What I Wore...
Over the last 9 years, it's become a tradition for me to sneak off after lunch and re-emerge as "Santa" to dole out little surprise presents to the rest of the family - in the last couple of years, this has escalated into a full blown song-and-dance routine (largely at mum's instigation - themes make her very excitable). This year, Kylie sang Santa Baby, whilst I performed a burlesque-lite Marilyn-inspired number (last year, I was Santa's little belly dancing helper - what will we come up with next year?)
When I wasn't playing St Nicholas, I wore this black velvet Topshop dress - a surprise present from mum. Yes, I swapped accessories when I changed back after my little cabaret performance; some years it's a full blown Oscar-presenter-worthy 3-outfit change. The belt and earrings were Primark bargains we picked up on our annual Oxford Street Christmas shop, and we found the furry collar in H&M - I actually only slipped it on to save it from the enormous wrapping paper pile which had formed following Santa's mid-afternoon visit, inadvertently discovering that it looked great with the dress!
A mixture of much-longed-for new and stalwart old - for family shindig #2, I teamed this Missguided cut-out berry velvet dress, which I finally got to unwrap on Christmas Day, with studded Lita-likes from my Boohoo #PartyPose winner's haul, star print Primark tights, and a cropped gold cardi which finally enjoyed a day in the spotlight after languishing in my wardrobe for the best part of a decade.
My grandmother's 83rd birthday meal... So what if everyone else who frequents ASK at 4pm is rocking jeans rather than a carefully cultivated contemporary twist on Art Deco meets Audrey Hepburn?
This is the Madam Rage dress which I have been raving about and lusting after for months now (and will currently cost you an unbelievable £10 if you're as excited by it as I am!). Luckily enough, nana picked it straight off my Christmas list (she's rather OTM when it comes to fashion), so I finally got my mitts on it!
I'd originally planned to give it a rock chick twist, with my new cross-print tights, a studded belt and hairband, and fierce boots, but once I'd top-knotted my hair, it seemed to be crying out for the new velvet River Island hairband mum had kindly gifted me with, so the plan changed... The belts and earrings are all Primark finds - with a couple of statement accessories already in the mix, I stuck to classic black tights and courts to avoid over-cluttering the look.
A couple of quick notes for those of you who might be considering an investment in either of the above dresses - they're incredibly comfortable, and stunning in real life, but the cut-outs can reveal bits of bra - if you're a C cup or under, I doubt you'd have this problem, but as a DD/E size 8, I struggle to avoid it, which is slightly annoying... Also, the cut-outs on the black dress have elasticated edges, so I feel a waist belt is necessary for the purposes of concealment - not that I mind - it's a great accessorising opportunity! Overall, I'm more than happy with them.
What I Won...
Boohoo #PartyPose People's Choice Winner's HaulIf you're a regular reader, you'll know by now how delighted I was to be announced as the winner of the bloggers' version of the Boohoo #PartyPose competition earlier this month. Turns out a few wires had become crossed, as Boohoo had actually stated in some of their terms that the winner was to be picked at random, so it was lucky for me that they'd already deliberated over their favourite entry and chosen me! This means that a second winner has been picked, at random this time, and I have been re-titled the People's Choice Winner - which is quite nice really!
I had £100 to spend (plus a discount code which gave me about £25 more to splash, including delivery), and spent many sleepless nights poring over the Boohoo website before finalising my prize haul. I did consider purchasing my winning outfit, but the gorgeous Macie dress was sadly out of stock in my size (now it's back and half price, boohoo indeed)... The Lucy peplum belt was already in the "must-have-or-I'll-cry" section of my Christmas list (written before I knew I'd won), so I invested in the Tali lace-up cutaway wedge boots (which came with a warning label!), already featured in my How to Wear Disco Pants post, along with a few other pieces I'd been lusting after for a while - some amazing Baroque-print skinny jeans, patent military-style over-the-knee boots, I-Can't-Believe-They're-Not-Litas (featured in my Boxing Day outfit above) and a beautiful berry roll-neck bodycon midi. I popped the gold studded hair band in to make up the last few pounds, after wangling out of mum that she'd already ordered the silver one from my wish list!
I couldn't be happier with my choices - everything looks just as good or even better in real life, and fits like a dream (a couple of sizing notes for those of you who're squeamish about buying without trying - I'm in between shoe sizes and the larger size from Boohoo fits perfectly, and I need a size larger in their jeans than I do in most high street stores, but not in their dresses, disco pants or leggings - they do hassle- and cost-free returns anyhow though). Don't forget to enter my Boohoo giveaway for your chance to win your own £50 or £100 haul!
New Look Christmas Hair Winner's HaulIn the same week that I found out about my Boohoo win, I was over the moon to hear that I'd also won the #NLXmasHair competition on Instagram (see my winning entry here). A mysterious goody bag full of hair accessories was dispatched via Special Delivery the following day - what service! I loved the selection, which was very feminine - part-vintage chic, part super-sparkle - and included lots of the kinds of things I'd always wished were part of my mane-drobe but had never chanced upon, like pearl hair bands and embellished combs and slides.
I really wanted to do a party hair post before New Year's Eve incorporating all the lovely goodies from this selection and from my Christmas stocking, but a combination of lighting issues and timing constraints (too many mini mince pies to eat = too little time to braid and backcomb) has conspired to push it back to January... Oh well, we can still sparkle in 2013, right?
What Santa Brought Me...
Coming Soon to an Outfit Post Near You...
Along with the 3 gorgeous dresses featured in the What I Wore... Section above, I unwrapped these lovelies... I apologise if I have blinded you - have just discovered the "glow" feature on Photoshop.
- Sequinned Peplum Mini: Lavish Alice - An early present from my BFF (I may have dropped a very subtle hint on Pinterest) and set to feature prominently in my upcoming How to Wear Sequins post...
- Robbie Williams T-Shirt (with rhinestoned eyes!), Sequin Collar Drop Back Lace Shirt, Knitted Pleated Burgundy Mini Skirt, Sheer Side-Split Maxi Skirt, Cream Lace Midi Dress, Monochrome Panelled Bodycon Midi Dress and Grey Bodycon Midi Dress: All Primark (Chosen by mum and I on our annual festive Oxford Street shopathon, then reluctantly relinquished for wrapping).
- Black Lace-Topped Sleeveless Top: River Island
- Sequinned Bustier: Primark - On a later, last minute trip (featuring a present buying ratio of about 2:1 in favour of us vs. other people), mum and I came across this bralet reduced to a frankly ridiculous £2! I absolutely love it - it even comes with little hidden hooks for optional straps! Yes, you may have seen me sneakily feature it in my disco pants post pre-Christmas - I received it early since mum was suffering from pre-wrapping anxiety.
- Midnight Blue Velvet Leggings: Boohoo - A lovely surprise waiting when I returned from the afore-mentioned shopping trip, c/o of my BFF , along with the studded collar featured below - these are just amazing - lovely and thick and cosy (but still rather sexy, according to various van drivers, anyway), with a wide, high waistband - not quite as high as their disco pants, but stunning enough that you don't want to cover it up!
- Disco Pants: Daisy Street - Button-up disco pants! These were on my wish list, but I wasn't expecting nana to pick them out (she is in effect the gatekeeper for extended family gifting!), so it was a surprise to unwrap them on Christmas Day! They're almost indistinguishable from the AA ones in my opinion - no baggy ankle syndrome, which is something I was worried about in a button-up version. Of course I still love my Boohoo pants, but these will be fabulous for a slightly different look (and days when I haven't eaten a full veggie roast followed by 4 mini desserts - they squeeze with the best of them!).
- Black Patent Wedge Trainers: Primark - A must for the footwear wardrobe - I love my white high tops, but having a black pair doubles potential wear, and the patent sheen will render them equally at home with both sporty and more dressy looks. Can't wait for their pastel counterparts to drop for SS13!
- Grey Over the Knee Boots: Forever 21 - Flat rain-proof boots are by far the most practical footwear choice for an English winter, and I think over-the-knee styles are just that bit more exciting (in case you hadn't guessed from seeing my Boohoo beauties). These are fairly fitted, and ruche up in a delightful manner when you put them on - pretty enough to wear with skirts and dresses, but simple enough to wear casually and without worries about overpowering the rest of an outfit.
Accessories and Foodstuffs
A melange of vintage chic and rock chick...
- Monochrome Clutch, Deco Drop Earrings, Oval Jewelled Earrings, Rose-Diamante Necklace, Mustard Necklace and Earrings, Ponytail Holders, Gold Collar Tips, Jewelled Shoe Clips, Beaded Belt, Multi-Strand Leather-and-Metal Belt, Jewelled Collar Tips: All Primark
- Cat Ear Hair Band, Studded Hair Band, Studded Collar, Leather-Look Peplum Belt: All Boohoo
- Diamante Earrings on Card, Cross-Print Tights, Spiked Hoop Earrings: All Topshop
- Faux Fur Collar: H&M (featured above)
- Silk Sleep Mask: Silk Sleep
- Silver Ball Bracelet, Notebook, Beaded Hair Band: Unbranded
- Velvet Hair Band: River Island (featured above)
- The obligatory (and much-loved) Chocolate Orange, choccie coins and satsuma, mouthwatering Lindt Mini Pralines (highly recommended) and an enormous Lindt Creation Dessert selection, which mum decided to invest in on witnessing my third year of drooling in the Selfridges Food Hall, accompanied by simultaneous protestations that such a collection was surely far too large for me to manage by myself (I did promise to let her have one of each...).
Reading Material, Toiletries and Retail Funding
- Vintage Style: 25 Iconic Fashion Looks and How to Get Them and Style Me Vintage - two beautiful books I've been lusting after for months (was it for my benefit that Waterstones plonked their new cafe right by the Fashion and Photography sections?) - I'm sure they'll inspire lots of new ideas and features in 2013!
- The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory and The Noble Assassin by Christie Dickason - the latest reads from two of my favourite historical novelists - there's something so magical about being able to escape to another time, and their books completely sweep you away; medieval to 21st century - I'm spellbound by it all.
- Goddess of Vengeance and The Power Trip (both by Jackie Collins) - I'm not ashamed to admit that I've read every one of Jackie's 29 novels (except these two latest ones) in the time since I was 14 or so, and they're still some of my all-time favourite reads.
- The Decision by Penny Vincenzi - another "must-read-everything-she-produces" favourite - she captivates with modern and historical tales alike.
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk - two books chosen by my uncle from the list I keep of books I'm interested in reading, regularly updated in response to magazine reviews etc. When I find an author I love, I never miss a new release, but I'm equally excited by discovering new stuff - war lit, chick lit, thrillers, crime... just as long as it's got the seal of approval from either Heat or Richard & Judy.
- No 7 Body Wash & Body Lotion and Bayliss & Harding Body Wash (in sequin-jacketed bottle - how on-trend, nana) - Er, do I look dirty? Lush smellies to make my shower a little more luxurious...
- £20 to spend in each of Topshop, Boots, Debenhams and Amazon - my purse rejoices!
How was everyone else's Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you wanted? And how hard is it to get a decent picture of your Christmas tree?!