Monthly Archives: July 2015

July has been my first full month back in London since finishing for the summer although with jury service, visits from a couple of uni friends and a trip across the channel to France I haven’t felt as though I have had much time to waste lounging around the house, which is how I imagine a university student may be expected to spend their long holidays. Since being at home and seeing how busy my family are, working long hours 5-days a week, I am even more aware now than I was before of how much I could potentially get done during my rather long time away from studying. I have made an effort to make some ‘improvements’ (for lack of a less serious sounding phrase) such as joining the gym, taking up cycling and following a french language course. Being a fashion student, I also really enjoy using my time to keep up the creativity and although blogging is my favourite way to do so, I have also enjoyed experimenting lots more in the kitchen with new recipes and foods, as well as taking out my sewing machine for a bit of fun.

Some of the things I have been loving throughout July include Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird that I re-read (and re-fell in love with) in advance of the release of the sequel. I have also been really enjoying Stylist magazine for a more light-hearted read. My most-worn clothing item of the month is definitely my denim jacket, which I picked up back in Manchester at a Vintage Kilo Sale, although I have only been able to wear more recently as the weather has brightened up. Finally are a couple of make-up products from Malin & Goetz that I actually got free with ELLE a couple of months back. Out of the three that came in the pack, the lip moisturiser and vitamin E face moisturiser have been my favourites.

Madeline

A standard weekday at home involving a quick trip to the gym, an Instagram-able breakfast and a bit of laptop time before an early evening dog walk.

Madeline

Saturday saw a few of us head into town to explore what was happening in north London for Alexandra Palace’s summer festival. It is not an area of London I am familiar with but the first thing I  was impressed by were the amazing panoramic views of the city, from in and around the palace. Second thing was the event itself, which had a massive turn out of people and plenty of things going on. With free entry, we wondered around the park to explore the street food markets, live music  performances and to watch the different activities going on throughout the day, including a giant water slide, silent disco and a fun fair. We were particularly impressed with our pimms, which were fancy by festival standards but also because the sun came out just in time for us to enjoy it with the country-style live music.
Alexandra Park is going on my list of recommendations for London visitors to see as I’m sure there doesn’t have to be a festival going on for the park to be a good day out (although you will have to b.y.o cider).
Panoramic views of North London from the palace (spot the Shard)

Tea party on the palace terrace

Views of the palace and the giant water slide

Listening to the live music in the sun

Boating lake complete with swan and dragon pedalos

My outfit for the day and an amazing stain glass window at the front of the palace

Fancy festival pimms and a cider later on

Madeline

There’s nothing more tempting than the idea of staying in your pyjamas all day when you wake up on a Sunday morning to rain, grey skies and even more rain. For the last couple of hours I have found myself scrolling through Twitter, catching up on the things I may have missed from the week. Fashionista’s article on This Week’s 10 Biggest Fashion Stories told me about Kate Spade’s intentions to bring out sleepwear, yoga and homeware lines (eek!!) and also brought my attention to their inspiring profile of PR leader and industry creative Brian Phillips. I also enjoyed Draper’s roundup of the London Textiles Fair and @BFC reminded me to add ‘The True Cost’ to my Netflix watch list. Another thing I was reminded of is that London Fashion Week is starting to sound not so far away and I am definitely getting excited after reading about this season’s new venue and from looking through some of the confirmed catwalk  line ups.
Inspired by the gloomy weather outside, here is a selection of my recent Pinterest/ Tumblr outfit finds, which unsurprisingly consist of a lot of jumpers, black and very un-summer-like clothes…

Madeline

With the high street store’s ‘new in’ pages now firmly full of their Autumn/Winter 15 stock, I would have expected my July wishlist to be full of jackets, trousers and ankle boots. However, it seems that this summer’s seventies trend is here for yet another season and regrettably, I still can’t say I like the fringing, flares and off the shoulder everything. Instead I am currently wishing for a slightly random selection of things including a jacquard Zara dress from their summer sale and some Stella Sport for Adidas tights (also sold in Topshop if they are out of stock on the Adidas website). The slightly more random choices are a cushion cover from Anthropologie with a morrocan-style print that I absolutely love and a Charlotte Tilbury make up bag, which I spotted in the background of a friend’s blog post and decided that I really liked. Finally is the ‘Get The Glow’ book from Madeleine Shaw. I promise it’s not just because we share the same name, I follow Madeleine on Instagram and YouTube and she’s forever posting inspiring content including recipes, quotes and exercise ideas.
Madeline

Every time I have visited France I have had a completely different experience. Whether it was a tour of design museums in Paris with my Fashion class, a beach holiday on the southern coast with family or a more personal experience of local towns with my French exchange, the country has never failed to amaze and intrigue me. 
My family and I have just returned from a long weekend away, during which we combined a 24 hour stay in Paris with a couple of days in Cahors at a friend’s villa. In Paris we wandered around in the sun, ticking off tourist attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. We then spent the evening in a couple of bars trying out the French wine before finding a restaurant for dinner, which included an amazing creme brûlée for dessert. The following day we had croissants for breakfast in a traditional cafe near our hotel before briefly exploring the Latin quarter and testing our (poor) language skills in the shops to buy cheese, bread and even more croissants!
Here are a selection of photos from our 24 Paris trip…
Coffee on the Eurostar after a 6am start 
Hotel room view
Crossing the Seine with a view of the Eiffel Tower
Wine in the early evening in a street off the Champs Elysees
The amazing architecture on the Parisian streets
Arc de Triomphe at sunset
Retro metro
Avenue de Champs Elysees and croissants for breakfast

Our weekend ended in a villa near Toulouse, which we reached following a 5 hour train journey from Paris. Lying by the pool and wandering around the picturesque local town in the second half of our trip was a big contrast to the busy, tourist packed streets of Paris, however both were equally enjoyable. 

Madeline

Shirt- Gap | Skirt- Topshop | Shoes- Topshop
I didn’t take any time to have a proper look through this months end of season sales although I somehow still ended up finding a couple of items in the two shops I did go into,  how?!!
First up was Gap where I tried on quite a lot of items but was disappointed with the fit of most of them. That said, I found a white 100% linen shirt with a bargain price tag, which I thought fit me well. I got a size M despite normally being a S or even XS in Gap, for a more casual fit. 
I also picked up a button front, A-line skirt in Topshop for £18 (originally £34). The skirt is quite a heavy weight so could be worn with tights in autumn, although I think that bare legs looks best with the colours.
So without even trying I ended up spending my money in the sales, I guess I just can’t resist new clothes!

Madeline


The last two and a half weeks have been a very unique experience for me as I was called to undertake jury service at the Old Bailey, a central criminal court in London. A ‘Jury Summons’, as it is called, was not something that 18 year old me expected to ever receive but having deferred it till my university exams were over, I was able to begin the process during the first week of my summer holidays.
Not knowing what to expect, I remember taking the train in with all the commuters early on a Monday morning and heading towards the City of London, a financial district in town (read: fancy buildings, a lot of people in suits and a Pret a Manger on every corner). Fortunately I found myself placed on a rather exciting yet unique trial later that day, so I didn’t mind going in on the days that followed. The free lunches were definitely a perk, especially when I could pretend I was a city worker and eat with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral each day.
Through the whole jury service process and indeed my first time of visiting a court, I gained an appreciation of what is involved with a criminal trial and hence the way in which law is enforced, which I now think is an important lesson for anyone to learn. I was surprised to find that the court room and my case in particular, mimicked that of a TV drama and with the jury sat in silence at the back of the room, it meant I often had to remind myself that what I was hearing wasn’t fictional.
Jury service is a highly important duty for anyone to complete and despite initially being disappointed about being selected, I think I would have been even more disappointed if I had never had this experience. Although we spent a lot of time waiting around and being shocked at the short number of hours that a court actually sits, I am glad to have had a positive experience, which I think was helped by both the people on my jury and the fact that I found myself working each day in the most famous court in the country.
5 facts I learnt as a juror
  1. Barrister’s and judges can have a personality. From trying to make us laugh with their jokes, to 50 Shades of Grey references (as was the case in my trial); their persuasive and presentation techniques vary massively.
  2. Trials are open to the public and the most common people found sitting in the public galleries are the family of those on trial, school kids who noisily enter half way through a key piece of evidence and old men who appear to fall asleep within 5 minutes of arrival.
  3. Getting picked to sit as part of a jury is random and they will shuffle cards in front of you as part of the selection process, however any member may be removed if the defence don’t like the look of you!
  4. Court hours are 10am- 4.30pm daily although you can expect more ‘comfort breaks’ than you ever got at infant school and starting on time is something I never experienced.
  5. When it comes to the juror dress code, smart casual is key (don’t be the one in a suit, or the one in trackies and trainers).
Train ride into Waterloo on a Monday morning

The Old Bailey

Coffee break with a view of St Paul’s

Patnernoster Square with live swing music, dancers and deck chairs one lunch time

Another view of the beautiful St Paul’s (I couldn’t stop taking photos!)

Admiring the London skyline with a walk home over Waterloo Bridge

Aside from making sure that you have a good book to read in the long waiting hours, I think that the key to enjoying jury service is to keep an open mind and appreciate the opportunity to get a break from your normal routine and learn about something new. 

Madeline