The Winner!

The winning ticket has been drawn from the Simply Be hat and the winner is……



Thanks to everyone for entering and again, thanks for all the birthday greetings! More contests soon!


A stitch in time

By far the coolest thing I’ve seen all week….


You can’t really tell from the photo as you can’t see all the cables that would be at the bottom of the pic, but the sewing machine is powered by the stationary bike. The person on the bike pedals away like a maniac while the artist stitches their portrait as they cycle, interviewing them and incorporating tidbits of their concise life stories into each piece.  Its a fascinating process to witness and the skill and precision of the artist is mesmerising.

The artist is Harriet Riddell and the event is Craftspace. Now in its third year the event has grown from a one day event into a 5 day crafting minifest incorporating hand and machine embroidered textiles, jewellery making with cardboard and live music. It’s held in St Phillip’s Cathedral Square (more commonly known as Pigeon Park) and it really made me feel proud to be a Brummie.

c4 c3 c2



Wall of hand embroidered messages


Hand embroidering messages for the wall

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

I was so impressed. My beloved Birmingham used to get a lot of stick for being generally a bit rubbish, but my city has really pulled its socks up and is making its mark. It’s great for big brand shopping but it’s the independents that really make me beam.  The vintage elegance of  Agnes & Norman shoes, the eclectic homewares of Handmade Boutique,  and the delicious eats at Yorks Bakery Cafe are among my favourite places to visit in the city centre. Not to mention our brand spanking library (which looks like a gigantic wedding cake) which is fast becoming my number one spot to relax. Oh yes, its a good time to be in Brum.

PS- I did consider having my own portrait stitched but I started to think….. Can I cycle non stop for 15-20 mins? Will I look like a sweaty heap? Will the bike collapse underneath me? OMG everyone’s looking. I’ll just watch….


Now you are five

I can hardly believe that this month marks five whole years since this blog started. We’re all used to the old adage that time flies when you’re having fun, but seriously- five years? If my blog was a child he or she would be about to start school. If it was a marriage we’d we celebrating our wooden anniversary, and if it was a wine it would be nicely mature. It really makes me think about what direction I want to go in next.

I’ve met some great people over the past five years, and had some fantastic opportunities like appearing on the telly, writing for an online magazine, meeting up with other bloggers that I love, going to press days and preview events- and of course- all the freebies! Who doesn’t like freebies? Freebies don’t drive me but they are certainly a bonus.

I’ve had an absolute ball, truly and I want to thank you all for your support. Every reader, commenter, every person who’s sent me an email, shared a link to this blog, or told someone about it. a big, superhuge THANK YOU. You make a difference.

Here comes the good part.

To celebrate, and say thank you again, I’ll be running a series of contests throughout the month of September with a variety of different prizes. Like I said- who doesn’t like a freebie? Watch this space for more info.


Contest Winner!

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner. Thanks for all your entries and it was great seeing what items you would choose if you were to win. Thanks also for all the 500th post congratulatory notes.

The winner has been drawn at random from all entries, and that winner is……………..




Everyone else stay tuned because I will be giving away loads more stuff next month when the blog turns the ripe old age of FIVE. Crikey- where did all that time go?

Asos winner

Anna Scholz Black Label 2013

The Anna Scholzl Black Label collection is one of the ranges that I look forward to each season.  I like the classically Anna Scholz print dresses from the White Label collection, but love the edgier vibe that the Black Label emits.

This season the look of the label is quite solemn and sober but with a military feel, and just enough magenta to crack a smile onto the face of a very serious colour palette.


AA115Houndstooth AA139-Khaki- AA134Black AA128Black+AA105Black AA143-Leopard

I LOVE that magenta skirt, it has my name all over it.

And while we’re on the subject of Anna Scholz, I’ve got to show you my favourite piece from the White Label Collection-

AA10-Cube-Lumo white


Typical me really. Graphic print, bright colours- whats not to love?!?!

The Black Label Collection will be available online later this week.

Asos Competition- Wha hey!


Update- 08/08/13

Contest now closed. Winner will be announced soon!


Okay, so after slating an Asos item only 48 hours ago, here I am hosting an Asos giveaway. Slightly duplicitous perhaps?


Anyhow. Its been aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages since I did a giveaway on here so I’m shaking things up a little at FGLNCT HQ, and giving one of you lovely readers the chance to win a £50 Asos gift voucher, courtesy of my new friends at Appliances Online. Fifty squid for you to spend on anything- as long as its not those grey dungarees.

Unfortunately, the contest is only available to UK entrants (I know, I know, I know- soz).

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your current favourite Asos item is and sha-bam- you’re in the draw.

Asos contest

Competition ends at GMT, Thursday 8th August, Good Luck!

PS- This is my 500th blog post. Hurrah!

The floodgates have opened!

Simply Be- what have you done? You gave three bloggers the opportunity to design their ideal dress and make it available to the world, and now one of my favourite new plus size brands is running a contest with a similar theme! Take it away OneOneThree

It’s here!

Clements Ribeiro Swan SS13

Winter again already? Autumn winter 2013 preview

Its only been a week since the never-ending winter actually started to give us some respite from the bone freezing cold, and here I am previewing clothes for autumn winter 2013. The advantage in that is that I don’t need to try to visualise what I’ll want to wear in winter while I’m wearing a t-shirt and flip flops. It’s still cold enough for me to wear a scarf and calf length boots so no stretch of imagination was necessary while I perused the press room that showcased autumn winter ranges for Marisota, Fashion World and Bonmarche. Yes, Bonmarche. Stay with me….

Claire Richards (from Steps) has teamed up with Fashion World again but this time, shes not just the brand ambassador, she has made a creative input into her own collection that is looking pretty good.





My favourite pieces from this collection are the navy military inspired coat, and the tweed lurex prom dress. Tweed and prom dress aren’t words you would usually put together, but it works!


The photo isn’t very clear but it has three quarter length sleeves with a ruffled cuff.

While we’re on the subject of coats, I’ll take you back to the Bonmarche issue. Now Bonmarche is a shop I never visit unless I’m with my mother. Mom loves their embroidered tees the way I love jumpsuits. In fact more than I love jumpsuits because I only have one jumpsuit, mom has fifty tees at least. I just can’t bring myself to look through the rails of a shop that sells embroidered velour slippers but next winter I’m going to have to put aside my snobbish ways and hit the store as soon as this coat is available-


Fur collar, herringbone, flared skirt, vintage look- How can you fail to love it? Bonmarche for goodness sake, Bonmarche! 

As if that wasn’t enough, they sealed my new allegiance by offering up this double whammy polkadot peplum dress-


Oh Bonmarche, you’ve come so far.

Another brand I pay very little attention to is Marisota. In days gone by I used to have the Marisota catalogue delivered every season but it was always a bit too mumsy for me and I’ve had this mumsy image seared into my brain ever since. Well I’m searing something new into it because of all the brands I saw at the press event, the Marisota range was the most impressive. Mumsy is well and truly out the window-


Mark Heyes (GMTV) and Colleen Nolan have designed some great pieces for Marisota, some of which are below-


I dare you to not love this dress!


I am saving the best til last. On my way to the press event I passed a woman in a long biker style coat and I thought- wow, I would LOVE one of those in my size. I get to the event and what do I see on the Maristota rail?


I almost screamed right there in the press office. I’m serious. I had to really play it cool but inside I was:


Especially as it comes in two colours, burgundy and black. Summer hasn’t even begun yet but already my winter coat is sorted. Marisota, I love you.


The Birds and the Bees

Did you watch the first episode of The Great British Sewing Bee last night? I just caught up with it on iplayer and I can’t wait til next week. It follows the rating winning format of The Great British Bake Off where you have contestants pitting their sewing skills against each other in a variety of tasks. It’s a bit like Project Catwalk/ Runway but without the glam factor or the divatude. Taking part is fellow blogger Tilly whose blog I discovered about a month ago and I’ve been using it as a resource to help teach my students to sew, as her detailed step by step photos are fantastic.

Tilly in one of her own creations

Tilly in one of her own creations

Tilly struggled a bit with some of the tasks but I hope she goes far in the competition. Shes only been sewing for two years and I am definitely impressed with her skills. Go Tilly!


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