Shoots, Skiing, Sunshine and Shopping…

You know how this one goes. It’s been a while, I haven’t been around much, sorry it’s been weeks since my last blog, etc etc. I’ll spare you the usual empty apologies. The truth is I don’t see the point in blogging for the sake of it, which is one reason why you don’t see dozens of new posts here each month. But on top of that I’ve been away a bit recently, and also I’m trying desperately not to get home from work every day and instantly jump on my laptop – not only is it killing my eyes (wrinkles! I have wrinkles at 28!) but it’s doing nothing for my social life either! However, a few things have happened that deserve a little catch-up, so read on for holiday gossip and the first time I’ve worn a white shirt since I left school…

First up was the TM Lewin White Shirt Challenge. Along with a group of other bloggers, I was challenged to style up the classic white shirt the way I would wear it. You can read more about my experience over at Catwalk Queen, but I saved one of the pics for Big Girls Browse as a little teaser! I went for the most obvious hourglass look I could think of!

Following that were the two short trips that make up this year’s Summer holiday (since I’m currently in the process of trying to buy a flat, a big trip away this Summer is just not possible). The first 4 days were spent with my parents in Spain. They’d rented an apartment in Granada, which put us in the rare position of being able to spend one day at a ski resort, and the next at the seaside. Here I am with my mom in our matching headbands at the Sierra Nevada. I didn’t ski – I’m far happier in the bar with a glass of vino blanco!

The day after we hit the slopes, we drove down to the coast and spent the day in Nerja. Here I am taking a very brief dip in the (freezing) Med in what I have to say is one of the best bargain swimsuits I’ve ever come across.

This baby costs £12 from George at Asda – I actually discovered it when the PR team popped one in the press day goodie bag, but I’m definitely going to grab the floral version too as they’re super cheap, the fit is great (padded cups for a bit of shape, control tummy and a ruched panel for a bit of a 50s vibe). The only thing I would say is that the ‘skirt’ section does ride up occasionally if you’re splashing about. But it’s £12 – can’t really complain!

After Spain I was back in work for a few days before I gave Easyjet yet more of my money for a trip to the French Riviera, and with it the chance to tick something off my bucket list – a visit to Monaco! For some reason (blame Grace Kelly and James Bond) the idea of glamorous Monte Carlo has always appealed to me (in fact I love the idea of visiting all the microstates, except perhaps Sealand). We were there for the men’s quarter finals of the Rolex Masters Tennis tournament, a huge treat from my boyfriend’s parents!

After watching Murray lose and Nadal win, we went into Monte Carlo itself to do a bit of exploring. I have to say I felt slightly let down. I was expecting real vintage glamour, but what I got was a lot of posing, boy racers and a crazy street plan that makes exploring the city virtually impossible without an epic guidebook. Don’t get me wrong, the views over the riviera are beautiful, the sea really is an unbelievable shade of azure, just looking at all the boats and cars is entertainment enough (yacht with a helicopter on it, anyone?) and the city is a structural work of genius carved into a mountain with a maze of underground tunnels, it just wasn’t as romantic, warm and welcoming as I’d expected.

Perhaps you just need money to enjoy it? Or maybe they just didn’t like my cat print dress? (Dress from Red Herring, jacket from Supertrash, belt from Primark)

In contrast to Monaco – which I think deserves a second trip after a bit more research – I can’t recommend the south of France enough. We stayed in Mougins, a beautiful old village up on a hill overlooking Cannes, and everywhere we visited during our stay was beautiful. The beach and port at Golfe-Juan, the antique market in Cannes…even the train journey down to Monaco was like an organised coastal tour (it runs along the seafront, going past resorts like Villefrance, Eze and Nice). All this is only an hour and a half from Gatwick, and it gave me a chance to put my A’ level in French to the test (result: j’ai oublié comment parler français).

In between the holidays, photoshoots and work, I also managed to buy some stuff. More on all of these, and a few other new purchases, soon. But I think it’s safe to say despite no big Summer holiday coming up, I’m definitely getting into the Summer spirit. COME ON SUNSHINE!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/TheSuperAmanda Super Amanda

    That sounds lovely! I too have a vision of going to Monaco where everyone is dressed like Grace Kelly and Bernie Dexter with parasols and summer pink wool Chanel cut suits and the men dress like George Clooney and Cary Grant. When I was in Deauville/Trouville/Honfleur in 1997 on my first trip overseas, I did see people dressed REALLY fancy and delightful. Loads of tailored capris and Tees. great sandals and cardis. I fear the low rise jeans trend has taken over which is a shame!

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    That’s what I wanted! I think once it’s a bit warmer it would definitely get like that, I imagine plenty of pretty sundresses and cats eye sunglasses and wedge sandals…but this time of year it’s coats and jeans and lots of rushing around.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSuperAmanda Super Amanda

    Vivienne of Holloway has Monaco print that was lovely and which evokes how I see the country even if it is only fiction! As an aside, my first ever Bernie Dexter cotton swing dress arrived (I already had a sailor top and knit dress I bought at Broad minded which are cute) and it is FAB!!!  Worth ever single pound note (Thank you to my husband as it was a gift xox). I bought the Pearl shoulder tie dress in Cherry Blossom in a 2X and could have easily worn a 1X so she REALLY knows how to design for a voluptuous figure AND how to design all cotton clothing so it runs wearable. When I added a crinoline, bolero and belt my waist looked so TINY!  She’s a genius. I have yet to try the Frenchie (gathered bust), Lulu ( tank style layered bust) or the Varick (rounded neckline with shoulder ties)..  I chose the one with adjustable arm holes and a looser bust. I’m going to have to rate her just a tad higher than Tara Starlet of which I also hold in uber high esteem for their craftsmanship. She really has consistent sizing down (Tara sizing can run all over the place and it all runs small) and above and beyond some of the best customer service of all time. It was like the olden days were you were treated like a beloved customer and left the department store with a pink box with a ribbon around it.

    http://miskonduct.com/images/BD_Pearlblossom_03.png

  • http://twitter.com/TheSuperAmanda Super Amanda

    Update:  Just tried that Oasis Pottery print placement dress and the fit is cack as is the Chinese pagoda print dress. LOVE THEM but sadly all are running two/three sizes too small. I left their new store across from Top Shop in that small alley with a great two piece VRepro play suit though; the ice blue with the yellow pineapple bralet crop top and full skirt are quality. Nice bit about that whole Floral Frocks line is that they are all made in Romania and not China like the silk dresses were last year.

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    I tried it in my usual size and it fit ok, but the fabric was a bit flimsy (especially for the price) and it was a bit too short – it looked a bit too twee and little girl-ish on me. I ended up buying a bright scarf print dress instead (http://www.oasis-stores.com/Scarf-Print-Dress//oasis/fcp-product/3470085600) which looked loads better and was a big heavier so hangs well.

    My friend tried the pineapple crop top and skirt – it looked amazing on her but she needed a smaller top than they had. She ended up with blue/green floral trousers instead.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSuperAmanda Super Amanda

    Great dress! When the Pottery dress goes on sale I will get it and have it tailored as I do like that style. Oasis is going to be releasing a great Jubilee line soon too with some subtle designs. In another hour Kelly Brook’s vintage style line for New Look premieres-can’t wait.

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  • Maria Mendez

    Great post, I love the style.  I recently became a fan of capris, and I love them.