Category Archives: shopping

Dear Santa… A Christmas Wishlist

Christmas wishlist 2013

Jo Malone fragrances in Earl Grey & Cucumber and Blackberry & Bay / Balega running socks / Deep red brogue Chelsea boots, River Island / Zara mens knitted hat / Listography Journal, / FujiFilm Instax 90, Photojojo/ Lipstick Queen Some Like it Hot gift set / 2014 diary, Paperchase

I know I said no gift guides this year but I couldn’t help putting together a little wishlist for myself, including a new camera – a girl can dream, right?

This year, for the very first time, Mr Ship-Shape and I taking the plunge and hosting Christmas ourselves. Given that we’ll be spending a fair chunk of money on keeping seven people in food and wine for a couple of days, we’ve decided just to give each other stockings this year, so I don’t expect I’ll find a FujiFilm Instax 90 or a new lens under the tree.

We’ll be using the red and white polka dot stockings that I made last Christmas and filling them with small but thoughtful gifts – I already have a couple stowed away that I hope he’ll like!

When I was younger I was all about the Christmas presents – even a few years ago I could barely get to sleep on Christmas Eve for all the excitement – but now I’m a little older, I’ve reached something of a tipping point. A stocking is lovely and I’ll never say no to a bottle of Jo Malone cologne or a pair of wine coloured Chelsea boots, but they can’t compare to family.

I really am just looking forward to spending time with our respective families, enjoying the company of those I see far too infrequently and setting some of our own Christmas traditions, which may or may not include devising a recipe for Baileys hot chocolate…

What are you wishing for most this Christmas?

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Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Camel and faux leather coat – Zara  /Plum funnel neck coat – Jaeger  / Mustard yellow boucle wool coat  – River Island / 1970 Soul  straight cut blue coat  – Reiss / Orange boucle coat – French Connection

As much as I loved Raf Simon’s princess pink swan-song at Jil Sander (A/w 2012), the whole over-sized, pastel pink, dropped shoulder, Grace Kelly-esque thang isn’t my cup of tea. The show was nothing short of beautiful and when Carven, Mulberry and Celine followed suit with pink coats for A/w 2013, I knew the trend would stick.

I appreciate the sugary sweetness of it all, but pastel, powder, blush or fuchsia; pink just doesn’t suit me. And what’s more, I don’t even like it.

Yep, that’s right, this blog might be covered in the pink stuff but it’s not my favourite colour by a long stretch, partly because it was always a colour I was encouraged to like growing up because ‘you’re a girl’. Pink is now such a loaded hue that apart from the design on this blog, I tend to avoid it at all costs.

I’ve seen a gazillion pink winter coat options on the high street, compiled on wishlists and featured in blog posts (my fave being Amy’s round up), but what I haven’t seen is some decent alternatives.

Above is a selection of five beautiful high street winter coats for the pink-phobic like me. Are you pining for a pink coat this season or does one of these take your fancy?

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Local Love: The Little Shop on Stokes Croft

The Little Shop on Stokes Croft

One of the many things I love about Bristol is that it is truly a hub for creative people. Musicians, illustrators, designers… we’re lucky to have plenty to pick from in the West Country, and heck, even the US think Bristol is the new London. Six such creatives have set up home in The Little Shop this month to sell jewellery, greeting cards, prints and ceramics.

Situated just beyond Stokes Croft at the start of Cheltenham Road, this venue has worn many hats in its time, acting as a pop-up art space and charity shop in recent months, though thanks to The Little Shop it’s now currently covered in giant pineapples and adorable lop eared rabbits, see below.

The Little Shop graffiti on Stokes Croft

The Little Shop opened its doors earlier this month and sits in the perfect spot to catch commuters on their way home and shoppers heading to Gloucester Road. The reason it caught my attention, aside from the stunning frontage, is that it’s currently stocking my friend Amanda’s jewellery collection.

Asanda Jewellery is no shrinking violet, with studs, rope and bold patterned earrings, chunky bangles and necklaces. Throw in a little tribal print, glitter-filled resin and gems nestled in gold claw settings and you can begin to get an idea of creations that lie in wait for you on the shelves.

However jewellery isn’t the only treasure you’ll find in this quirky shop. The ceramic bowls and mugs by Bee Hayes are beautiful and come covered in strawberries or imprinted with lace doilies, while Amber Elise, who started the shop, has a mix of prints and greetings cards on sale. Other Bristol designers include Rolfe & Wills – one day one of their stunning reupholstered chairs WILL be mine – Alex Lucus and Katy Christianson.

Designers and makers will rotate every few months so there will always be plenty of new stock to enjoy. I’m not about to drop the ‘C’ bomb in September, but if you happen to be on the lookout for unique gifts or greeting cards then The Little Shop could be right up your street.

The Little Shop, 125 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RR. Open 11am – 7pm Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 5pm on Sundays.

Ceramic mugs by Bee Hayes at The Little Shop on Stokes CroftAsanda JewelleryPrint by Amber EliseYeti and bigfoot are lovers bag by Katy ChristiansonGloucester Road shopping bag by Rolfe and WillisAsanda necklaces by Amanda SaundersHandmade brooch by Katie Johnston

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A Summer Sale Haul from Zara

Zara summer sale outfit of shorts, grey marl top and heavy cotton scarf

I’m not sure I like using the term ‘haul’ as it isn’t technically accurate, but I guess you could say I and my friend Lou needed to haul ourselves out of Zara a couple of weeks ago, as we were there until the Cabot Circus shop was beginning to close!

Zara is one of my favourite places to source sale bargains as there is so much choice, from basic organic cotton t-shirts (£5.99) to more conceptual pieces such as digital print dresses and trousers (starting at £17.99). This time around I unwittingly found a complete outfit, where the colours, textures and silhouettes all go together – an unusual feat for me as I tend to veer towards mismatched impulse buys when it comes to sales shopping.

I was immediately taken with these high waisted balloon style shorts – perfect for this glorious summer weather – as they remind me of the pair of trousers a teddy bear wore in an old television show, the name of which I can’t recall. I feel like he was called Little Ted and possibly lived in a toy box…

Moving on, the grey marl top is ridiculously comfortable, with turned up sleeves and a faux blue and white striped shirt poking out from under the hem. It’s the kind of top one could pair with skinny jeans or wear lounging around the house with leggings, and the stripes remind me of the summer dresses I wore as part of my school uniform.

I have Lou to thank for the scarf – at £49.99 it was waaaay out of my price range but I was so taken with it that she persuaded me to take it to the till incase it had been mislabeled. I don’t know about you but that moment when you take a label-less item to the till is always a bit nerve-wracking, but I needn’t have worried as it was only £19.99, a bargain given how often I wear scarves, even in summer!

What’s your favourite place to shop during the sales?

Grey marl top, Blue and cream striped shorts and Cotton scarf – Zara / Plimsoles – c/o Toast / Silk headscarf – Grandma Ship-Shape / Sunglasses – Primark

Zara heavy cotton scarfZara striped linen shortsZara sale haul outfit

Local Love: Heartfelt Bristol

Vintage camisoles and cotton nightdresses

Bristol constantly surprises me with the vintage shopping opportunities that lie within. Heartfelt is one such destination, a true vintage gem which I only had the pleasure of discovering a few weeks ago. Located on Clifton’s Alma Vale Road, a stone’s throw from Whiteladies Road, Heartfelt is a vintage boutique-cum-tea room where the focus is the overall experience of shopping for vintage clothing, which owner Mandy Hawkins is keen to create with an afternoon tea service and 50s music playing in the background.

I first heard of Heartfelt when I got chatting to a couple of bargain hunters in the queue for the recent Bristol Vintage Fair near Temple Meads, but it wasn’t until a friend told me about a one day flash sale in June that I finally discovered Heartfelt for myself. I fell in love with a 1950s circle skirt with white and blue stripes and a fruit print around the hem (trust me, it’s amazing!) and Mandy was kind enough to put it by for me.

Once the shop was back to normal – beautiful rails of colour-coded clothes and a cluster of art deco chairs and tables at the front of the shop – I popped back to pay for my skirt and chat to Mandy over a glass of elderflower fizz.

“I grew up with a mother and grandmother who constantly went to auctions and jumble sales so wherever I go, I’m always looking for new stock”

The key to Heartfelt working so well is that the customer really does come first – Mandy has dressed débutantes and actresses on the red carpet and her customers are loyal to her, following her from Somerset to Bristol where she set up shop two years ago. With over twenty years of experience in the rag trade, Mandy knows her stuff and is warm and friendly but not afraid to give her opinion if she thinks a garment you’re trying on could be improved somehow.

The vintage that has become a common sight on the high street isn’t what you’ll find at Heartfelt. 80s sportswear and batwing jumpers have no place here – the decade du jour is strictly 50s or earlier, with some ball gowns dating back 70 years and costing upwards of £300. But the boutique and tearoom are just the tip of the iceberg – Heartfelt is in fact a collective made up of milliners,  make-up artists, florists, photographers and stylists. If you want a button moved or adress taken in, a seamstress is just a phone call away, and vintage tea parties for adults (and children) can be arranged without a fuss.

“I like making people feel special”

Any items that are too precious to sell can be hired out – while I was at Heartfelt a couple of young women came in enquiring about floral headdresses to take to Glastonbury – and if you just want to capture a vintage moment then Mandy and her team can put together a photo shoot for you.

The atmosphere of the shop is relaxed and friendly, not a vibe I always get from vintage boutiques, making it a delight to shop in, as if you’re not in a shop at all but in the dressing room of a glamorous Hollywood actress, or a child playing dress-up in your Grandmother’s wardrobe. While ballgowns may be out of reach for most budgets, there is affordable vintage to be found for around £30-£100, each piece with a distinct tale to tell.

Have you been to Heartfelt yet? What other vintage gems have you discovered in your neck of the woods recently?

Heartfelt, 32 Alma Vale Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2HY. Open 9.30am – 5.30pm Tuesday to Saturday.

Vintage children's straw rabbit handbagHeartfelt Alma Vale Road, BristolVintage stockings at Hearlfet1920s vintage at Heartfelt BristolTaking photos in Heartfelt on Alma Vale RoadHand-painted vintage dress from HeartfeltHeartfelt's resident pup