Hey Frills ‘n’ Spills readers!  I’m Clara from Clazzerati and I’m very happy to be guest posting for Maria while she’s off on her holibobs, lucky lady!

I’m a huge fan of the 1950s, especially the dresses which were made for ladies with ‘real’ figures, and even kind to the classic pear shape, which I’ve been blessed with .  I made this dress earlier this year – as soon as I saw the print of the fabric in my local sewing shop I knew it would lend itself to a cute 50s style dress.  I’m a sucker for a polka dot, can’t resist them, and seeing as they’re set to be a big trend this autumn I know I’m get quite a lot of wear from this bad boy - pairing it with some thick woolly tights when the cooler days draw in.

I’m a real bargain hunter and making your own clothes is a great way to get affordable, and one-off, clothes – this dress cost me about £8 to make! If you’re interested in making your own clothes too I recommend taking a beginners sewing course – I took one a couple of years ago and it was great. It covered all the basics and we each made a skirt in class – it was so handy having someone on hand to ask all those questions when things go wrong, which they always do!

The breakdown
Dress: handmade by me
Bag: vintage via eBay
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Belt: free with a skirt from New Look
Earrings: via a vintage fair
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Brooch and chain: vintage via my gran

Thanks for having me, Maria!

It's a liquorice life...

Hi, My name is Chloe. I like to talk and hence you can usually find me over at Chloe Likes To Talk. I'm a 22 year old coffee freak, food loving, sweetie muching, matryoshka obsessed, fashion junkie languages graduate with a tendency to over use Spanish terms of endearment. I like to think and dream big, even if I can't always work the little things out and my aspirations change at least weekly. Words to live by: One swallow does not a summer make.

A lot of things in this life provoke extremes. Me, personally I love liquorice, and Marmite, and Diet Coke instead of standard. I’m probably a bit of an extreme person- people either like me or they really don’t, I have to do something properly and in the right order or not at all… and Blogging, it seems is a world of extremes too.

When Maria was looking for a Guest Post for her holiday (not that I’m jealous of her, much!) it struck me just how good blogging can be, as well as a few other things I’d noticed that show a slightly darker side to the minefield that is the internet and social networking and blogging.

Just like everything else, I have really noticed the extremes of the amazingly lovely and wonderful people out there (Maria included) and sheer nastiness of the dreaded Anon Comment. Anonymous comments, more often than not, tend to be really very vicious with criticisms of your appearance, your body shape and appearance in general, of your work both on and offline, your blog content, layout and size, your opinions and beliefs and in some cases even your family, friends and partner. They are often needlessly harsh and far from the constructive criticism most people would happily receive and act upon. Many a person venturing into a space upon the web has been driven away by this hatred and bullying, but in my mind anybody who cannot put their name to their opinions and evident rage against something, has no validity and their comments are null and void.

But what really strikes me with blogging is the flip side. The people who reach out in times of trouble and of celebration. The letters and the meet-ups. The e-mails that come through from someone who really enjoyed reading what you wrote and/or identified with it in a big way. I’ve been on the receiving end of some of the nice bits. There’s a certain lady in the Blogosphere who sends me a text or a BBM when she knows I’m having a rough day and she always cheers me up. There’s another lovely lady who e-mailed me to tell that she felt good having found somebody who shared opinions about life and wanted to tell me how much she’d enjoyed reading. And there’s yet another lady with whom I exchange the notes, cards and sometimes food with on a regular basis.

And it’s not all one way. Blogging has inspired a side of me that many of my “real life” friends and colleagues would probably find quite amusing. In the last year, I’ve reached out to people who are having a tough time, because however trivial the issue might seem, I’d hate for someone to feel alone or unsupported when things are going wrong- however badly, on whatever scale. Whether it be breaking up with the person you thought you’d be spending the rest of your life with or a bad day in the office, having someone say “Hi. I’m here. If you want to chat, you know where to find me.” can make all the difference in the world. And it seems not to matter whether you live 10 miles apart or 100, whether you’re a fashion or a food blogger, whether you’re in Kent or Kazakhstan. One of the real beauties of a virtual world is that you can bring all of these people together. 

And so it is, that I find myself wondering about such a strange community, where the majority of people are really quite pleasant souls and yet there are some who can’t quite bring themselves to either keep it clean or not be seen. It’s a world of extremes, but I don’t think I could leave it if I wanted to.

Big thank you to Maria for providing me with a most opportune platform for this little ramble, hope she’s having a lovely time whilst we’re all slaving away here.

Art of Pattern Mixing

Why hello there! I'm Florrie and I blog over at Intrinsically Florrie. When I'm not blogging or obsessing over florals I'm working on being an artist as a career, painting away to my heart's delight.

Pattern mixing is a tricky and somewhat intimidating art. When it comes to shopping I must admit block colours usually bore me compared to the delights of intriguing patterns that call to me from across the store. I have come to acquire a lot of patterns through the years and the daily challenge is to put them in new and exciting combinations. I love it when it comes to washing time and patterns that have never seen each other before suddenly cross paths and just have to be experimented with.

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If you're stuck in a complete colour blocking rut the first step in pattern mixing could be to add in accessories, for example a scarf or bag. Then, almost as simply, why not add in a snuggly but smart cardigan in a patterned fabric? Whether it's animal, floral, paisley, geometric, abstract, gingham, stripey or spotty print this is a simple way to add pattern into your existing wardrobe over dresses and tops. What's more, the high street shares my love of patterned cardigans at the moment, having crept them into the rails over the last year or two.

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A good way to go about pattern mixing is to put like with like. Look for colours which run throughout your wardrobe. White is an excellent colour that can help pull prints together, as it is often found both as a base for and within patterns. For example within spotted patterns it is really common. Then in florals green is common within the foliage. Cohesive colours throughout the rest of your outfit help too. 

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Then there are the patterns themselves. If, for example, we continue with florals, you could try mixing ditsy prints together, tropicals or romantic roses in shades of pink. They just seem to mesh well this way. Once you get the hang of it try mixing up the pattern size or the colours.

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Actually within garments designers sometimes mix stripes up and you can too in your outfits. Here you can experiment more with width and size, but is it advisable to stick to a colour palette. You can go crazy with vertical and horiztonal ones though. Why not try a nautical mix of red, white and blue? Then why not try mixing up your stripes with a leopard print accessory or some polka dots? Right now I'd love a stripey little top to put with full floral skirts.

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When I buy patterns I look for ones that make me happy, from my beloved florals to a whimsical dove print. Subtle or bold, they have to please your eye. Go for beautifully fitting dresses, tops, and skirts and perhaps the odd slouchy tee. Whatever you feel good in.

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Patterned trousers are tricky territory, even I'll admit it. They take one hell of a lot of confidence to pull off. If you find a pair you adore- hooray! I've seen some gorgeous floral print trousers around, but the sad fact is they just haven't been the right cut for me. In fact I'm not much of a trouser person all round. If you have got the figure for them, lucky you! The usual pattern mixing principles apply but I'd stick to classic cuts or simple tees for the top half of your outfit, or maybe a plain tee with a fantastic brocade jacket.

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My three top things to think about when it comes to pattern mixing: the size of the prints, colour and instinct. Mixing patterns is fun! So have a play and see what works for you. Maybe start off collecting a few things in your favourite colours and work from there, one day you could even end up with a wardrobe as crazy as mine.

The golden plague...

Hello all! I'm Kat from 'To Limbo and Beyond' and I am so, so happy to be guest blogging for the lovely Maria. I have been a fan of 'Frills n Spills' for a long time now and Maria was one of the first bloggers I met 'in real life' so it's a real honour to be here!

For my guest post I wanted to do something I love doing on my own blog- share a new discovery! I find so many fashion/jewellery companies through blogs and twitter and can't resist sharing them with anyone/everyone. My latest discover is an etsy shop called 'The Golden Plague' and my favourite pieces of theirs have to be these cute animal ear rings....

Kitten ears
Bunny ears
Giraffe ears
Teddy ears

How cute are these?! Which one is your favourite? I personally love the giraffe ears- so unique!

(Thank you for having me Maria!)

Dolly Parton sang about 9-5's...

Hi all, I'm Eloise and I wish I had more clothes so I named my blog something similar. This is my first ever guest post so please go easy on me!

I am in a workwear rut. A major workwear rut.
I guess it's because I work with the older generation who never really stray further than black trousers and a "jazzy" top, some have started to branch out to dresses but I know if strolled into work clad in the sort of garmz I long to wear I'd probably be shunned for showing too much leg. Apologies for the word Garmz, I heard it on Kidulthood yesterday and have officially stolen. So it's because of this that my skinny black trousers have become faded, my plain t's stretched, and my unflattering smocks stained - major fashion fail and I need help.

So I ask the question...What actually counts as office wear? I'm told that in my office we can get away with anything other than jeans but they lie! I can already hear the washerwoman like whispers if I dared turn up in a short dress and tights : / I've chosen a gok style mini capsual wardrobe for office wear if I 1- Actually had money to spend, 2 - Had a good set of pins, and 3 - could actually walk in heels.
1) Top £28 Topshop, Skirt £19.99 Arkclothing, Brogues £15 Newlook
2) Top £28 Dorothy Perkins, Skirt £26 Topshop, Boots £27.99 Newlook
3) Top £34 Topshop, Shorts £25 Awear, Boots £24.99 Newlook

Ah one can dream.

A blogger's best friend...

Hello! I'm Claire from Jazzpad and whilst Maria is sunning herself on holiday (all those feeling remotely jealous say 'aye') I thought I'd give her a hand keeping her blog ticking over and offer something a little different to Frills 'n' Spills. I'm in no way trying to compete with Maria (she's far too style savvy and well-loved for that) so here's something away from styling and fashion debates which, though very different, I hope is still really relevant in the blog world.

Photography is equally, if not even more important than the written entries in blogging. It's the visuals of a blog which make the first impression, and regardless of how well-written and engaging a blogger is, chances are you won't give it a read unless there is something punchy and exciting to feast your eyes on. Be it outfit shots, photo diaries or images of haul purchases (you lucky things you), a camera is a blogger's best friend.

Your digital camera is definitely an invaluable aide to your cause, but have you ever thought about going back to basics with a manual? If you're reading this and think "psssh, I'm a 35mm pro, she's preaching to the converted," then apologies, but if you're the sort who has wanted to dabble in manual for a while but just never really had the courage to do so, I implore you.

These are all taken with what must be the best starter manual Lomo camera, the Colorsplash. It was my first toy camera which I've had for about 3 years now, and apart from a couple of winding/learning/teething problems at the very beginning, it has never let me down. The same cannot be said for my Holga Mini, which is still sitting on my naughty shelf. With long-exposure settings, multi-coloured flash options, relatively cheap price, and the tendency to prompt conversation from any onlooker ("Is that a gun? A microscope?"), I would not trade it for the world.

There is something quite romantic about manual film. It's the excitement of forgetting what you've snapped, and months later stumbling across a slightly over-exposed shot of a building you'd walked past on a holiday and can't remember the name of it. It's something you really can't mimic with digital images, and with the magic of developing film it's possible to put your manual snaps on a CD, so you can still share them with the world.

It really is a cup of tea...

So all that is left to say is a big thank you to Maria for letting me ramble on in her arena. For me, her USP is her ability to involve readers; I love the way every post of hers has a question at the end of it, to prompt your involvement with whatever inspiration she offers that day. It's something no other blogger does quite so well, but of course you know this - why else would you be reading her blog? 

Either way, I hope you liked this little filler post while she is away, and if you do have any questions or comments about anything Colorsplash-related or otherwise, this is my blog and I would love to hear from you. PEACE xxx

Gone to Italy, BRB...

As I have packed all of my favourite clothes into my suitcase ready for my holiday*, I had to  search through the remainder of my clothes to find something to wear this morning. I found this Motel t-shirt which I had in my goody bag at the Brum Blogger Meet and decided to pair it with my new pleather skirt. My sister wasn't impressed with the fact I "looked like a groupie" but I liked the slightly edgier look it gave to an otherwise plain outfit... I normally favour a girlier look but I was determined to overcome my fear of pleather! 

Top: c/o Motel, skirt: Topshop, shoes: New Look. 
Lil has a fantastic skirt that is very similar and I have always been jealous of how good she looked in it so when I saw this in Topshop I snapped it up. It's a size bigger than I would normally wear but it means I can wear it on my hips otherwise it would be indecently short! 

This has got to be the first time I have worn bright lipstick in a while too but this outfit was calling out for a little something extra and the swipe of red was it! 

The skirt looks fairly grey in this picture but it's definitely black in real life! I really like this outfit, it is so easy and comfy but the red lipstick and leather definitely made it look less slobby.  The skirt I am definitely going to get a lot of use out of this A/W, I imagine it will look equally good with jumpers, chunky tights and my new boots as it does with a simple tee. 

What unusual outfits have you worn recently? How do you break out of your comfort zone?

*I am getting so so excited for my holiday now but fear not, I have organised some guest posts and Frills 'n' Spills will be playing host to some amazing  bloggers over the next week, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Happy Aussie-versary!

There's nothing better than getting parcels through the post and I was lucky enough to receive one from Aussie yesterday. The mix of things perfectly reflected the theme of 'any excuse to party' and really put a smile on my face so thank you Emma and Holly! :) 

What  parcel could be better than party poppers and popping candy?
Aussie always have the best ideas and parties and now you can get involved! You may have noticed the special limited edition bottles of shampoo and my beloved 3 Minute Miracle in the photos and these are to celebrate this year's 'Aussie-versary'. Aussie are offering you the chance to receive some product and to join the Aussie Angels at the Summer Party in October. 

Up to seven of you lovely ladies (or gents!) can win and to enter, you just have to tell me what you are celebrating right now, however big or small it is. Maybe, like me, you have got a new job or found the perfect shade of purple nail varnish (Model's Own Purple Grey FYI) and you want to celebrate. Either write a blog post and tweet @YummyHair or simply comment on this post :) 

I have heard of having two left feet but I apparently have two right feet :P 
All those who receive packs will have the opportunity to take part in a challenge, with the chance of one person winning 10 tickets for themselves and 9 of their friends or followers to the HUGE Summer party in October!  In the words of Aussie: "This will be our biggest, most exclusive party yet – one night of celebrations that CANNOT be missed!" 

The deadline to enter the giveaway is next Friday 19 August and you can see more about this competition over on the Aussie blog HERE. I definitely think you should enter as the party is bound to be amazing (plus it's 2 days after my birthday!) and the Aussie products are really lovely. I will be doing a full review of the limited edition products I received once I start using them! 
What have you got to celebrate? 
Terms and conditions
  1.  This competition is open to the Aussie Angels online communities
  2. Winners must be UK Mainland residents and aged 18 years or over
  3. Winners of the giveaway are to be chosen by Aussie Angels
  4. To enter, community members must write a blog post, OR comment on an Angels’ Giveaway blog post, stating how they qualify for a Summer Party pack
  5. To qualify for winning the Summer party pack, they must have something to celebrate (there are no restrictions on their reasons for celebration)
  6. Selection criteria: Each Aussie Angel will select their own 7 community member winners. Selection is entirely at each Angels discretion
  7. The Promoter will not be liable for applications not received, incomplete, delayed or damaged. Last date for receipt of entries is Friday 19 August 2011
  8. There will be up to 7 winners per Aussie Angel
  9. Winners must be chosen and notified in writing, by the Angels, by Tuesday 23 August 2011
  10. The Angels must also notify Aussie, in writing, who they have chosen, by Tuesday 23 August 2011
  11. A list of the prize winners will be available on www.uncoveraussie.co.uk after this date.
  12. The prizes are as stated and cannot be transferred, sold or exchanged. There is no cash alternative.  Only one prize per household.  No bulk or third party entries accepted
  13. Summer Party packs will be sent by Aussie, and all delivery costs covered by Aussie
  14. By entering this competition, entrants agree to be bound by the rules and by any other requirements set out in the promotional material.
  15. PROMOTER: Procter & Gamble UK, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 OXP

Electric blue...

A dress this pretty was almost guaranteed to find it's way into my wardrobe. I loved it at full price and then it was reduced down to about £10 and somehow managed to land on my shopping basket. Exmouth really was the holiday of dresses ( I think I picked up about 5 when I was there) and this has to be one of the prettiest. Electric blue is a colour that never fails to cheer me up and several people commented on how pretty the dress was, it doesn't get much better than that for a feel-good outfit! 

Dress: Dorothy Perkins, shoes: Dorothy Perkins, bag: vintage from the Clothes Show
It was worn for a day of sightseeing and tea-shopping in Topsham and was perfect for adding a little colour to a grey and gloomy day...

The detailing is absolutely fantastic although I keep bending the sequins with the strap of my bag, I'm hoping it won't cause too much personal damage though!

This was just huge and I'm not sure what it was used for, it is obviously something to do with the sea as it was right by the harbour but I can't work it out... any ideas? 

The harbour also made the perfect backdrop for a few more silly poses although I did get some funny looks from the bus driver trying to reverse behind me, he must have thought I was crazy! Apologies for the fluffy hair, it was newly washed and sea-breezes were playing havoc with it...

What colour is an instant mood lifter? What's your favourite dress?

Keep or return? Primark cowboy boots...

I have been searching for the perfect black ankle boots for a while now. They have to have a slight chunky heel so they give me a bit of height but so that I can also walk in them, not cut off my legs too much and most importantly not cost too much as they are likely to get caught in the rain/snow/mud. Originally I wanted these boots from Topshop (for some reason they have taken the black ones offline) but at £62 they weren't exactly screaming affordable! 

Imagine my delight then when I walked into New Look and saw these beauties. Unfortunately they weren't available in my size in store or online so in the end I opted for a pair from good old Primark. 

They are really comfortable and for £15 I think they are definitely affordable and I won't be worrying too much about keeping them in pristine condition. The only thing I am worried about is whether they make my legs look too short when not worn with black tights? 

I love the idea of wearing short boots with my many many dresses but I'm not sure whether they completely cut off my legs or whether I can pull off boots and dresses a la Sienna Miller. For £15 though, I can't help but think that they are worth taking a punt on... 

What do you think? Keep or return?