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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Interview with Susan Caplan: Vintage Jewellery


Something a little different on the blog today.

Regular readers might know of my long-standing love affair with vintage gold costume jewellery; so I was really exited to get the chance to interview vintage jewellery aficionado, Susan Caplan who is a renowned collector of vintage costume jewellery and sells under her self-titled brand.

I've long lusted after Susan's enviable collections of vintage YSL and Chanel pieces which she sells online at Admittedly, her jewels always seemed way out of my price range, though after spotting her more affordable range in collaboration with ASOS (and picking up a few pieces for myself in the winter sale), Susan Caplan jewellery has moved firmly onto my radar.

I asked the lady herself some questions, below.

TQRF: Susan, you grew up surrounded by style and design; what is it about jewellery, and vintage jewellery in particular, that interests you?
SC: The history draws me to it; there is a mystery behind each piece that I find very alluring. I began my career as an antique dealer and so my journey into vintage jewellery was a natural progression.

TQRF: You travel far and wide to source vintage jewellery; do you have any favourite places that you love to visit?
SC: I love Asia - and the US. I'm drawn to places that have a heartbeat - a great energy.

Above: Susan Caplan vintage Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent jewllery

TQRF: As a curator of vintage jewellery, you must have an impressive collection yourself; do you have any favourite pieces that you’d never be able to part with?
SC: I do have a particular soft spot for a pair of Alexis Kirk statement silver plated drop earrings - I'm always wearing a pair of impressive earrings but I have to say that the Alexis Kirk pair are my favourite.

TQRF: Your jewellery has been worn by some of the world’s most recognised women; who have you particularly enjoyed seeing wearing Susan Caplan pieces?
SC: I've loved seeing Claudia Schiffer wearing our pieces. I think she is timeless, elegant - hers is a career I have enjoyed watching over the years.

TQRF: Do you have any style icons that inspire your own look?
SC: I am constantly inspired by Diane Von Furstenburg and have been a fan since the beginning of her brand. My daughters have grown up with her dresses; they used to dress up in mine (and my mothers'!) DVF dresses when they were little children. I find the prints and cuts are perfect for me.

TQRF: If you could raid any woman from history’s jewellery collection, whose would it be and why?
SC: Coco Chanel - she understood the true value of costume jewellery and created exquisite pieces. 

Above: Some of my favourite Susan Caplan designer pieces available on the website.

TQRF: The majority of pieces which make up your collections are by luxury brands such as Chanel, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent; how did your affordable range of jewellery for online retailer ASOS come about?
SC: I have always said that I hope to have something for everyone in my collections and so I didn't have to think for very long when I came across affordable vintage pieces that had never been worn. I have long enjoyed a relationship with ASOS and I knew instantly that the ASOS shopper was one who would love this range.

TQRF: Do you have any new collaborations or exciting brand plans in the pipeline for 2015?
SC: You'll have to stay tuned to find out!

Above: My pick of more affordable Susan Caplan pieces

Seen anything that's taken your fancy? Susan Caplan has offered my readers an exclusive 15% discount on her site. Simply enter FOX15 at the checkout.

Be quick, the code is only valid until 1st February and many of these true vintage pieces are one of a kind!

Friday, 16 January 2015

London Collections: Men - Private White V.C. A/W'15


Last Friday my work took me down to London for Private White V.C.'s first ever presentation at London Collections: Men- an event launched by the British Fashion Council as a platform to showcase the best of British menswear brands.

Here's what I wore:

Shirt- Warehouse (sale)
Trousers- Oasis (sale)
Heels- Oasis (sale)
Trench coat- Private White V.C. (sample, not yet released)

Stupidly, I forgot to ask anyone at the event to take a photo of my outfit for me so I had to recreate the look the next day (such a blogger thing to do, right?).

As a men's fashion event, I wanted to go for something menswear-inspired and quite androgynous. I actually bought my outfit in the space of about 15 minutes the night before the event, in a rush after work right before the shops shut! It was pretty easy to make the snap decision because everything I got was such a bargain, being in the January sales.

Before Christmas, I was invited to a blogger event hosted by Ladbrokes Bingo and was lucky enough to win £50 in Love2Shop vouchers. After disappointingly discovering that they couldn't be used in Topshop, I headed to Warehouse and Oasis where they are accepted and was chuffed to get the white shirt, trousers and heels for less than the £50!

I was also pretty excited by this amazing trench coat. Sadly it's not mine, but borrowed from work as it's a new sample from one of Private White V.C.'s upcoming womenwear collections. It's such beautiful quality and set the outfit off perfectly.

Here's some photos from the evening:

We had such a great turn out for our debut at LC:M and even some celebrity guests including US hip hop star Wiz Khalifa and UK singer Bipolar Sunshine, above. I also had a great chat to Made in Chelsea's Andy Jordan who popped along. I couldn't resist getting a photo- MIC is my guilty pleasure and he's genuinely my favourite boy in the programme! You can see the selfie he took of us (yeah he did) over on my Instagram.

If you want to read more about the Private White V.C. A/W'15 presentation, I wrote a piece over on La Vida Magazine online.

Were you following any of the LC:M action? It's made me really excited about the upcoming fashion weeks!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Scarborough Part One: Ox Pasture Hall

Hello and happy New Year!

My first post of 2015 is one of my highlights from last year.

I was lucky enough to be invited to country hotel, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough for a wintry break in one of their luxury suites. As I'm from North Yorkshire originally, I know just how beautiful the countryside is in that part of the world. Yorkshire is a huge county (the biggest in the country FYI) and even though I'm from North Yorkshire, I've only actually been to Scarborough once before- it's almost a 3 hour drive away, even from my hometown.

Living in Manchester can get a bit hectic at times so a few hours drive up to the beautiful Yorkshire coast wasn't something that bothered me at all. Me and the boy were really looking forward to our stay for a much needed break.

We planned to arrive around lunchtime on the Saturday and decided to simply enjoy the hotel and its surroundings, getting some photos for my blog post.

It was a lovely crisp winter's day, luckily staying dry for my photos!

Oversized checked blanket scarf- New Look
Longline jacket- Monki
Floral dress- Ragged Priest sample sale
Monochrome backpack- Primark
Vintage Antler suitcase- gift
Boots- Vagabond

The grounds were stunning. You could see for miles, across acres of the Yorkshire moors. The hotel hosts lots of weddings (though there wasn't one taking place during our stay) and it's not hard to see why; the hotel is so tranquil and secluded and there's so much beautiful scenery- the lake around the back would be perfect for wedding photos.

Once we'd had a mooch around the grounds, we went to check out our suite which was equally as beautiful. We were in one of the new luxury suites out in the courtyard. It was huge! We had a lovely bedroom and a separate lounge area with a dining table, sofa and extra TV! Everything was tastefully decorated in keeping with the country feel of the hotel. The bathroom in particular was gorgeous; completely marble tiled with a huge bath, walk-in shower and not one but two hand basins!

My suitcase (above) that I took for our stay was a birthday present from my mum and dad. It's a vintage Antler case in bold red with a beautiful dusky pink satin lining inside. I'm not sure of the date but from a bit of research, it seems to be from somewhere between the 1940s-1960s and is in such great condition for something of that age. I fell in love with it straight away and it's perfect for a 1-2 night stay like this.

Lastly, the food at the hotel was incredible. After our stroll around the grounds when we arrived, we went to 'The Bistro' lounge for their signature Afternoon Tea. The bar area was so cosy and welcoming on a cold day. We sat right by the open fire on one of the comfy sofas, swiftly joined by our huge cake stand of afternoon tea treats! We got some lovely and well-filled finger sandwiches and an almighty selection of homemade cakes- oh, the cake! The cakes were so good, in particular I loved one which was layered and had a pistachio flavoured mousse inside and chocolate on top.

After being completely stuffed by our afternoon tea, we headed back to our suite to relax then get ready for an evening at the hotel's a la carte restaurant, 'The Courtyard'.

The Courtyard Restaurant boasts the accolade of being the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded two rosettes for culinary excellence and is also recommended in the Michelin food guide. We were impressed from the moment we were greeted, being shown to a lounge area to browse the modern British menu and were given a complimentary glass of bubbly while we struggled to decide what to choose.

I opted for the duck parfait starter and Chris went for the chicken roulade, both were delicious but what made the starter particularly good were the little extras. We were brought an appetiser of fresh soup and also a mini basket of freshly-baked artisan breads.

For mains, we both choose the lamb because we both fancied it and thought we might be jealous of whoever got it! The dish included rack of lamb as well as a gorgeous slowly braised cut of lamb, plus potatoes, seasonal vegetables and curly kale, all beautifully presented.

We were pretty full but thought we should make an attempt at dessert. Luckily we had a little break between courses as the fire alarm went off and we were all evacuated outside- though it was cold it was admittedly quite amusing! Chris chose the Yorkshire cheese board and I went for my all time favourite, sticky toffee pudding- it was amazing!

This is what I wore in the evening:

Choker- Topshop
Orb pendant- Vivienne Westwood
Dress- Topshop
Fluffy clutch bag- Topshop
Chunky patent heels- ASOS

Wow, a lot of Topshop in the outfit above! I love this dress; I bought it a few weeks ago and have worn it so much since. I find it difficult to break away from my usual uniform of black at times but I love burgundy for the Autumn/Winter season and the blue pattern on the dress is really cool and quirky too.

I wore this outfit to the restaurant and really enjoyed getting dressed up for the evening.

Have you been on any nice getaways recently?

Friday, 26 December 2014

Huge Festive Beauty Giveaway!


Just a quick one today- I'm all over the place this Christmas, literally. I've already been in North Yorkshire and Manchester, then today I'm off to my boyfriend's dad's in Hereford then down to his mum in Warwick. Phew!

Nevertheless, I'm having an amazing time, feeling really happy and enjoying the break from work. I hope you all had a great Christmas day yesterday too.

Anyway, I meant to do this giveaway a few weeks ago but as always, life got in the way. I thought it would make a nice Christmas present for someone but I guess we'll just have to call it a 'festive' gift as it will arrive in the New Year!

I've put together a huge box full of beauty treats. It's full to the brim with makeup, hair products, bath stuff and more.

It includes some amazing products from brands like Rimmel, Ciate Nails, Lee Stafford and Umberto Gianni.

This prize is perfect for bloggers looking for some new products to try out or just as a lovely treat!

There's lots of ways to enter, just see the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Fragrance Direct Christmas Party


I've been so busy gearing up for Christmas that this post has been a bit delayed. I'm now off work until January and chilling at my mum and dad's so I'm hoping to catch up on my blogging while I've got a little more spare time.

I few weeks ago I was invited to a great event with Fragrance Direct at their festive 'Christmas Blogger Party'. At the time, I wasn't feeling particularly Christmassy but this really put me in the mood.

Fragrance Direct combined their great ranges of fragrance and cosmetics with delicious drinks and food, as well as bowling! The event was held at All Star Lanes in Manchester, a really cool retro-style bowling alley and we had our own private room with its own bar and two bowling lanes.

Longline blazer- Monki
Top- Killstar

Fragrance Direct made every effort to make everything festive. There was fake snow everywhere, a tree and the most amazing Christmas crackers filled with little beauty treats.

It's probably a bit late for Christmas gifts but Fragrance Direct have currently got a huge sale on with big discounts on their already amazing prices.

Having tried out lots of perfumes on the night, my favourite fragrance had to be Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. Can you spot any of your favourites on the table?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Little Black Dress: the Perfect LBD


I was recently invited to the very swanky Manchester House restaurant for an evening of drinks, canapes and dresses with online retailer, Little Black Dress.

I was really excited about the evening as with party season fast approaching, there's so many occasions that warrant a new dress!

Little Black Dress sell an array of branded occasion and party dresses (not just black ones either...) and the evening was to mark the launch of their first, own exclusive range: The LBD Collection.

The range is a capsule selection of timeless black party dress styles, inspired by fashion icons past and present.

I was so thrilled after the event when I was able to choose my favourite.I chose the beautiful 'Diana' dress, inspired by an iconic dress worn by Princess Diana in 1994. I was instantly drawn the dress on the night after seeing it on one of the lovely LBD ladies and one of their models.

I still haven't found a special occasion to wear the dress so had to resort to taking some photos during a lonely night in- such a blogger thing to do!

Orb necklace- Vivienne Westwood (gift)
Black off-the-shoulder dress- Little Black Dress*
Vintage gold chain belt- Blitz Vintage, London
Fluffy black heels- eBay

I can't stress how gorgeous this dress is to wear. The bodice is all boned and the ruching makes it super flattering.

I accessorised it with this uh-mazing vintage gold chain belt I bought in London recently. I'd been looking for a belt like this for ages so was chuffed to find it. Even though I like to wear black a lot (a lot, a lot), I do love my gold accessories and jewellery so I love that the belt puts a little personal spin on the outfit.

I can't recommend the LBD collection enough. The dresses average at around £100 each but based on the dress I chose, they are really beautiful quality- far better than most high street brands. They are all very classic too, meaning you'll get plenty of wear out of the styles.

Have you spotted a favourite?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Manchester Arndale After Dark with TK Maxx


On Thursday last week I took part in a top secret challenge- 'After Dark' with Manchester Arndale. Working with a few bloggers, the shopping centre issued us with one of their participating retailers with the task to choose the perfect party dress!

I was really pleased when it was announced that I'd been allocated TK Maxx. As a bit of a bargain hunter, I seriously love TK Maxx. Previously, I've loved TK Maxx for Christmas presents, shoes, underwear and gym clothes but this would be the first time that I would choose a going out outfit from the store.

Armed with my Arndale gift card (these make amazing Christmas presents as they can be used for any store!) I popped into TK Maxx to choose my dress. I must admit, I didn't find it easy. The stock rotates so quickly at TK that there's different items every time you go in. During the first visit, nothing much took my fancy, but on my second trip I found my perfect dress!

I chose a black (standard) lace dress with a chiffon skirt. I was so surprised when I checked the price after trying it on- it was such great value at just £14.99! A few of the more expensive pieces also caught my eye in store; when I visited they'd had a drop of Stella McCartney dresses!

My dress was looked after until Thursday's event for the big unveiling.

Our dresses were displayed for all of the After Dark guests to look at, before we were given makeovers and changed into our outfits.

After some mingling with some of my favourite blogging girls, sipping prosecco and indulging in gorgeous chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, a panel of judges including the lovely Victoria from In the Frow chose their top 10 party dresses of the evening.

Unfortunately my dress didn't make the top 10 but the dresses that were chosen were seriously beautiful. Here's where you can get involved; vote for your favourite online on the Arndale After Dark page for a chance to win a £100 Arndale giftcard to spend on a party outfit of your own!

Thank you to Manchester Arndale for a fantastic night and also to my retailer, TK Maxx.

Make sure you take a look and let me know your favourite dress from the bunch in the comments below!