New Blinginnings

I’ve recently moved into East London and am quite stunned to find how close in proximity I am to some of the favourite stores of my teens.

The other day, by way of – ahem – crucial experiment, I timed my walk to vintage warehouse, Beyond Retro. It was approximately several minutes. Now, I should be overjoyed at this geographical revelation but, I have to admit. I’m scared for my finances!

Another happy discovery made earlier today was that Tatty Devine, who I thought were based purely in Covent Garden, also have a store at the top of Brick Lane (5 minutes away on foot) and had just launched a sample sale. Needless to say I practically ran there after I got back to London post driving lesson in Kent.

Dress by Zara, shoes by Schuh (donated by mum) and necklace, £30 (sale ptice) by Tatty Devine

In the shop I picked up a present for someone (and it’s so cool, but unfortunately I can’t discuss as I’ll spoil the surprise) and couldn’t resist buying the necklace pictured above. I got it for £20 (hypnotised  on the spot by the shiny-ness and sheer scale of the thing) but when I looked it up online it seems that they’re selling it for £30 (reduced from £90).

I’ve been far busier than I expected to be since moving hence the reason for my lack of recent posts but I’ve recently completed the second of my Get Frank podcasts.

I’m going to write about the bands and the show in more detail very soon, but I have to say a huge thanks to Vets in Hong Kong for meeting up with me and chatting for the show – but again, more on the guys and the other contributing artists very soon!

I’m going to go and unpack another suitcase…

Frivolise me!

I began a game in the Amazing Radio office the other day called ‘Frivolise Me!’

This essentially involves deciding to embark on an activity and then making it decidedly more ‘frivolous’ – for example taking a taxi instead of a bus to town, or buying a fancier product than you usually would. It’s a rather materialistic, entirely unserious game, but one that’s worth a giggle. It was only when my colleague Stevie B replied to one of my tweets that I realised that I had been playing the game without realising!

I headed into Newcastle city centre after work fully intending to try and find this pair of ‘rusty’ paperbag waist shorts from Miss Selfridge ready for Spring, or at least a similar pair for a cheaper price. I decided to try Primark to see if they stocked such a style.

Bag from charity shop

It turns out that they didn’t… but they did have a pair of leather look shorts that I noticed on my way out of the store! Naturally I grabbed a pair in my size, rushed to the changing rooms and had a go with them! Probably not an item on many fashionable Spring ‘must-have’ lists, but an item I gladly bought in place of the ‘safer’ Miss Selfridge option.

Shorts £10 by Primark, pussybow blouse (vintage) from Oxfam, heels by H&M

I do already have some leather look brown shorts from Zara, and fake leather skinny trousers from Topshop, but I couldn’t resist adding these to my growing collection. There’s something I can’t resist about this fabric. It’s less obvious than denim – especially when worn during the day – and  can be dressed up as in the photo above or dressed down as in the photo below.

Headband by Topshop, tee £9.99 by Zara, bag £10 from Tyneside metro market

(As you can probably see for yourselves, I’m sticking my tummy out in this photo, delightful eh!?)

I blogged about this Zara tee in my last post. It’s oversized and rather short which means I’ll probably wear a vest top underneath it if I take this outfit further than my bedroom. The headband is a couple of years old. I got in from Topshop in a bid to disguise my unruly hair as a ‘deliberate statement’. It wasn’t deliberate in this photo either, but I have been experiencing a minor revolt from my barnet today! The bag was a wonderful vintage find from Tyneside’s Saturday metro market last Saturday. You can’t tell from this photo but it’s a gorgeous, inky hue with an almost marbled effect. I’m attempting to work more ‘ladylike’ pieces into my wardrobe, and have bought a couple of waist-focused black pieces in the past couple of weeks; a shift dress from Topshop’s sale and a black, elasticated waist dress from Zara that I’m planning to debut at a Little Comets gig this weekend.

So what have you ‘frivolised’ recently? And which do you prefer, denim or leather?

Jazzy Lemon saves the day!

I’d meant to take a picture of my outfit for The Prison Library single launch at the Cluny 2 last night but headed out the door without thinking.

I don’t take a picture of every outfit I’ve worn, but I wanted a picture because it featured a few items I picked up from the Metro Centre on Wednesday. (I’m also having a wardrobe clear out and am in the midst of deciding what looks good and what would be best placed else where!)

Luckily Newcastle’s staple music photographer Jazzy Lemon was out in force and happened to take a few snaps of me at the gig (which you can see below). You can check out the full album (amongst literally hundreds of thousands of rock and roll moments) here. There’s plenty of great shots of all the acts; this Sunday’s Amazing Folk Roots Show guest The Lake Poets, Let’s Buy Happiness in disc jockey action at the decks, soulful Indie four-piece Grandfather Birds and headliners The Prison Library, who managed to put fears about the departure of brilliant Frankie & the Heartstrings guitarist Mick Ross totally at bay.

Blazer £29.99 by H&M, cropped t-shirt £9.99 by Zara, skirt £11 by Primark, headband by Stone Bridge

I saw this t-shirt on Zara’s website and experienced one of those “HAVE TO HAVE THIS” moments where I wanted to leave my desk and flee to this shop for immediate purchase. I didn’t notice I’d picked up a larger size until I got home but I think it will still work tucked into skirts or with faux leather skinnies. The blazer is one of the comfiest I own and was a complete impulse buy when a band practice was cancelled last-minute.

Shoes by Office, socks by Primark

I decided to brighten up the muted colours, ‘chic-up the geek’ and raise myself off the floor by a good five inches with my Office platform heels. I got these in 2008 when I was paid for my performance in Days of Hope by Howard Goodall at Birmingham’s MAC theatre. Although most of the money went on student rent and a new electric piano, I just couldn’t resist these. They made me at least as tall as most of the audience which meant that I could comfortably see the bands for once!

Satchel by New Look (all photos by Jazzy Lemon)

I’m starting to get rather impatient for Spring to arrive now. I’m resisting hiding in big coats and layering cardigans and my unlined parka in an attempt to be ready lest we be treated to a sunburst or two. Tomorrow I’m heading off to Tynemouth (a bit of the coast to any Southerners reading this) so I’m hoping to find a treat or two. I’ve never been before, but I’m gagging for some good ole seaside chips!

Thanks again to Jazzy Lemon for letting me use her photos!

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?)

Anchors and flowers

I’m having a bad face and hair day today…

There are some reasons why this is extremely bad timing, but I won’t bore you with those.

I seem to be having a great run of bad luck recently – like the world has said to me “right, we’ll let you record with Get Frank after two and a half years of desperately trying to organise something, but we’re going to have to compromise on everything else.”

For example, last Saturday morning at approximately 2am (I went to bed before 11pm in the hope of being ‘refreshed’ for my Halloween gig with The Union Choir), I woke up with severe stomach ache which was followed by vomiting etc… I got food poisoning on the morning of the night of the gig I’d been looking forward to for six weeks! And I’d missed the previous gig with tonsillitis. Wonders never cease.

Top by Gap £7.99, Shoes by H&M £14.99, Capri pants £19.99 by Zara, Bag £16.99 by Interacionale

Yes, in this picture I look distinctly unhappy with the universe. I’ve decided to try and cheer myself up by wearing red heels in the daytime. I’m not standing very well here and something distinctly nappyish is going on with the trousers… I attempted to iron them. (It’s not my strong point, ironing.) The trousers are a bit big on my legs but they’re one of the best fits I can find. I really love the Gap t-shirt though. Gap t-shirts are the best quality I’ve found on the high street, with a nice comfy fit.

Hair flowers £1.99 a pair by H&M, 'Frankie necklace' bespoke by ladyluckrulesok.com

My mum gave me the cherry earring after one of her many fancy dress events (she’s a fancy dress genius, and I do not use those words lightly! She is incredible.) I only have one ear pierced so always get people being ‘helpful’ and telling me I’m missing one etc… The necklace is from Ladyluckrulesok.com. I followed the site for seven years before designer Leona Baker decided to move onto a new project. The shop was hugely successful so maybe she wanted to feel more independent again – who knows?

The light is deceptive in this picture too (thank you attic sky lighting!) My hair and face are both messy today. I appear to have developed acne at the late age of 21. The flowers are a desperate attempt to look like my hair is deliberately big and ‘fizzy’ (I hate that word but feel it’s appropriate here. Vogue may get away with it, I do not.) ‘Rah’ girls spend ages backcombing, hairspraying and boofing up their roots to get ‘just out of bed’ hair to match their uggs and jogging bottoms. Again, they and their Jack Wills jumpers are part of an exclusive club that I just don’t get.

Thank goodness I’m off to the cinema, at least!

Also, Get Frank recordings are just having final touches and changes made and will be online very soon. Our first gig in Newcastle is at the Northumberland Arms on the 25th November. Hope to see you there (details to follow.)

Leather bum

Apparently it was all about winter shorts on the front row of the recent ‘fashion month’ which got me wondering… what makes a pair of shorts ‘wintery’?

The Observer’s weekend magazine solved it for me quite quickly just this Sunday as I read their article on dressing for one’s age. Accompanying the article was a page of high street picks (by catagory, i.e boots.) Apparently, as a 21 year old it is my destiny to wear black leather shorts throughout winter (and pay a hefty sum for the privilege).

I decided that if destiny had started making my style choices, I might as well have some kind of influence on how things panned out (without completely ruining what fate had previously decreed via the pages of OM Magazine.) Thus I headed to Zara, where I had seen these shorts on a previous trip.

 

Top £16 by Topshop, Shorts £29.99 by Zara

 

So yes, apologies for the dim photo, but my ‘twist’ on fate was to choose brown shorts (some might say the colour of ‘Leatherface’ from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but that kind of felt relevant due to Halloween being on the cards!) I’ve tucked the slubby breton Topshop top into the shorts in the above pic, although it’s quite short and deliberately oversized which means it particularly goes with slim cut cigarette trousers (I’ve yet to find the perfect pair…sigh).

 

Shirt £7.99 by H&M, Scarf £3 by Primark, Boots £25 by Peacocks

 

Aside from shorts being very much in vogue with the fashion editors at Paris fashion week, they were reportedly worn with bare legs (eek!)

 

 

Vintage jacket from Cancer Research (customised with Tiger Balm logo applique)

 

Ok so there’s a lot of brown in the last outfit, (and it’s not even shade-of-the-moment-camel-shock-horror!), but I do love this jacket. I got it four years ago at a Cancer Research charity shop in Maidstone from their ‘retro rail’. I took out the shoulder pads and stitched on a Tiger Balm appliqued logo that I’d rescued from a hemp tee that had gone wrong in the wash. I might wear this more as a winter-to-spring get up, although time will tell what the seasons will bring weather-wise! On a more realistic side of things I believe I’ll be teaming this shorts up with a creamy opaque pair of tights and these boots, or roughing things up with some tall, woolly tights and my canvas boots (with the bouncy rubber heel that I pray people never notice.)

On a slightly different ‘style’ note I need to find something to wear for a band photo shoot with the new Get Frank lineup – ideas much appreciated!

We’ll be heading into the studio at the end of next week to record our first EP – we’ve made light work of my back catalogue and are ready to go. There’s more of a freeform improvisational feel to some of the tracks and I’m very excited to finally get some proper recordings circulating (I’ve never had any at all so these will be the first). We’re looking for gigs in and around Newcastle too so ideas are again very welcome!



Too young for Mad Men, too old for Rydell High?

I finally have shoes!

My dad and his wife finally made it up to Newcastle so I have shoes and dresses once more… hurrah! Most of the dresses are meant for evening, but there’s a few skirts including the Topshop full circle skirt in the following shots.

Skirt by Topshop, shirt by H&M, belt by Zara

Shoes and socks both by Primark

Headband by H&M, Necklace by ladyluckrulesok.com

I bought the scallop patterned skirt last summer whilst interning at Channel 4 for a bargainous £10. I’ve not worn it too much because I’ve never had a top to wear it with… until now. The full skirt is very much in vogue at the moment, with Mad Men taking the fashion world by storm. I feel the softness of the peasant style shirt and brown belt softens up the look slightly, whilst the just-above-knee length makes the look younger too (more Grease than, say, fifties secretary.)

Although the shoes are difficult to see, they’re a navy bow detailed pair I got from Primark a couple of seasons ago. I wouldn’t necessarily team them with pink socks, but I want to make the most of getting away with summer before it gets truly cold outside. I might really go for colour as it gets colder with this look and go for bright tights (such as a sheer red, or maybe even a yellow),

I’m very excited about my shoes too as my Dad brought a load up. There weren’t as many has I had originally as I had to have a bit of a clearout… I haven’t counted how many I have yet! I did pick up a new pair of amazing Victorian style boots from Peacocks today for £25. When I saw them online it was love at first sight… In the shop today I went dizzy trying to decide between brown and black but went for brown because I think they’ll be wearable right into Springtime that way… although I’m severely tempted to get the black colour too!

Boots £25 by Peacocks, Socks £2 for 3 pairs from Primark

This is really more of a springtime look, but I figured that I could team this with tights, a cardi/jacket and a wooly beret to keep the look cosy. (Roll on springtime!)

The boots fit perfectly so I’m pondering attempting the walk to work in them. My only worry is that I’ll wear into the heel too quickly… most of my shoes need reheeling as the nails are all exposed at the bottom. I must be pretty tough on them!

Shoe porn is on it’s way soon, I promise!

Hairy times for Holy Mammoth

I had a little spare time before going out to tonight’s Cult Image, Holy Mammoth and Fang Island gig so I got a little silly with my Macbook camera

Tee by Urban Outfitters, skirt by Zara, tights by Topshop, shoes by New Look, belt by Primark

Trying to get the shoes into shot...

Hair flower by Accessorize

Hair; a product of genetics and a bit o' serum

I really need a camera, some ‘this season’ clothes and some sense of dignity.

I also need these shoes in a size smaller as I can’t wear them without tripling up socks – so I won’t be wearing them tonight I don’t think… boo.

Although I could layer up the trainer socks and hope no one notices…. I’ve done that with my ballroom shoes before… except the judges weren’t so impressed!

See you there.


How I wish I were a fashionista

When I was younger I hated shopping.

Maybe it was the freedom of a student loan, but once I hit uni, I became increasingly interested in clothes and fashion. It’s a growing obsession that sees me spending my lunch break on high street store websites and on fabulous blogs like Selina’s Flying Saucer.

I’d love to start my own fashion blog, but aside from the fact that most of my stuff is still in Kent (I moved from Birmingham to Newcastle with a suitcase and a supermarket ‘bag for life’) I’ve mostly been getting odds, ends and essentials from the shops.

I was wondering if my blog should focus on adapting pieces I already have to new trends, or combining new and old pieces, I’m not too sure. I don’t have a camera or a tripod at the moment so I’ve had to stick my macbook on top of my wardrobe to get the following shots…

High waisted trousers from Zara sale, 'Kenya' lion tee from Urban Outfitters sale

High waisted trousers from Zara sale, 'Kenya' lion tee from Urban Outfitters sale

This picture, for example, consists of old and new.

The tee is from an Urban Outfitters sale. I got it a few months ago for a tenner and I really love it. It’s long enough to go with jeggings or leggings without swamping me.

The high waisted Zara trousers were lusted after by me for ages. I’d been looking for a ‘paperbag waist’ style for ages and happened to come across them on the Zara website. After work that evening, I was off to the Metro Centre like a shot!

I’ve teemed these with pink Primark brogues (£12), and a small copy of Mulberry’s ‘Alexa’ satchel. It was a bargainous £16.99 from Internacionale. I love that it doesn’t swamp me and can be easily mistaken for something of greater marketable worth! A friend recently did a double take in a nightclub… and I had to reassure her it was a desperate fake!

I’m still umming and erring about whether I can go out in public like this however! The trousers have not left my house yet since their purchase, due to the fact that I worry about how unflattering they might look. I bought some low waisted chinos too that have had a couple of trips, but because they sit lower on the hips, they don’t risk so much of a ‘belly bulge’ look. On the other side of things, I’m not too big (about a size 8-10) so I figure that if I do look bigger than normal, I still won’t look larger than your average person (and that can’t possibly be a bad thing… could it?)

Bag by Internacionale, shoes by Primark

Bag by Internacionale, shoes by Primark

You can probably tell that I’m in desperate need of a tripod… and also a proper wardrobe! I’ve just moved house and the wardrobe doesn’t have a rail in it. The bottom drawer of the chest in the background is also knackered!

Because I’ve been dealing with rent situations I’ve been a bit cash strapped recently, although I did some work in May that I’m awaiting pay for. Once that comes through I’ll hopefully shed myself of outstanding debts (student loan excluded of course!) and get myself a tripod and passable camera.

Whether people will want these posts from me is another thing… I don’t know if I have an audience for this blog, let alone a fashion loving one, so I’ll keep the clothing posts occasional, unless there is a demand for it.

In other news, I cannot wait for the Zara online shop to arrive! It’s coming on September 2nd, and as there isn’t one in Newcastle town centre, I’m guessing it’s going to become one of my most visited sites! I just love their clothes. I’d definitely choose Zara over Topshop, every time! Aside from Zara, I have to admit that my favourite store is Peacocks!

Parka, dress and shoes all by Peacocks

Parka, dress and shoes all by Peacocks

I got this dress a few months ago, even wearing it to my graduation. It was £20 with my student discount, and I absolutely love it. Clearly it can be dressed up with heels but easily worn with more of an edge, like in the picture on the right. My favourite way to wear it is with a pair of mid heel, tan coloured New Look brogues that I got from a charity shop for £3 and a pair of grey/brown hiking socks (my first lot were from Primark, but I can’t find them in there anymore… gutted!)

The parka was £25 and the heeled boots were £20 (mine are grey.) Both items are ‘this season’ but for some reason I can’t find the jacket online anywhere. (It was sold out in the Newcastle branch so I had to get mine from Gateshead. I have a feeling that it’s been rather popular.)

Peacocks parka, £25

I really did want a jacket like this months ago, (pre Glastonbury in fact). I searched all over Birmingham but couldn’t find anything so I was ecstatic when I found this.

Although someone told me it doesn’t rain much in Newcastle, it’s been torrential rain for most of August so I’m glad I found this jacket in time! My Primark pac-a-parka was just not doing anything for my rep in the Amazing Radio office!

The boots might raise eyebrows, especially when I tell you that they have a springy rubber heel – however I figured that rubber and shoes are both the subject of fetishes, and together they kind of cancel out their own fetishisation! This is extremely twisted logic. But this is also fashion. Maybe.

Peacocks 'Bella' boots, £20

So that’s pretty much it for my first attempt at writing about fashion. Hopefully I’ve been the opposite of elitist, and easy to read!

I do find it kind of strange taking pics of myself and posting so many up, but I guess it’s in the name of fashion! Plus, my angles are out of necessity rather than that very ‘2005’ Myspace fad.

So if you think I should stick to writing about music/radio, that’s cool – and if you like what I’m doing then also please say so. I’ll still be writing about my career and work experiences for 4Talent’s blog… which I really need to do again sometime soon!

So until next time darlings…. goodbye!

Frank x

(p.s Lipstick is Lancome’s Le Rouge Absolut in Caprice, 132 with Body Shop lip liner in Red, 007.)