The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Winston Churchill

I no doubt have a lifetime of my father quoting Churchill to thank for this one, but so many of his quotes have stuck with me over the years…

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It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

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This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.

Winston Churchill and Kaiser Wilhelm at Military Review

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

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Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

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Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.

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If you are going through hell, keep going.

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Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

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The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Stephen Fry

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I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance.

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Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.

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Having a great intellect is no path to being happy.

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Life, that can shower you with so much splendour is unremittingly cruel to those who have given up.

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What’s great about them is that anybody can go into them and find a book and borrow it free of charge and read it. They don’t have to steal it from a bookshop. … You know when you’re young, you’re growing up, they’re almost sexually exciting places because books are powerhouses of knowledge, and therefore they’re kind of slightly dark and dangerous. You see books that kind of make you go ‘Oh!’

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I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, not all that Carrie teenage telekinetic wank, but realpower. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform. Yet I was unwanted, rejected and unthought of. My mother, yes, she believed in me, but everybody’s mother believes in them. No one else believed in me.

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“Principally of course—oh how one sees that now—myself. Principally, I did not believe in me. I believed in ghosts more than I believed in me, and take my word for it, I never believed in ghosts, I’m far too spiritual and emotional and passionate to believe in the supernatural.”

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The 3 L's

Inspiration of the Week: Emma Thompson

After last week’s post in regards to Emma Watson’s amazing first speech as a Goodwill ambassador, I decided that this will be a new little tid-bit feature of this blog, because, you know, I’m not all about photography projects and aimless wanderings around London sans camera and stylised OOTDs and runway favourites. I have always been an ‘idol connoisseur’, and from that a ‘quotation connoisseur’; I have numerous little Moleskine cahier journals lying around filled to the brim with quotes from everything from political debates to feature films, literature to theatre to overheard snippets of bus-stop conversation. My ‘idols’ are equally as varied, but all generally follow a leading thread; wisdom, ambition, and quite often a dizzying level of intellect. I think it’s important to have idols to inspire us, to envy enough that it motivates us to not just want what they have, but to go ahead and get it. I also think it’s important not to simply what the materialistic perks, and the inflated bank balance to make it so, but rather, I find myself watching a show or reading an autobiography of my idols, and envying their minds, their wisdom, their knowledge and experiences, enough to seek my own personal growth with an even greater degree of hunger than usual.

So, it felt only natural that once a week I give a little nod to the people who inspire me.

And where to begin… Emma Thompson.

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Isn’t she just amazing? She’s the gem who introduced Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, two equally-valued idols of mine, she’s has been awarded two Oscar’s as both an actress and a screenwriter, not to mention Baftas, Golden Globes, Emmy’s… she is a comedy treasure, a brilliant actress, a talented screenwriter, and author, and yet she still finds the time to support about a dozen charities, including being an ambassador for ActionAid. Not to mention that her husband is so, so gorgeous. And she’s also a really smart cookie. There’s just something about her quirky sense of humour… she’s in equal parts embarrassing mother and hilariously fun aunt. Or that’s how she strikes me, anyway.

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That’s the dream, right? To spread our talent across multiple platforms, to become just as celebrated in each medium that we fancy dipping our toes in, and to help the world with our influence.

A few great Emma Thompson quotes:

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It is remarkable how many misconceptions there are here about life in the developing world, and I think that that knowledge gap has done a lot to contribute to the imbalance quite frankly.

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I think our hearts are very chemical and we change the way we see people according to how we feel about them. That’s what love is, in a way.

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Children are much more understanding of the suddenness and arbitrariness of death than we are. The old fairy tales contain a lot of that, and we’ve stolen from them, just as they stole from Greek myth, which has that same mixture of pre-Christian chaos.

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If you don’t want women to do whatever they need to do, then you must provide them with food, you must provide them with shelter and their basic human rights.

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I’ve realized that in all the great stories, even if there’s a happily-ever-after ending, there’s something sad.

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It’s unfortunate–and I really wish I wouldn’t have to say this–but I really like human beings who have suffered. They’re kinder.

It’s fair to say, I love her.

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The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Emma Watson

Surely you’ve seen it? Everyone’s talking about it – the internet is going crazy over it. Twitter is pinging with supportive tweets and snaps. Celebrities are clamouring over each other to try and associate themselves with it. I’m talking about Emma Watson’s amazing UN Speech, which can be viewed here.

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I’m a big believer in having idols. I think having people to admire and even envy (within reason) is healthy – without losing sight of ourselves, of course – as it inspires us all to embark on a path of self improvement, and so when those who we admire involve themselves in greater causes, such as charities, it inspires those who look up to them to become involved, and to step back and think ‘how can I help? Is there something about my lifestyle that contradicts this amazing cause? Is there something that I can do?’

I’ve heard some people say things such as ‘why is this little actress getting involved with this stuff? What difference can she make – she’s an actress’. Please. As a member of the Harry Potter generation, its fairly obvious to me just how influential Emma Watson is. The series may be over (for now… who knows, after all), but the Harry Potter generation is ongoing, and therefore whatever ‘Hermione Granger’ has to say, this age group sits up and listens.

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It’s so great that she is obviously fully aware of this fact and is therefore using her voice wisely.

So yes, she is someone who I admire, in the mush that is the often-ugly world of Hollywood; a world of twerking, ‘accidental’ wardrobe malfunctions, sex tapes and… Jesus.. the Kardashians I think I’d cry if either of my younger sisters turned around and said that they want to be just like one of the Kardashians or Miley Cyrus when they grow up, to be quite frank.

So this is a little shout out post to someone who actually speaks sense.. simply because I like people who speak sense, but they are such a rare find!

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I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.

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All I can do is follow my instincts, because I’ll never please everyone.

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But it’s a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn.

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I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.

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There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it. Sometimes you’ve got to blast through and have faith.

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I have felt for the last 10 years I have had this battle; I’ve been fighting so hard to have an education. It’s been this uphill struggle. I was Warner Bros’ pain in the butt. I was their scheduling conflict. I was the one who made life difficult.

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I don’t have perfect teeth, I’m not stick thin. I want to be the person who feels great in her body and can say that she loves it and doesn’t want to change anything.

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The saddest thing for a girl to do is to dumb herself down for a guy.

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I feel that young girls are told that they have to be a princess and fragile. It’s bullshit. I identify much more with being a warrior – a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess, definitely.

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Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.

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As much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn.

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Trend of the Season: Ponchos, Capes, and Really, Really Big Coats

While there are many great trends for us all to focus on during the frosty winds and rain of AW14, none have got me quite as excited as the oversized outerwear trend. Be it ponchos, capes, or coats, I swear each winter the size of our outerwear is swelling, and this year, it’s definitely a case of the bigger the better. That doesn’t, however, make puffy marshmallow coats ok. Ever. Even if some brands, such as Wood Wood and Stine Goya try to convince us otherwise. It is on the list of regrettable fashion choices, and so do not give in to it just because it may be a fad trend. Stick to capes. Capes are cool.

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However, as much as I’m sure most of us would love to be able to buy one of Burberry’s already iconic blanket ponchos (especially if we could have a monogrammed one.. please?), sadly, very few of us can afford to splash out the needed £900. Therefore, I have been scouring the internet for the best bargain buys, so that even if, like me, you can’t afford Burberry, you can still feel amazing in a big coat… because nothing feels quite as good during cold winter days as a really, really big coat. Best of all, I’ve stuck to a budget of £100, to show that anyone can look amazing in a statement coat this winter.

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Topshop: Checked Cape. £32.

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River Island: Camel Colour Block Waterfall Jacket. £70.

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River Island: Dark Brown Faux Fur Lined Waterfall Jacket. £85.

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ASOS: Cocoon Coat in Pink. £85.

Also available in camel.

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ASOS: Coat with Faux Fur Collar. £80.

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Beyond Retro: Vintage Wool Coat with Fur Lining. £54.

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ASOS: Cape in Black, Camel or Cream. £25.

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Free People: Sunset Hooded Ruana. £58.

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New Look: Cream Chevron Tassel Hem Blanket Wrap. £24.99.

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New Look: Green Check Faux Fur Coat. £64.99.

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H&M: Coat in a Wool Blend. £79.99.

Remember last year when we were all being told to choose a pastel coloured coat for AW13? Well, apparently that trend hasn’t died entirely, seeping through into H&M’s AW14 collection. While I haven’t been a pink coat fan since a rather disastrous pink puffer jacket fiasco of mine – yes, my earlier advice is based on personal experience – ten years ago, this one is a winner for me, and I think it looks to be worth so much more than £80… probably not the coat to choose if you have a ‘one-coat-for-every-look’ mindset.. pink is rather picky, after all.

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By Zoe: Cape with Fur-Lined Hood. £87.40.

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Very: Savoir Longline Shearling Coat. £89.

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Very: Rochelle Humes Fur Collar Wrap Coat. £99.

This one just manages to scrape into our £100 budget, sparing you a precious pound for your savings. It is a beautiful coat, from Rochelle Humes’ Very Collection, and once again harks back to last winter’s pastel coat trend. Oh, I want it so badly.

Also, while I know, this post has become a bit more of an ode-to-ASOS than I intended, for those of you looking for a great bargain (aka, all of us), you have to see this… ASOS is currently selling a range of beautiful Helene Berman capes for £98, reduced from £170, available in a range of colours. You’re welcome.

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Tips of the Trend:

1. Silhouette should no be abandoned entirely. While this is a trend that revolves around baggy, oversized garments, give a moment to think about your silhouette. You want to find a coat that still nips in slightly at the waist. A fur lapel will help to create a natural hourglass figure. A defined silhouette also prevents the oversized look from becoming frumpy-hobo. It’s simply more flattering.

2. The same rule applies to what you are wearing underneath. For example, when wearing a blanket cape, your outfit will be visible, and so don’t swamp your figure in a shapeless, oversized shift dress, unless you’re deliberately going for the maternity chic look…

3. It’s all about the details. Toy with chunky waist belts over a blanket cardigan, pin a fur lapel to your coat, sew (with tiny tacking stitches) a statement necklace to the plain neckline of your poncho to really give your outerwear the same wow-factor as the rest of your outfit. Just because you’ll be taking it off the second you arrive at your destination, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t look amazing. You never know who you’ll bump into in the street, after all.

4. If you are going to break the silhouette rule, show of your skinny pins with a great pair of heels, and avoid wearing anything that sits below the knee.

5. Have fun. Experiment with colour, patterns, fur… try things even if you’re not sure that it will suit you. That’s the great thing about shopping for outerwear – you don’t have to queue for hours like cattle to be hurried into a stuffy, generally quite dirty dressing room (unless you can afford the champagne-inclusive luxuries of design houses, of course) – every shop includes a scattering of handy mirrors around the shop floor, and so you can just try on every option right there, between the knicker aisle and the wall of hats.

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If Only: Outfit of the Day 29#

Is this a going out outfit? A day wear outfit? I’m not quite sure yet, but I know that I love it, and I would happily wear it day-in, day-out… it just looks so comfy, and yet, throw on a pair of amazing heels, and it’s perfect for a night of dancing wildly… even if replacing slippers with heels does make it a bit of a contradictory statement…

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1. Toga Satin-Trimmed Crepe Jumpsuit. £340. Available here.

2. NastyGal Runs Deep Crop Top. £23.38 £6.98. Available here.

3. River Island Beige Bow Front Leopard Toe Cap Slipper Shoes. £25. Available here.

4. Diesel Likke U S Fur Shoulder Bag. £470. Available here.

5. Wallis Gold Cut Out Cuff. £12.50 £8.75. Available here.

6. Chloé Triple Stone Ring. £250. Available here.

7. ASOS Snake Chain Necklace. £15. Available here.

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New York Fashion Week: Day 2#

Day two of fashion week, and the fabrics are floating, caffeine is flowing, selfies are flying from NY to LA to UK and every un-abbreviatable city in between (yes, I’m aware that ‘in between’ is largely saltwater, but the Little Mermaid probably follows MB Fashion Week’s Instagram account too. I may be here, in my quaint little London apartment, watching the live feed while gorging myself on coffee and far too many biscuits, rather than enjoying/suffering in the hustle of New York’s seasonal moment in the spotlight, but my opinions on what the runway has to offer this season are just as strong as if I were a sunglasses-donning, front-row fashion celebrity. I mean, that’s the whole point, right? Fashion is there as stimulation, be it artistically, inspirationally, controversially…

A few of today’s favourites so far…

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Tess Giberson

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Wes Gordon

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Tanya Taylor

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Jason Wu

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Monique Luhillier

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Nicole Miller

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Nonoo

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Rodebjer

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