Pick Me Up 2016

Art, Exhibitions, Inspiration, Life

Hello world! It feels nice to have something to blog about again, seeing as I’ve been a total hermit since suffering with an ear infection for the last two weeks and counting. I finally ventured out to London to attend this year’s ‘Pick Me Up’ art fair at Somerset House. I missed the exhibition last year, so was excited to experience the art work and live workshops as well as gander at the beautiful pieces on sale.  

The first thing I felt when entering PMU was jealousy. I’d love to have something to display, I hardly do any illustration any more as I just don’t really have the time. I’m lucky I get to be creative while designing at work – but I doubt anyone would go to an exhibition of my Kardashian layouts! I really liked some of the styles being displayed, the illustration work at PMU is always very strong. Pottery seemed very popular this year, and there was even a workshop going on where you could make your own. Alan Kitching hosted a special screen printing display along side a large collection of his typography work. As always there was loads to buy – I loved Beach London‘s stall, that included an amazing ‘BORT’ license plate, and an awesome chicken shop logo print.

Compared to when I went to PMU in 2014, it seemed that this year there was definitely a lot less art being shown, and more emphasis on the pop up shops inside, selling bits and bobs. This was a bit of a shame, as we cruised through the exhibition in less than 45 minutes, leaving us left a tad unsatisfied. I’d still recommend PMU for fun art fix, but don’t expect to be there all day! 

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2014 mega fun stuff so far.

Art, Exhibitions, Fashion, Inspiration, Life

Lazy Oaf Garfield Collection //launch night. Thanks to my lovely friend Emily at Lazy Oaf, I went along to the launch night of their Garfield collaboration a couple of months ago. I am such a huge Lazy Oaf fan and after last year’s Looney Tunes collab launch I was so excited to attend this event. Hoxton’s arches were transformed into a real life look-book, with models posing on colourful sets, while we walked around and admiring the collection (and of course the models themselves). Lazy Oaf always go out of their way to create such quirky and fun events and this one was no different. I don’t know how the models managed to keep a straight face with us gawking at them and taking photos, but it was really such a unique idea which only L.O could pull off so well. Around the corner from these live sets were the booze & shop area where you could browse and buy the Garfield collection as well as grab a cocktail and a mini lasagne or cat shaped pancake from the good people of The Breakfast Club. It was a really fun night and I can’t wait for the next one.

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New Designers 2014//exhibition. One of my best friends was picked to be a part of the New Designers Exhibition this year. I’ve never been before, but was blown away when I got there. Students from different Universities got to display their work to potential employers, buyers and manufacturers to private collectors and design enthusiasts. It was so much fun walking around looking at everyone’s work (I’m nosy like that) and made me pine for my art school days. I especially liked some of the illustration work, as it reminded me of our Illustration Exhibition back when I was at Camberwell.. good times. My friend was showing her rebrand of the lingerie line ‘Belle’, and acted like a proud mum, making her pose in front of her stand for cringe photos. There were also interactive pieces where you were encouraged to take part to create the art – we liked colouring in the drawing box, and there was a piece that was only visible once you used a hairdryer on it. I did envy all the students, as back when I was at Uni I hadn’t even heard of this event, and there were awards given out with such prizes up to £1000, as well as an internship at Sky! Pfft.. (that’s me being jealous). All in all it was really fun and interesting, and there’s no doubt some of the people there are going to go on to big things.

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Pick Me Up//art fair. Every year I say I’ll go to Pick Me Up, so this year I finally made the journey to Somerset House. The exhibition was huge with so much to look at (I must have taken a few hundred photos) and I was in awe of some of the pieces on display. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a few ‘I could do that’ moments looking around, but on a whole the quality of work was brilliant, and I came away wanting to go back and re-do my Graphics degree. I especially liked the work which was on show in individual rooms, which themselves had been designed and curated to suit the work displayed (check out my pic of the beaut palm leaf wall – flat inspo or what). We also took part in a drawing workshop where they played different music on loop and you could design your own record sleeve.. ours were awful and instead of taking our photo with them for the Pick Me Up Instagram page, we quickly ran away when the organisers weren’t looking. Smooth. We had a lot of fun and I definitely came away feeling inspired. And again, wishing I was back at art school.

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Martin Creed//exhibition. Earlier this year I was suddenly seeing all these photos on social media of what seemed like people drowning in a sea of balloons, and was determined to get involved. This ‘balloon room’ was a part of the Martin Creed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, and was exactly that – a room filled to the brim with white balloons, that you could go run around in… for no reason other than it was fun. And fun it was! Except from the occasional near heart attacks I suffered whenever a balloon would accidentally pop, it was an amazing experience, and when else are you going to get to be in a situation like this?! You are in the balloon room with other people, so it was a bit dangerous to be running around when you could suddenly be smacked in the face by a stranger with the same idea – but this kind of added to the fun. As the exhibition had been open for a while when we went, the balloons seemed to have picked up a lot of stray hairs, which was slightly disgusting, so we tried to run away from the more hairy balloons. Downstairs from the balloon room there were lots of other ‘art works’ by Creed on display. I use the term ‘art works’ lightly as they were made up of among other things, a fart machine going off on loop, a door opening and closing, bits of paper scrunched up and random cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other. OH and a special screening room showing a film of a woman doing a poop. Oh Martin, you so cray-zee. It was such a fun exhibition to go to, and if it ever makes another appearance I will be first in line.

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Martin Creed at Hayward Gallery

Trends I’ll never pull off #1 – Mermaid

Fashion, Trends

I am ashamed to say I have never watched The Little Mermaid all the way through. There are actually a lot of Disney films I’ve never watched (sorry Mickey) – but none as on trend as TLM and if Ariel was around for real I’m sure she would highly approve of the mermaid trend. Like a magpie I am drawn to all things shiny, so this trend full of iridescent skirts, holographic heels and pastel washed hair has me a bit hot under the collar. Don’t get me wrong, I like a girl with mint hair as much as the next person, but I don’t think I’d attempt this look myself..probably because the last time I went blonde ended up with half my hair falling out (true story). But super ‘cool’ salons such as Bleach London are now infamous for their rainbow dyes. Looking through their website at the endless pictures of pretentious teenagers with barbie pink hair, I found their ‘Prom Zine’, which I actually rather love. Styled like an embarrassing 80s school year book, the girls hair are dyed colours that My Little Pony would be proud of.

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I’m sure you could recreate these looks at home, avoiding the ridiculous hairdresser costs and attitudes (although you won’t get those delicious little biscuits..) and Bleach even sell their products in the larger Boots stores. This would probably involve you bleaching your hair (agh) then toning it, then adding the colour. This would cause all sorts of problems for us dark haired gals, so I think I’d only attempt if you’re mousey or lighter. This ‘Sea Punk’ green is a beaut though. Although it has now become normalised by celebs such as Kylie Kardash, and Katy Perry; I have always loved the idea of green hair since watching ‘Ghost World’. Thora Birch is a mega babe, and the green hair just made her 10x better.

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There are so many beautiful iridescent and holographic bits around that all shout Mermaid to me. I think its the pearly colours and shimmer that remind me of my favourite books as a kid – The Rainbow Fish. One brand that has created a Mermaid dream range around this theme is Tatty Devine. Tatty is one of my favourite companies, and I had the pleasure of working there for a bit a couple of years ago. All their collections are fun and quirky and this one is no different. All the jewellery is hand made in either their Kent or Shoreditch studios and hand lovingly wrapped and packaged if ordered online. I was based in the Shoreditch office, and utterly loved my time there. It was such a fun company to work for and gave me a real insight into how a jewellery company works (it was also a plus that someone in the office was a keen baker and brought in the most amazing cakes!) The days were busy and my desk looked like a bomb site, but working in such a creative environment was something I really enjoyed. Long live team Tatty. Here are some of my fave pieces, and a little edit of other great Mermaid-esc finds..

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So if you’re going to have coloured hair, shimmering clothes and pearlescent jewellery, you may as well complete the look with some blue skin. Anyone, blue skin..? No…? Oh well suit yourselves. If you haven’t already seen it, MS MR (awesome New York based duo) member Lizzie rocks the blue skin look in their video ‘Hurricane’, watch the video here. This teamed with her candy floss hair is just such a great look. It’s kind of like hipster smurf. Which is obviously always going to be a good look.. 

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Monthly Inspo – July

Fashion, Inspiration, Life

So after a fun filled Sunday morning of homeware shopping (I am now the proud owner of a drying rack..), I headed over to my friend Robyn’s to hang out for the afternoon. Singing along to numerous a cappella groups on youtube at the top of our lungs, *cough Pentatonix cough* amongst other things, Rob asked me if I’d ever heard of ‘Winnie Harlow’, of who I hadn’t, and I’m bloody glad she asked. After scrolling through every one of Winnie’s Instagram pics, I am now a woman obsessed. And I’m sure you will be too. Winnie (also known as Chantelle Young) is soon to be on the next season of America’s Next Top Model and I think that after her exposure when the show is aired, she will blow up and become one of the biggest names in the modelling biz.

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If you haven’t already guessed which one of these posers I’m talking about, (Side note: why does Tyra always look so MENTAL..?) Winnie is the 5th beauty from the left, with the skin condition Vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition where there is loss of skin pigmentation – causing white patches to appear on your skin. These patches can grow and change shape and things such as sun exposure can speed up or increase the spread of these white patches. Vitiligo can effect people of any ethnicity, but it is more obvious on darker skin tones due to the dramatic contrast in skin colours.

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50% of people with Vitiligo are affected before they reach their twenties, and this includes girls like Winnie – who when born, had no signs of the condition, now at 19 years old has large areas such as her stomach and the underside of her arms covered in white skin. Your teenage years are always an awkward mess (I know mine were) and filled with insecurities, so I can imagine for Winne her early teenage years dealing with this very obvious skin condition must of been hell. With her Vitiligo starting to appear when she was around three, she’s talked about being bullied mercifully and even coming close to suicide. But look at her now. Gurl, you fine. I mean she it helps she is naturally stunning, but I feel what makes her even more attractive is her self acceptance. For her to pursue a modelling career, which obviously is based around you appearance and having your picture taken, she has got to have a hella-load of confidence. You go gurl! I think what makes her Vitiligo all the more striking is the symmetry of her light patches. Besides her face, her arm patches make a near perfect line of black and white down the middle, and her knees are both affected by Vitiligo equally.

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I think she looks awesome and being on ANTM will hopefully bring positive attention to Vitiligo sufferers. Winnie herself has said that she wants to inspire and educate others about her condition, and that she most definitely will. Tyra Banks (the original crazy eyes) always wants to push the boundaries of beauty on the show, and I think through Winnie she will definitely be achieving this. Follow her on Instagram & Twitter at @winnieharlow. Go team Winnie!

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Where Winnie isn’t afraid to show off her skin, others would prefer to cover up. Recently videos in the ‘Camo Confessions‘ series went viral featuring different individuals exposing their true selves and telling their stories.  From a girl suffering from acne, to a model covered head-to-toe with tattoos, one of the people featured also Vitiligo. The vid starts off with Cheri – who seems to be a normal, pretty black girl, start wiping her face exposing large white areas. She talks about her life with the condition – it’s actually unbelievable the questions she says she gets asked, like ‘is it contagious?’ (douchebags!) but Cheri is adamant that her Vitiligo hasn’t dented her ability of success. I guess each to their own if they want to cover up what they consider ‘a flaw’, it’s just the same as anyone wearing makeup really. Watch the video here.

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So these girls are my July inspiration, I hope to have an inspiration post at the end of every month based on something or someone that has caught my eye, with the intention to shed some light on something a bit different. Now excuse me while I never complain about my skin again. 

Good eats #1

Food, Life

Food is pretty much the centre of my socialising world, and while it’s so easy to go to places you already know and order the same old thing off the menu that you usually get (in my case Zizzi’s carbonara), but I have actually been to a few new amazing places recently that I think need to be shared.

Huwundeki// We stumbled across the Huwundeki website when looking online for somewhere to eat before a gig we were going to in Bethnal Green – somewhere neither me or my boyfriend had ventured out to before. All I can say is that the food-fate Gods were looking down on us at that moment, as the food we experienced there was beyond amazing. Approaching where the restaurant was apparently located, we were a tad confused as it looked like an old junk yard. Walking inside though was another story, with bare-brick walls and chandeliers, the open kitchen branched out onto the dining area creating a shabby chic street food vibe. It wasn’t until we took our seats that we realised the restaurant is attached to a (very hipster looking) hairdressers.. I’m sure this isn’t the most sanitary of situations, but it was very cool none the less.

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Food wise we ordered Mandu (Korean-style fried dumplings) and Kimchee for starters, and then the beef Bibimbap (with rice, veg and egg) and the very spicy (as in blow your nose spicy) chicken Hot Bulgogi with vegetables and rice. Also the hot ginger tea was super delicious, and I would highly recommend it. The meal was mega cheap, I think it came to around £25 for the two of us, and it’s BYO so if you wanted to have a few drinks it wouldn’t cost a lot to bring them yourself. All in all I will definitely going back here, and basically want to try everything on the menu at least once. The £14 women’s haircuts are also tempting, but think I’ll stick to the food for now. http://hurwundeki.com/

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The Cupcake Cafe – Margate Old Town// Both times that I have gone down to Kent for the weekend I have ended up in The Cupcake Cafe in Margate. The shop itself is like a rustic Kath Kidston explosion of all things twee and girlie. Mismatching vintage looking furniture and a lot of bunting makes this the sweetest tea shop I’ve been to (an an Instagram dream). They do loads of different treats and serve their tea in old china tea cups. The service we had on our second visit wasn’t great, but this won’t stop me going again.

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Inamo// I was surprised with a trip to Inamo in Soho a few weeks ago which was so exciting! I’d always heard about this ‘interactive’ restaurant but kind of assumed it was an urban legend as I’d never heard it’s name – only the concept. Aside from the Asian fusion cuisine, the main attraction of Inamo is the interactive ordering system. An illustrated food and drinks menu is projected on to your table, where you use a trackpad by your plate to order. It’s like, the future! You can also do fun things like watch a live feed from the kitchen, change your ‘table cloth’, discover what else is nearby and even order a taxi home. One thing we did make most use out of while dining at Inamo were the games that were played through the table projections (I discovered I am rubbish at Battleships). The food was good – I mean I enjoyed what I ate although I think the portions are on the smaller side, and there was a great atmosphere (I kind of wish the host and waiters were robots though..) And of course there is serious bonding going on between tables when you give each other a look to say ‘how cool is this?!’. Dinner came to around £70 for two – the wine was rather expensive, but I really think the money was worth it for the experience. http://www.inamo-restaurant.com/

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+ Photographs are my own: instagram.com/plleigh / taken from Hurwundeki on Instagram / the Inamo website

Flying the nest

Life

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One thing I slightly regret in life is not having the proper ‘Uni Experience’. Sure if I didn’t stay at home to go to Camberwell to do my Art Foundation I would never have gotten into LCC to do my Graphic&Media Design course, meaning I would never have gotten the jobs I’ve been lucky to have had since graduating. But the seeing countless pictures on Facebook of my friends having fun  in new cities with new friends quite frankly broke my heart a little at first. I’ve always been surrounded by a group and to suddenly be on your own in a situation was a little daunting. Sure I have a great home life, with my brother being one of my best mates, and super laid back parents who are more like friends to me. But living at home when everyone has moved away is not the nicest thing.

In second year I moved out for a little bit to Peckham (not as scary as people think) with my lovely friends Anna and George, to live with them and their other friends James and Lewis. Although it was nice to be doing something different and living closer to London, my weekend job back home meant that I was staying at my parents Friday to Sunday – so I didn’t ever really feel like I had moved out properly. We had a lot of fun – although living with boys had its downfalls (once when the loo roll ran out I found an old Metro paper had been being used instead. Yummy).

Since those uni days it has been lovely having people back around, and introducing old friends to the new, as well as meeting my old friend’s new ones has been fun too. So apart from paying (a very small) rent, living at home now doesn’t seem so bad. So why am I now moving out?

As much as I love my beautiful room (when it’s not covered in clothes) and having dinner on the table when I get home from work, I’ve always said I want to move out properly before my 25th birthday. This is apparently something that I told my now boyfriend on one of our first dates, so I’m not sure if that had stuck in his mind all this time but come September (two months shy of my 25th) we’ll be moving in together.

Naturally before we’ve even found a flat, my Pinterest has been filling up of decor ideas and nick-nacks to buy. My room at home is already filled with fun quirky bits and bobs, art and photos – and this is the same kind of look I’d like in the new place.

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Now obviously our budget is almost non existent for fancy furnishings, but one thing we have both agreed on is that we are going to have a picture wall. Black frames are cheap to buy and between us we have a nice collection of things to be framed (it helps we are both Designers). Here is some Picture wall inspo I have found..

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Aren’t they beautiful! Another thing I’m looking forward to is getting some nice plants in (God I sound old) – and really want a cactus! Plants are also a good idea to test my responsibility as my dream plan is to get a sausage dog and name him Ralph(!) so this obviously wouldn’t be the best idea if I can’t even look after a few plants. We’ll be together one day Ralph!

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So obviously the dream would be to kit out the flat from Zara Home and live like millionaires. But sadly we’re not. So I’ve been looking at some cheaper stores and exploring what cheaper alternatives there are. One shop which I think is highly overlooked for homewares is Wilkinson. There’s a massive one in Kingston that I’ve been to a few times, and their homewares are great. You’d never know they were discount (and cheaper than Ikea). Here are a few lovely things I found on their website:

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I’m loving all the glassware – well plastic-ware, and those ice cream bowls I think are very Zara-esc. Ah imagine your keys in that palm leaf bowl.. dreamy. Another gold mine for home bits is Tiger. We found a massive one near our hotel in Barcelona recently and popped in – the items in there are a lot more fun and colourful and you will more than likely come away with something you don’t need but couldn’t resist. Here are my picks:

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One thing I know we will struggle with is finding enough room for all our stuff. I have a lot of girlie things – clothes, shoes, makeup etc which need a place to live. And these along with furniture and a lot of boys clothes – not to mention enough Vans to open a shoe shop – means we will have to be clever with storage. We will have two of the Ikea classic cubby hole shelving units, and thought we could tip it on it’s side and fill it with all our arty fart books like below..(colour blocking needs to happen too!) I also spotted these mega cute corner units from Ikea, which are such a good idea, and I’m sure my future cactus could find a home on top of it.

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After only two years working in Magazines, I have already accumulated copious amounts of discount beauty sale items (who can say no to £1 MAC lipsticks?!) – so much so that my ‘favourites’ have taken up a whole chest of draw’s top draw, with my others filed away in bags and containers dotted around my room. Of course having enough makeup and beauty products to last a life time is never a bad thing, but sorting out what to take with me will be hard. After seeing Kate‘s post on her blog gh0stparties.com I let out a little squeal, and I think you’ll realise why.

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This magical desk is from Ikea, and while may not be cheap, would definitely be something on my wish list/birthday list/Christmas list.. or worth saving up for. If all else fails there’s always this genius idea..

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All in all I am very excited about the move. Sure it may be stressful now trying to find somewhere we both can call home, and of course all the initial money issues, but I’m sure once we settle in (and get some lovely stuff) we will be really happy in our own little pad.

+ Photographs taken from: babble.com / homelife.com / myscandnavianhome.blogspot.se / gh0stparties.com / numerous found on Pinterest.com

Fashion vs Food

Fashion, Food

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What are two of my favourite things? Hmm fashion & food.Well guess what, Wardrobe V Pantry combine the two (drools and doesn’t care who sees). 

Although browsing through WvP is rather dangerous as it makes me A) want to shop, and B) hungry – WvP is visually beautiful, and is very much design porn of the delicious kind. What I also like about WvP is that some of the matches aren’t in your face obvious.. they may pick out one colour,a composition or a texture and make a match. These food/fashion combo’s are much more dignified and chic than renting a banana suit.


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Food and fashion has always been linked (not so much the models eating), and one of my favourite fashion/food combo’s were the Couture Cupcakes created by Lisa Edsalv, with each cupcake representing a different fashion house. I like the Betsy Johnson ones the most, yet would definitely stuff about five of the Louis Vuitton cupcakes in my mouth at once.

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Most recently the Macdonald’s inspired Moshcino collection blew my mind. I love how fun and silly it is, yet painfully cool. The collection is bladdy amazing though, just look at the accessories. The bags! Wah! The only downfall with this novelty fashion is once you wear an item, people will notice when you wear it again. So it may only see daylight once in a blue moon, to keep the originality. It also was highly entertaining seeing which celebrities tried-but-failed to pull it off. Poor dears (I’m looking at you Rita..)

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As for me sadly I don’t have the funds for these Maccy D beauties, but when it really comes to Food vs Fashion, there’s one staple that I can always afford that will never go out of fashion.. the candy bracelet.

 

Summer Shoes

Fashion

Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t like summer, and summer doesn’t like me.
I am a winter girl through and through and the thought of baring all in the London sun, riding a packed 9.11 to Waterloo while my makeup drips off my face is not something I get excited about. Sure there are perks to Summer in England.. trips to Brighton, eating copious amounts of ice cream to ‘cool down’ and my neighbours endless BBQ’s (which I am always invited to). But when it comes to fashion I would much rather be in a cosy coat, leggings and Chelsea boots.

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My aversion to summer doesn’t stop me buying summer clothes though. Oh no no. Any excuse to spend £140 in Primark – yes this happened recently, and this year I have discovered my kimono obsession, (of which I now own six) but mostly the passion I have for summer shoes.

See when it comes to shoes I am a collector…
I own shoes I have never worn as they are works of art in my eyes but too painful to wear.
I own shoes that I have physically scarred my feet due to wearing them for fashion over practicality.
I own shoes that I have insisted on buying even though I have them in another colour/slightly different style/bigger heel/one stud less… you get the idea.
But I think why I love shoes so much is because your feet are consistent. They don’t gain or lose weight (unless you’re a pregnant Kim K) so you can pretty much pick up a shoe in your size and they will fit. Also if you’re addicted to black clothing like me then a beut pair of shoes can tie a whole outfit together and bring some excitement to a goth-like ensemble.

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Now I can’t think of anything more vom-inducing than a pair of flip flops (I still don’t understand how people find them comfortable), so while trailing the internet for alternatives, this summer I have been most impressed with ASOS for sandals.
[Side note: Someone once told me a girl pronounced ASOS as ‘a-s-o-s’ literally spelling out the letters.. hah.]
A theme I found running through the sandal section was monochrome. I’ll take white as a colour, if it means I can wear it with black, so off I went to chose some foot fun. Here’s some that caught my eye…and what I eventually purchased.

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There are also some fab summer shoes from LaModa, as beautiful as they are they are not for the faint hearted. And if you fall over and break your ankle while wearing them then at least you’ll look fabulous on the way down.