Stand Up Tall: Jeans

Jeans are a bitch to buy whatever your size or height, but when your inside leg hits the 36 inch mark, the task of finding that perfect pair become almost impossible!

Topshop has always been my personal saviour when it comes to jeans. By the time I was 13 years old I had already hit the 6’1 mark, and back then, very few retailers on the high street had a dedicated tall section – let alone one that was on trend and reasonably priced. Even when I went from a slim size 10 to a curvy size 14, I still felt I could rely on Topshop and when I started working for the brand ten years later, I made sure I purchased at least one pair of jeans with my uniform allowance. The Jamie high waisted skinny fit has always been my favourite (I wore my last pair to death until I ripped a hole in the crotch) but over the last year I haven’t been able to find a good pair, thanks in large part to Topshop turning almost every pair of Jamie’s into ankle grazers *sulk*.

Topshop Tall Jaime jeans

Topshop Tall Leigh jeans

After battling for a while, I gave in and decided to try the super skinny Leigh fit. I have a couple of jeans in this style, and whilst I like the multitude of colour options, they aren’t as relaxed (or forgiving) as the Jamie’s, the soft material isn’t as durable, and I often find that the side seams twist when I’m wearing them. Does anyone else have this problem?! Surely it can’t just be me…

I’m on the hunt for a new pair, so any recommendations would be great! I’m going to attempt to force myself out of my Topshop addiction and try a couple of styles from the New Look, Next and Dorothy Perkins tall sections too – wish me luck!

How To… Bake Berry Muffins

I love all kinds of berries and often include strawberries, raspberries or blueberries in my baking. Berry muffins are so easy to make and taste great no matter what time of day you indulge (plus they’re totally acceptable for breakfast AND dessert!)

berry muffin recipe

You’ll need:

  • 360g plain flour
  • 370g caster sugar
  • 375ml buttermilk
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g berries

Make it!

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
  • Measure out the plain flour, salt, caster sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Throw it all into the same bowl and beat slowly with an electric whisk.
  •  Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract together in a jug. Add 1 egg and mix. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat until incorporated.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a pan. Pour into the mixture, beating as you go until the dough is smooth.
  • Gently fold in berries with a wooden spoon (I used blueberries and raspberries this time). You can add more depending on your taste, but anything over 300g will effect the end result. Once the berries are evenly dispersed, spoon the mixture into your paper cases; this recipe should make around 10-12 muffins.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Skewer the centre of the muffin – if it comes out clean, your yummy treats are ready! Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to eat them all in one go; hot berries WILL burn your mouth.

The Tall Report

A little while ago, I wrote a piece for Catwalk Queen tailored for women of a certain height. Now, as you can probably tell from the length of the post, I could pretty much talk all day about the lack of shops in the UK that make FASHIONABLE clothes/shoes for a girl who is 6’1 with size 9 feet. Let me tell you from experience, it’s bloody a nightmare.

I wanted to share this on my blog because I know a few of my lovely readers (hi Mum) are pretty tall ladies too. It’s a topic that I think should be written about more often, because it really does effect a girls confidence and style, as well as the way she shops. When I worked for Topshop I practically had to force women over 5’7 to wear a pair of heels or to try on a dress that wasn’t automatically found in the tall section; I’ve heard the words “I’m too tall for heels” and “it’s too short for me” a million times, hell, I’ve said them a million times myself.

I don’t believe that anyone should let their shape or size dictate what they should and shouldn’t wear *feminist fist bump* and I try my best to be proud of my height, but I know it can be difficult on days when all you want to do is slouch down to your friends level and blend into the crowd. That’s why from now on you’ll find a section called Stand Up Tall on the blog, where I’ll be sharing my own shopping highs and lows, styling tips, reviews, and everything in between!

Mix Tape Memories

When the lovely Laura of Make Do & Mend asked me to contribute to her latest mini project all about mix tapes and the memories attached to them, I couldn’t wait to share a piece of my collection with her! Click here to see my entry; I hope you enjoy it. Laura is open to any submissions so if you have a particularly awesome mix, drop her an email!

Mix tape

My Talented Friends: Zoe Ann Butler

Zoe and I have been friends for the last 5 years, give or take a few drunken months. We met through my housemate and her cousin at University, when she lived around the corner in a house full of French exchange students who thought they were being poisoned. Thankfully it wasn’t long before Zoe moved in with us and became part of our dysfunctional family, where we survived an earthquake together and many a trip to A&E.

I would often come home to find her sat in the middle of the living floor surrounded by a cloud of paper, glitter, glue and more often than not, a puddle of tea (she is the clumsiest person you will ever meet and can somehow knock things over 50 feet away). Zoe currently lives with her boyfriend and fat cat in Bradford, where she works at Tigerprint creating tons of beautiful stationery for Marks & Spencer.

Zoe Butler

Hey Zoe! How are things over at Tiger Print? 
Great thank you! We’ve just finished redecorating the office (you can see some pictures over at the Tigerprint blog/Facebook page) so it’s been a hectic, but it seems to have calmed down a bit – for now!

What have you been drawing this week? 
This week I’ve been working on loads of Valentines Day and Mothers Day cards ready for next year. I also took part in a character illustration workshop, which was a really fun day; it’s nice getting away from the computer screen from time to time.

Is there a particular theme or character that you enjoy working with the most?
I’d have to say my own characters. It is really nice when you can see a card through all the way from start to finish – from creating your own characters, designing the card, amending the card, probably amending it again before sending it out into the big wide world.

Have you ever considered going freelance?
At the moment I don’t feel experienced enough to go freelance – and I definitely couldn’t be bothered with the tax returns!

Zoe Butler illustration

What’s your average working day like?

My day usually starts at 8.30am. I check my emails and look at my briefs for the week to see how many I have left to complete, then it’s time for breakfast and a cuppa. Another few cups of tea will be in there somewhere! I take my lunch at 12, then it’s time for more tea and a quick chat with my managers to see if there happy with what I’ve done so far. If everyone’s on the same page, I’ll mock it up ready for review, where managers at a higher level look at it and critique it.

On those horrible moments when creative blocks occur, how do you combat them? 
If I find myself suffering then I normally browse a few blog sites and Pinterest.

What’s been the highlight of your job so far? 
Definitely seeing my work in store for the first time. It was so exciting seeing people actually buying my work!

What advice would you give to aspiring designers and illustrators out there?
Keep working on projects all the time, even if it’s just doing a sketch a day, always keep your creative juices flowing. If you ever feel ‘stuck’, lookout for inspirational blogs and Pinterest boards and pick some ‘how to’ projects to work on when your mind wanders.

Zoe has a fantastic imagination, and is completely dedicated to drawing the cutest characters ever to grace a greeting card. If you’d like to see more of her work or get in touch, you can do so over at her blog – she loves meeting new people.

How To… Make your own stamps

The lovely Siobhan of Hello Flower wrote a great post recently about projects that she has been inspired by on Pinterest that she hadn’t got around to making yet. Her ‘Less Pinning, More Doing‘ challenge struck a chord with me, and so, I decided to give it a try!

When I first joined Pinterest I saw this easy tutorial about how to make a stamp out of a champagne cork. Within 10 minutes I had a great little homemade stamp produced by nothing more than a wine cork and a sharp knife. Unfortunately I didn’t have any ink pots left so the bunting didn’t print quite as well as I’d like, but I wanted to share it with you sooner rather than later, so I used poster paint.

How to make a cork stamp
Make your own stamp

By the Hills

Another sneak preview of some of the work my talented little sister has done for her upcoming exhibition. I’m so proud of you Jessica!

Jessica Hill make up artist

One of the boys

Remember when I mentioned that my awesome sister needed someone to take part in a gender change project as part of her makeup and prosthetics course?

girl change to boy
girl changed to boy

My Talented Friends: Rick Nunn

On his website, Rick Nunn admits that he’s “generally antisocial, but catch me on the right day and I might try and be nice to you”. Bumping into him on a particularly sociable evening, Rick and I threw a few friendly insults at each other and struck up a friendship based on zombies, cats, good movies and loud music. Armed with new umbrella boxes, fuelled by coffee and in need of someone to shoot on short notice, Rick took this photo of me a few days later, and the rest is sushi and sarcasm filled history.

A designer with talent by the bucket load, this boy is one seriously dedicated creative and one of the hardest working people I know (I’m pretty sure he never sleeps). With an impressive photography portfolio, Rick has an army of loyal followers on Flickr, and dedicates his free time to capturing beautiful images, as well as putting together informative articles to share with the rest of the internet. Just don’t call him a photographer – it makes him uncomfortable.

Rick Nunn

Hey fucker. Taken any photos today?
Yep, totally took some photos of some dinosaur pancakes that I made. They were tasty, the pancakes not the photos.

dinosaur pancakes

How did you get into photography?
In 2009 I was forced to give up one of my biggest passions (skateboarding) due to injury — I bought a dSLR to try & fill the gap it left. Being a graphic designer I had always been engaged with not only the visual aesthetic but also the visual hierarchy of any composition I was creating. I think this largely contributed to photography making the transition from hobby to passion very early on.

You’ve been praised a lot for the quality in your Fifty of Fifty projects. Where do you find the inspiration (and time) to shoot like that?
Inspiration, from everything. Literally everything. There’s no way I could identify any specific sources – I ingest such a huge amount of visual material on a daily basis I think it all ends up as some sort of mind soup and I just dip into it for ideas. As for time, basically whenever I embark on a project such as my Fifty of Fifty, sleep just goes out the window, as well as any sort of social life. Sacrifice = reward…right?

just add water

Did you feel like death after completing your 365?
The 365 was relatively easy to do, anyone can take a photo every day if they always have their camera with them and the commitment to see something like that through to the end. My Fifty of Fifty projects have been much harder, maintaining that level of consistent quality is a killer.

Quitting is not an option, is it.
Death before dishonour.

Would you consider doing it again in the future?
Yes/No/Maybe/Probably/Okay go on then…

You’ve taken some great commercial shots for AnyForty, is fashion photography something you’re interested in?
Definitely, a well presented and well dressed person is great to photograph. You can expect more of this in the future!

For someone who isn’t a people person, you really capture personalities in your portraits.
I genuinely LOVE portraits. There is nothing more interesting than trying to capture someones personality in a photo. People often don’t realise how much of their personality is projected visually – clothes, posture, hairstyle and so much more all contribute to it, and I love getting that in a still image.

John Huntsman

If you could give 3 tips to anyone who owns a camera and wants to do more with it, what would they be?
1. Make friends with people better than you – you’ll push yourself harder if you’re trying to keep up with them.
2. Try prime lenses, they changed my life.
3. Keep it with you at all times, you can’t use it if you don’t have it.

Ok, let’s test your sharp shooting: film or digital?

Black and white or full screaming colour?
Colour, but it does’t need to scream.

Voyeurism or narcissism?
Voyeurism! For me narcissism is always a last resort.

Rick Nunn, cabin in the woods

There’s a fire and you can only save one camera and one lens.
5D MkII & 135L

Finally, do you have anything special lined up this year?
Not really. I’ve got some ideas, but I’m not sure on time scales. I’ll probably end up doing another Fifty of Fifty, despite hating the idea of another by the end of the last one!

Want to know more about this awesome guy? OF COURSE YOU DO. Why not check out his website here and stalk him via Twitter.

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