Sunday, 27 February 2011

Meet..... Pretty Much Penniless

We meet another wonderful blogger for our next installment of our Meet the Blogger series. This time we chat to Ellie from Pretty Much Penniless. We really like her effortless writing style and peeking at her gorgeous charity shop finds. Read on to find out why we love her... 

Ok, first up who is 'Pretty Much Penniless?'   
Pretty Much Penniless is me- a 24 year old, London-based, oft-restless girl called Ellie who has an obession with all things cheap, cheerful, tacky and kitsch.

How long have you been blogging, what made you want start it in the first place? 
I've been blogging in this format since September 2009, but was a dedicated Livejournal user for 3 years previously and have a drawer full of half-finished journals and scrapbooks that account for my teenage years. I know it doesn't sound particularly modest, but I've always had an eye for a bargain. I've found so many amazing things in all sorts of places and I wanted a way of showing them off to people, so a blog seemed like the perfect platform for a show and tell. 

What inspires your blog posts? 
Places that have stolen my heart, things I've bought that I will treasure forever but cost me less than a coffee, the people close to me who can make me laugh so much I snort, films with pastel colour palettes and my strong belief that most of the time, the high street sucks.

How would you describe your style? 
A bit weird? Ha, I guess that's too vague. I sometimes think I'm a schizophrenic dresser. Some days I just want to wear all-black, lots of eyeliner and battered army boots and other days I'll be wearing nipped-in dresses with soft layers, old brogues and cutesy accessories. The only constant is my lack of ability to look polished- I'm quite scruffy but I think I like it, I think you can look a little too magnolia if everything is perfect. Or so I'll keep telling myself.

What items can you not live without? 
Like many a girl who grew up in the nineties, I've been wearing kohl eyeliner nearly everyday since I was 15. My Rimmel Exaggerate pencil is never far away. It's better than the Chanel version and about a quarter of the price.
My iPhone. Dead boring but it's surgically attached. I call my mum everyday because I'm soppy like that. And because I work nine till five, it allows me to follow up on blog-related things on breaks meaning I get to have a few evenings a week internet-free.

What do you get up to when you're not blogging? 
I can usually be found hanging out on a sofa somewhere, reading other blogs. Making crafty things to sell. Revamping bits of old tat. Circling the local charity shops, vulture-like, for something pretty. Forcing my fiance Ed to watch poor french films with beautiful actors, whilst curled up on the sofa, which brings us full circle back to the sofa- an integral part of my downtime.

Tell us something no one else knows about you...
I  was named after Eleanor of Aquitaine, a one-time child Queen of France and England and all round powerful babe of the Middle Ages. I'm quite proud that my mum obviously had very high hopes for me.

And lastly as we've just released our Winter issue, what's your favourite thing about this season?
 We've already had my favourite time of the year, Christmastime. But right now, when the day starts letting us keep the light for a few minutes extra every evening and you can slowly start wearing less layers and more colour: you just can't beat that feeling of hopefulness.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

That's a wrap...

Our current obsession this week is the wonderful Wrap Magazine . Not only is it a beautiful illustrated publication, but once you've finished reading you can get wrapping as all the wonderful and exciting pages can be used as wrapping paper. All our future parcels are going to look very pretty!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Carrot and Poppy Seed Loaf

A bit of sunshine may have teased us with the idea that spring is around the corner, but the sudden change in weather from delightful to drizzly has got us all wrapped up inside longing for a good book and a cup of tea. Naturally, all that sitting around has been making us hungry, so we’ve discovered the perfect accompaniment to all those luscious cuppas. Good old carrot cake. 
Now, don’t be fooled - this is no ordinary cake. Borrowed from a dear mum’s recipe archives, this super light, deliciously moist cake will have you coming back for another slice. Well, we can’t leave that edge uneven can we?! So stick the kettle on, grab a plate, and let this little bit of sunshine brighten those gloomy afternoons.

Carrot and Poppy Seed Loaf

150ml vegetable oil, plus some for greasing
2 medium eggs
175g light muscovado sugar
350g carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp poppy seeds
200g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice

150g soft cheese
60g unsalted butter, at room temp
1 ½ tsp orange juice
150g icing sugar

Cake Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/GM 2 and grease a loaf tin (13cm x 23cm if you have it!) with a little vegetable oil. Line the tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the eggs with the vegetable oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl and once well mixed add the poppy seeds and grated carrots.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and mix well before turning into the pre-lined tin.

Bake for about an hour and check to see if it’s cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the mix. If it comes out clean, you’re done! If not, simply put the cake back in the oven for another five to ten minutes and check again. Once cooked, turn the cake onto a cooling rack.

Frosting As the cake cools, combine the cream cheese, unsalted butter and orange juice with a spoon or electric whisk on a low speed. Gradually add the icing sugar until well combined. We added a little more icing sugar to satisfy that sweet tooth, but feel free to add or take away to taste.

Spoon the mixture onto the cake and spread evenly over the top. It will probably drip down the sides, but if you actually see that happening you’ve clearly got extraordinary will power: this cake is temptation defined...and we’re certainly not afraid to give in!

By Danni Slater

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Birds of a feather

We fell in love with the presentation from Orla Kiely this season, they just seem to get it so right. Taking inspiration from the Hitchcock heroines, the collection had the usual vintage feel to it with a mix of of her signature sixties shaped silhouettes, retro prints and a generous scattering  of peter pan collars. 

The Portico Rooms at Somerset House were decorated with scary looking birds and a wooden shed took centre stage in the middle of the room, where a three minute film by Mercedes Helnwein was being shown on a loop.

As usual we wanted everything... it's just hard not to when they're all this beautiful.

Monday, 21 February 2011


Some more of our favourite shows...

Matthew Williamson

Doing what he does best with the usual mix of bohemian prints. We love the  neutral palette and the little  dash of that hot coral and the patchwork print jacket.  



We long to be a Mulberry girl, just look at those sugary shades and beautiful bags. The latest collection has a retro seventies feel with the models' gorgeous waves and knee high socks. Our favourite is the bird print dress though. 


Paul Costello

Paul Costello models wore gorgeous red wigs and fuelled our love for the colour even more. This set the tone for the rest of the show which was full of colour-popping mini dresses and flashes of quirky quality street metallics along with a sprinkling of tweed and herringbone. We loved the little skater skirt and jacket combos. 


Cruella De Ville

We're absolutely smitten with Topshop Unique's show and their Dalmation inspired collection. The models even had cute little pooch noses. The Unique show is always a favourite of ours, but we're not sure this collection has knocked their last A/W collection off our top spot.... we've still made a mental wishlist though!

The collection had a slightly more grown up feel to it with the luxurious textures and fabrics with Art Deco details but they still kept the Topshop tongue-in-cheek-charm with the Dalmatian print nails doggy prints. We can't wait to see what they come up with next season!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Gothic Dreams Are Made of These

We were lucky enough to be invited down to Bora Aksu show at LFW on Friday, and we were not disappointed. Shuffling into the tent we spotted Twiggy and Marina [minus her diamonds] wearing an eccentric jumper embellished with what looked like mice. once we were at our seats, and short time spend spying who was on the the front row, it was time for the lights to go down. With Duran Duran's 'Chauffer Song' pumping out the speakers ,the first model started to strut along the catwalk. 
The collection had a futuristic gothic feel with a pallete of silver greys and stunning emerald greens. There were lots of almost armour like bodice shapes with slashed knitwear and a few cute bows thrown in for good measure, along with tulip skirts and Aksu's signature draping .

We're on the hunt for something that resembles that gorgeous green shirt, perfect. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

What ya wearing world?

We love having a peek at what everyone else is wearing and that's why we're so excited about Zina's new project. What Ya Wearing World? is the brainchild of Southampton Solent student, who's undertaking a huge global style project for her final major project. The campaign showcases individual style from all areas of the world, and the best thing is that anyone can join in. 

Zina is looking for happy, confident women and men, of all ages and sizes to snap themselves looking as they do every day and then send in the image. This will then be uploaded to the What Ya Wearing World? community, made up of a facebook group, twitter page and tumblr blog. 

Zina says "There are no definite rules to how they should look, as the campaigns ethos is to celebrate individuals and how they describe there style. The campaign which is slowly building followers from around the world and I hope for it to become a success in showcasing freedom of expression through clothing. Anyone who wants to help with this campaign can submit photo in a variety of ways, wearing literally anything which they feel great wearing! I really want this to be a successful campaign to make members feel good about themselves however they look"

If you fancy getting involved you can send any photos you want to showcase to the world to

and you can visit the Blog, Twitter and Facebook page.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Seventy Tree

There’s nothing like a piece of art to take you away from the mundane and into a world of fantasy. Our latest obsession is ‘Seventy Tree’ aka Kerry Layton, a Devon based illustrator/artist who has blown us away with her quirky doodles. With a penchant for raindrops, tea and cake, we knew this girl would be right up our street. 
Here are some of our favourite prints….

We’ve fallen for Kerry’s unique style, what do you think?
To find out more, take a look at ‘Seventy Tree’s website here and shop here.

By Kat Nicholls

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Put A Spring In Your Step

Spring, it seems, is just around the corner. It may only be February, but all our favourite high street stores are filled to the brim with floaty tops, bikinis and sunglasses a-plenty. And whilst it may be slightly premature to start slapping on the sun cream and floppy hats, the time has certainly come to embrace those springtime prints and patterns. Goosebump-enducing tees may not be called for just yet, but we can sure make an effort with some floral footwear! Here’s a pick of the best springtime shoes out there at the minute, colourful, bright and sure to put a spring in your step.

Asos Floral Brogues  - £35.00 

Forever21 Daisy Stud Heeled Clogs - £24.80
H&M Floral Wedges - £14.99
Asos Floral Lace Up Boot - £45
Topshop Mischa Pumps  - £28
Miss Selfridge Floral Lace Up shoe - £20

By Danni Slater