Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The sun coming up easy


TK Maxx has this funny way of making me fall in love with items instantly. Perhaps it's the sheer scale of choice in the shop, but I feel I know when an item is right for me from the moment I see it in on the hanger. It might just be because I treat the shop almost like I'm thrifting. I simply do not have the time to consider whether I could find something better elsewhere, because in TK Maxx, when it's gone, it's really gone. It's recently also become a safe haven for finding new brands. This dress is from Band of Gypsies. The brand is typically sold as part of concessions at Asos, TOPSHOP, Nordstorm and Urban Outfitters. This particular dress is still available through Urban Outfitters here

It was the print which first I fell in love with. I just love traditional Paisley print, especially when it's in such organic colours (they seem to try and turn everything bright pink these days!) I soon fell in love with the detailing. The detail of the mustard on the bodice is absolutely precious. I'm also always a fan of a sweethearts neckline- the most flattering neckline if you ask me. I also find the flare detail of the skirt a lot more flattering than the plethora of skater skirts in stores these days. It's only slight, but it's the little things which count.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

A seven nation army couldn't hold me back


Believe it or not, this is my 'comfortable plane wear'. I'll be the first to admit that this is the first time I've been this creative; my trusty TOPSHOP MOTO Baxter jeans have served me well on many an occasion. However, years of observing stylish women boarding planes meant I just had to up my game. No slouchy jumpers or cosy leggings for me, I was going to be the best dressed passenger on my Ryanair flight (cue 'that's not terribly difficult' jokes here'). 

Being on the visually impaired scale myself I find staring at this print at a distance in the mirror feels like an optical illusion, I feel myself going a little cross eyed. I am still fervently in love with the print regardless. They are incredibly comfortable too; they're clearly elastine based because they stretch so well. I can sit cross legged in these, and that is a number one priority on a three hour flight.

The trousers are so slim legged that pairing it with an ordinary cotton tank top (or tops of that variety) meant I felt like I was in a full body suit. I felt like a jazzy cat woman. When I found this swing vest my problems were solved. It's not just a perfect partner for these trousers but a gorgeous piece in itself. It's a perfect alternative to many of the camis on the market if you have a more 'full' figure up top. The deep v shape will compliment your assets as opposed to allowing them to make you look like a qualified mama whale. The deeper v detail on the back is also a bonus, because there's always something wonderful about a low back.

I'll have to admit that after two hours on the flight my feet got a bit chilly and I did have to resort to wrapping my cardigan around my feet, but apart from that my flight attire had never looked so good. That was until I was queuing behind a family at passport control. Their daughter's Disney princess rucksack seemed just that bit more fabulous than my carry on. I had been outdone by a toddler, and she looked at me like she knew it too.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

July in theatre: My Night with Reg (Donmar Warehouse)

I understand that this might seem a little out of place, but I like to write reviews about theatre and since the end of my schooling life, I no longer have the pleasure of punishing my fellow sixth formers by submitting reviews to the paper. I promise they won't flood your dash, so if it doesn't interest you, don't worry. However, if you do, read away. Writing reviews helps me consildate my thoughts on productions, so if you're also interested in theatre, I'd be more than welcome to have a natter with you about it too, on the occasional post, away from dresses and shoes and things.

20 years since the debut of My Night with Reg at the Royal Court, and its following win the next at the Olivier Awards for Best Comedy in 1995, have led many debating how well its revival at the Donmar Warehouse this year would be received. Much of its initial success in 1994 is credited to Kevin Elyot's honesty regarding the promiscuity of many homosexual relationships, at a time when the Aids crisis of the 1980s was still very much in the public consciousness. What resonates in this production is that the success of this play actually relies on the fact that it is not just 'a play about Aids', and more importantly to its playwright, Elyot, it is not just a play about homosexuality. 

Elyot personally resented My Night with Reg being hailed as a landmark gay drama, insisting that there was nothing inherently 'homosexual' about the play, besides it only featuring gay men. This is fiercely contested because the nature in which many of the men behave with one another does seem to  to be unique to homosexual relationships, but this is not to its detriment. Elyot's honesty is in part what makes the play so successful and enjoyable.

The poignancy of this tragi-comedy is that its tragedy relates to entirely human issues which are not dependent on gender or sexuality. It's exploration of unrequited love, the passage of time and the impact of deceit means summarising it as 'a gay play' is extremely reductive. It performs with a perfect combination of humour, which may be aided by cheekily sly references to many of the character's homosexual promiscuity, but also with a poignancy which relates to homosexual and heterosexual relationships alike. Aids is never mentioned directly, but as an implicit force it has all the more destructive and poignant an effect as the characters' lives seem to be in the throttle of the unknown.

My Night with Reg begins at Guy's flat warming and journeys towards its end with two time lapses whilst showing how the relationships of the group which first gathers at Guy's flat develops. Reg is almost no more than a trope, rather a Godot character, insofar as he is only ever mentioned and never seen, yet his actions have effects which reverberate throughout the course of all events which follow throughout the play.

Matthew Broadbent plays the genial, reliable Guy effortlessly to the effect of both comedy and sympathy, where his greatest achievement and hinderance is his affable nature. His two university friends, John and Daniel, are played by Julian Ovenden and Geoffrey Streatfield respectively. John is charasmatic and charming, whilst Daniel is vivacious and outrageously funny. The dynamic between Guy, John and Daniel is one which frames many of the events. Interestingly, both Guy and John begin as would be stock gay characters. Guy is generally unlucky in love and in love with John. John is a charming lothario whose regular visits to Guy's mirror would make it seem he is only in love with himself. Elyot transforms these characters so they are so much more that their stock character counterparts to be found in modern day romantic comedies. Whereas one continues sympathy for Guy throughout, John becomes an unexpectedly tragic character, whose constant primping seems to mask insecurities of self. The same is to be said of Daniel, who begins fantastically flamboyant and develops into a much sadder character. 

The performances throughout the rest of the cast are also stellar. Richard Cant and Matt Bardock play the mismatched Bernie and Benny. Cant's physicality and delivery is perfect for the meek, and admittedly dull Bernie, complimented perfectly by Bardock's superb comedic timing and bluntness throughout. Lewis Reeves as Eric seems like the endearing voice of youth, whose words are a refreshing combination of naiveity as well as  unashamed frankness.

Elyot passed away only some weeks before the rehearsals of this production of My Night with Reg, and it gives the production an added sadness that he was unable to witness how well audiences received it, yet again. The magnificence of Elyot's writing is in the fact it is not limited to its social milleu; My Night with Reg becomes an unconventional, bittersweet ode about, among other things, the longing for love.

Until 27 September. Tickets still available through the Box Office and the Barclays Front Row scheme.