Birmingham

The Show: Redefinition, Bullring

Last weekend I was in Birmingham for the Bullring fashion show! A collection of events across the city made up Style Birmingham and Bullring hosted The Show: Redefinition to showcase the high street AW11 collections. I'd just been the The Look Show the weekend before so I was already geared up for the new season, but The Show managed to feature a load more trends and items I want to invest in!

 

I went to the show last season and this year had a huge black catwalk with a backdrop projection so each model looked like they were posing as a magazine cover before strutting out. I loved the long, waved hair as I'm all about hairstyles at the moment, and I'm seriously considering some knee high boots. Not to wear in a '60s costume way but looking hot and sturdy with pencil skirts and capes. The boots above are from New Look and I  just bought some ankle boots from there today; love their shoes. I also loved the softly waved hair, something you could try with ghd straighteners.

Here are a few of my favourite trends: one being piled on knitwear, especially pom poms! I'm going to get some cute gloves and a loooong scarf soon to wear with a knitted headband and wool cape! I got some knee high wool socks today with big bows on from New Look again so I'm looking forward to some chilly weather (currently sweltering in the heatwave here!). I also love the idea of a chic suit, or at least a sharply cut blazer and slim trousers, but I know the quest for the perfect fit of both of those items would be a very long one. I'm also hunting a bright pencil skirt to wear with a fur scarf or coat and a bright blouse, but the ones I've tried on didn't quite fit perfectly. Topshop have some for only £25 in amazing colours but the fabrics were a bit too cheap. I also love all the white blazers around! Fritha and I were discussing them at the Look show so I can't wait to see how she wears hers.

The collection Feathers and Fur was my favourite as I am obsessed with finding the perfect fur coat. I own loads that I've bought in sales or on eBay but none are exactly what I'm looking for. The furs above are from Zara, Lipsy and River Island so the next time I go shopping, I'll look in allll shops to spot something great.

It's been fashion show crazy recently! I can't wait to start off autumn and I'll make a post with my shopping list soon. Here's a little snap of the male models at the show too haha, the girls next to me did not stop swooning! Thank you Bullring!


#brumbloggermeet

Hello! I unconsciously took the week off the internet so I've been itching to blog! I went to a very interesting (and crazy at one point!) blog meet up for dinner with Hayley, Lil and Leah during the week where I really appreciated the lovely girly gossip and company, and also saw Harry Potter as Leah kindly invited me to go along with her and some friends; it was great! I am slightly in love with Neville Longbottom for being so awesome and Dean Thomas for what looks like many hours down the gym. On Thursday it was my first payday so I went late night shopping and ate at YO!sushi, which is my secret single shopper pleasure as you don't need to sit at a big table by yourself and the conveyor belt is so entertaining! I think I have sampled every vegetarian thing on the menu now, but that's not too hard. Then last night I went out with some of my housemates, which is always super crazy to say the least, even Pancho from Dirty Sanchez was at our house!

 

But I've absolutely loved reading all the posts about the Brum Blogger Meet organised amazingly by Fritha and Claire so it's about time I did mine! I felt super spoiled by the blog meet because along with all the freebies and goody bags, it was right on my doorstep. I headed home to Birmingham on Friday after work with a load of Motel goody bags and was so excited on Saturday morning! The blog meet was at 2pm so it was really refreshing to have lots of time to get ready and only have to travel into town. I thought I was early as I approached the Starbucks meeting place but then I walked around a big pillar and saw loads of girls looking super fabulous; it could only be a blogger meet up! I've been to lots before as my blog is such an oldie but I knew some people were nervous before it so I tried to talk to everyone and chatter away. Even throughout the whole day I didn't manage to properly speak to everyone, there were so many of us! 

 

Fritha and Claire organised such amazing sponsors that we all felt like superstars with all the goodies! Max C London gifted the huge yellow tote bags so we all felt like we were on a school trip as they were so noticeable! Lots of people asked us if they were being handed out anywhere, and we also had name tags so random people kept calling us by name! We got a Max C belt and gorgeous dusky floral top in the bag as well as a John Richard silver skull necklace, Crown and Glory hair pins personalised to our blogs (mine were hearts!) and at the meal later in the day we got to pick out an item from Clothing at Tesco and I got this soft peach dress.

There was also a whole Missguided goody bag too with nail polishes, lip glosses, a blinged up nail file, a skull scarf, Lovehearts, and a floral head garland which I forgot to picture as it's on my wall; it looks so pretty! A HUGE thank you to all these brands!

I kept reminding myself at the start of the day to take photos but I only took one! Unless you're taking photos of each other or food, there's not really many you can take at a meet as the point is talking and meeting people, but we had some lovely group ones. We broke into two groups and the one I was with headed to Forever21 and Topshop, where we were eyed suspiciously by the staff, probably due to the huge yellow bags we all had! We browsed for ages and then Lily and I got a bit lost in Selfridges and failed at spotting the yellow Max C bags as there were so many yellow Selfridges bags! After we found everyone again, we made our way up to the Mailbox (stopping at many shops along the way) for a gorgeous meal at Red Peppers, where I had my 18th birthday meal! I had a couple of starters as a main, which is a good idea when you have only so many vege dishes on a menu, and they were lovely. We couldn't fault the meal, what great service as there were loads of us! We had lots of funny challenges and competitions throughout the day and I won best dressed!!!!! I was so embarrassed and shocked but so pleased, thank you to whoever voted for me!! I won a $50 Romwe voucher, which I am having a VERY hard time deciding what to get as the site is HUGE! I also got a beautiful Lulu Guinness lipstick and lips necklace from So Charming which I'm so grateful for, I don't have any fancy jewellery and I LOVE it! It's a bit ridiculous that I don't even have a picture of my outfit and I actually had a mark on my skirt that must have appeared across the day, but I wore my coral River Island maxi skirt with a River Island knotted white cotton sleeveless shirt.

 

After a meal full of friendly chatter, we all headed off and I popped home to get my glad rags on for the night out. It consisted of a LOT of drinks, Fritha and I loosing track of time nattering in the loos (such a girly thing to do!), and dancing all night to really great music; it was such a good choice of place! All the girls looked gorgeous and it was so nice to have a proper girly night out, I really miss my girlfriends!! Living with so many boys is so different!

All the girls were SO lovely and I could write a paragraph about how superb each person was but that would make this post even longer! So here is a shout out to everyone, please do check out these fabulous blogs: 

Char (AMAZING heels and outfit!), Claire (a WONDERFUL host!), Clare (one of the first I spoke to yay), Danni (so modelesque!), Elizabeth (a fellow redhead, we both failed on our shopping bans!), Elouise (who wore a beautiful blue lace dress), Emma (we were saving each other from unwanted male attention in the club by saying we were lesbians haha!), Emma (we both headed off to an afterclub, haha what dirty stopouts!), Florrie (you must check out her blog posts of the day, they are lovely), Fritha (an absolute blogger and host goddess!), Gem (looking damn fabulous in a Motel dress in the club!), Gem (also looked so lovely that night with a hair bow to die for!), Hattie (lovely sharing cocktails and chatter over dinner with you!), Hayley (another fellow redhead and lovely train companion), Joy (we had a lovely gossip in Starbucks as Birmingham residents), Lily (fab to meet again and get lost with!), Louise (the sweetest and loveliest person), Maria (damn fabulous and looked SO good in a jumpsuit), Michelle (who I only got to speak to briefly but SUPER pretty lady!), Rebecca (what a fabulous lady and absolute babe), Sara (absolutely beautiful and thank you for the Missguided goody bag Sara!), Sarah (very, very interesting and thought-provoking conversations at the drinks stop at EAT), Selina (oh wait, that's me!) and Tasha (again only got to speak to briefly, definitely not enough!!). Thank you ladies so much for a non-stop day of fun, I am so honoured to have been a part of it!xxx

P.S. Join Hayley's genius blog map to meet bloggers in your area too!


Polka Dot Polly

I've said recently how I've fallen into a clothes rut and that I really need to buy new things as my wardrobe favourites are going into old age! But in some ways now I know the shops and fits that suit me best and the items I'll get the most wear out of. This makes it hard to shop as I scrutinise everything against many standards (hence why I've got LOADS of makeup now instead!) and only buy things I have nothing similar too. That's why my wardrobe is so random! I'm not sure how many of you readers here watch my YouTube videos but would you like to see a wardrobe tour some time? I've removed some crazy offenders ready for the bank holiday car-boots so it's not too obscure, and I've put a few things on eBay here. I put a Buy It Now on all items and there's not many left, half sold in the first night! If you're eBaying, just add BINs so you don't have to wait around for a week for people to change their mind about bidding. 

One positive side of being a critical shopper is for going out clothes. When I say 'going out', I mean to a club! I just about never go out for drinks (unless before the club) or dinners or anything like that; when I'm at Uni I'll go to a student club about once a week and at home I'll go out maybe once a month. So going out clothes are really in a league of their own because I don't dress at night how I would dress in the day at all. If I'm out at night, finding cute boys is high on the agenda and it's also a chance to wear a tonne of makeup and have big hair. I've probably got about fifteen going out dresses (and one playsuit!) but I alternate about eight. I still have things on rotation from freshers! 50% of my favourites are American Apparel (all u-neck) and 50% are Motel (have you seen my sidebar discount code yet?), and all the others I like but have found fault in. Maybe they're too tight or too short. I don't mind wearing sort of the same thing at night because I know what I feel best in and what I'll gravitate towards. If I feel like I need a new addition to the selection, I go to AA or Motel. And I've recently confirmed that my go-to place for heels is Miss Selfridge. Miss Selfridge have great girly things and out of Arcadia you'd go there for something a bit more feminine or Gossip Girl style. I had a pair of navy triple strap Mary Janes from there in freshers year (do you long time readers remember me sticking Rodarte inspired spikes on them?) and they were actually quite high despite the pics, in fact I might root around my old things to see if I still have them! Well those shoes lasted so long and they were so reasonably priced. I only own one pair of shoes in each style (boots, flats, sandals, etc) because most of the time shoes are so expensive!

 

Socks from Gina Tricot in Sweden, tights from H&M.

My most recent heels were from the amazing Liverpool One shopping centre that I got when visiting a friend. She took us to an amazing club called Heebie Jeebies, any of you know it by any chance?! I really needed some new heels and spotted these ABSOLUTE BEAUTIES online. Seriously that required capitals because they are the shoes of my dreams, the shoes of perfection. The night before I went right to the Miss Selfridge site because I knew I'd find amazing and well-priced heels there, and I had no doubt in getting these in 'Polly Grey'. Only £36 minus the 10% student discount! They're most definitely Charlotte Olympia copies as they have a cut off platform and hot pink soles. But these have huuuge bows on the toes and they're a little pointed but still round. They're so lovely! I had to spend a while deciding which size to get as they're very high so you need them quite tight or else your foot will slip out. I got a size smaller than I normally do so my toes do get squished but no pain, no gain! They're the kind of shoe that I might panic buy ten pairs as I love them so. On the site they have this amazing polka dot pair, and the red pair would look so great with all my black dresses too. They had just my grey polka dot and a black pair when they first came out but these are too much! Ahhh! (And they ship worldwide like Topshop FYI!)

I also just spotted these black wedge boots with a bow on the back! I have no idea if 'suedette' means real suede but these type of wedges are everywhere this winter but good old Miss S puts a bow on the back. Writing this post is actually making me want to buy another pair as I'm not sure a better pair of heels could exist (panic!), but I just looked over my Miss Selfridge Aw10 press day post (haha my blog is probably the most useful to myself!) to see if I saw them at the Arcadia press day and remembered these hotties:

Lets hope they come out just as my grey Pollys (as I'm now going to call them) bite the dust, as platform Mary Janes are another of my shoe idols. I did know that the grey would get scuffed up and was going to invest in some shoe cleaner, but I've rubbed at most marks caused by dancing with a baby wipe and they're not obvious when worn. I have to go into town tomorrow to claim my tax back since I started working, and will pop in store to have another look at the platforms in other colours. I suspect I may drool on them and be made to buy them due to the damage, but that is my secret master plan muhaha!

And of course Miss Selfridge is in the Bullring, where I've shopped for most of the things I've ever bought since I knew how to shop! It was where the T4 Frock Me show was filmed a few months ago and now I'm really excited to be writing some posts for their blog! It's on the site Browse: Bullring which is like the sister site to the main Bullring info site and has a load of fashion info and lookbooks and info on the Style Birmingham event in September (I'm so going to hunt down George Lamb!!). If you live in or around Birmingham, I'd subscribe to the magazine as it's free and delivered to your door, and is full of trends and tips. I know from my stats that quite a few Brummies have found this blog so just out of interest, are any reading this? If so, have you ever met up with people at the Bull? Actually there's no point in asking because I bet you 100% have! Check out the blog here and sub to the RSS feed as I'm writing posts exactly the same as I write them here and it's more about shopping! xx


Frock Off and watch me on T4!

Still on major hiatus but continuously trying to find a pad that has internet access. Right now I'm in an internet cafe complete with babies and dogs, and a girl crying on Skype in a different language behind me. By far I'd love to be at a blog meet up happening in a cupcake shop today but I have no life, let alone clothes, right now and so I'm sorry to all the girls I could have met!

But you might have seen a few bloggers taking part in the show Frock Me on T4, and I'm one of them! Tune into Channel at 13.25 tomorrow where I'll be guest judging the Birmingham Frock Off. Frock Me is less Gok Wan and his waist belts, more super cool runway fashion with Alexa Chung, Henry Holland and the lady I got to meet, Gemma Cairney. When I was asked I immediately thought 'eek argh no I'd love to not have my mug on national TV', but you can't turn something like this down just because you are shy of looking like an idiot! So I said yesyesyes and found myself at the Bullring, Birmingham's major shopping centre, on a cloudy Saturday surrounded by crowds of shoppers. These crowds were certainly not for me of course, the amazing Gemma was doing shots in front of the entrance and many nosey people of the Midlands were hovering and asking what was going on. They probably would have stopped anyway because Gemma looked so eye catching and gorgeous in a little babydoll dress, tight high black stocks, and chunky red heels. I'd never really thought about presenting before until I was part of the New Look YouTube programme at the Paris press day, and saw the many, many takes and repeats. But Gemma had to stand there in the freezing, windy weather with people making faces at the camera and staring at her, and perform links to the camera like there was no one there! She even got on the bull statue, which if you haven't seen it, it's huge and climbing is generally banned due to many drunken injuries previously caused!

The team were exceptionally nice and had so many things to contend with, and I was chatting with the MAC makeup artist Naomi when girls were asking for Gemma's autograph. Thankfully she had a huge knitted, vintage coat to throw on as soon as the filming of each take stopped and she was lovely to all the teenage girls crowded around. Naomi gave them loads of makeup artist advise too, she was seriously cool and kindly sent me the face charts for the looks she did on Gemma. I should have asked what she was wearing as predictably she had amazing makeup, and a really cool top or jacket with a black lace hood.

For the Birmingham show (and any MAC obsessives out there), she used Smolder, Quarry and Contrast shadows on the eyes, Coygirl on the cheeks, Faux lipstick and a Smile dazzleglass. I heard they were filming since 8am and I only saw the lipstick being touched up once after a cheesy Wotsits break!

For the Bristol show she used Coral Crepe paint pot, Rule and Embark shadows, Dainty blush, and Vegas Volt on the lips.

I got to watch the filming for a while and meet the two girls who were doing the 'Frock Off'. They were given the theme Americana and £100, and had to beg, borrow and steal an outfit to catwalk at the end of the show. It was my job to judge the winner, eeek! I am the least competitive person ever and get more joy out of the other person winning than thinking they would feel defeated and sad if I won something, so ideally I would not have done this job! But both girls were lovely and got to keep the outfits, but it was still really hard to pick. I'm not sure how they'll edit the show but both had picked up some great stuff and had a different take on the trend.

In the other shows they don't feature the bloggers too much (yay!) but I had to casually walk past the Bullring a few times and stage a little blogging on one of the stone seats, not that I ever blog outside my house! I had a chat with Gemma to give my opinion on the trend, and while trying to speak normally and look subtly happy and cool, all you can think is 'actnaturalactnaturalactnaturalactnatural', and so I most likely looked a bit freaky deeky. We did it in one take too, so I guess they're stuck with my ramblings; oh well, all in the name of fun! The judging was done in loads of takes and both girls were so great, I felt really bad deciding the winner! But I'm sure the show will be great as the team were amazing and worked so hard ALL day long. I wore an ASOS maxi dress and my lace H&M jacket with wedges, and of course a hair bow! You can get more news on the Facebook fan page and check out the teaser video before. To international readers, I'll try to get the clips online somehow! Don't scroll down as the picture below reveals the winner, save the suspense until tomorrow!



hello yellow

Hi lovelies! It's been very interesting to read all the comments from yesterday's post, thanks for contributing! I've been officially out of studying and work for three weeks but somehow have a million things to talk and post about! So I'm rolling them out and will time some for the weekend as there's been a stroke of luck and I'm going to Paris tomorrow. With all the flight mess and the cloud of doom, I've spent the week just waiting to see if it would go ahead (and nearly rebooked!) so have absolutely no plans! I'm visiting a fabulous friend doing study abroad too but she has a job in Paris, so cool! I am bringing fake lash supplies. I'll write some posts in the morning though and time them to go out in the next few days; I just got back from the Arcadia press day in London and might explode with gossip and lustings. I was there at the right time too because I overheard whispers of 'Philip is here' among the collection designers and press officers and sure enough Philip Green was swanning around having his first look at his retailers, wow!

But first I want to talk about yesterday when I went on a shopping trip with Winnie of Diamond Canopy! We're both from Birmingham (calling yourself a 'Brummy' is a bit cringey!) and have met twice before so it was looovely to browse around together and have a gossip over Starbucks. Winnie is marvelous.

It was Winnie's idea to go to Cow, the major vintage shop in Birmingham that's five minutes from the Bullring in a huge warehouse. Everyone knew it as the yellow vintage shop for years and I mentioned it a few posts down, where I got my red dress that I made into the comic strip dress. We both didn't know what to expect as over the years they went from having straight rails up and down the store to introducing customised vintage and different sections. Sometimes it's a bit hit and miss as really who wants an 80's puffy sequin dress? 

But we were so impressed! Before if I recommended Birmingham, I wouldn't have been so confident to overly promote the shop as most towns have vintage stores, but it's really amazing now! They must have got very strict about the things they do put out onto the shop floor as almost everything was clean, wearable, and special. There were no filler polyester dresses or tatty t-shirts or naff smelling floor length frocks.

 

I liked this school girl dress but it was over £20; one of the higher prices. Most things were so reasonable as almost everything was under the £20 mark and you could really justify the mark ups. I also hovered over the strapless velvet dress as it was so something I would have bought maybe three years ago when I wore little prom dresses to clubs. It was in great condition too. A lot of the items had the label 'Salad' in them which seems really random but we thought maybe it was a company that spruced up dead stock?

 

I was pondering tie-dye too for no apparent reason, and really liked this slouchy, chunky playsuit. It reminded me of the really 80's inspired Topshop Unique collection a few seasons ago.

I loved this 70's maxi dress with angel sleeves but on further inspection the under arms were purposely missing! For ventilation maybe?

 

Hahaha we spotted a rail of 80's hammer pants, but even these were amazing patterns that would be hard to come across! Winnie checked out the pair covered in different kinds of peppers and I fondled the Saved By The Bell-esque neon pair!

 

Haha, safe to say we didn't purchase them!

 

I'm not sure these skirts were vintage but I would love a patchwork or rainbow dress for summer! I've looked for the perfect vintage rainbow dress for years.

 

They also have a large men's section that's at least 3/4 the size of the women's section.

 

Winnie and I were very pleased to find a huuuge sale rail, all things £3 or 4 for £10! And these things must have just been in stock for a while as they weren't just the broken or stained items. I liked a pair of yellow high waisted shorts.

 

I don't think it's very common to have such a huge rail of playsuits! And they were all so wearable and cute.

 

I tried on this lace dress but underestimated how large the sleeves were! In the end I got a maxi skirt that has a polka dot tulle overlay- my kind of maxi! Later we browsed around Topshop and H&M and when Winnie went for a hair cut I did some damage to my card in Selfridges, and then did some more when we met up again after! I'll do a haul video tomorrow. So if you're ever passing through Birmingham, the shop is right by the new coach station and is certainly worth a visit; you wouldn't be disappointed!


Visiting Birmingham

Alot of people message me about things to do/see in Birmingham, and while I am no tourist ambassador, I do know a few things about this city. So if you're planning a trip, or coming for uni, hopefully this guide will have some handy hints. If I've forgotten anything, or people want to add stuff, go right ahead. And be aware that these places are my taste, and in my opinion fabulous, so don't hunt me down if they're not to your liking!! I'll give vague directions to place where you can ask people and they an point them out...

(and by dress up I don't mean fancy dress!)

Clubs
Snobs: aka snobbles, snobbys. Go straight down new street to the opposite end to the bullring.
The best club ever in the history of everything, end of. Go on wednesday for student night, or saturdays. I don't really want to go into how I got banned, due the major depression that will follow, but hopefully on my birthday they'll let me back in! (they'd better- grabs carving knife) It the size of a shoe box and underground, so it's dark and dirty, and we swear they put something in the vodka as everyone is in a haze of sweaty dancing. It is also the easiest place to pull in the whole world. Mainly because it's so crazy cramped as everyone is out their tree. There's a main indie room, and a smaller 60's, soul room. If you like gigs and mosh pits, this is the place for you. Mainly studenty, but alot of non students and post students go, so people older than 25 are normal.
Tips: expect to get very, very hot- some people dress up, alot don't; use lots of hairspray to avoid frizz, drinks are dirt cheap and the bar isn't too busy, expect to be pushed and shoved while dancing, chavs not welcome, go to top nosh for chips after, say hi to john the bouncer.

Panic: (not at the disco), @ the sanctuary, 5 mins down digbeth high street, behind the bullring
7 room, 5 floors, usually quite full, every fortnight on saturday, very studenty, loads of different room: indie, electro, mod, live band, chill out room, etc, less dirty indie club, more classy, people dress up and wear lots of vintage, your puffball dress will be fab, sometimes really good, sometimes bad.
Tips: be careful on the stairs, don't get into any cars outside that offer to give you a lift home by acting like taxis, get the night bus, the vs things are cheap, it's hard to get drunk there for some reason and it's hell to get to the bar

Ressurection: aka res, ressa, @ subway city, go to snowhill station, walk down the left and go under the subway, friday every fortnight
3 rooms, indie, mod, electro, not too big, not too small, has a cafe upstairs with tiptops (popsicles to you americans) some dress up, some don't, but make some effort, cheap bar, lots of drunk people, main room dance floor always seems more like a corridor/hallway to me
Tips: go to the main room balcony toilets, the stairs are steep- beware of short skirts, bar is easy to get to, dance on stage, quite studenty but not everyone is.
Also see: Anarchy, their sister night, every other friday, with rock, metal, emo, etc, one for the scene kids.

Ramshackle: aka rams, @ carling academy, go to bullring, walk down the road to your right with waterstones and keep going past boots to toys'r'us, every friday
A huge place, good bar and dancefloor, i went to a teeny disco there when younger so can't shake that image off
Also see: Subculture, saturday, their sister rock/metal/emo/alt night, good for cheesy rock stuff like limp bizkit (hahaha) nice change from the indie scene
Tips: they hold good themed nights such as beach party and casino night, there are sub girls that dance on stage in skimpy black stuff- my cousins girlfriend is one and she is fabulous and does optometry at aston uni- they're not slags!

Club NME, medicine bar@ custard factory, digbeth high street behind bullring, walk down for 10 mins, every thursday
Tips: AVOID AVOID!! It's deserted

Jump Around, @ barfly, go to the sanctuary (see Panic) and walk down the little road on the right of digbeth high street, every tuesday,
90's night, never packed but a good crowd, vodka slushy machine, spice girls, 90p with flyer!

DV8, near arcadian, to the right of the back of the bullring, thursday is student night
gay club, but most go for the £8 entrance and free bar (not that you can ever get to it!!) fabulous and fruity with cheese, chart and dance, friendly people, beware of bitchy gay guys, they id heavily

Chavtastic clubs: head to broad street for 497376 clubs, flares is good, aussie bar (walkabout) is fab, but if you like your dance and cheap stretchy diamante tops go to the works, barracuda, oceana, etc
More sophis clubs: try bushwhackers, moneypenny nights, nightingale for funky house/electro without the chavs.

Bars/pubs
aussie bar@ broad street (see above), the trockadero has hot guys, try briar rose for non smoking, the square peg is a bit dodgy, the sunflower lounge (behind bullring & new street station) is for super cool indie/mod types and had a vodka slushy machine! Mosely and digbeth have nice pubs, but i am no pub expert!

Shops (now I'm an expert!)

The Bullring, ask anyone for directions. 2 huge glass buildings, very clean, every shop you could ever need, large topshop, h&m, zara, mango, and the main attraction is selfridges, which is fab to just wonder round and admire. The toilets are really clean (i had to say it!) and go on a week day to avoid crowds. Everyone meets at the bull statue, so go on a saturday and marvel at how many emos are in existence. there are 3 floors in each building, the bottom ones join with restaurants in the middle, look out for princess lou in Claire's accessories.

Primark, step out the bullring and go down the left street for 2 mins. Very big, MOBBED on a saturday, go really early on weekdays, don't think sunday will be any different to a saturday, lots of crappy knitwear, lots of shoes, big looking queues but they go down fast, if you see an 8-10 after 11am you have witnessed a miracle.

Big yellow vintage shop, see here

The vintage flea market, every saturday, step out of big yellow vintage shop, go left for 5 mins to the custard factory, walk in and it's straight ahead, SERIOUSLY pretty, like a candy shop, fab vintage, not too expensive though some stuff is, lots and lots of accessories to choose from and friendly ladies, each have their own little stores, it's never very busy and there is a changing room.

Yo-Yo, a vintage shop at the opposite end of new street to the bullring, down the side road where pizza hut is, near an italian restaurant, a little shop with better boys stuff than girls, average to pricey, american vintage (the best) not pretentious; you're allowed to rummage.

Oasis market, step out the bullring and go right past waterstones, walk until boots and go down the road left opposite mc donalds, it's on your right down a passage with a market, confusing 5 floor goth/emo/alt market, with tattoos/piercing parlours, fetish wear, bead making, hairdressers, bong shops etc, an alternative shopping exp. good for cheap colourful makeup

Avoid: Hypnotic, blue star, select, jane norman unless you want buckles, white crinkly cotton trousers, stretchy printed tops, white leggings

Things to visit

The Mailbox- home of posh shops/bars/restaurants and seriously expensive flats. bbc midlands hq is there, where they film the news and record the radio so you often see presenters eating lunch, it's right next to the canals, and full of rich people, find yourself a rich husband, eat in style

The Custard Factory: super trendy arty place that holds gigs, clubs nights, shops, etc, on a normal day there are art galleries, you should go just to look at the sculptures and designs if you like that sort of thing

The Chinese quarter- yum

Pigeon park, the cathedral, aka emo park. The emo hang out, marvel at the amount of scene kids and panic at the disco tshirts

Brindly place, bars and restaurants on the canals, go through symphony hall to get to it, which holds concerts and shows, leads onto broad street which is less chavtastic in the day

Tricky Dickie's- male strippers!

Look out for religious protesters, buskers, hari krishnas, the floozy in the fountain, 4 h&ms, me!

a few events that spring to mind

Gay Pride- a weekend, once every year with a massive parade throughout the city and weekend long fairs, clubs and fun!

Drop Beats Not Bombs- event at the custard factory, expect alot of drum n bass

Gig/show Venues:

Carling Academy, the perfect venue (apart from the high drinks prices and heavy id) avoid academy 2 for smaller gigs as the stage is on the floor so you don't get a good view, main room can hold 2000 people, with a wide balcony, rumours of a refurbishment

Barfly- good for smaller more unknown bands, cheap drinks, easy to get backstage or climb on stage!

Alex/Hippodrome theatres, many a show, i recommend rocky horror, it always shocks me at how small theatres look on the outside.

Good charity shop high streets

erdington, wylde green, harbourne, kings heath, mosely, bearwood, shirley, one stop (in new oscott i think)

Unis

Birmingham- just out of town, pretty green campus, huge uni, live in sellyoak aka studentville

Aston- right in the middle of town next to the fire station, wide open campus, nice accom. on site, live in erdington for near by accom.

UCE- the met, loads of students all ages, campus spaced out

Phew I'm all typed out! I hope something in there helps visitors. Forget your pretencions about Birmingham, it's a vast city with loads of different corners; there's something for everyone. I'll add more stuff when I think of it!


The secret expedition

I'm back!! We bought a monitor from a charity shop which is HUGE but it does the job, and it turns out I get a laptop prize from the blog award, so a HUGE thank you to ask.com too! I got my grant and uni loan info yesterday and a laptop would have took up a hefty chunk, so it's just at the right time! I'm about to reply to all comments and things, but I had to put up the post I meant to do on the weekend.

Bored stupid by revision, me and Meleesa decided to become face hunter types for the day. But there was the problem of getting random people to let us take a photo. This is where the genius plan came in. We made little laminated id cards for round our neck, and a form to 'sign' and posed as magazine interns. Is that illegal? Maybe! We also felt seriously guilty after telling many people that they could be in a magazine street style article and seeing their happy faces. We tried to snap a variety of people, and asked them a few questions about what they were wearing/inspiration/etc. If any happen to blindly stumble across this blog I'm VERY SORRY that we are blatant fraudsters, and hopefully the flattery of asking to be photographed made up for it?!?!

First we approach some friendly looking guys, as we were a little daunted. Dale and Dan laughed their heads off and Dan said he'd gone for the Scottish fisherman look (whatever that is meant to be?!) We like his jumper.

We got a little more confident and, as there are 58437697971671 million of them, we had to stop a few scene kids. They admitted to 'following what everyone else wears,' mostly following, Joe, the blonde one, who is apparently the scene kid style guru...

We liked this guys shoes, and like everyone, they both said they just 'threw things on that were clean' and shopped at primark. Mmmm hmmmm a likely story...

This girl called Becky had the coolest shoes like EVER. She sited Japanese street style and individuality as her loves, obviously!

Omg Amy and Charlotte were so cute and they were fashion students AND they'd just been to the big yellow vintage shop! I like the way they mixed everything up.

And last but not least, Cherelle just stood out a gazillion miles from everyone else in the street and had a really cool presence as she drifted down the road.

So there you have it. We are very sorry we conned you, lovely people of Birmingham. We felt too guilty to take anymore pics. Also, a seriously slaggy looking girl came up to us and demanded 'Can ya take my picture.' We were like 'eeeeerm.....heh.....no.' and had to scarper quickly!


The melissio show

I am not at the screaming sidelines for the race for celebrity ranges at all. It's just boring and each line is a disappointment. I do not want to dress in the exact same way as any celebrity does. Sure they are inspiring, but signature items of coke whores are not my style. Why pay £60 for that Kate black dress with the cut out neck detail, when you could make one yourself, or pay someone to do it for you for even cheaper.

A Row $100 white tank seems to glitter more than an average Primark £2 wife beater, but then you slap yourself and think that, while you may walk down the street feeling the satisfaction of snagging that sought after item when people are crazy ebaying over it, your average passer-by just sees another girl in another outfit. The only reason to realistically buy an item is if you actually like it, which is unlikely. Today Melissio and I tested the ranges available in the Bullring, which houses the bulk of the collections, to see if there is really any cause for fuss, or if it's just the name tag that's the magic.

Exhibit A: Lily Loves for New Look

Lily Allen isn't my stroke, but she did bring a new scene to celebrity fashion which is cool. There are about 10 rails with a huge cardboard cut out of her in a cute hair tie hovering over the dresses and shoes. We go straight for the floral dress she wore at the opening in London, along with some awful low top sneakers with random shapes, and obviously some gold bling. I think the dress is ok, much like your average vintage laura ashley dress. Melissa thinks it's hot sick. She's tiny with a big bust, so the top doesn't fit very well and the dress is long. The quality is seriously bad as the zips don't work properly and the material and lining is cheap. But Melissa said it was comfy, so i guess Lily Allen's ideas of wearing prom dresses with trainers and ghetto gold on your average day could be achieved.

If you were deluded.

Overall we give it a 3.5/10...
















Exhibit B: Gold by Giles Deacon for New Look

Not a celebrity range, but a designer collab, so we go with it as the whole collection is in the sale range. Giles I feel bad for you, as New Look shoppers obviously did not see your marvellous fall collection.

Well I did and I still don't get it! Huge red polka dots?? Eeeek! We picked up a pale leopard print coat which had no buttons, just a tie at the top, so it hung straight down with no shape or tailoring. Given that Melissa has boobs, it formed a kind of walking greenhouse that's popular among the pregnant. We recommend to dodgy dirty-bookstore shoppers. We didn't even waste time rating it. 0/10

Exhibit C: Kate Moss for Topshop

There were still 3 of the little black cut out dress on the rails even today, proving Birmingham shoppers were not overly fussed about Kate. None were Melissa's size so we grabbed the signature red jeans and waistcoat, and a red shimmery halter neck dress.

The jeans were reeeally low cut and very tight, which may be ok for Melissa, but anyone else would be on a slow roast to hot hell. The waistcoat caused her a lethal bout of de-ja-vous recalling the purchase of a practically identical item about 300 years ago. If anyone was into the whole kate waistcoat look surely they would already have one??

The dress was okish, but the material was straight from red light amsterdam and would probably scare the elderly. The shape was good once on, but the neck is teeny and the back is very very low. We give Kate's collection a 6/10 for your average outfit, but everything is attainable from your average clothes shop already.

Exhibit D: M by Madonna for H&M

Still on the shelf. The 'right at the back lingering near the plus size clothes' shelf. Office wear for the frumpy. This trench was nothing out of the ordinary, apart from the awful vinyl/acetate material in shiny cream. Ew...

It was alright, but not impressive. 2/10

In conclusion, there are some cute things. But there are also millions of cute things in the millions of shops across the country. It was possible to make a range that surprised and wowed people, but so far that hasn't happened. Lily's dresses are fun, but only her ironic chav style could pull them off. The public did not understand Giles at all. Kate has some nice pieces, but half we've seen before, and half would be fab if they didn't have kate moss wannabe stapled all over. Madonna has dried up. Now it's up to you to decide.


Big yellow love

You know you're a little too obsessed with clothes, and the like, when you take a 40 minutes journey each way from college to town and back again in your lunch break, for just an hour of browsing. I did have to return something though, so there was a purpose.

I've spoken before about the new-ish huge vintage warehouse about 5 minutes from the Bullring (huge shopping centre). The fashion obsession may be a proved psycho problem as I practically ran to the shop on it's first day open just to get the best pick of hundreds of items. It's a massive place, holding looooads of every kind of vintage item from 80's diamond bejewelled jackets to sequin bubble dresses to lacoste cardigans to levi jeans.

Your average vintage shop is tiny and eclectic, holding overpriced floral polyester day dresses and neck scarfs, complete with a snooty assistant who will watch you as you browse and touch their pretty things, with an 'I art more vintage than thou' expression. Yes, it's not all shops, but it's usually true. The overpriced point is always true. In the yellow shop the front wall is glass, and the ceiling is so tall that you can get lost in the rails and hunt without disturbance. There are rails and rails and rails of stuff; there must be about 500 pairs of shoes! Everything in in colour order, and it's about £10-20 a dress, and under £5 for bags. You wouldn't leave empty handed- it's totally well worth a £4 national express coach trip (pay child fare- they never check!!)

I bought a 60's smock dress/top, which I was hesitant about because it's the kind of thing the high street are ripping off. I'll photograph it tomorrow. Here are a few snaps of the shop, which really don't do the size justice. Just compare it to the average indie boutique.

Also, Melissa looked super cute today!


Number time

I wore my number dress to an indie/electro club last night, which is huge with 7 rooms. Everyone makes an effort and dresses up, rather than just wearing jeans. I bought the material because it brought out the 5 year old in me, and wasn't actually planning to ever wear it, but my friend wore a rainbow glitter dress and we thought what the hey, lets dress up for the night. Loads of people said they liked our stuff and we danced all night. Unfortunately my whole history of ex boyfriends/friends seemed to be there. It was just one after another all night. I've given up caring about what people think now. What's the point? If I want to look like a reception class poster I can!

Also there are bright makeup features in just about every magazine right now. I'd wear a flick of neon eyeliner, but I'm not brave enough to wear orange or magenta lipstick yet!

Image from The Observer magazine