Monday, 20 January 2014

Pink Lady

Sam Muses, UK Fashion Blog, London Style Blogger, Pink Coat, Boyfriend Style, '60s Style, Peacocks, Midi Skirt, A-Line, High-Waisted, Dorothy Perkins, White Tights, Primark, How to Wear, AW13, Autumn Winter 2013

Less than 3 weeks into 2014, and I've already fulfilled my most important resolution (to invest in a pink coat) - whoop! So I've decided to implement another new year pledge: to haul my camera outside, whenever weather permits... And though it might still be cold and grey out there, my January is definitely feeling rosier for being candy-coated... particularly since this little find was reduced to £28 in the Peacocks sale! I love the cut's boy-meets-lady feel and can't wait to try it out with skinnies, boyfriend jeans, mini/ankle socks combos... but couldn't resist a pink double dip for starters, teaming my new pastel midi with white tights and points for a ladylike '60s feel. If my wardrobe began to blush in 2013, this year, it's unapologetically blooming. Candy addiction officially reignited.

Coat: Peacocks; Skirt: Dorothy Perkins; Shirt, Tights and Necklace: All Primark; Shoes: Marks & Spencer

Are you living life in the pink?

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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Looking Back and Moving Forward: 2013-14

Happy New Year everyone! Yup, it's that time again... time to look back at the "evolution of our personal style" over the past 12 months... time to mutter a furtive apology for those resolutions we've avoided looking directly in the eye since March, and to smugly, publicly, tick off those we've managed to fulfil, whether by accident or design... and time to contemplate where we might be in 12 months to come - what we might have done, what accessory we might be sporting which the simple, innocent, 2013 versions of ourselves would have forcibly restrained us from plucking from the shelves at American Apparel...

And yup, it's pretty much the only time I allow myself to be shamelessly self-indulgent and look beyond the clothes and the pretty pictures to reflect on the rest of my year, but please do feel free to ignore the motivational psychobabble and self-analysis and focus on the peplums and pencil skirts! This was my 2013... You can check out how 2012 compared here.

The Fashion Bit...

12 Months, 37 Outfits

12 Trends Which Rocked My Wardrobe

1. Monochrome (with an honorary mention to the Geek Tee, Co-Ords and Embellished Sunnies)

2. Neon

3. The Kimono

4. The Skort

5. The White Court Shoe

6. Cartoon Print

7. China Print

8. The Pinafore Dress

9. Dungarees

10. Heart Print

11. The '90s

12. Tartan

The Reflective Bit...

Although I'm sitting in exactly the same seat as I was 12 months ago, 2013 has been a year punctuated by surprises and changes for me, which have considerably altered my outlook and goals and, overall, marked a significant step forward, albeit in a way I would never have been able to guess at a year ago. Last year, whilst, in terms of totting up experiences and accomplishments, 2012 had seemed a fairly eventful and productive year on paper, psychologically, I couldn't escape a niggling sense of stasis (albeit stasis cloaked in ever-changing trend-led garb). This year, though, a couple of temporarily devastating setbacks midway through the year pushed me into making the positive changes which have expanded my horizons, by giving me the "what the hell" mentality I needed to take the actions and risks involved in following a path that had beckoned, haunted, taunted and tantalised me nearly all my life thus far.

The lessons learned? Although I am loath to indulge cliches on top of my regular use of outrageous puns, when one door closes, another opens... and it could lead somewhere a whole lot better than the room from which you've just been unceremoniously ousted. And, although I never thought I'd borrow wisdom from a sportswear brand, if you want to do something, however early or late in the day you think it is, just do it. Yes, groundwork is important, but it's way too easy to spend weeks, months, years... and, before you know it, a lifetime, waiting, preparing and planning for the "right time", or to simply dismiss something outright as an unattainable fantasy. I've needed a more or less gentle push through all the doors which have led to the paths which have most fundamentally shaped the course of my life over the last few years, because I was mistakenly convinced they were locked, and I hate to think what I'd be missing out on if I'd never turned those handles. If you fail, there'll always be another door... Oh, I do love me an extended metaphor!

13 Favourite Moments of 2013

  1. Seeing myself on the big screen for the first time (with my face blown up 20ft high!), in Rush, closely followed by seeing myself on the big screen for the second time, accompanied by my squealing, arm-clutching, exceedingly toddler-like grandmother.
  2. Getting the call on the train home from my first ever acting audition to tell me I had a place on the course.
  3. The same day, being mistaken for a 17-year-old by several actual 17-year-olds.
  4. Crying with laughter for the first time in my life, at the West End revival of Relatively Speaking.
  5. Bagging the first of many 2013 investments in monochrome, my houndstooth shift dress (see "February", above), for £1 in Primark!
  6. Sam Muses' first press feature on the F&F website.
  7. My I-can't-believe-they're-not-Chanel knee-high gladiator sandals (see first "July" photo, above) winging their way across land and sea to my door whilst leaving me with change from £25.
  8. Listening (aka dancing indefatigably, ineluctably and unrestrainedly around the house) to Justin Timberlake's second new album of the year for the first time (of many) as my birthday dawned.
  9. Being twirled around the dance floor and samba-ing the night away to the sweet sounds of Ricky Martin at the Questors Halloween and Christmas parties.
  10. Being able to slip into my high-waisted swishy red midi (see "Heart Print", above) for the first time in 18 months.
  11. Walking away from Selfridges with not only a free pair of genuine American Apparel disco pants, but Easy Jeans, a Boy London crop top and a velvet scrunchie too, having won a £150 voucher for this post and scored 20% off! Followed by the strangely illicit thrill of using said scrunchie to pull my hair into a high side pony for the first time in 20 years... Then holding my own personal rave whilst twirling said side pony to the sounds of Livin' Joy, N-Trance, Baby D, Soul II Soul, Salt 'N Pepa, Ace of Base and En Vogue. I should have known the '90s trend would get me in the end! 
  12. Being propelled by gale force winds across the Natural History Museum ice rink, as the rain beat down on my hood and pooled around my blades... followed by half a pint of mulled wine.
  13. Watching Jude Law bow out on an amazing performance of Henry V in the West End just before 2013 itself bowed out.

What I Was Looking Forward to in 2013... and How Things Actually Panned Out

Giving 4 of my readers the greatest gift of all (free clothes) in my New Year Boohoo giveaway
Result: Yes, I did manage to part with £250 of goodies, and experienced some pretty good free-clothing karma in return, winning a Missguided giveaway and 2 blogging competitions of my own later in the year.

Having perfect pearly whites
Result: Well, they're not TOWIE-white (which is no bad thing), but they are off the scale for natural teeth (in the right direction!). Somehow, I have submitted to several more months, and several more pennies, spent in/on clear braces though... Fingers crossed the final result is worth the wait!

Having baby soft feet following my medi-pedi at Liberty
Result: Not worth the hype.

January TV
Result: Worth the hype, especially with the addition of the brilliant Mr Selfridge, even if X-Factor, Strictly and Downton were a disappointment later on in the year.

Ri-Ri for River Island
Result: Over-hyped and over-priced.

Pastel wedge hi-tops
Result: The lilac ones never appeared in any of my regularly frequented Primark stores. Sob.

Tapestry/carpet print garms galore
Result: A promising beginning for my collection, with brogues, high-waisted mini and skort added in recent months.

Great Gatsby fever and finding a drop waisted dress to suit me
Result: Dress-finding mission successful (see "April", above). Film not so squeal-worthy - expected more of Baz and Leo.

The Lindor Egg/Malteaster/Aero Bubbly Lamb SS13 drop
Result: Always worth the wait, although we have been spoiled by the AW13 Lindor Star/Merryteaser Reindeer/Aero Bubbly Christmas Tree this year! Here's to year-round chocolatey goodness.

The Kimye baby
Result: Cute. And the name was comedy gold.

Sunshine after 4pm
Result: Yup, it happened. And I even took a few pictures outside! Once.

Seeing how my blog and life evolve over the next 12 months
Result: Life evolved more than expected, blog not so much, but I still took quite a few pretty pictures.

Revisiting My Resolutions for 2013 (Eek!)

Try out all those hair, beauty and DIY ideas I've been scrapbooking for years, and publish more hair, beauty and DIY posts
Result: Achieved, to some extent, during the first half of the year. Somewhat abandoned during the latter half, when I struggled to find the time just to keep up with outfit posts.

Figure out the inner workings of my camera's mind
Result: Little progress, if I'm honest!

Put clothes away straight after photoshoots, rather than wait until it takes 3 hours to clear a mountain I can no longer traverse
Result: Intermittent success - a couple of those 3 hour clearing sessions were necessary at certain points!

Look after my nails better
Result: Yes! Though their inherent slipperiness still puts me off too much experimentation, since they began to grow at a rate of knots as an inadvertent consequence of an intense mum-initiated supplementation regime, I have at least been motivated to keep them filed into presentable mini-stilettos.

Start a psychology blog
Result: Still on the back-burner for now.

Dig out my dancing shoes, which have been gathering dust for far too long
Result: Oh yes, from MJ routines to sambando the night away, my feet have spent little time in contact with the floor this year. Which is just the way I like it.

Stretch every day > Full splits in next year's Santa present drop choreo
Result: Errrrm. No, every day didn't last long, and I'm still an inch or two off... But I was still quite proud of my '40s-Pin-Up-Santa number (see above).

Get back into my size 6 leather skinnies
Result: Yes! Just about. Unfortunately, the zip is buggered from trying them on too many times throughout the year whilst they were still too small. Doh.

Play the piano regularly
Result: Oops.

Earn enough to keep me in collar tips
Result: Well, rather than finding a way to earn money, I managed to find several more ways to spend more, instead (a particular talent of mine). Hopefully, though, they will one day prove to have been an investment in my future earning potential...

Produce a step-by-step plan in order to co-ordinate paths to achieving all of the above and actually follow it, maintaining my organisational enthusiasm throughout the year
Result: Mixed... I am still using plans, but my "organisational enthusiasm" has certainly been variable!

Remember the lessons I learned in 2012, ensuring I don't need to re-learn them in 2013... 
Result: An ongoing struggle/process, particularly during the first half of the year... But definite signs of progress in the second half!

Resolutions for 2014

  • Update "master plan", including regular time slots for hair/beauty/DIY/photographic experimentation, playing the piano and stretching (so as to progress a little, ahem, further with last year's ongoing resolutions) alongside steps towards my bigger goals, and, of course, blogging.
  • Check in with plan weekly; do not hide it in terror before February dawns.
  • Maintain New Year levels of tidiness, avoiding precarious chair/desk/floor-based piles of detritus.
  • Exit bed before dusk begins to fall (even in January... er, this one starts tomorrow).
  • Enter bed before dawn begins to dawn (even in June... at least 6 days a week).
  • Work hard.
  • Play hard.
  • Open doors.
  • Acquire a pink coat.