which were seen on everybody from Kanye West to Chiara Ferragni.  These sweaters were styled with delicate and romantic gypsy style sheer skirts, marrying, as Tisci said himself, street and couture.  

Black leather biker jackets with ribbed sleeves made frequent appearances in the beginning of the show, adding elements of punk to an already beautiful but gothic collection.  These wardrobe staple biker jackets quickly moved into more delicate floral and tartan patterns and became increasingly deconstructed with exaggerated zips and added sections peeling off.  Flame coloured bombers and one beautiful toggle jacket made quick appearances, while a red ruffled dress with a floral embroidered leather jacket and a tartan shirt paired with a leather skirt all caught my eye. By the end of the show the audience was being treated to carefully beaded transparent skirts with belted pink peonie patterened sweatshirts, perfection.  

This collection showed off the breadth of Tisci’s talent and every single piece is wearable and covetable, it exercised balance, whereby the Givenchy girl may show some leg, but will cover up on top with a street wear worthy sweatshirt which she’s borrowed off her boyfriend.  

This collection is my favourite of this season so far and I will definitely be scouting around for some Givenchy-inspired clothing come Autumn.

JKA x

P.S. Natalia Vodianova, who closed the show, had also ran a half-marathon that day!  Crazy!

Valentine’s Day in my opinion is one of the stupidest ‘holidays’ of the year.  For girls and boys alike the day is a romantic minefield – what if your significant other doesn’t celebrate the day and you do?  What if you’re single?  How much do you spend?!  

Can you sense my cynicism? 

However, for the past year, after years of not having a boyfriend (lonely girl) I am now blessed with someone to force to participate, albeit we’re both a bit reluctant.  This year will probably spent like the last, opening ridiculously cheesy cards (we try to find the worst) and eating a mountainous amount of Indian food at Miah’s on Wokingham Road in Reading.  However, as many who know me know, I bloody love presents, even if its just searching high and low for the perfect present for someone else!  So today, I’ve poured over the internet in the search for the perfect Valentine’s Day present.  If you’ve got a boyfriend, strategically place your laptop with your preferred gift in front of him (hint hint) and if you don’t have a lover, just treat yourself!

Brian Lichtenberg Unisex ‘Feline’ Cotton Sweatshirt £100 @ Browns London – Update your girlfriend’s wardrobe with this tongue in cheek parody of the fashion house, Celine’s branded tshirts.

Smythson Love Letters £150 – This calf leather bound book contains love letters by famous authors, just like Carrie Bradshaw’s ‘Love Letters of Great Men’, so if your man isn’t great with words you can pretend you’re Kafka’s lover instead.  Perfect.

Catseye Pug Wash bag £14.50 @ Selfridges – This was too cute to resist.  If you’re a student like me and can’t have a real pug, you can stare at this adorable wash bag everyday instead.  Cat lovers need not apply. 

Knitted Mono Morrocan Crop Jumper £38 @Topshop – Crop jumpers are a big transitional trend which will effortlessly take you from Winter to Spring, plus Miley Cyrus was spotted in this number a couple of days ago.  If you can’t be tamed (a la Miley) then this jumper is for you.

Vivienne Westwood Chancery Purse 2800 Black Purse £115 – My love for Vivienne Westwood has skyrocketed recently and this purse would look perfect in any handbag, I will definitely be looking into purchasing this for my own Valentine’s day gift.  Naughty.  

Tom Ford Barb Wire Ring £250 @ Selfridges – Scared to get your girlfriend a ring incase she sees the box and screams ‘I DO!’?  Well this quirky Tom Ford barb wire ring is definitely not an engagement ring, but definitely will make her scream with delight.  

Mulberry Valentines Alexa £995 – the Alexa has quick become an iconic bag and this special Valentines edition is expensive but oh so beautiful.  

Bordelle Classic Angela Dress £420 @ Selfridges – Looking for a present which your girlfriend and you will love?  Then lingerie is the answer.  Check out Bordelle for some kinky pieces.  You can thank me later.

Michael Kors Gold with White Dial Chronograph Watch £229 @ ASOS – a classic Michael Kors watch is on the wishlist of most girls, so you can’t go wrong.  This plan is fail proof.

Nars Disco Inferno Shimmer Nail Polish £14 – Does your girlfriend love her talons?  Then nail polish is the perfect present.  Nars stocks on trend colours and Disco Inferno is my personal favourite!

Hermes Vintage Birkin 35 Leather Bag in red £17,800 @ Matches Fashion – Are you a baller?  Did you recently win the lottery? Then Hermes is everyones best friend and vintage is even better.  Snap this beauty up before anyone else does!

Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum 30ML £45 @ John Lewis – this dramatic fragrance is based on floral and fruity smells, with hints of Lotus Wood and the bottle is just as enticing.

Alexander McQueen Skull Chain Leather Sandals £470 @Harvey Nichols – Wardrobes full to the brim of shoes?  Then I can diagnose your girlfriend as having a serious but not life threatening shoe fetish.  These beauties will cure her for a little while, it’s all in the name of medicine.  

Fortnum & Mason Champagne and Chocolates Box £55 – Love to wine and dine her?  Is food the key to her heart?  Then Fortnum & Mason is the perfect place to pick up a ready made al fresco picnic, just maybe take along an umbrella for the unpredictable British weather.

Nike Black Blazer Hi Suede Vintage £69.99 @ Office – Comfy, cool and perfect for her.  With a variety of colours there is a pair of Blazers for every girl!

JKA x

There have been whisperings that H&M will soon be launching a new brand, named & Other Stories, and these rumours have been confirmed to be tru-mours.  The name and logo has been trademarked and slowly but surely, mysterious sneak peak videos are emerging while a tumblr page has been set up of the new chain’s upcoming collection and it looks pretty promising.

H&M’s chief executive officer, Karl-Johan Persson has likened the new chain to another arm of the business’ fashion empire, COS, which offers quality, timeless fashions for a slightly dearer price than that of H&M.  There are rumours that & Other Stories may be a luxury brand, however, price points have yet to be made available – adding to the mystery of the project.  This wouldn’t be the first time that H&M has dabbled in the luxury fashion market, the highstreet store has successfully collaborated with numerous designer brands, including Lanvin, Roberto Cavalli and most recently Maison Martin Margiela.

From perusing & Other Stories beautifully arranged Tumblr page the SS13 collection looks feminine, delicate and lustworthy.  Statement sunnies, sculptural heels and soft looking leathers have all featured, I’m very excited.  While the videos hint at beauty, perfume, shoe, lingerie and jewellery lines!

There is no confirmation of when & Other Stories will launch, but there will be a store on London’s Regent Street, meaning a trip will be in order for the grand opening!  Other stores will be located in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Milan and Barcelona as well as an online store.

Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting news!

JKA x

In a previous blog I named Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Dress as one of the things to look forward to in 2013, so it seems only fitting that I do a quick blog before I must get on with my dissertation today.

MObama wowed the critics by stunning in a Jason Wu red dress which showed off her enviably toned arms and shoulders (where does she find the time?)  This is the second time the First Lady has chosen to wear Jason Wu to an inaugural ball, however, this time she opted for a dramatic red halter neck instead of a pure white gown.  Her shoes were Jimmy Choo and she wore a ring by Kimberly McDonald to celebrate her husband’s second term as the President of the United States!   Mrs. Obama wore her hair in her new bangs style, which the President himself addressed by saying they were the ‘most significant event of this weekend.’  Joker.  

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JKA x

Don’t you just wish your social calendar was full of haute couture shows, Elton John parties and photoshoots?  Alas, the life of a socialite is for few, but for the rest of us, there is always the internet.  I regularly learn about these kind of events through my Twitter and Instagram feeds and today was no different.  Numerous magazines, bloggers and celebs were tweeting and Instagramming their photos of the Dior Haute Couture SpringSummer2013 show which was held in a beautifully snowy Paris.

It’s the second couture show for Dior’s Raf Simons who took over from Galliano as creative director of the brand in 2011 and it did not disappoint!

The show was set in an Alice in Wonderland-esque enchanted garden where the models weaved between an oasis of greenery.  The show displayed effortlessly restrained designs, such as the classic Dior peplum, voluminous skirts and bustiers.  Simon’s is quoted as saying that he wanted the collection to ‘literally be about the season; to be about the very idea of spring’ – dresses were embellished with petals and flowers, while pastels reminiscent of the slow beginnings of Spring were contrasted with neon coloured tights signalling the beginning of Summer.

My favourite part of the show was the amazing crystallised ruby red lips which every model wore.  They remind me of Dorothy’s shoes in the Wizard of Oz, adding another fairytale element to the magical collection.  Here’s a close up look from Neiman Marcus’ instagram –

Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Alba and Chloe Moretz bore witness to the spectacle and them and many other celebrities will soon be falling over themselves to be spotted wearing the feminine but wearable collection.

JKA x

The Golden Globes is a night of glamour, awards, emotional speeches and probably a few glasses of champagne.

However, as my invite got lost in the post (again) I sat at home and watched the drama unfold on the many websites which offer play by play accounts.  As any fashion addicted girl, my favourite part of the night is seeing who is wearing what.  Since I can’t concentrate on my work (first day of term in the library) I’ve decided to procrastinate even further by staring at all the amazing gowns worn on the night and offer up my humble opinion on the best gowns of the night.

Cue massive fashion jealousy.

The fashion buzzword of the night was most definitely fishtail.  Amy Adams was one of the best dressed of the night in this Marchesa nude fishtail gown.  Although she didn’t win Best Supporting Actress, I’d definitely give her an award for this perfect fit.

Taylor Swift also opted for the ever popular fishtail look in this plum Donna Karan Atelier dress.  This dress is a bit of a departure for Swift, who usually keeps to reds and whites.  The sheer panel saved the look from ageing Taylor past her 23 years.  

Amanda Seyfried wore custom Givenchy (lucky lady) in keeping with this seasons all white trend.  She kept her hair au natural with tumbling curls.  

Anne Hathaway is one of my favourite actresses of all time (remember the Princess Diaries) because of her impeccable red carpet style and I just have the feeling we’d be good friends.  She was a big winner of the night for her role in Les Miserables and looked amazing while picking up her gong wearing Chanel Couture.  Every girl’s dream.  While the ever kooky, Zoey Deschanel wore an Oscar De La Renta gown with her signature bangs and a pearl necklace.  I love Zoey, as her personal style always shines through in what she’s wearing.

Miranda Kerr wowed as usual, cementing my girl crush even further.  She wore a revealing Zuhair Murad dress which showed cleavage and leg, a look that is usually considered daring, but when you’re a Victoria Secrets model, almost anything goes.  Her best accessory was of course, her handsome husband, Orlando Bloom.

All the men looked dapper as usual, however, Bradley Cooper and Eddie Redmayne both deserve special mentions.  Cooper looked as handsome as ever in his perfectly fitting Tom Ford suit while Brit boy of the moment and Les Miserables star, Eddie wore a velvet jacket with his tux.  Imagine taking either of this handsome chaps home to your mum!

My best dressed award goes to Kate Hudson who wore an incredibly sexy Alexander McQueen dress with a cut out section (nice cleavage) and a belt to accentuate her amazing curves.  Kate said she based her decision on ‘comfort’ this year and this may be why she looks so effortlessly stunning in this amazing dress.  She has definitely raised the style bar for this years upcoming Oscars.

Maybe I should swap my English and History degree for a career in acting in the vain hope that I’ll someday wear a gown (or suit) like the ones above?

JKA x