Urban Raven – Ship Necklace

So, after literally months of not having time to write a review for two of my favourite jewellery pieces I’ve decided enough is enough. I have to write them. I’ll start with one and link my second one – a gorgeous Israeli phone token necklace here.

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Shiran Tal is a master of turning junk, as you may have seen in my last post about her shop Urban Raven, into treasures. Literally treasures.

Hopefully you remember but you might not, Shiran is an upcycler, and it’s something she is extraordinarily good at. No need for a day job when you have a skill like she has. So without further ado, meet one my favourites. This beautiful postage stamp of a ship which has been mastered into a necklace.

From the first time I watched Pirates of the Caribbean, possibly because of Johnny Depp, I’ve had a slight obsession with any boat that could potentially be a pirate ship. Cue this lovely looking stamp, which fulfils my pirate ship dreams.

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Remember, Shiran Tal makes all her pieces by hand. Unbelievable talent.

Much like my lamp stamp bracelet this necklace features a gold-plated brass fitting with a plastic overlay. A lobster claw clasp and one length. As a fat-necked individual, unfortunate but true, this necklace is perhaps a little snug for me but it settles just below my throat, but not so that when I look down I can admire it. On any other person I’m sure this would come at just that perfect length so you can see it, albeit briefly when you look past your nose. Understand?

One of the key things that makes Shiran stand out so brilliantly, is that none of her pieces are alike. Not one. Each is different, taking something that has, at leat to us ordinary people, no character or personality and upcycles it so that it can be bold and beautiful again.

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Budget Wedding Dresses under £400

I love weddings, and just because I’m not actually getting married doesn’t mean that I don’t love looking and admiring the dresses, the bouquets, venues, just everything. I am a lover of all things weddings, but if there is one thing I can’t stand it’s the price of the dresses. For your big day do you really want to be spending thousands on a dress. Sure that Marchesa dress you saw is perfect but with a price tag of £8,000 there are only a select few who can actually manage to fit in into their budget.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with my top five dresses under £400. Some of them, such as the French Connection one you might not think of as a  wedding dress but to some people it brings out their inner glam wedding rocker. Others look more traditional such as the Monsoon dresses but the main things these five dresses have in common is their affordability.

So let’s get cracking! They are from top to bottom my favourites.

19000490005_large bhs ivory violet front19000490005_3_largebhs ivory violet back

1. First off I need to apologise, this beautiful BHS Ivory Violet Wedding Dress was the only one of the bunch I could find decent pictures of both the back and front of.

Costing £180 and available to those size 8 – 22 this dress is a beautiful embroidered lace satin lining masterpiece. With it’s sheer 3/4 length sleeves and scalloped lace it epitomises a bride who wants to look not only demure on her wedding day but glamourous as well. Coming in way under my £400 budget I couldn’t help but think this dress with its vintage feel had to top the list. As you walk a short train follows you around, leaving an aura of gracefulness as you shimmy on down the aisle.

Style Ref: 19000490005

9014652239902 monsoon Marianne

2. Next up, is the beautiful Marianne Bridal Dress by Monsoon. Costing £299 this beautiful vintage inspired gown remind me a lot of Downtown Abbey. A beautiful ivory colour it has both a rounded neckline and scooped back. The dress feature an elegant mesh embellished overlay which adds uniqueness to this dress. The scoop back has a beautiful addition of embellishments that cross over to continue a feeling of being covered and add sophistication to the dress. The chiffon skirt puddles around your feet with a small train and adds to a feeling weightlessness about the dress. It comes in sizes 8-22.

Style Ref: 7457034622

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3. Hello Phase 8’s Cressida Wedding Dress. Where have you been all my life? I love you. This dress would have been second if it had not been the most expensive dress on the list. At £395 it just comes under my budget and I am just so glad. This dress is truly beautiful. It’s prom style, tea-length shape is flattering to most body shapes and the ivory colour looks so classic. With 3/4 sleeves and scalloped eyelash lass, this dress surpasses most of my wedding dress dreams. Follow that up with a grosgrain waist belt and tulle underlay and this dress is a complete winner. This dress is edgy whilst remaining perfectly sophisticated and would be a great number to dance in later, or earlier if you plan to dance down the altar like me at some point. Another point that has to mentioned on this dress is the neckline, with it’s sheer panel this neckline I don’t have a name for, but I’m sure there is one. Underneath the panel is a very typical sweetheart neckline which keeps the dress locking in traditions whilst being so out there. Love it! Love it! Love it!

Style Ref: 202812106

9014614851614 Monsoon Olivia

4.  In my eyes Monsoon can do no wrong with wedding dresses. Here is their Olivia Bridal Dress. This dress is beautiful and a great price £299 I reckon it would really look good on brides who are carrying a little less loving stuffing. As a plus size girl I love this dress but I reckon it would just catch me in all the wrong places. Although, and this is a massive although it could also look fabulous on a plus size girl if the belted area truly does fall in the bride’s waist area. To me that’s key in the fit of the dress on those of us who carry a lot more down below then on the top. But either way this dress is stunning. It has a traditional sweetheart neckline and has floral appliqués which continue up and down the spaghetti straps and along the top half of the dress. It’s pretty, fun and flirty and we fit, on the right bride like an absolute glove. Plus the tulle skirt is just so floaty. I love this dress. I just has to add it in.

Style Ref: 6451134616

71DGO_model french connection nebraska

5. Now that’s a different bridal dress. Not technically listed as a wedding dress I couldn’t help but think on the right bride this Nebraska Lace Dress from French Connection could be the one. A tunic style dress which a lace overlay, it really does to me seem like a wedding dress even if it is on the short side. If I had the legs for this dress I would probably wear it as an evening night bridal gown, but I don’t so I won’t but someone else could. I love the scoop neckline and scalloped hem and cuffs which give it a sense of unity. It comes in the colour Summer White, which to me just looks white (but apparently its tinged with summer) and keeps with the tradition of a white wedding. Plus I love the thought of pairing this with trainers.

Style Red: 71DGO

Nikita by Niki, Niki Mahon Interview

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Some of you by now hopefully have read my little blog on NikitaByNiki’s Acasia piece, if you haven’t you can click here to catch up. For those of you who saw how much I rated the necklace I got from NikitabyNiki I got to ask founder Niki Mahon some questions about her brand and what inspires her to come up with the beautiful pieces she has over on her website.

Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©
Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©

ME: Firstly, basics. I know your name is Niki Mahon and NikitabyNiki was started in 2014, but how old are you, and when did you realise you wanted to establish and create jewellery?
NIKI: I have very recently turned 23. I work full time as a Senior Account Manager at a mobile and web development agency in London. I have always been one to multi-task and fill my spare time with something productive and beneficial. I realised I had a genuine passion for jewellery at the age of 16 when I secured my first job at ‘Silverleaf Jewllery Ltd’, managing the store and creating unique pieces by hand. I absolutely loved this job, however pursuing a degree and securing a full time job were of top priority before exploring this avenue further and growing it into a business.

You could say as a typical girly-girl and perfectionist, I am drawn to and love making things pretty, and I am thrilled that I am now in a position in my life where I can devote my time to a jewellery brand that I firmly believe in.

ME: What or who was the inspiration behind the beginnings of NikitabyNiki?
NIKI: The best word to describe my jewellery is ‘Statement’. Although I wear dainty, delicate pieces on a daily basis, I believe when a woman dresses up, she does not need to break into her purse and buy an entire new outfit every time. The NikitaByNiki pieces aim to be feminine and flattering, yet bold enough to transform any ensemble again and again without having to worry about wearing the same outfit twice.

NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25
NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25

ME: How involved are you in the designing, creating and making process of your pieces?
NIKI: I currently source the pieces from trustworthy and talented manufacturers worldwide. My connections are obtained through networking, researching and travelling. Initially I sourced existing styles, however my most recent ventures involve channeling my love for drawing and design by customising and creating the NikitaByNiki pieces myself to ensure they are unique, beautiful and of a great quality.

ME: Where did the influence come from for your Boho and Rhinestone Collection?
NIKI: The Boho Collection was born first. I was so intrigued by the the London look of casual outfits dressed with bohemian silver cuffs and large statements. I wanted to branch out further and test the market with the Rhinestone collection soon after. This collection, for me, represents more evening wear, providing a more glitzy and elaborate addition to what can otherwise be a sleek and simple outfit. Naturally, I went on to further pursue those that proved to be the most popular and have the highest demand.

In April, I am going to be launching the NikitaByNiki Ring Collection which compliments both collections by combing vintage silvers and classic gem stones.

ME: Are there specific pieces from each of those collections that you think represent you and your brand the best, and why?
NIKI: I would definitely say I have some brand ambassadors within the two collections. In the Rhinestone Collection, Zahara and Aurora are solid examples of how a pieces can add the ‘wow’ factor to any look. Within the Boho collection, Paris is one that I believe to stand out on the website amongst both photoshoot and product photography.

NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection - Style Zahara £20
NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection – Style Zahara £20

ME: Are there any brands of jewellery, or other people who influence the designs that you create?
NIKI: Yes absolutely!

Interestingly, a lot of inspiration comes from clothes designers and gorgeous jewel encrusted wedding pieces; Zuhair Murad embellished gowns inspire me with their ability to look utterly classy without approaching the border of tacky and ‘blingy.’

In terms of jewellery, I have inspirations whom I strive to surpass. These are people and companies whom I prefer to hold close to my chest.

ME: Lastly, what do you want your buyers to feel when they wear your pieces?
NIKI: What drives me most is the feedback I get from ecstatic customers. A tremendous amount of effort goes into the final touches and packaging of each item and each order receives a small thank you note which has proven to attain repeat orders.I strive for all items to reach their owners safely, in the expected condition and for my customers to be able to wear their pieces over and over again without any hesitance.

Ultimately, I want my buyers to feel how I feel when wearing NikitaByNiki statements: beautiful, comfortable and stylish.

See what people have said about shopping at NikitaByNiki: www.nikitabyniki.com/testimonials

To follow Niki on:

TUMBLR

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

The Oscars – The 87th Academy Awards Best Dressed 2015

So it all went down last night at The Oscars, quite literally, the tent leaked a miniature flood and The Grand Budapest Hotel wiped the floor with everyone. But we’re not about hate, at least not in the top section. Hate is for the worst dressed celebs of last nights classy event, but that’s a different post. But we’ll keep it positive first, so first

Christopher Polk|Getty Images
Christopher Polk|Getty Images

SOPHIE HUNTER IN LANVIN

Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch, and their tiny bump. Debuting marital bliss these wonderful Brits looked every inch the ultimate family. I think the picture speaks for itself, plus Sophie looked seriously stunning in a beautiful Lanvin design and to be honest I’m not surprised Benny Cumberbatch couldn’t take his eyes of her.


Reese Witherspoon Tom Ford - Getty Images
Reese Witherspoon Tom Ford – Getty Images

REESE WITHERSPOON IN TOM FORD

If anyone was just slightly annoyed at how much work I had to put in to finding out “Who” Reese was wearing last night it would be me. Her #AskHerMore campaign is great, but honestly just tell us you were wearing Tom Ford first, and then be all sly about it. Either way though, this is one heck of a dress which is sure to remain iconic for years to come.


Cate Blanchett in John Galliano for Maison Margiela with Tiffany &Co Necklace | Jordan Strauss Invasion, AP
Cate Blanchett in John Galliano for Maison Margiela with Tiffany &Co Necklace | Jordan Strauss Invasion, AP

 CATE BLANCHETT IN JOHN GALLIANO

When I saw Cate standing on the red carpet, on my laptop whilst stuffing myself with caffeine to get through the night I was just in awe. Her elegant John Galliano dress for Maison Margiela is beautiful but to add that bold turquoise Tiffany&Co necklace was pure genius. It lifts everything, the colour of her skin, it balances out her shoulders, and just adds a bit of Pizzazz to a dress that would otherwise be constituted as lovely but boring. She just looks simply wonderful.


Anna Kendrick in Thakoon| Steven GranitzWireImage
Anna Kendrick in Thakoon| Steven GranitzWireImage

ANNA KENDRICK IN THAKOON

To me, Anna Kendrick’s can do no wrong, and this dress just proves it. My first thought as I saw her arrive was, “No Anna, no!” I really believed this dress would be the wrong everything for her. That the colour would drain her away and that she might end up tripping over on the longness of it all but she didn’t. The peachy colour of the dress is super stunning and her petite frame really carries off this dress to perfection. The elegant neckline with a bit of a sexy key hole front adds to this dresses overall wonderfulness. I love it, the girl did good!


Rosmund Pike in Givenchy| Getty Images
Rosamund Pike in Givenchy| Getty Images

ROSAMUND PIKE IN GIVENCHY

Please give me the courage to find this dress, steal it, diet enough to get into it and then wear it every day and every night until I die or get sent to prison for theft. I can’t get enough of the sexiest sophisticated dress I saw on the red carpet last night. This is just exquisite, and with its waist clinching belt and panels and the thigh-high split this dress literally can do no wrong on Rosamund’s body. Plus the intricate pattern design is literally perfect for this nominee.


Kiera Knightley in Valentino|Kevin Marzue Wire Image
Kiera Knightley in Valentino|Kevin Marzur Wire Image

KIERA KNIGHTLEY IN VALENTINO

A baby bump on the way, no problem if you’ve got somewhere to go just dress like Kiera. It was another moment of is this dress actually you. I was a bit stumped at first, but the more I saw of this beautiful tulle dress which literally makes Knightley look like a fairy princess I just wanted to see more. Valentino did a fantastic job when this gown was designed. It’s wonderful.


Emma Stone in Elie Saab| picture Vogue.com
Emma Stone in Elie Saab| picture Vogue.com

EMMA STONE IN ELIE SAAB

I salute you Emma, you look fantastic and the colour choice is so bold and beautiful. The beading is magical and the pattern in which the dress is beaded kind of reminds me of a cheetah or some sort of wild African animal. Featuring a very risqué thigh split and complete open back this celery coloured dress just oozed sophistication and to my mind a bit of boho-ness from Emma. This dress is perfection and so literally is Emma, who graciously didn’t win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.


Jennifer Hudson in Romona Keveza| Getty Images
Jennifer Hudson in Romona Keveza| Getty Images

JENNIFER HUDSON IN ROMONA KEVEZA

Wow. Is there any other word to describe this butter yellow, sunshine-filled dress which Jennifer Hudson donned to the Oscars last night. She just looks breathtaking. It’s simple and elegant and most celebrities would have picked it in a muted tone but nope, not old Jennifer. This colour is just beautiful paired with her skin tone and she looks flawless. She also happens to be my new desktop background? Too much?


Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent| Kevin Mazur WireImage
Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent| Kevin Mazur WireImage

MARGOT ROBBIE IN SAINT LAURENT

I want to wear this dress. I know I can’t but I would like to, a lot. Margot Robbie was one of the first celebrities I saw arrive on my TV following of the red carpet last night but she is one of the most memorable. Flawless, sophisticated but slightly edgy with her pretty jewels and plunge neckline and sheer sleeves. Definitely worthy of an Oscar itself that dress.


Of course there were so many others who looked beautiful on the red carpet last night, but I have neither the time or patience to sit and write about everyone so I’ll just leave it with these beauties?

Who were your favourites?

I knit a scarf? Really?

You can ask anybody, I am not an artist. I am not creative. I am not anything to do with making things beautiful. I am just not crafty. If I try to be crafty I usually end up leaving it in a half-finished, half-disgusting state and I never return to it. Another idea thrown and smushed into the mud. But hey, I thought one day about a week ago I’m gonna make me a scarf. And that’s what I did?!

So I’m going to give you a quick run through of what I did and what I used.
First of course I need to sell you to knit.

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So firstly let me show you an incredibly grainy image of me wearing my finished product. The lighting is pretty bad and I’m inside which in some respects defeats the whole purpose of a scarf but you get the general idea of it. You can see the sort of pattern my interpretation of my understanding of ‘how to knit’ went.

I’ll attach my favourite videos from the wonderful resource that is Youtube to the bottom of this post so you can go and attempt this ever so easy knit for yourself.

The wool I used was this beautiful one from Hobbycraft which was called Patons Fab Colour Yarn Mermaid Mix, and oh dear lord it is too die for. The lush but tones are emphasised and complemented wonderfully by the varying grey and white tones and it just looks like magic. I ended buying three of these yarn balls of scrumptiousness but I reckon I could have done with just the two. Each one cost £6 so I ended up spending £18, although like I said I’m pretty sure two would have sufficed.

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Alongside the very important wool aspect is the equally important part which is the needles. Now these babies I am most proud of. The only reason being is that they are blue, which is so un-granny-like which made me feel better about knitting. (Such a stereotype) My new babies called Knit 1 and Knit 2 respectfully are also from Hobbycraft priced at £4.50. Mine are 10mm Pony ones, which I chose because there was a helpful hint on the packaging of the wool that they would work. You can however buy them in lots of varying sizes. I’ve linked to them here but for some reason I can only get the 8mm ones on the website, they were however the same price. So once again the general idea.

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I learnt to cast on my own, through trial and error however I did find this video which I hope will help that with aspect.

This was my favourite video as I was learning to knit. Although I accidentally moved the wool in front of my T instead of the back, and really I don’t think it made the slightest bit of difference.

I thought binding off, or finishing would be really hard but this video was absolutely amazing.

And that is quite simply how you knit an ever-so-simple-ridiculously-easy-and-maybe-not-so-perfect-scarf. But hey its my scarf and I love it.

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Little Mermaid Inspired Necklace

Well, hurrah I’m sort of back on track and this week for some reason is turning out to be all about jewellery. I need to show you this piece I purchased a couple weeks back from a beautiful Etsy shop called Baked Memes. Now if you’re looking at this bog post before February 2nd the owner is actually on a bit of a break, but according to the shop memo she’ll be back.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with this Ariel inspired silhouette. On a 18inch gold-plated chain, which of course you could have in silver or in a variety of chain lengths. Because of the break Baked Memes owner Kelly Robbins is taking I’m not actually 100% sure if she does repeat orders or whether it’s just once. But, the rest of her shop is absolutely stunning.
Back to my lovely mermaid.

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The mermaid itself is made of black shrink plastic and what I love most about this is the hand-craftedness, excuse the made up word, of this piece. In the description Kelly explains that she: “draw the mermaid shape on to black shrink plastic, cut it to detail and then heat the piece to a hard acrylic-like state. The front of the piece is coated in a clear gloss for protection and shine before finally being attached to a hand assembled gold or silver plated necklace.”

Having something that has been crafted with care always feels so much more special when you’re wearing it compared to the universally manufactured other jewellery, although yes I still love wearing my world-wide trendy Pandora and Nomination.

The Ariel silhouette is not actually very big and sits perfectly round my neck, not being so tiny people have to lean in to get a view and not being so in your face it’s just simply awful. Instead she’s perfect. And I can’t help but think I will be rocking this look for the next few weeks, if not months.

She cost £8.99 which was simply amazing and P&P was free. Honestly I would have paid so much more.

Thank you so much Baked Memes. Like them on Facebook. And don’t’ forget to follow Kelly on Instagram.

Pandora and the girls

It feels like it has been an age since I last posted on here, which in some respects it has. There was nothing important keeping me from blogging more a mind block about blogging. I guess I’ve never been very imaginative. So I thought I would start by semi-bragging about an unbelievable gorgeous 22nd birthday present I got from some of my girl friends.

My birthday was in September but in true best-friends-no-matter-what fashion there has been far too much going on, what with me not being in the same country for any serious amount of time or just plain forgetfulness for them to have handed my lovely present over. So, January is when I got it. And I am in love.

I never expected my friends to get me something so perfect for me. I should have known that they know me far too well.

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And so of course, the joy of opening a Pandora present begins for me. I am an utter Pandora freak. I love all their collections and when I realised that I was opening a little story book-esque Pandora box I was silently freaking out.

Inside, was just as good.

Incased in this very pretty protective box were these little gems.

Made from sterling silver and Lapis Lazulli, which is maybe unsurprisingly the gemstone of September babies like myself, they were just sitting staring at me asking to be worn.

I believe these babies cost £45, although I shouldn’t really of sneaked but hey it was all for the blog.

They come in each birthstone year which as always I will link to each one at the end.

The girls who got me this I have known for almost ten years. They have seen me through some of the toughest times in the world. I sometimes wonder what the heck I would be like today if I didn’t have them weighing in and giving me advice and love on even the smallest and most trivial matter. They, all of them are uniquely brilliant and talented and my life is so much better for knowing them.

I wish that each person could know the happiness that these ladies bring into my life, even just a little bit of it would make anyone’s day better. When you find a friend, even if you don’t realise it or want it they bury their way into your heart and make you a better person.

Back to business though of course, and as promised here are all the linked Pandora earrings by month and birthstone.

January – Garnet

February – Amethyst

March – Aquamarine

April – Rock Crystal

May – Chrysoprase

June – Moonstone

July – Carnelian

August – Peridot

September – Lapis Lazulli

October – Opal

November – Citrine

December – Turquoise