Monday, 2 September 2013

Make Something Good with The Handmade Alliance

Handmade Alliance is a social enterprise training prisoners to produce high quality hand-finished textile products for British designers. 
They also provided training and employment to ex-offenders, with the aim to dramatically improve their chance to reintegrate successfully into society. 

Handmade Alliance are currently in the process of launching their debut homeware range and will be running a few half-day sessions to enlist help for the cause, like crowd funding. This is crowd 'helping out', having fun learning something new or helping to share your own knowledge as a maker/crafts pioneer.

You will be making strings of hearts and moons, and alternative tinsel (from recycled fabrics). 
All work and donated time will benefit Handmade Alliance and its work with the community.

Don't be shy if you're not a crafts-person or sewing expert. There's teaching if you need it, and you will be able to take home a decoration of your own ready for your tree. So smiles all round!

These sessions will be taking place afternoons (with teaching for keen stitchers) on Wednesday the 4th and 11th of September from 1-6pm and Saturday 7th and 14th September
from 1-6pm.

If you think this is something you or someone you know would like to do please send your name and availability to

Spread the word!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Millie Mackintosh Vintage Fashion

Chelsea girl, Quality Street heiress and future rapper's wife Millie Mackintosh always looks polished to perfection on our television screens as part of reality tv show Made in Chelsea, but Millie also loves beauty and fashion with her main job being a beautician. With her svelte figure, Millie pulls off the vintage look superbly and here we take a look at some of her fashion choices influenced by the 20th century.

A very 60s beehive complete with Twiggy influenced lashes

French 60s mod look

Going androgynous

Check out daily looks from Millie in her online Style Diary
Millie also has her own vintage inspired collections for Lipsy and Very

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Purple Hair Envy

Ever since Katy Perry went purple earlier this year, I've been really loving this look. Not as vibrant as most unnatural colours I love how updating to a violet colour can completely change your look. For someone reason it's also a colour which goes very well with vintage hair styles. While lilac and washed out purples have been seen on many celebrities recently such as Kelly Osbourne, I prefer the dark, violet colour with tones of black. When I do attempt this I think Schwarzkopf Color XXL is a good choice, as they are well known for their long lasting unusual colour range, but any dramatic colour change requires lots of maintenance. My favourites form the range are Mystic Violet and Berry Burst below.

More purple hair inspiration:

A change in colour to purple thanks to Rockalily hairdressers

Have you tried any crazy hair colours? What was your experience like?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Masterclass with The Papered Parlour

Hand Printed Wallpaper Design Workshop

Join bespoke wallpaper artist Jemma Ooi of CUSTHOM Design this summer 21st July in a class of six and explore the wondrous world of block printing.

Learn how to carve your own wallpaper block, combine colour palettes and elegantly apply the image to print a roll of bespoke wallpaper (55cm x 2.5m) that can be used to create an impressive feature wall, enliven a room or be framed as an artwork.

With insider tips from one of London’s most exciting contemporary designers, this is a workshop not to be missed!

Taking inspiration from natural forms and geometric shapes, you'll begin by carving your own wallpaper block to create a distinctive design.
Learn how to combine colour palettes and elegantly apply the image to your wallpaper before printing a roll of your own, which can be used to create a feature wall, enliven a room or be frame as artwork. 

Provided: High quality wallpaper, inks, binders & block materials.
You Bring: An image or object form home to use as initial inspiration for your design.

Book here

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rik Lee and the Nightcall Collection

Australian artist Rik Lee is best known for his tattoo inspired images and has worked with big name clients such as Puma, Nylon and Lee Jeans in the past. Rik has recently launched his own clothing line Nightcall to showcase his designs in a men and womenswear collection.

His 'Hood Girls'

I love anything relating to tattoos and love the images as pieces of their own art; so when Nightcall popped up on my Tumblr page I was blown away by the strong, exotic girl with a leopard on her head. Rik's collection is still growing, but currently consists of a men's line offering printed t-shirts and sweatshirts and a women's line including swimsuits and vests. There's also a number of accessories you can own, with phone cases, skateboards and wrist cuffs for sale. The strong images of women in their war-like attire makes for a stand out outfit, with the bright colours helping to maintain femininity.

Kitty halter swimsuit

This leopard tee grabbed my initial attention

Men's grey Wolfgirl Tee

Iphone cases

I look forward to see what else comes from this brand, as I know Rik is already expanding into new characters and accessories such as bandanna's.

See more here

Monday, 24 June 2013

My Trip To Peru

So I have just got back from a month away in Peru. I went over to do volunteering on an archaeology site through a company I to I. I worked from 8am to 1pm at the site of Huaca Pucllana in the district of Miraflores, Lima. My time in Peru included lots of historical visits, as well as some fun days relaxing by the beach and trying out new sports like paragliding and surfing. The official language is Spanish and with only very basic Spanish skills I found it very difficult to communicate and at times it was frustrating but I soldiered through and became confident by the end of it.

Peru has 3 distinctly different climates with the desert on the coast, the mountainous highlands in the centre, with the Amazonian rain forest on the far East of the country which makes it one of the most diverse countries in the world biologically speaking, possessing 88 of the total 101 bio-diversities in the world. I was staying in the coastal desert within the capital Lima.

My first day included a gorgeous lunch of fish followed up with a tour of the historical district of Lima. We visited the San Francisco monastery which began being built in the 17th century. I was surprised to enter the catacombs where 25,000 bodies are buried, but it was an interesting experience.

I started my first day at work the following Monday at Huaca Pucllana. Built in approximately 400 AD by the Lima Culture (1000 years before the arrival of The Incas). The site was effectively the capital and administrative centre for this civilization and was later taken over as a ceremonial place and burial ground by the later Wari culture and Incas. Although noted by explorers in the century before, this site was in the main neglected until it was saved in the 1980s (at the time it was used by locals for motorbike racing!) when professionals took over the investigation and preservation of this site.

I got to try out a week of everything so was very pleased about how varied my time was. The first week I did the basics; sorting through the material which had been excavated, cleaning and labeling it. This varied from sorting molluscs, vegetation and debris to cleaning fresh cotton and cleaning ceramics. I also got to see a mummy on my first day of work! 
The next week I worked in the textiles department; my time here included cleaning the mummy wrap preparing it for storage.

I also got to do some sewing restoring a piece (I'm not entirely sure what it was). We made thread from fresh, unspun cotton which was very difficult then proceeded to sew with a curve needle in the appropriate colour thread. I completed it at the end with some stuffing.

Ceramics was next and this room was filled with lots of treasures. From masks to ceramic vessels and pottery for decoration. I first worked on trying to piece back together the huge mess of grey pottery below. In about 5 hours I only managed to find 3 pieces, definitely the worlds most difficult puzzle. I then restored  the rim of a large vase, mixing a clay solution and filling in where pieces were missing.

The final week I took part in some excavation work. Unfortunately the sight doesn't dig in summer so my final week was their first week of the year being back out in the field. We were working on a site which would have been for their rubbish disposal. This was definitely manual work and I can understand why they wouldn't want to work in the hot Sun. Unfortunately in my brief time excavating I didn't find any great finds, but I finally got to fulfill my childhood dream of being an archaeologist, only if it was for a week.

The food in Peru was delicious, lots of meat, beans, corn and potatoes. Here are a few pictures which certainly don't do justice of how tasty it was. Some of my local favourites include pork chicharron sandwich, beef empanada and their stuffed rotisserie chicken.

Other places I visited included Barranco the neighbouring district, the Ballesta Islands, Huacachina Lagoon a oasis in the middle of the desert, Lunahuana where I did white water rafting and Cerro azul.

Other historical places I visited were the oldest church in the capital, Pachacamac and the temple of the Sun and Huaca Hullamarca.

The art was beautiful; I'm not an art enthusiast at all but I loved the mix of traditional prehistory art and colonial contemporary pieces. The street art and graffiti was also amazing.

I had a fantastic journey and would definitely recommend traveling solo. I can't wait to explore the rest of the history around the world and hope to visit Asia, Australia and Africa next.