Making like a model… sort of

The other day I bumped into Claire from luxury hair accessories brand, Stone Bridge.

I volunteered my hair for their website but didn’t think I’d actually end up being needed however a couple of months later I was asked to pop down to Tonbridge in Kent to lend myself to shooting pictures for their latest batch of hair clips, bands, barrettes and slides.

Shooting some 'hard profile' product images with photographer Neal

Despite getting up at 6.30 am Claire, who’s not only a hair styling maestro but a trained makeup artist, managed to make me look like I’d had a generous lie in with her box of tricks, and company founder Melissa managed to keep my hair looking fluff-free for the majority of the shoot. In fact, I loved the ‘messy chignon’ she teased my hair into so much that I wore it out that evening. (When I took it out finally about 22 hairpins emerged from my barnet!)

Melissa put a proper spread on!

The day before the shoot, Melissa popped over to Bluewater and bought some a-may-zing cupcakes from Buttercup. I love cupcakes that actually taste of something other than sponge – the coffee and caramel flavour was especially spectacular.

Possibly the only time I'll rest my hands on the steering wheel of a sports car... but at least I got to do it wearing my favourite piece; a leather hair band

As well as the more traditional product shots (mostly shot in a dead-on profile), we popped outside to take advantage of the fabulous weather. The only downside to shooting outside (which involved posing with Chester the dog, ‘driving’ an Audi and nearly breaking a china cup) was the bright rays that nearly blinded me via the silver and white reflectors. Hopefully the final shots will be worth the squinting discomfort!

Squinting and bearing the September sunshine with Neal, Melissa and Chester

I definitely enjoyed the experience more than I expected to – and it’s something I think others should try. Why not go out with friends and snap some portraits – whether for a direct purpose or not? As well as helping out a great new company, I got the experience of being in front of the camera for once rather than being behind it (or writing about it). I’ve never seen myself as particularly photogenic so it’s nice when something like this comes along and gives a bit of a confidence boost. Aside from managing the sunlight, I actually found the most difficult element of the shoot was allowing myself to smile fully (I’ve seen rather unflattering photos of myself laughing so was a tad paranoid), but I think I got there in the end!

Find out more about Stone Bridge and their range on their website – and I’ll let you know when the proper photos are unveiled! Also, don’t forget to check out photographer Neal’s site too – he’s a genius!

Head flower

Stone Bridge, the Kent-based luxury hair accessories company have come up trumps again by sending me another fabulous hair clip.

Knowing I love hair flowers and anything borderline quirky, Melissa and Claire decided to send me the biggest hair flower I have ever seen…

Hair flower by Stone Bridge

When it was delivered, lovingly wrapped in luxurious layers of tissue paper (held together by a signature claret red ribbon), I couldn’t quite believe my eyes – it’s the size of a small dinner plate!

Photo by Alex

Whilst I’ve decided I’m not quite ready to venture out with the beautiful chiffon clip on my head without an occasion worthy of its presence (such as a wedding or Ladies’ Day at Ascot!), it does make me think of something Patricia Field might pin onto a Carrie Bradshaw costume. I’m definitely going to pin it onto one of my shift or swing dresses next time I head to a gig or feel like the day deserves more glamour.

As I live a minute away from Columbia road I thought it would be silly to miss the famous flower market yet again, and the lovely corsage gave me yet another excuse to venture out. So, armed with a camera and Alex, I squeezed my way through the throng of people, corsage boldly pinned to my shirt.

Blending in with the merchandise

Strangely enough, despite Alex thinking I was self conscious of my ‘fashion statement’, I was actually just aware of having my photo taken amongst to many people (although I needn’t have worried as there were so many tourists around!). I love the fact that a corsage is an unusual choice to chose as the focal piece of an outfit, but feels apt due to the amazing weather we’ve experienced recently. I’ve seen a few girls wearing beautifully simple swing dresses recently and I’m desperate to get my hands on the perfect one, so as always I’d appreciate any recommendations!

How would you style the huge hair flower up?

Faceless.

I just watched Cycle 15 of America’s Next Top Model in two days.

This cycle was called ‘ANTM Elevated’ due to the incorporation of more top fashion houses (such as Versace and Roberto Cavalli) and a prize that included a spread in Italian Vogue.

Rather than ‘make like a model’ I thought I’d have a gleeful dig through my wardrobe and mix old and new bits and pieces together. I’ve been to the shops a few times since Christmas but haven’t found too much sales wise – I’ve still got Zara and Top Shop vouchers to splurge – but I’m biding my credit ’til I see something I “simply have to have, darlings!”

Trousers £14.99 by Zara, Shirt and shoes both by H&M

One joyous miracle happened recently on my 22nd birthday when I found a black version of my favourite camel trousers reduced in Zara to £14.99 from £19.99. Anyone who knows this blog at all will be aware that I’ve been trying to find ‘cigarette pants’ for an absolute age so to find them for such a bargain was rather pleasing! (Particularly as I used a Christmas voucher to buy them so it cost nada – thanks Tony!)

Jumper knitted by Deb, leggings 'freecycled', shoes by Dune

I borrowed this jumper from my Dad when I was cold at Christmas and his wife Deb gave it to me ‘because it suited me more’! I’ve wanted an oversized jumper for a while (thanks Deb!) but it doesn’t belt well so I have to wear with leggings to avoid looking too shapeless – I think it works though. The American Apparel style leggings were a free find at a Friends of the Earth Freecycle event I went to before I left Birmingham. Although I was primarily there to offload old clothes I couldn’t carry, I couldn’t resist these! The heels are also a thrift from my shoe hoarding mother. All in all a budget-free look.

Shirt from Oxfam, skirt from Cow Vintage, headband £1.25 (sale price) by Peacocks and boots by Melissa for Anglomania

I held out all holiday season for these boots by Anglomania (one of Vivienne Westwood’s diffusion lines). They arrived as a last present miracle from my fabulous sister Charlotte. Weirdly enough they smell pleasantly fruity so I lay around with my nose in the boots for an alarming amount of time! I shortened and hemmed the skirt so it was of more wearable length but accidentally burned a hole in it… oops! And I’ve not yet worn the shirt out of my room, so I should probably start getting more use out of it!

Dress from PDSA, heels by Office

I got this shift dress for about £3 in 2008 when I was doing work experience as a BBC Blast reporter. I had no money but a desire to spend it, so the PDSA charity shop was a good place for me to browse! The heels were my extravagant purchase from my short spell acting at Birmingham’s MAC theatre during a break from University. They are rather high so I don’t wear them out much, although I wore them for graduation. There were concerns that I’d fall over in front of everyone, but actually it was my oversized mortarboard hat that caused the issue.

Now… to the Top Shop sale! (Suggestions of what to buy, anyone?)