KENDAL CALLING :: PUT YOUR FEET TO THE TEST WITH NEW BALANCE

KENDAL CALLING :: PUT YOUR FEET TO THE TEST WITH NEW BALANCE

Now that festival season is upon us and Glastonbury soon to be a distant memory, it won’t be long until Kendal Calling rears its beautiful head in the stunning surroundings of Lowther Deer Park. As you know, I attended the festival last year with friends as another challenge to tick off our bucket list (you can read about it here and here). We watched as over 800 people smashed the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Superman. Following on from last year’s challenge, this year Kendal Calling are asking you to put your feet to the test with New Balance. 
The brand is putting its stamp on festival season by partnering up with Kendal Calling’s world record attempt for the biggest moonwalk, a task that will take place during the festival weekend, 1-3rd August 2014. Together, Kendal Calling and New Balance will take on the new theme of ‘outer space’  and will attempt to break the world record for the most people doing the moonwalk in the same place at the same time. 
 
In need of moonwalk inspiration? You can see some sleek moves here. The video shows off some ‘bad’ moves and classic New Balance styles including the 574, 420 and 430 which are all available from Schuh, Foot Asylum and ASOS.
 
Heading to the festival but can’t decide on which pair to invest in? The team over at New Balance kindly sent me a pair of 410s to road test. 
 
 
 
 
 
*This post contains a gifted item*

The ‘410 Carnival Pack’ pays homage to the most colourful party in the world, the Rio Carnival. Colour clashing is always a friend of any summer wardrobe and these brightly coloured 410s certainly do not disappoint. Sleeker than their relatives, they are the perfect pop of colour to pop on with a pair of boyfriend jeans or high-waisted mom shorts. They’re also light enough to pack in my rucksack for my summer travels and sturdy enough to support my ankles as we tour city after city.
 
You can find the carnival editions on New Balance’s website retailing at £60. You can also find New Balance at Schuh, Foot Asylum and ASOS. Through these key retailers, New Balance will be offering customers the chance to win tickets to Kendal Calling and attend a secret gig at the festival. You can keep up to date with all the action by following New Balance on Twitter by using the hashtag #seeyouinthefields.
 
Are you heading to Kendal Calling this year? 
Will you be taking on the New Balance challenge?
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN ST HELENS

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN ST HELENS

I’m joining you today with a large cup of Twinings Assam tea, a large Milkybar and series 2 of Ugly Betty. Bliss. Thanks to the wonderful world of blogging, three wonderful ladies have introduced me to quality tea. As a coffee lover, it’s a revelation, a revelation that’s keeping me snug and content as my blogging sessions are getting later each night. You see, it’s that time of the year. Assessments, reports and an ever expanding diary of end of term events mean that, like any other teacher, every moment of downtime is precious. So, thank you ladies for making life a little sweeter. 

Whilst I could wax lyrical about tea, I’m actually here to share with you a fabulous pair of sunglasses I was sent to review from Firmoo (and a pretty sweet Topshop sale purchase too!) As it’s always sunny in St Helens (on some days) I jumped at the chance to review a pair of glasses, what blogger wouldn’t? I don’t require prescription glasses, so I chose a pair of sunglasses. I chose these glasses after much deliberation. Buying sunglasses without trying them on can be a real gamble, so I was thankful that I could upload a head shot and gain some idea of how they’d look. Once ordered, they arrived in two weeks, complete with a sturdy map patterned case. 

As I already own sunglasses with black and brown lenses, I chose to be adventurous with a purple tint and I’m so glad I did. With a penchant for monochrome mixed with bright colours, they add another dimension of colour to any outfit. Whether it’s a tea dress or a tee shirt, they’re the perfect accessory for summer and a style that won’t date. You see, I’ve been trying to buy wisely. Especially when it comes to clothes. I’m avoiding my old loves: polka dots, stripes or chevrons and trying to buy clothes that will last more than one season. So, when I spied this dress on the Topshop sale rail for a mere £15 (reduced from £45) I knew that it would be an investment that would carry me through autumn too. 
Outfit Details
// Acetate sunglasses :: c/o Firmoo //
// Tea dress :: Topshop //
// Satin heels :: Carvela //
// Pink clutch :: H&M //
// Bracelet :: Olivia Rubin for Dorothy Perkins //
// Turquoise necklace :: H&M //
What have you been buying in the sales? 
Have you found any bargains?
OFF-DUTY WEAR

OFF-DUTY WEAR

A short while ago, Rachel asked, ‘What’s your off-duty style?’ whilst showing us hers, a perfect Breton teamed with leopard print pumps. It’s funny when you consider how many different dimensions of style we have. Our style has to match our lives; work, play or leisure. It’s only natural that when we share pictures publicly, whether it be on a blog or Instagram, we subconsciously edit and select pictures showing us at our best. So, I’m glad Rachel shared her off duty style because it made me consider mine. I found myself agreeing, my wardrobe is stacked to the brim with stripes, but despite this my off duty look will always centre on a dress. 

Why? Well, I’m short and curvy. Jeans without heels aren’t my friend, but dresses suit my shape. With tights, or without, they’re the perfect all year round friend. This dress was a Primark sale buy I snapped up in Blackburn after Style Wars. At £7, I couldn’t resist its Celia Birtwell style print and practical style. I think it looks so much more than £7, don’t you?

Today, John and I visited Inglenook Farm, a lavender and chamomile farm, with aromatherapy shops and a farmhouse cafe, not to mention Whitey the donkey, Lucky the sheep and a whole rabble of goats. Situated on the way to my mum’s house, and only a short drive from mine, we decided to pop in on the way for a delicious home cooked full English breakfast in the sunshine. It was such a treat after a busy weekend. Yesterday, my parents came down and helped me revamp my front and back garden. Needless to say, my garden is transformed and a rest was very much needed. 

Outfit Details
// Dress :: Primark //
// Leather bag :: Topshop //
// Clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm //
// Sunglasses :: Ray Ban //
 

I think we can agree, the goats definitely stole my thunder. But, what I haven’t mentioned is my new sunglasses. I’m absolutely smitten with them. I’d been hankering after a pair of Ray Bans for some time now, and voila, just like that, John had decided to gift me with a pair. It was so totally unexpected and such a thoughtful idea. I know that I’ll be wearing them for years to come. 

What’s your off-duty style?

 

DEBBIE OF DUCK AND DUFFEL

DEBBIE OF DUCK AND DUFFEL

It was the dress that stole our Instagram hearts. As shots from Duck & Duffel’s new range began to surface, the ‘Jessica’ dress made us frantically reassess our monthly finances, consider our shoe wardrobe and develop one heck of a school girl crush on this perfect pink ladylike wonder. So today, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the designer and creative mastermind behind the Duck & Duffel label, and of course that dress.
 
Ladies, meet Debbie. Also known as one quarter of #FrockSwapUK and 100% total babe. 
 
We’ve enjoyed seeing you add your quirky sense of style to #FrockSwapUK. But for those who don’t yet know you, can you tell us more about yourself? 
I am a mummy to 3 year old Audrey, wife to graphic designer Rob,  blogger and designer. I have loved making things and drawing ever since I was little so I took the creative route at school and was lucky to gain a place at the London College of Fashion studying womens wear. After  graduating I went on to work in media for a buying agency for 10 years before getting married and starting a family. I’m addicted to crafting, sewing, Instagram, Pinterest, fashion mags, baking, cooking (and eating!) and reading other fashion and creative blogs. The blogging scene has been a great way to promote my business but I’ve also been lucky enough to have met some fab ladies along the way, including Donna!
 
 
I’ve been a fan of your range since we virtually ‘met’. Tell us, how did Duck & Duffel begin? When did you decide to turn a hobby into a business?
I felt a strong urge to start making things again once my daughter was born. My years in media had been great fun and a fantastic career but it was just not creative enough and I wanted a better work/life balance and to be able to be at home with Audrey while earning money doing something I love (the dream right?!) I started my blog to document different crafts/ clothes/ frugal living while I thought about what kind of business I wanted to start. I have always loved dressmaking so it was a no-brainer really!
I struggled to find fabric that fitted with my aesthetic and wanted something completely unique to my brand. I  discovered  a digital printers where you can upload your own designs and decided to give it a go and Duck& Duffel was born! I am inspired by photography, animals and whimsy. This year I am also collaborating with talented illustrator Jenny Jackson and producing her wonderful ‘You’re my lobster’ print.
 ‘You’re My Lobster’ print Carrie dress and silk mix scarf
Advice I would give to anyone thinking of starting their own business? Try and keep your day job or a part time job going at the same time it makes the whole process a lot less scary!! Until you get to the point where it becomes too much to manage…that’s when you know you are ready to ‘quit your day job!’
 
I’m in awe of your creative talent and I know I’m not the only one. Recently, we discovered you’d been nominated for a Mollie Makes #handmadeaward. A huge congratulations! How did that feel? 
One word…Amazing!! To get that validation that I’m doing the right stuff and on the right path was really encouraging and we got some great advice from the panel of judges. Plus I got to meet some awe inspiring designer-makers that day and we all swapped tips and tricks. I feel extremely privileged to have be shortlisted with such talented girls.
I think it’s time to share some more pieces from your new collection. 
We’ve all fallen in love with the Jessica dress, but what’s your favourite dress from your range?
My favourite I probably the ‘Carrie’ dress at the moment, but my camera print dresses are very special to me as that was my first print design.

 

And finally, now that we’ve gotten to know you, how can we keep up to date with all your latest news?
You can follow my blog (duckandduffel.co.uk) where I chat about clothes and crafts and I’m also on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, my handle @duckandduffel. I am also planning on starting a newsletter for those who don’t have the time to keep up with social media (it’s a full time job I tell ya!) So keep your eyes peeled for a link on my blog where you can sign up and receive special discounts and promotions.
 
Thanks Debbie for brightening up the blog with such a stunning new range. So, the question we’ve all been waiting for…how can we get our mitts on your new range?

You can visit my shop here at http://shop.duckandduffel.co.uk. Readers of Polkadot Pink can receive an extra 10% off with the code: POLKADOT.

So, what are you waiting for?
STYLE WARS

STYLE WARS

What would you say if you could go head to head in a style battle for a chance to take home your winning outfit? If you’re like me, the thought of experimenting with new looks on somebody else’s tab is certainly an alluring thought, however, battling it out on stage? Me? I decided being paid to go shopping was too good of an opportunity to miss, even if it did involve a spot of modelling. So, as part of The Mall Blackburn’s second annual Pamper Day, I agreed to be their fashion blogger for Style Wars. 

Billed as blogger versus shopper, I was given £150 of vouchers to find a complete outfit for each of spring/summer’s three key 2014 trends, Pretty in Pastels, Monochrome and Summer. Within that hour, I had to dress for battle and return to the stage. Easy right? With a budget of just £50 for each outfit (and strict instructions not to be late or remove any tags) maybe not. This wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d first thought. 

First of all, I’m not a fashion blogger. I’ll firmly state I’m a personal style blogger. My personal style mixes vintage with thrift and high street, topped of with a whiff of affordability. I’m also a personal style blogger saving for a European adventure who just couldn’t turn down a day of paid work that involved shopping.  

So, where do you think I went first? You guessed it, Primark. 

Pretty in Pastels



Outfit Details
// Pastel blue dress :: Primark £13 // Lilac, pink and lemon bag :: Floozie at Debenhams £20 (£16 on day in sale)// Floral crown :: Primark £2.50 // Nude courts :: Deichmann £7.49 // Belt :: £3 //
total: £42 
  

First of all, the ‘Pretty in Pastels’ challenge scared the hell outta me. I’ve never worn pastels before. If you’re pale-skinned like me, you may have avoided pastels too for fear of them turning you into a ghost. However, I found wearing blue was my way in. Blue suits most complexions and having dark hair certainly helped. I found this pastel blue dress sidled next to a the pink version for a bargain at £13, stumbling across a pastel pink floral crown…I knew my outfit had started to take shape. What you can’t see in this picture is a pair of nude heels I found in Deichmann for the grand total of £7.49. Bargain!

Monochrome

Outfit Details
// Monochrome dress :: H&M £29.99 // Clutch bag :: Primark £6 // Necklace :: H&M £6.99 // Nude courts :: £7.49 //
 total: £50.49 (oops)

Oh monochrome, my beloved monochrome. How I love a good monochrome and colour pop ensemble. This outfit took me a total of 15 minutes to find and purchase. First of all, I made the somewhat pricey (for a £50 budget) purchase of this H&M dress. It’s a great take on the ‘little black dress’ and is cut so so well to create a flattering shape. I absolutely adore this Primark clutch bag, as soon as I laid eyes on its polka dot and orange combination I knew it would be coming with me.  Mixing colours that you wouldn’t expect has become my favourite way to wear monochrome. When I spied this electric blue necklace, I knew it was the perfect colour clash with the bright orange. I guess I cheated with the shoes, with £7 left I knew I’d find no better.

Summer

Outfit Details
// Monochrome dress :: H&M £14.99 // Yellow vest :: H&M £3.99 // Beach bag :: Primark £8 // Necklace :: Primark £4 // Flats :: Primark £6 // Hat :: Claire’s Accessories £10 // 
 total: £47

When it came to the final challenge, I wanted to find a summer look featuring versatile pieces. This tropical midi dress from H&M is just perfect for £14.99. I layered it with a pop of yellow for a casual look, but you could easily transform it for an evening look. Value for money right there. This wasn’t my favourite outfit, I’ll admit. I think it worked better in my head. However, I certainly felt like summer in it!
 
The Verdict
 
So, how did I do? What do you think? Well, I didn’t win any. A small audience, teamed with PR who rightly want the shoppers to take home their outfit meant I lost each round. But hey, I was paid for the day. Would I change any of my outfits if I had the chance to do this again? No. Not one. I can’t discredit any of the other girl’s outfits because they each won fair and square, but I did love my outfits (well, most of them). So much so, I got to take my favourites home after all by being the top bidder in the charity auction.  And, on another bright side, I did get the chance to meet TOWIE star Lydia Bright. I say ‘meet’, I mean stand by her side and smile with her in close proximity as she promoted her pop up boutique, Bella Sorella. 
All in all, not a bad day’s work!
Which was your favourite outfit?