I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and walking (a tiny bit) of the Essex Way with the inspirational Juliet from An Essex Girl Walks as part of her 4 day trek walking the entire 81 miles of the Essex Way from Epping to Harwich. It was a very, very muddy and wet day – I managed 3 miles of slipping and sliding before I had to leave and head back home to do some work. The 3 miles I walked back on my own to my car were nowhere near as interesting and fun as the 3 I walked with Juliet!
Juliet and I half way through the mudfest. Think Glasto with more mud!
Juliet – like me – resents the Essex Girl stereotype and instead of just moaning about it to anyone who will listen (err like me!), she actually got up and did something about it.
Her aim was to raise funds and awareness for Essex Women’s Advisory Group, whilst challenging a stereotype that does no woman any favours; least of all those of us who were born, or have moved to and love, or are bringing up our beloved daughters in Essex.
She’s just published her blog on the walk and it’s so worth a read. I really really enjoyed my brief time with her and hope to spend much more time with her soon.
One of the motivations was the Oxford Dictionary Definition of an Essex Girl. This definition perpetuates such an awful misogynistic stereotype. I have always been aware of the stigma and actually chose to move here still (and I am from the beautiful West Country so I am very choosy on where I live!).
Here is the definition. Spoiler. It’s not great…..
A contemptuous term applied (usu. joc.) to a type of young woman, supposedly to be found in and around Essex, and variously characterized as unintelligent, promiscuous, and materialistic.
– The Oxford English Dictionary
What do you think? Personally I am proud to be a (relatively new) Essex Girl and love this stunningly beautiful, enormous and varied county. #IAmAnEssexGirl. Surely an Essex Girl is just a ‘girl from Essex’?
It may be feeling a lot more springlike out there but watch out, this trans-seasonal period can be a tricky old time. You don’t want to still be bundled up in big coats and scarves, but it’s still not quite warm enough to chuck off the layers and put the scarves away for another year.
An easy way to feel a bit more springlike, without actually freezing to death with no coat (is it just me that once the coats go away, they stay away until the autumn?) is to add a brighter scarf.
And we’ve got the perfect new colourful scarf for you. The new Scatter Star Scarves add vibrant colour whilst still being a brilliant size and weight for the season.
The classic star design has been reworked and taken up to a whole new level of style. Deconstructed and full stars combine with stylish paint splatters to create a distinctive and vibrant scarf in two beautiful colour choices.
Available in two colours; a more classic Navy, Red and Camel and a slightly punchier Teal, Orange and Pink. Both just £13.
Teal Orange and Pink Scatter Star Scarf £13
Navy, Red and Camel Scatter Star Scarf £13
But don’t just take our word for it – look at the lovely Joanne modelling hers over on the Alice’s Wonders Instagram.
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Not that sort though, sorry! Or actually not sorry, really, as no one is ready for that…
Banishing the post holiday blues with a much better type of blue – my new navy French Connection crepe tank, a gift from my lovely mum for my birthday. It’s always a risk buying clothes for others – but she got this absolutely spot on. Well done Mum!
If you look carefully you can see the front detailing, which I love and really elevates it to something a bit more luxe. It proved the perfect foil earlier this week for the Green and Pink Tassel Necklace (£10); part of the Nature Collection at Alice’s Wonders.
It’s sleeveless so I’m not quite ready to wear it alone yet – instead wore it under a mannish denim shirt. This did the trick of slightly softening the denim shirt, whilst the denim shirt toughened up the luxe feel of the tank. Plus the Gap Slim Crops that I now have THREE pairs of and really, really recommend. Not so sure about these boots though, although that’s partly because I live in trainers and these felt a bit too grown up!
Denim shirt – GAP
Navy crepe tank – French Connection
Green and Pink Tassel Necklace – Alice’s Wonders
Slim crops – GAP
Tan block heels boots – Dune (old)
Thanks for reading…
STOP PRESS – Opening extended for the last weekend
Due to unprecedented demand the V&A will open round the clock next weekend for the very last weekend of this amazing exhibition. I was so lucky last month to view this with 3 of my favourite ladies; my mum, sister and 19 year old niece.
From the early days of his 1992 graduation show – purchased in its entirety by the late, great, stylist Isabella Blow, right up to his final A/W 2010 collection; finished by Sarah Burton (of Royal Wedding dress fame) after his tragic and untimely death, the exhibition is full of iconic pieces and jaw dropping designs.
A highlight for me was the dress worn by Shalom Harlow in his S/S 91 Collection. A plain white dress to start with; it was spray painted while being modelled, resulting in an incredibly beautiful unique dress.
A wearable work of art; the dress itself is the centerpiece of one of the exhibition’s most absorbing rooms – The Cabinet of Curiosities. A room absolutely jammed with accessories and clothing from the entire span of McQueen’s work.
Installation view of ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ gallery, Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A
Picture credit: Victoria and Albert Museum London
I can’t fully express how wonderful an experience the exhibition is. If you can at all, then please, please go. Of course the V&A itself is well worth a visit as well. I consider myself incredibly lucky to live just a Tube ride away from such an incredibly vibrant museum and could visit every week without feeling sated.
London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration.’
– Alexander McQueen, January 2000
One last image – my favourite picture of Alexander McQueen. Such life and vitality.
The Alice’s Wonders Summer Sale is continuing apace – although many lines are selling out, there are still some bargains to be had.
Just a few of my personal top picks:
All the clutches are now half price, down from £18 to £9 – new clutches will be coming for the A/W Collection, so these will not be restocked.
I personally have both the Coffee and the Black Envelope Clutches, they’re such a good size I can fit all the rubbish I cart around with me in the evening (no streamlining in the evenings here!), or for a girls day out.
I used the coffee one just last week for a fab night out with the girls – as shown off on my instagram.
The Carmine Fan Necklace is another personal favourite – down to just £9.10.
The Grey and Amber Scatter Necklace is super pretty, ideal to add glamour to a wedding outfit – or one to save for the party season later on in the year. Now £10.40.
Talking of the party season – the Jet Black Leaf Necklace would be such a great buy now to have ready for when the nights draw in and the parties start. Now 40% off, just £8.40 now (also in Cobalt and Chocolate)
If it’s pure metallics you prefer, you can’t go wrong with the Gold Cleo Necklace; a really striking piece that would easily elevate jeans and a simple tee into the ideal ‘date night’ outfit.
Finally, I can’t do my top picks without mentioning the most statement of all statement necklaces – my adopted county of Essex has definitely influenced my choice here!
The Pink Crystal Flower Necklace makes such an impact, the rest of the outfit would just need to be nice and simple. Perfect for ringing the changes and updating old favourites. Now 50% OFF – £9 down from £18.
I could go on and on; these are just a few of my favourites, have a look at the SALE and see what other bargains there are!
Anyone on my Instagram would have seen my ‘best buy of the summer so far’ quite a few times already, but I just cannot get enough of it. And now it’s in the sale too. Perfect.
It’s the Black Eyelet Midi Skirt from Gap. I bought it on a whim a few weeks ago and have worn it at least twice a week ever since – now I can’t quite work out what I did without it; always a good sign of a great buy.
It’s been to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A, plus Alice’s Adventure’s Underground, AND a lovely friend’s lovely 40th party to name just three outings.
Being fully lined and in fab lightweight cotton it was perfect in the heatwave that lasted all of two minutes, but works perfectly on cooler days with a tee and denim jacket as well, or – my favourite look I think – with a denim shirt tucked in.
Denim Shirt – ASOS
Skirt – GAP
Shoes – Next
Gold Coins Necklace – Alice’s Wonders
Polly Plains Tee – French Connection
Skirt – GAP
Shoes – John Lewis
Gold Leaf Necklace – Alice’s Wonders (pre order available)
T-shirt – H&M
Skirt – GAP
Sandals – Topshop
And most importantly it’s got pockets and everything – got to love a pocket! Ooh – have just thought about trying with a black and white Breton too – which I don’t have actually have. Yet….
It’s down to £27.99 in the sale online, but I did see it at Westfield Stratford for £9.99 so is even cheaper instore. If you are looking online there are only limited sizes available I’m afraid (try the tall or petite versions as well). Use code SUNNYGAP for a further 20% off.
I loved it so much I’ve actually bought it in the white too – also on sale, with slightly more sizes available.
A word of warning – the waistband is a bit tight to get over your bottom (or it is for me!), although a perfect fit once on, but if you put it on over your head like a top its much easier! I wear an XS and am a size 8-10.
Here we are on Day 6 of the Instagram #mystylephotochallenge challenge – which I am determined to fully participate in this month instead of petering out on about Day 9. Watch this space….
If you’re on Instagram come and give me a follow…lots of behind the scenes, randomness going on! www.instagram.com/aliceswondersuk
Today’s prompt is yellow, and I was struggling to choose my favourite yellow piece from the Alice’s Wonders range so thought I’d do a quick blog of my top yellow picks…
First and foremost is the super pretty, and very popular Yellow Fern Print Scarf £10. Perfect for adding a bit of spring colour when the weather isn’t actually as spring-like as one would like!
New to the Spring Collection is the Yellow Deco Flower Necklace £14 Such a striking design, really pretty and with more than a touch of 1930s influence. (VERY LOW STOCK LEFT)
Another new ray of sunshine – the Primrose Sweetie Necklace £9, so easy to wear – perfect over a simple Breton, or plain knit.
Finally, sometimes it’s not all about your neck. Add a simple pair of yellow earrings for an easy way to add a pop of colour. Love these Yellow Sparkle Dangly Earrings £5.
And here’s me embracing the shade with my yellow scarf over a grey J Crew Tippi (my most favourite sweater style in the entire world. I know – how dramatic?)
Check out the co-ordinating sofa and cushions too, now that is commitment to the yellow cause!