My Tips For Getting A Designer Look For Less


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well, maybe not just yet. But there is one thing that’s already feeling like Christmas, and that is my bank account. As much as I love buying presents for other people, it means there’s little money left to spend on myself. And that just won’t do. I’d like to say that I’m a girl who dresses head to toe in designer labels. But I’m not quite rich enough for that. But, obviously I do like to take inspiration from the latest trends, so I’ve picked up plenty of tips on how to get the look for less. So here’s how I do it, even in times of less than plenty…

-Check Magazines and Blogs – I have been known to read a fashion magazine or two. And I’ll be the first to admit that they can be helpful when you want cheaper versions of your favourite pieces. Lots of magazines have a section where they recommend a high street brand that has an almost exact copy of a designer piece. Sometimes it’s somewhere super cheap like Primark. Or it might be a little more expensive, like Monsoon or my current FAVE; Zara. But, of course, not everyone reads print magazines anymore. Blogs and other sites are just as useful when you’re trying to follow a trend for less.

-Look for Discounts – Up to 70% off, on sale, cheapest item free: these words are all like music to my ears. Who doesn’t love a bargain, especially when you manage to snag a designer piece? And there’s never any shortage of discounts for me to get my teeth into, from January sales to stores closing down. They’re all good – except maybe the mess that is the newly introduced Black Friday. I’ll stay away from that one. There are other ways you can save money with a discount too, you just gotta spend some time looking online for vouchers, but it can be totally worth it if you know you’re gonna buy something. Lots of shops offer one-off rewards for signing up for their newsletter, buying a store card or making a purchase. There’s loads of way to get discounts, you just have to work a little to find them!

-Use the Right Search Terms – If there’s one thing this generation knows how to do better than any other, it’s use Google. I’ve found that searching for the right thing when I want a designer look is essential. Usually, that means finding out if what you want has a name. And it very often does. Of course it does, because everyone’s wearing it. Those winter boots with the rubber bottom and leather top? Duck boots. Heels with an elasticated top? Glove shoes. You’ll find it easier to find cheaper versions of what you’re looking for if you know what terms to use.

-Buy Vintage – You know that vintage is my thing. One of the reasons it’s so great is because trends tend to come back around. Half of the things that are in fashion now were in twenty, thirty or, fifty, sixty years ago. Go rooting around your nearest vintage shop and you’ll find lots of items that look like they could have been made today.

You don’t have to break the bank to get a designer look. It’s really is easy to get it for less when you’re running low on fashion funds. Hurrah!


Hittin’ Me Straight In The Heart

Well, would you believe it? Sometimes things are just perfectly timed and, as that big ole’ heart shaped 24 hours called Valentine’s Day is nearing, well, I just happened to fall SLAP BANG IN LOVE! Whooosh, totally floored with affection, can’t suppress the butterflies in my belly, can’t take my damn eyes off the beauty of it, the cutest thing I ever saw; BANDO!

Flitting around on Instagram as I do, my big ole eyes came across @shopbando and my heart went boom! Bando is a super cute LA based brand selling gifts, stationery and fashion accessories, and it is awesome, totally flippin’ awesome. Set up by a group of girls, they say they are ‘Serious about Fun’ and oh my, their ideas and style are pure brilliance, absolutely up my street. With pops of confetti colours, neon brights, bold graphics, mirror balls, disco glitter and kittens and hearts as regular themes…well, it’s no wonder I’m so head over heels!

I was sure enough jumping for joy when I saw that they now have a concession in Selfridges so that us Brits can get up close and all touchy with their stuff on these shores, HURRAH! I will be spending many glorious moments canoodling with their ace website where you can shop online, and you’ll regularly find me with heart shaped eyes gazing into their Instagram feed which you can see images from below.

Mmmmm….. such pretty things.

Bando on InstagramVisit Bando here and follow them on Instagram too!


V is for Victory- The stunning new Victoria Beckham store opens


When it comes to 90’s pop stars creating a fashion range, it’s fair to say that most don’t manage to pull off anything more than a naff collection that soon gets lost to time. Very few create anything good, but Mrs Victoria Beckham hasn’t only done good, she has completely excelled. Lovers of great fashion know that ‘Victoria Beckham’, since it’s quiet launch in 2008 continues to amass both adoration, and great respect. Not only are her designs both classic and innovative at the same time, but her quality and attention to detail are faultless.

On Thursday I was beyond thrilled to be part of the opening day of her first ever store on Dover Street; one of London’s most salubrious shopping districts. Outside was piled high with onlookers and paparazzi as I got there because David Beckham had just arrived to give his seal of approval to the amazing store. As I stroked and fawned at her products, there was a calm excitement in the store as champagne was handed around by the best dressed waiters and David stood chatting with Victoria’s Sister and Father, it was a very cool scene to behold.

The store is nothing short of stunning. A seamless, modern and angular shopping space covering three floors. The polished concrete floors, the dark mirrored walls and ceilings all make it feel luxuriously sparse. It feels like an art gallery with the clothing as the exhibit, it totally allows the collection to have the display it deserves. The clothes are perfect, first class, you get the feeling that Beckham’s quality control is paramount. Every single detail has been attended to, even the usual necessary eyesores that are fire extinguishers are a polished chrome, making them objects of beauty. The staircases dominate the space and the whole store has the feel of a catwalk, it doesn’t get much more fashion than this place. The Architect that designed this store with Beckham is Farshid Moussavi, who never usually works on retail spaces and who is better known for her work on the Olympic Park and modern Art Museums. This is a great use of an Architect whose ideas bring something new to a shopping environment, I wouldn’t say that no other clothes shop has ever gone for a modern minimalist space but this, well, it’s been done on a hugely grand and very expensive scale. When you add in the scent of the Diptyque’s Feu de Bois candles that are placed very particularly around the store, this is a pretty spectacular way to shop. The VIP basement has the most beautiful Damien Hirst pink heart hanging on the wall, which was a gift from David to Victoria; you truly get a sense of her in this store, it doesn’t feel as though she is the untouchable figure behind it, it feels as though you are in her home. The staff were more than welcoming and you feel as though the store is offered to you as much for a joyous look-around as it is for you to shop in. Beckham’s customers will be mostly those with a hefty bank balance, her jeans start at around £1000 and her dresses sit around the £3-5000 price point, it’s not where most girls will buy a quick dress for a Friday night out- hardly surprising when you consider her store sits alongside the likes of McQueen and Louboutin. In this high end world of fashion, Beckham has done good, she has totally nailed it.

I’ll be returning for sure and I’m eager to see what she does to make the store look fresh again with each new collection, it was a good morning and to walk out to the waiting paps was an exciting moment in itself, feeling as though you were one of the lucky gals who got a first look…AND…I got full on eye contact with David Beckham which kinda made my tummy spin! Whoop! My photos don’t do the store enough justice, it really needs to be visited to get the full effect, but if you peek closely you can see David in one of them!




vb54vb55vb59vb56vb57VB12IMG_7883vb58VB14The new Victora Beckham store is open at 36 Dover Street, London W1


Goodbye Prim shop…..Hello Prim online

The last few days of my shop are here. Well, the bricks and mortar shop that is, Prim is going back to where it began 11 years ago; back online. Without any doubt at all, the decision to close down the shop has been the hardest and scariest one of my life. Of our lives. James and I adore our shop and are so gut-burstingly proud of it, so obviously the decision has been a real heart breaker and has taken a very long time to make. The reasons are numerous, but out of courtesy for our very wonderful customers, I’ll try my best to explain our need to close. There are 3 main reasons as to why we are closing the shop doors and one of them, unsurprisingly, is the recession. We genuinely never went into this business to make millions, if that had been our aim, we woulda chosen something other than selling vintage clothes. We opened our shop so we could do a job we love, fill our days with something we were passionate about and pay our bills; a lifestyle business. And that’s exactly how it went, the shop was a great earner, paying two salaries, getting us our first ever home and giving us a cool life. Dream achieved. Within 6 years we have sold over 25,000 brilliant items, which literally gob-smacks us. But alas, it doesn’t make the money anymore, Norwich is being hit really hard by the recession and the city is the quietest it has ever been. Shops cost a whole heap of money to run and the recession literally cripples small independent shops, unlike some, ours is a shop where both James and I need to earn a wage from it, it’s our only family income, so when the money isn’t coming in like it once was, choices have to be made.

Another massive reason we are closing is due to the way ‘vintage’ has changed, especially in Norwich. When we moved to Norwich from London in 2008, we did so because we fell in love with The Norwich Lanes area of independent shops and saw that we could fit in perfectly. I knew exactly how I wanted the shop to be, modern and fresh, a new way to sell vintage, a boutique, with eye popping branding. Prim opened with a bang and it was a huge hit. Norwich it would seem hadn’t seen anything like us before and we could hardly keep up with demand. I think we made it look as though it was easy and that there was money to be made, because, within our third year, oh my, did more vintage shops pop up! Norwich is a small city, and suddenly from having just us, there was at one point 12 places to buy vintage in Norwich. Honestly, I don’t feel that any shop or market stall ever did it even half as beautifully as us, but the fact it was now everywhere broke my heart. I loved vintage from a young age because it was unique, different, and a niche. Quite simply, Norwich became ridiculously saturated with vintage. Add to that the nationwide boom of the genre which meant charity shops all had dedicated ‘vintage’ rails, traveling vintage fairs regularly brought out of town sellers into the city, the high street mass produced ‘vintage’ imitations and, well, it’s really hard to make a living out of something in a small city where there’s more supply than demand. Our reasons for having a vintage shop, to run a local business offering something unique to the city, were no longer valid in Norwich.

The last main reason and by far the most important one is; life. Having your own shop takes up all of your time. All day, every single day you are doing something to do with the shop. You do it because you choose to and because you love it, but as you become surrounded by competitors and also the recession, the love for it wanes and you kinda question whether you still want to do it? The stress, the pressure on your relationship, the time you give up? Working for yourself, as many do, is bloody hard, you can’t switch off, you carry the burden of the bills. I love being my own boss, and I feel lucky, but as all self employed people know, goodness, there are many times it would be preferable to have paid holidays, a pension and hours that end when you leave the office. We need to get some life back, we need to have a holiday together as we haven’t in 7 and a half years, we need to not miss special occasions because we have to be at the shop, we need to not feel like we’re watching life go on outside the shop window. We gotta find a new adventure. The shop has been, genuinely, a dream come true, setting it up, having it succeed massively and working every day with items that fascinate us. And, of course, the customers have been amazing. Closing Prim, will be a loss for the city of Norwich and we have been astounded by the compliments and love we have received during our closing down period. We’ve done all we ever wanted and needed to do with the shop, and now we need a new challenge. What are our plans? Prim is going online, the super-dooper website is getting ready right now, I can’t stop working with and loving vintage, it is my trade, my passion and I will continue to source and sell beautiful clothing, but now the audience can be all over the world and I can fit it around my life a little more. We may occasionally have a quick pop-up shop in the city, and also, for local lovely customers of Prim, I will be offering a pick up point in the city on a weekly basis where you can come get your purchases!

So it is Goodbye to Prim the shop, and Hello to Prim Online. Without every single one of our customers, none of the past six years would have happened, we are sincerely, utterly and genuinely thankful to all of you, we love that you loved what we sold and how we sold it, we have loved being part of your wardrobes and therefore your lives, I hope to carry on finding you amazing fashion for more years online. Prim has appeared in Vogue, Company, and Glamour magazine, it was named as one of ‘the top 5 vintage stores in the UK’ by The Guardian, it has won ‘best vintage shop in Norwich’ for both the years that the awards were running, it’s supplied clothing for theatre, movies, museums and The Oscars. We always wanted to create a magical place in which to shop and I think we did, we created something brilliant for you and for us, hip-hip-hooray for Prim and all it’s customers, it’s been marvelous! Thank you all so much. See you online! xxx

Beautiful illustration thanks to Nicola Jones.

A sunny Brooklyn flea market

fleaOn my first saturday in Brooklyn, Kristin and I headed up the street to my favourite flea market, it was suuuuuper sunny and so was a perfect morning to mooch around and look at the wares. This flea market is a great size, big but not too big, lots of clothes, furniture and crafty bits; more craft and less vintage than when I was last here and more pricey than my last visit, but, good vintage dresses are becoming harder to find so I totally understood the higher prices. Some stalls did have great prices though as I did find an amaaazing pair of pink and gold 80’s Bally shoes for $20 though which made me squeal out loud on first glance. I also bought a cute cat softy for my nephew and the coooolest handmade card for James.

It was so sunny, I was crazy hot and then…. ta-daaah!… I saw People’s Pops among the stalls….whoop…I haven’t ever seen this cute brand before and I LOVED IT! The branding, the simplicity, the concept and on a hot day, their pure fruit lollies or cups of shaved ice are perfection! The guys were really popular, with a huge slab of ice they shave off enough to fill a cup and add a shot of fruit syrup on top, or you can have a lolly laden with fruity goodness….mmmmmmm!

A good day indeed.