Wednesday, September 25, 2013

High Street vs. Designer

Is there much difference between high street and designer apart from the price tag?

From Christian Louboutin to Coco Chanel we all have a guilty pleasure when it comes to designer; but is it all worth crying over to afford a pair of shoes that can amount to over £1000 when down the road you could get a perfect pair for £30? Some people, however are still picky and almost snobby about the word “High street” as though it’s a curse to even set a foot (or a Louboutin) down there.

I know for some women having an item of designer clothing is somewhat similar to owning an Oscar, the pride of wearing something that’s been specially made as though it’s a gift from the designer to you, but do you need your entire wardrobe to be full of names? I know that I’m put off a lot by the length of the number on the price tag and seeing as fashion is always changing I’m not prepared to pay hundreds for a skimpy vest top.

I guess shopping at a designer brand is just an experience most women want to have, to feel a sense of wealth and fortune, to feel that designer silk caressing your skin as you slip into the new Chanel summer dress. Adding to the celebrity lifestyle, the service with a smile and a glass of bubbly can really make you feel special. Take it from me; it’s a lot different to the tip we call Primark and the service of “Would you like a bag for that?” Obviously? Unless walking around town with a matching set of cupcake pajamas in your arms looks normal to you?

I mock Primark’s high street service yet entering Burberry the other week seemed like one of the most awkward and embarrassing experiences I have been through in my life. Let me explain... just the other week I decided to take a trip into Manchester, and after gallivanting through The Arndale for a whole morning I finished pretty early (for me), so decided to step foot down the “posh” side of Manchester, BIG MISTAKE! Dear readers please take it from me: if you’re going to go into Burberry do not enter with a card factory bag! As soon as I walked in I felt the cold stare and rising noses of the staff judging me as I walked past the £500 purses. I felt so much at unease I kept tripping over my own feet not knowing which direction to go in, but having an inkling CCTV cameras were probably on my every move. I hardly even looked at the items; I was too busy trying to hide my 5 cards for £1 in my card factory bag. To this date I think that’s the quickest time I’ve been in and out a shop.

Yes designer can be very nice, but as a teenager of 2014 people seem to think you’re armed with a weapon and a hood ready to rob the store. Is that bodyguard checking me out or has he simply got a shifty eye? Designer brands may look inviting but they only want you in their shops if you can actually afford something.

“Take the next right, then turn down the arcade and keep going straight”.
 Yes, a lot of our time in the high street does end up getting lost or searching for shops endlessly if you don’t know the city you’re in. With the high street you have to choose a wise time to go; Saturdays are obviously going to be swarming with people especially when the sales are on, you’ll find yourself jolting everyone out the way to get to the jam packed rails. A good example of this is the River Island sales, if you’ve ever been to the River Island sales you’ll know what I mean; stacks of rails up to the ceilings overflowing with (to put it blunt) crap, ugly clothes that no one wants. Who wants a pair of shorts with a cartoon ice cream pattern on? Not me or most the population of the UK, hence why they’re in the sale.

Funnily enough, even though you know the sales are crap you’ll find yourself almost dragged into them and sometimes (if you’re lucky) you’ll find a really nice jumper for about £5 cheaper than it originally was, not really worthy of being in the sale but it was on the sale rack so you always count it as a “bargain”. I’ve been one of the lucky ones finding decent clothes in the sale racks, but not being 100% sure to buy it or not, so I’ll hide it in between some tacky pair of patterned leggings knowing I’ll be safe to come back later for it. Is it just me or does that never work out? I’ll return back later, happy that I’ve finally made up my mind then look where I left it and it’s gone, vanished off the face of the earth, gone forever. Then all I can do is complain that someone stole it even though it wasn’t mine in the first place. Sales are stressful stuff.

All of this can be rather tiring, and it’s well known shopping in the high street for the day can be exhausting, but there’s many a place to boost your energy! Take Manchester for example, there’s a Starbucks almost around every corner so you’re bound to easily find one, no need for the satnav on phone trick. As well as being easy to get to, the high street is value for money without being too cheap and tacky.

Personally, Zara is my favourite and best value for money as their clothing line is tailored and sophisticated in style, looking like it’s just come out of Whistles collection. The quality is strong and you’re bound to find something perfect in there to match an occasion whether it is for a formal party or festival wear. Now America is hearing our call for the high street as Topshop has made its way into their land and they love it; round of applause for Topshop everyone.

If I had to choose between the two, the high street would definitely be number one for me, I’ll be joining half of the women in Britain who say they prefer the high street to designer. Why do I prefer the high street? Well, for one you can buy a whole outfit or more for the same price as a bag from Gucci so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. Next, the atmosphere is better and makes my life a hell of a lot easier being able to meet friends, have a drink and shop all at the same time for a couple of hours. Also, now everything has been taken over by the world of the internet you can now shop from the popular high street stores online on your couch at home with a cup of tea, what could be more soothing than looking at clothes you could actually afford whilst watching Corrie?

Let’s not be biased about this issue though, as I cannot say I despise designer shops, far from it! Especially seeing as Cath Kidston is one of my favourite shops. Designer can have its perks and so can the high street but I know that seeing as we are living in a recession (and I usually only have a fiver to my name) I know I prefer the high street along with the majority of people. Take a trip down and thank me later. Take a trip down to the “posh” side of Manchester if you wish but please don’t take a card factory bag with you, you’ll thank me later for that too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Snuggle up to the new Autumn/ Winter trend

Oversized boyfriend coats

There is no question that the weather is going to get worse, we live in Britain for god's sake it's a fact. That means it's officially time for winter to approach and what better way to get warm and prepared than have one of these oversized boyfriend coats. This autumn and winter everyone seems to be wearing one and is the essential style statement of 2013. You could say it's like the mini skirt of the 60s, a must have!

The oversized coat from the 80's has made a huge comeback and available in all kinds of styles and colours, my personal favourite is the beige coat as it gives a real vintage vibe. Obviously by the title "oversized" you'd expect them to be big, and being the "boyfriend" style too (available in cardigans too) adds to the huge size of the coat. Some of you would think having a big coat would be slightly annoying and get in the way. This could be argued, but would you rather have a winter coat which you can wear jumpers underneath without getting crumpled and stuck on your sleeves making it almost impossible to lift your arm up, or would you rather have a winter coat that enables you to stay warm, comfortable and fashionable all at the same time. It's your call, but I know which one I'd prefer.

Seeing as autumns looking a little on the rainy side right now, let's pray for a falling of snow in the winter months, so as you wear this coat in the beautiful scenery and look as pretty as a painted winter wonderland Christmas card. You're not just wearing a work of art, you ARE the work of art! This time when your mum asks you which winter coat you want this year you'll actually know what you want.

Summer reads

During the Summer I've had plenty of time to read and catch up on some of the new and old releases and I can truly say every single book kept me page turning until the end. I found myself getting attached to the characters and story, then being unable to put the books down, some of them I even managed to read them in one or two days they were that addictive! Somehow I found myself having gone through something with the book, like a bond, and when it's over it's kind of sad until you start a new story.Seeing as just before Summer I was taking my AS exams, I could only touch a book if it was a revision guide or "The Colour Purple" which I was studying for English. I couldn't help peeking in the corner of my eye when sat at my bed doing revision the stack of books waiting for me to read on a leisurely basis, the stories I ACTUALLY wanted to get my nose stuck into.

Finally my exams were over and I could hear the beckoning of "Perks of being a Wallflower" begging to be read. Read number one: Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky There's a certain rule or natural human instinct when you first start a book that is; to smell  it. I'm sure it's a well known fact that books have one to the top 10 nicest smells in the world, why don't they have a book smelling perfume or air fresher? Personally I think it would sell well (Dragon's Den here I come). "The Perks of being a Wallflower" was my quickest read only taking 3 days, sure you could argue that it's thin but it was the story that I found so addictive being wrote in a dairy from that I couldn't put it down. I won't spill any of the details or narrative, you should go and read it for yourself. If you're not a keen reader there is the film version you could watch starring Emma Watson as Sam. I haven't personally        watched it myself and somehow I just don't think it will be able to top the book.

After engrossing myself in a book for 3 days I picked up the 2nd on my pile. Read number two: The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I'm pretty sure half of the population of teenagers in the UK alone have read this book, with people constantly tweeting and recommending it to others. The whole story topic is quite bitter, yet made sweet by the two protagonists Augustus and Hazel Grace. The book takes you on a whole journey stepping into someone else's shoes, whereby you'll share a laugh and a tear. John Green has gave permission for the story to be published again as a film in 2014, I'll definitely be watching!

Seeing as John Green's novels were so addictive and eye opening, I took the liberty of picking up another novel by him, written almost 10 years before his number 1 hit "The Fault in our Stars". Read number 3: Looking for Alaska by John Green. This has the more typical and realistic storyline to it of the love and hate relationships- yes we all have them. It has a whole theme throughout of being stuck in a Labyrinth and not knowing how or where to go, yet there will always be a way out. Yet again a 3 day read as I couldn't even manage to keep the book down, I was too engrossed in the whole story between Miles and Alaska, along with the unexpected tragedies and antics. A funny, silly yet heart breaking book.

Somehow by this point in the Summer holidays I found college nearly back on its way so I thought it was about time I started my English homework of reading one of the books on the list. Read number four: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. The Woman in Black is one of the most successful horror films we have today (probably because it included Daniel Radcliffe) and I'd even watched it at the cinema before (even though I hate horror films). When I first picked up the book I wasn't looking forward to the story and being scared to turn off the light at night, however after reading on it's nothing like the film and portrays a whole different story, plus there was a bonus (It wasn't scary- thank god)! The Woman in Black is quite a thin book and again was only a 3 day read (what is it with me and 3 days? Always 3,     never 2 or 4)

By this point I was being called a book worm by the whole family who repeatedly joked about my bedroom becoming some sort of library. Read number five:The life of Pi by Yann Martel. Seeing as this was an extremely successful Hollywood movie I thought I'd bring myself to read the book before watching the film adaptation. There's something mysterious and puzzling about the end of the book and in some ways makes you think. I'm sure a lot of you know that Pi  spends over 100 days stuck at sea with a Tiger in a a life boat, but at the end it questions is this was even real and if he imagined it all- you have to go with your instinct here. I believed the story, but maybe I'm just naive.

I left one of the best books till last- an autobiography to be precise. Read number six: Is it just me? by Miranda Hart. Now, I already huge liking for Miranda and own the box sets of her sitcom series Miranda, therefore reading the book was a no brainer. I loved the way she wrote and I ended up reading it in her voice. The topics she brought up were quite serious yet talked about in a hilarious and mockery, for example office jobs, weddings and cringy dates- yep they're all packed in there. Anything you can think of which is an embarrassment to the word "life" is written down. Don't get me wrong it's not all about taking the mickey and award moments, there's a lesson to be learnt to go with your heart to peruse the right dream. Miranda says she wanted to work in politics and realised she was chasing the wrong dream. Could you imagine Miranda in the House of Commons? Comedy gold.

Now that college has started again (unfortunately) I have the excitement of reading Equus, A street car named Desire and Othello. I can hardly contain my excitement (*cough* sarcasm).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bonny Wee Scotland

Last week me and my family ventured down to the beautiful, yet rainy land of the kilts and visited numerous, famous landmarks. We managed to fit in; The Royal Britannia Yoat, Edinburgh Castle, Botanic Gardens and Holyrood house in 3 days, not bad for the Hutchings family, not bad at all.
First stop was Fourth Bridge and Holyrood house the place where Mary Queen of Scott's lived and where the Queen lives when she comes to visit Scotland usually in the 1st week of July. I can definitely see why the Queen wouldn't mind living here, it's beautiful, historical and absolutely massive! Should be enough room for all the Corgi's, no need to worry about that one Liz. Holyrood house has been standing since 1128 and the detail of the building is magnificent to think it's over 900 years old. Literally all they had back then was a ladder and a chisel but managed to achieve so much detail; it did take over 400 years to build along with reconstructing in the later days to keep it in top condition. Inside it's just as beautiful with the original furniture, bedding and paintings from the house all the way back to the Tudor times, I have seen King James V's bed- don't know how to react to that one.

It's a good job all these places are linked and not far away from one another otherwise my feet would have been killing me. Stop number 2 was the almighty Edinburgh Castle, the place of the Scottish Crown Jewels, (not those kind of crown jewels- naughty) the expensive kind, the kind which are locked behind a safe styled door, probably also the kind where you'll get locked up for life if you steal them-just in case you had any ideas. As well as seeing the expensive jewels I also got to see something just as captivating, the whole view of Edinburgh and partly across the sea to see the other side of Scotland (which unfortunately for some people thought was Ireland or France, typical American tourists). Tut tut.

I think I have an unhealthy obsession with the Royal family as I've managed to cross most of their ships and homes off my list, (I should add I've been to Buckingham Palace) I could be a member of the family at this rate. Yeah, so this is the Royal Yoat Britannia a ship of the Queens which stays in port at Scotland for the public to visit. I wouldn't call it the Titanic but it's a lovely little country inspired home for the Royal's, in fact the Queen insisted she didn't want anything too fancy and just wanted it suitable enough for all the family to stay- when I say all the family I mean suitable for 250 guests. Bet the maids washing up that night wouldn't have been very pleased. 

Last visit was to the incredibly warm Botanic Gardens. You're probably thinking WARM?! IT'S SCOTLAND, HOW CAN IT BE WARM?! Let's not jump to conclusions readers I meant warm in the glass house which is one of the most famous in Europe for taking care of endangered and abnormal plants that only grow in hot conditions abroad, (but for a fact it was quite warm the day I was there actually). The Botanic Gardens is a busy spot for wedding photos with hundreds of Scottish couple saying cheese to the camera lens across the year. In the green house there were leaves the size of my whole body, it was so bizarre I can't put it into words, seeing as in Manchester the usual leaf is only the width of your palm it was a little shall we say odd.
Overall it was a fantastic trip and I'd definitely go again for a few days, perfect for a bank holiday weekend! Who knew bonny wee Scotland would hold all that?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Company Magazine: September issue

Summer is on its last legs now, it's September time and that usually flares the thought of going back to college and reminding us that Winter is a leaf fall away. Company magazine this month have tried to make it as summery as possible for the last hope we have of sunshine by dedicating the whole edition to Ibiza. It's packed inside with popular and the oh so unique events that are hot, hot, hot in Ibiza from the latest DJ to the best cocktails. Company magazine have also issued us with another free gift (round of applause for the Company team please)! I was in desperate need of a new eye liner pencil which was soon checked off my list when I got Company along with liquid eye liner, 2 in 1, thank you nicely.

Seeing as that chilly Autumn air has started to whistle in as the Summer heat comes to an end, it's time to layer up. It's technically still the Summer months even though it no longer feels like it so Company magazine have managed to help us out with another trend  to suite the seasons, giving us plenty of options how to wear this look from skirts and short to dungarees and skirts.

The colours you really want to be aiming for are the denims, blues and whites making your outfits feel light and bright giving you the perfect end to summer vibe. I went along with these colours going the extra mile and getting my white pins out (sorry, not sorry. According to Company pale skin could never look better, so be pale pin proud) whilst also accompanied by a play suite and a white/ grey vintage skirt unbuttoned used as a light cardigan. Wearing a light denim also looks more refreshing, so push the darks to the back of the wardrobe and drag the lights to lime light. Frilly socks and the block heeled shoes (yet again in white- what a suprise) finish off this outfit perfectly along with the golden chain to give a bulky clashing colour and focal point.

Even though Summer has come to an end, I'm actually really excited for the Winter months believe it or not. Don't you just love the blanket like winter coats, soft woolly scarves and the dark nights, not forgetting the Christmas excitement when everyone seems to be counting down. It's a hard call between Summer and Winter, both have perks.. anyway enough about Summer and Winter it's time to prepare and look forward to Autumn 2013!