Please Note

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Monday, 28 February 2011

Customer Service does still exist (in Oxford at least)

Does the thought of shopping have you jumping for joy?

Do you like to rummage in vintage, antique or charity shops? Or is high end more your thing?

Do you find yourself looking for something specific?

Or something really special and unique?

Do window displays pull you in or turn you away?

Do you travel by car, bicycle or on foot?

Or does the thought of braving the shops make you feel gloomy and grey against the background of colour and hustle?

I don't have a problem with shopping (in fact I'm very good at it - I'm in therapy so I'll break that habit eventually), but i do have a problem with bad customer service. Recently i experienced appalling customer service which left me feeling worse than grumpy. If a company is prepared to take my money surely they can manage a few of the more basic societal manners - apparently not. Needless to say the order was cancelled and i will not be having any further dealings with them. 

So, the incident got me thinking about good customer service, especially in Oxford my home City.

I have to say the staff in Whistles excel at customer service. They are consistently friendly and helpful and more importantly sincere (and yes I would like to work there). If you get a chance, pop in. They'll help you if you need guidance on a specific outfit, they'll even track down items for you if they aren't carrying the size or item you're after. There's also 20% off at the moment (until 1st May so be quick - online discount code isWHG20SS11) which makes some items a bit more affordable.

Most lusted after items from the current season are

Claudine Crepe Waterfall Jacket

 Vanda Cashmere Cardigan
Sandra Stripe Dress

 Echo Soft Raglan Shirt

Love Print Skirt

Favourite Oscar Gowns from the Red Carpet

Courtesy of Style.Com, these are my favourite frocks from the Oscars.... so beautiful. Sigh.......

The luminous Cate Blanchett in lilac - Givenchy Haute Couture
(how effortlessly beautiful does this look!)

Mila Kunis - Elie Saab Couture 
Again in Lilac (clearly a colour obsession i never knew i had!)

The awesome Hilary Swank - Gucci Premiere 
(i imagine i would feel like a bird of paradise in this)

My Girl Hero Sandra Bullock - Vera Wang
 (in Va Va Voom Red - or see what you've lost, punch in the face Scarlet)

Gwyneth Paltrow shimmering like a goddess - Calvin Klein Collection
(I wonder what operations i would need to get limbs as long and lean as this!)

Style.Com is an excellent site - if you have time why not browse all the gowns (and Tuxedo's) at

or spend longer and check out their 'Man on the Street'.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Most Coveted this month

From £50 to the £1,000's - here's what i'm coveting this month......

Flexform Long Island Ottoman - Mac and Mac Interiors (

The Sunday - The Sofa Company (

Beth Mirror - Laura Ashley (

Isabelle Tassel Throw Over - Monsoon (
Alexander McQueen Oriental Print Silk Cape - Net -A-Porter (

Butler and Wilson Jewellery - Butler and Wilson (


 Acne - Acne Studios (

The Challenge

This year i have set myself the challenge of doing things i would normally avoid, due to fear and self doubt.

One of the challenges i set myself was to attend a life drawing class to practice my drawing skills. I've always felt too shy and self conscious about my level of ability to go to a class before so it was with a significant degree of fear that i attended my first ever class last Thursday.

The class was nothing like i expected, firstly i didn't find myself feeling awkward when the young male model bounced onto the modelling platform in all his youthful glory. I gave myself a pat on the back for that. The first few poses were only held for minutes at a time. By the time i had sketched a hand (i needed to build up courage) the class leader was already asking the model to change - i broke out in a sweat trying to keep up. Fortunately, the poses got longer and I was able to relax into it (second pat on the back). Being able to really look at the naked human form was fascinating, the thing i noticed most was the muscle definition and how beautiful just one feature can be.

Having to draw quickly as a warm up was a great exercise, it made me realise that i am far too precious over the details. By the end of the session i managed to produce something i was vaguely happy with and I also felt a sincere gratitude to the young model for affording me such a great experience.

I have a long way to go before i master scale and perspective but i will definitely be doing more classes, having seen the improvement i made in my sketches just in that one short hour i am sure i can create something to be proud of after several.

Take a look ..... (apologies for the darkness of the photos)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Like a Magpie

I love collecting shiny, beautiful things. More than anywhere else this is obvious in the jewellery i wear and i am lucky enough to have inherited and been gifted the most beautiful pieces.

This is my late grandmothers cameo broach, the face of the lady is especially beautiful. I use it to fasten cardigans instead of using buttons. My grandparents are no longer with us but small pieces like this bring back such happy memories and i know they would be pleased to see them still being worn.

This is a piece i bought for myself from Pia Jewellers. I have a real thing for big statement rings and this is my current favourite. It's an unfolding flower which makes me mindful of the new seasons unfolding as i sit here desperate for Spring to bring in her warmth and renewal.

My Aunty Viv gave me this knecklace, it has the most wonderful colours that change from black to purple depending on how the light catches it. I don't actually know what the stone is but it looks great with really simple cut black dresses. The chain is shaped in a heart because my Aunty has a very special place in mine.

A gift from my mother. This is such a beautifully crafted locket. The front is open so you can see to the charm inside. The charm is a small daisy that hangs and moves with your movement. The really special thing about this locket is the Welsh Gold. We Dyche's are very proud of our Welsh heritage and this piece reminds me of the summers spent as a small child walking the Black Mountains side by side with the wild ponies. The locket is from CLOGAU Gold. Thank you Mum x

Another gift from a friend with the biggest heart. I was gifted these Pia earings for my 35th birthday and they make a regular appearance. They are so delicate and pretty they never fail to get me a compliment.

I wonder what pieces of jewellery hold special meaning for you? I would love to know

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


I have now amended the settings so all viewers can comment (apologies this wasn't enabled before).

Monday, 21 February 2011

Style is a philosophy..... I think

I've recently got into blogging so have spent many an hour scouring the internet for other blogs that cover style. What i've noticed is that many focus just on a persons style in clothes. As good as those blogs are (and yes i subscribe to quite a few) i'm blogs that cover style in all areas of a persons life; you know, from decor to art and so on.

It got me thinking about my own approach to style hence the title. For me style is about all the aesthetics in life and the choices we make to actively develop a style of our own wether it be in the art we create, the clothes we wear or the home we make around us.

I keep a scrap book into which i paste images that appeal to my own sense of style. I've kept it for years, slowly adding to and editing the pages. It may seem like a slightly silly thing to do but it has helped me to really fine tune my tastes by seeing them laid bare (it's amazing how quickly you'll see a pattern in your tastes that you were never aware of). It also helps me to catalogue what i have and what i would like so i make purchases that i really love (although sadly i don't yet own any vintage cars!).

Here's a collection of some of my pages, created to group form, silhouette, humour and mood. I hope you enjoy them.