Radio Days: Vintage Lovers Paradise

Over the past few weeks I have been working in Southwark in an office that only has a Pret nearby. Unsatisfied at the prospect of eating sandwiches everyday I decided to explore the local area to delightfully find Waterloo's Lower Marsh. A vibrant and bustling strip near The Old Vic Theatre offering boutique shops and colourful market stalls. It was here that I came across vintage haven 'Radio Days', the window display stopped me in my tracks, a detailed and lifelike 1950's bathroom in marshmallow pink. The charming Co-owner, Lee Williams, was at the door and welcomed me in to the shop in what felt like a pied piper moment...

I was overwhelmed by the amount and variety of stock that a seemingly small store could hold. I literally walked in gasping, looking from floor to wall at all the vintage treats. At the back of the shop was a room absolutely packed with clothing and mannequins, who seemed to be browsing the rails. At the till were glass cabinets with neatly lined up compact mirrors, cuff links, jewellery, trinkets, glasses and sunglasses. Opposite the till were shoes, gorgeous bags, belts and hats on mannequin heads wearing cat eye glasses and glossy lipstick. The front of the shop housed retro household items, brightly coloured telephones, cut glass and crystal champagne saucers, twee tea pots, old music players, vinyl records, photo's of 1950's tasteful pin up 'porn' and a fully set up bar complete with huge bottle of Babycham! Lee explained that the shop had been trading for over 18 years, everything was strictly genuine, ie no replicas, and their stock was mostly brought directly to them by sellers, rather than them having to go out trawling through vintage markets, thus cutting out the middle man and keeping prices sensible. It came across as a genuine family run business who's trade was just specialising in everything retro rather than a business that capitalised on the trend and demand for vintage. You could feel the owners passion and love in the shop, everything having its place, all items equal and shining out. It was so breathtaking and almost emotional that I didn't want to leave.

Make sure you head down to visit the place, I guarantee that one visit will be the first of many. I'm already thinking that I may do all my Christmas shopping there! Who doesn't love vintage?! Radio Days is at 87 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, SE1 7AB. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, also by appointment and late nights if you call in advance.


Lull: Relaxation Bottled

I'm always reserved when it comes to new 'health drinks' which are usually loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners or mystery 'energy boosting' ingredients. Yesterday I was in my favourite lunchtime eatery, POD, and wanted something to supplement my 'Detox Box', not daring to splurge on desert after a weekend of BBQ and boozing, I went for a 'health drink'. My only botanical tipple until now has been Purdey's, which took the crown after Aqua Libra vanished from the earth. Well Purdey's better sleep with one eye open as new health drink, Lull, has landed. Apart from the initial appeal of having a mere 43 calories per bottle, on further inspection I discovered how much goodness could be packed into 250ml. The long list includes lavender, hibiscus, green tea, chamomile and passion flower as well as a cocktail of B vitamins. Branded as a 'relaxation drink' Lull did actually chill me out. I drank it yesterday afternoon before heading from the busy Southbank to Soho. I usually get frustrated and irritable with the sheer volume of people on this walk (quite often barging them out of the way) but this time I was calm, courteous and walked slower than normal AND was in a really good mood. Could this be the effect of Lull or was it because it was a sunny day? Whatever happened it did seem to 'soothe body and mind'. Look out for it in a shop near you


Dr.Hauschka Cleansing Milk

I've been meaning to give Dr.Hauschka a try for some time, not having an excuse (I already have more than enough products) I was forced to buy it when I needed to spend over £5.00 on my card in my local Chemist this weekend (it was the closest thing to hand, honest!) Well, I say enough products, there is always something I'm missing. I could take my make-up off with a facewash but do prefer cleansing milk at night. So, when the opportunity arose that's what I went for. Dr.Hauschka's Cleansing Milk also doubles as a creamy make-up remover, suitable for both rinsing off on a sober school night or wiping off with cotton wool on a wild weekend. Firstly, I love this product for using carefully selected natural ingredients. Second, for using a touch of beauty tech with Biodynamically grown plants and, third, for being an effective product that leaves my skin feeling fresh and really clean. I always do the 'toner' test, with rose water, after any cleanser to see how much make-up is left on my skin and this passes the test. If like me you are really picky about what you put on your body (and rightfully so) you will love this cleanser. Despite its hippy charm it does come with a designer price tag of £22.95. Not the cheapest around but defo worth shelling out for if you are serious about avoiding the chemicals and nasties of cheapo skin care.


Ally Capellino: Fashion Meets Utility

Often find yourself lugging around a heavy laptop in your boyfriends disused rucksack? Well I do and I've had enough. I see many a fellow London woman battling daily with the dilema of trying to remain fashionable whilst carrying between 3kgs to 5kgs of computer equipment. You have one of two choices; refuse to give in, be hardcore in heels and risk damaging your laptop in an impractical yet stylish tote OR don flats (most probably trainers) and carry a sensibly padded and unattractive man bag. The two do not mix. There is a third option, Ally Capellino's 'Jackson' leather rucksack teamed with a swinging wristlet for your oyster card, phone, cards and keys with summery heeled wedges. If you are lucky enough to own a cute 11" MacBook Air you can slip it into the chic 'Jules' shoulder bag, complete with short handles for wearing on the forearm like VB. Either way you will feel no shame or discomfort. These boldly formed bags are made from inky, navy veg tanned leather, lined with suede and finished with signature brass and steel metal work. Classic investment pieces that will only get better with age. Jackson Bag £529.00 and Jules Bag £448.00 from Images from the website.


London Fashion Week for Beginners

Eeek! It's August! Where has the Summer (yeah, right!) gone? Can't believe it's almost time for Fashion Week to roll around again, only a month away peeps! Back in February I represented Fashion Filtered for the first time at London Fashion Week (LFW). In the past I had got tickets to shows with an actress friend of mine, arriving minutes before shows start in chauffeur driven cars, being escorted to front and second row seats, being handed goodie bags, accepting invites to after parties and being papped... Going under my own steam was a totally different experience! I was relegated to standing, hours of queuing and was lucky to get a free coffee in the Press Room. If S/S13 will be your first London Fashion Week here is my advice to see you through what can be an eye opening and exciting experience.

Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Week dates:

New York    06th - 13th September 2012
London        14th - 18th September 2012
Milan            19th - 25th September 2012
Paris             25th September - 3rd October 2012    

Firstly you must register for press or blogger accreditation through the London Fashion Week website. If you are press you will need a commissioning letter from your Editor stating why you need to attend the shows. If you are a blogger you must submit Google Analytics stats proving the number of unique visitors to your website and how frequently you blog etc. You must also provide a UK address, this is where tickets will be sent. Don't expect to hear back straight away, you will only find out if your application is successful a few weeks before Fashion Week. If successful you will receive a unique Badge Reference Number, you'll need this when applying for tickets...

Accreditation alone won't guarantee entry to shows. It does get you in to the Somerset House Fashion Week Exhibition, and depending on whether you are a blogger or press, entry to the press areas where there is free WiFi, free drinks and seating so you can upload stories as they happen. To get tickets you need to speak to the relevant PRs representing the designer that you want to see. If you don't have a Fashion Monitor account (subscriptions are pricy but totally worth it) there is a list of contacts on the LFW website. Part of the point of press and blogger accreditation is to verify who should and shouldn't be at the shows. Seating, and even standing, is greatly limited so Fashion PRs will only give you a ticket if it's deemed that you really need to be there. Its a tough call for them to make and they are swamped with requests every season, don't take it personally if no-one replies to your emails and keep trying. Timing is everything when applying for tickets; apply too early and you'll be forgotten, apply too late and you'll miss out. Applying can feel like a full time job and can take days, its a good idea to create a template email. Remember to change names and designers in template emails as putting the wrong information will make you look disinterested and uncaring and will lessen your chances. Always be personable and friendly yet professional and to the point. Most PRs represent more than one designer, if you are sending requests to a generic show tickets email address at a PR company do your research first and include all the designers you want to see in one email (rather than being annoying and sending 10 emails). Some PR companies will set up an email address for each designers show so you still may have to send separate emails. Always check and double check emails before sending!

If you get past all these steps you are going to London Fashion Week. Before you even think about what to wear you need to consider how to organise your daily diary. Tickets will arrive between a week and a few days before the shows, make sure you RSVP straight away. You'll find that there may be some clashes so make sure you plan which shows you are going to and let PRs know if you can't make any so they can let someone take your place. Most shows take place in the British Fashion Council (BFC) tent in Somerset House or at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout at Freemasons' Hall in Covent Garden. Many of the big designers will have shows at other venues anywhere around London on private premises. They can be really spread out and it could take you up to 45 minutes to get to from one show to another. If you don't have the luxury of your own driver and can't afford taxis you'll need to really plan carefully and map your route on London Transport in advance. Don't risk being late to shows, its much better to skip a few so that you don't get stressed out, it can be really upsetting and tiring! Shows ALWAYS run late, usually around 30 mins late, don't look upon this as your safety net. Despite running late everyone starts queuing 15 to 20 minutes before a show is due to start, you could be waiting for up to an hour for a show to begin. If you have standing tickets and end up at the back of the queue you may not get in, this is really harsh but I have been turned away before, even with a ticket because of overcrowding and last minute tickets being given for seating, bumping everyone down.

Everyday will be a long one and you'll spend hours on your feet so dress stylishly yet sensibly. This is London so there is every chance that there will be a heatwave or it will be pouring with rain, check the weather before you leave the house and dress accordingly. No matter how trendy and fashionable you think you are you will be invisible at LFW amongst the competing outrageous outfits (most worn by people just hanging around Somerset House and not even going to the shows), so you may as well let go and just enjoy yourself. Save the money you'd spend on clothes and invest in an iPad or MacBook Air and a decent camera for reporting live from the action.

On the topic of 'equipment' make sure your phone, camera and laptop or tablet are fully charged, bring the charger with you and a back up battery pack if possible. Your phone will be your best friend at LFW for taking photos, checking emails, browsing the internet whilst waiting around, uploading stories to your website or blog and checking maps. Even if fully charged it will run out of juice before the end of the day. Luckily Vodafone, one of LFW sponsors, offer charging facilities in the Press Room at Somerset House, otherwise get a emergency battery pack from the Apple Store.

Finally, enjoy yourself! It is such an exciting and adrenalin filled experience. Get plenty of rest between shows so that you have the stamina to get through the week! Image from