Friday, 29 November 2013

British Library: Inspired by...vinyl

I am lucky to live and work in one of the most exciting cities in the world (well, I think so anyway): London. You could spend your entire life here and never see everything. Mr FD comes from The North- no, not Milton Keynes, even further than that! Way way way up North. So, even though he's lived down here for a while, he does like to go exploring and we try to do interesting things frequently. 

Last night we went to the British Library for an event that combined both of our interests. Me: Libraries. Him: Design. The British Library really is fab for events- they have such a diverse programme. I've been there for exhibitions, to watch films and to attend talks; if you haven't been I'd really recommend checking out their Events page here

The British Library has around 240,000 records in its audio collection. That's just the vinyl and doesn't include CDs, cassettes or digital files. 


Just to get boring on you for a minute (and please skip if you are of the librarian ilk), the BL is one of six Legal Deposit libraries in the UK (the others being the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, Trinity College, Dublin and the National Library of Wales). What this means is that publishers (individual or otherwise) have a legal obligation to supply them with a copy of any published works including books, manuscripts (including music manuscripts) and maps. However, this doesn't apply to audio- isn't that strange? I suppose the reason for this is because the act originated in 1662, but I'm surprised it hasn't been amended to include audio in that time. Still, the BL do what they can to put agreements in place with record companies and other parties to ensure the collection is as complete as possible. 

The below is a wax cylinder. The sort of thing you'd pop into a phonograph to play. This is the earliest form of a record. 



The next stage, at least in terms of how it looked, is familiar to the record we know today. However, those records could only hold 2 or 3 minutes of music on each side, so if people wanted to hear a lot of songs by the same musician they had to quite literally buy an album's worth- which is why we say album today (love that fact). 

Andy, the Curator of Pop Music (which has to be the coolest job title ever) took us through the way vinyl and design had evolved together over time. In the thirties, sleeves were plain, but by the next decade record companies had wised up to the fact that they could splash their names and logos in BIG PRINT across the front. Fast forward to musicians using record sleeves as a way of showing the customer what they could expect from the inside; and so began the collaboration between musicians and designers which continues today.  We were shown several sleeves with unsigned art on the front by Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol then became very famous and designed the, also famous, Velvet Underground cover below:


For the first run of these sleeves you could peel off the banana as a sticker and there was another one underneath it:


One story I really liked (but didn't get a photo of) was the Blue Monday record sleeve. It was die cut and made to look like a floppy disc, the colours on the edge being a code you could use to crack another code on the album. It was so expensive to make that they soon realised they were making a loss on EVERY record and started issuing a plain sleeve! 

I also really liked some of the bootleg albums. Can you guess which one it is from the below?!


Of course vinyl wasn't always about music. There was a 'teach your parrot to speak Malaysian' record, a 'learn to drive' record (!) and, my favourite, a learn to touch type record below:


It even came with its own pretend type writer! 


What a great night! If fashion, design or media is your thing then you should check out the Inspired By... BL Creative blog here.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Shopping fail....win.

So you know when you pop down the shops for some face wipes and come back with a jacket, a skirt and a new pair of boots? No? Yes. Yes you do.

Look, I needed them. What do you want me to wear? Rags? (This is the sort of thing I said on my return.)

First up, beautiful BEAUTIFUL Evans boots (shown in my last OOTD post). Look at them all studded and fabulous. 



I also tried on these beauties, but the store didn't have them in the size I needed- I'd usually wear an 8, but in a wider fitting shoe I can size down. Needless to say I went straight online to get a pair which, by the way, you should do immediately as Evans currently have a bit of a sale on!


So the second purchase was this jacket, available from Principles




Do Principles still have actual shops? I only ever see them in Debenhams now. I bought this to go over a dress so that I could keep warm and stay looking smart at a wedding the other weekend. However, this is also going to be great for work. I really love the zipped up pockets (and the pockets are REAL) and the quality is good (nothing worse than a shiny suit jacket).

Finally I bought this skirt from Dorothy Perkins. If it's red and it's leopard print then I'm getting it- that's how it goes down. I've seen this on Rachel's blog too and Leah has a very similar one from Asda (I did actually go to buy that one but it was out in my size).


Outfit post with them soon. Actually, I think they'd all go together pretty well for work- bring on Monday! 


Friday, 22 November 2013

OOTD: Lady in Red

Another day at work, another banging dress. I think because I spent the first half of the week looking corpse like I've decided to make up for it now.

I first bought this dress after seeing it on Cass from Plump Parsnip . I saw the photo of her, went straight online and within minutes the transaction was complete. I think it's super scrummy; smart enough for work, but you can also pop leggings and boots on with it, like I have.


Couldn't get the light to stop bouncing off my noggin, so we moved to the garden...



 And here are my lovely Evans ankle boots that go with everything...



Dress: Barbara Hulanicki from Asda
Leggings: H&M
Boots: Evans

Only issue I have with this dress is the front- it is v low so could do with a couple of stitches or a vest top underneath. Oh the woes of being a pear! I also feel like, for me at least, the sizing is on the big size. I'm not sure if I'd ever dare to size down to a 16, but this really does have a lot of stretch to it.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

OOTD: Back to the grind...

It's been a tough few days in the house of Charlie. As I've probably mentioned before, I'm a librarian, but I also have another business on the side (Granny Flat Candles) and I've been preparing to go to market. Anyway, that's another story. Essentially on Sunday I felt terrible and spent the next 24 hours hugging the toilet. Monday and Tuesday I'd stopped projectile vomiting, but still felt absolutely awful. Wednesday I went back to work feeling fairly fragile, unable to look at food (although I forced down some ginger nuts- pity me) and hiding myself away in my office. Today, however, I'M BACK. I'm back and I am ready to WERK. 

And that little spiel has led nicely into this OOTD (forgive the lack of make up, it was incredibly early):





Tights: M&S, XL.
Shoes: M&S brogues.

You'll prob see that I have a bit of VBO in this photo, but I don't care. I could size up, but the problem with being a pear is that then the top half of the dress won't fit so well. Besides, I'd much rather have something cling to my bum than swamp it! 


Monday, 11 November 2013

The LBD

Another weekend, another wedding. Yes, last weekend it was Inverness and this weekend it was Aberdeen! 

Now, I had originally intended to wear this little number. In fact, I had gone as far as to instigate a dodgy train station meeting with George in order to grab the dress from her earlier in the week! I tried it on and I absolutely loved it- in fact, I'll do a little post about it at some point- however, there was a niggling doubt in my mind (mainly the fact that sitting down was a struggle) and so I decided to go with something classic, comfortable and trustworthy- The (not so) Little Black Dress. 

My LBD is a Betty Jackson. I love Betty Jackson so much, especially her affordable collection in Debenhams. Everything she makes is so classic, which means that everything I have ever bought I still have as it just doesn't date! The dress is made out of jersey with some flattering ruching around the waist and a deep neckline. It also has a slip built into the dress to help smooth you out- I don't need to wear enormous knickers with it, which is always a bonus. 

So in the end I went with Betty, glammed it up with some gold jewellery and popped on my Primark wedges (which, by the way, were ridiculously comfortable for £10). I wore the Barry M Classic Matte Nail Paint in Burgundy Crush and ELF Studio Matte Lip Colour in Rich Red.




Now, I've just remembered that I ended up popping on a thick leopard print belt, but it doesn't seem to be in this photo. What happened? Am I going mad?!



Here's a little close up of my necklace. It's an H&M piece; not available on the website, but definitely still in stores. It was £7.99, but looks much more expensive (I think) so GO GO GO while it's still available! 

I should also add that I only reapplied the lipstick once (and that was after dinner) in twelve hours. I'd really really recommend ELF if you haven't tried it- the quality is excellent, it's cruelty free and most of their products are under a fiver. 

I love an LBD- send me yours!


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Get me to the church on time

Last weekend we left the Big Smoke and popped up to Sunny Scotland for a wedding. It was quite a special wedding as Mr FD was the Best Man. While I didn't have a particularly big role to play, I was aware that I needed to look good and so had been fretting about what to wear for some time. Oh the hours I spent in various high streets, perusing the rails for something, anything. Oh the hours I spent online shopping, trying to work out how something would look on me and desperately trying to avoid the 'mother of the bride' look that can so often befall you in the plus size world.

In the end I did what I knew I'd do and went back into my own wardrobe to see what I still had with tags on (too much!)

Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of me of the night and you can only see part of my outfit! Oh well, here goes....



The dress is Geri Halliwell for Next. Now this is OLD, but I did find it in a Choice shop so it's possibly still available somewhere. The dress is a size 18, but my goodness it was tight! I tend to find that with Next to be honest- definitely a sizing up sitch. It's knee length and I wore black opaques with my trusty black heels from Evans. 

 I also wore this jacket from Principles (totally love the zips on the pockets) to smarten it up during the ceremony. 

As you can see Mr FD looks VERY smart in his kilt.

One more thing: I dyed my hair before the wedding using Superdrug Vibrance in Rich Mahogany 4.55. Mahogany? Mahogany?! I look like Morticia! Think I'll be going for a lighter shade next time...