Ella-Louise Gilbert's Blog

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My lovely mum’s pet name for me is Wendybird.  This isn’t just as I live permanently in Never Never Land, but because my number of male friends have always outweighed the female. I’m a crossbreed of Jo from “Little Women” and Vada from “My Girl” (yes, I am the embodiment of the phrase “culture clash”!)

I googled “wendybird” and received a delightful surprise in this gem of a video staring Kirsten Dunst.  This short film shows Erin Fetherston’s AW ’06 collection and is filmed by Ellen von Unwerth. Ellen is pretty blinking awesome – she specialises in erotic femininity and recently photographed River Island’s Autumn collection.

I now officially have a girl crush on Dunst.


Summer 2011’s trends have to be my favourite since the days of 80’s “party dresses” where the only rule that mattered was the more gaudy the better.  With bright trousers, gorgeous lace, flower power, braided hair and pink EVERYTHING I’m in Paradise Estate (FYI that’s where the My Little Ponies live.)

My magpie eyes have  landed on another divine trend; the cocktail ring, which is more zany in its 2011 reimagining than ever before. After diving into my craft drawer of miscellaneous sparkly bits I decided to create an ornamental ring.   Perhaps I’m just hungry and hallucinating, but I think it bears some resemblance to a cupcake.

Cut out a piece of thick card into a circle. Cover with material of your choice. I chose a sheeny silver. Fix with glue gun. Repeat process for lace over top.

I found this string of small pearls around the edge of a birthday cake. Spiral out until you reach the edge of circle, fixing with tiny spots of glue along the way.

Fix pretty button to centre of circle.

I used an adjustable ring base from http://www.the-beadshop.co.uk, just 30p

Frame circle with slightly larger individual pearly beads. Place an iridescent bead in the flower's centre.
























Now I’m ready to drink my Bahama Mama from a teacup at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

Forrest Gump got it wrong. Sod the box of chocolates, life is like your sock drawer.

I’m not quite sure how or when it happened, all I know is that when I went to dress my cold toes a few mornings ago, I found every single sock to not match another.

My sock drawer. My life.

Their partner’s whereabouts are a mystery, having searched both my wash-basket & under my bed.  Aside from Wee Willie Winkie sneaking in and stealing them (I’ve never trusted that guy) the only other possibility is that there’s a sock swingers’ party going on somewhere I don’t know about.

My boyfriend’s intermingled sock drawer is cloaked beneath the fact that nearly all of his socks are black.  This shows how practical he is.  More than that he doesn’t care if he wears one black sock and the other a slightly faded grey; he’s far too cool to worry about that.  I’ve never been cool.

My assorted collection of brightly coloured, spotted, striped, flowered, frilly white socks is a lot like me; disorganised and all mixed up, with lots of colourful, lonely ideas, but nothing ever adds up because I haven’t got the patience to put things together.  If I search deep enough in my sock drawer will I find the answer to the meaning of life? Probably not, just one of those little lavender bags.

When your boyfriend knows the name of a fashion trend it’s a sure sign it’s hit the big time. Fascinators, or “satellites” as my Gran (who can always be relied upon for a fantastic slip of the tongue) called them, are going to be more popular than ever this Summer. This is largely thanks to Princess Beatrice’s devil hornstoilet lid fascinator which sold for £81100.01 this week. I bet the person who lost out at the .01 mark cursed themselves.

But whether the fascinator is made by Philip Treacy or not, they’re still ridiculously expensive, ranging from £10 in Claire’s Accessories, to £80 at House Of Fraser.

I spent a whopping total of £3 on my DIY creation.

What you need: 

  • Plain hairband
  • 1 yard of ribbon
  • circle of netting, 6 – 8 cm in diameter (depending on how large you want the fan) This is best cut with a pinking scissors to give a pretty edge.
  • Small wired flowers
  • Any fabric cut out into 4 flower shapes (half the size of the circle of netting)
  • Large Button
  • Glue gun – the secret to all craft success!

I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to craft bits, having been known to pick things up off the pavement if they sparkle. My Aunt stole collected the wired flowers and netting from wedding table decorations with me in mind.  Now that’s the sort of wedding guest you want.

  1. Wrap the ribbon around the hairband, fixing it with the glue gun. Save left over ribbon to make a bow.
  2. Glue bow to one side of hairband.
  3. Tuck tip of wired flowers under headband behind the bow. Fix with glue. 3 flowers looks most aesthetically pleasing as uneven numbers work best in accessories.
  4. Make a cut in the circle of netting, stopping at the centre. Fan it out to create a half circle. You can fix the pleats with a few stitches. Fix fan with glue behind the bow and wired flowers.
  5. Use the flower shapes to cover up visible joins and glue. I placed 2 at the back and 2 at front.
  6. Glue button to front flower shape.
  7. Wear with a smile.

Try to keep to 1 or 2 colours, because you wear the fascinator, it doesn’t wear you (take note Beatrice.)

I am the Queen of productive procrastination, the Empress of dynamic dilly-dallying… a little lazy lassie.  It always seems the more things there are to do, the more ways you find of putting them off.

The Idiots Guide to Pointless Productive Dalliance

1. Colour-code your books/DVDs…

Colour-coded DVD's guarded by colour-coded My Little Ponies

…because it’s like a beautiful, organised rainbow.

2. Set your watch and every clock in your house to the exact second according to the speaking clock…

… at the third stroke, the time will be procrastinating time.

3. Hula-hoop…

… You may not have been good at it as a child, but now is the time to practise! It’s also fantastic for toning your hips and strengthening your core. I once hula-hooped for 45 minutes. I know it was 45 minutes because I was half way through my second episode of Friends repeats (The One Where Eddie Moves In).

4. Write a letter to a friend who lives away…

…handwritten letters are a far quainter way of communicating.  You’re friend won’t only be surprised to receive one, but amazed that you actually remember how to even hold a pen.

5. Be a neighbourhood hero…


…Augustus the lost cat’s poster has been on the lamppost for almost a week now. It’s time you found that kitty, (If you live in Coventry near nutty ladies don’t forget to check wheelie bins.)

6. Invent a new cocktail or sandwich filling…

… peanut butter and grated carrot is surprisingly tasty.

7. Enter Competitions…

… not the soul destroying kind that you have to complete a billion surveys just to have your name entered into the prize draw, (only to later receive junk mail on equipment that will enlarge your penis) but the fulfilling kind, like poetry or photography competitions.

http://www.withwords.org.uk/comp.html This one’s looking for a haiku… easy…


is the key to avoiding

work you need to do

(hmmm, not sure I’ll enter that one…)

http://www.lightspacetime.com/current-competition-2/ This site has a different theme each month. Yeah, yeah, photography is all about lighting, waiting patiently to capture the right moment, looking at things from unusual angles, but chiefly about giving your photo a pretentious title…

I call this one, "Whispering Vespers". Pretentious enough?

8. Think up Productive Dalliance Points 9. and 10. because I’m done procrastinating for the day.

Emma Thompson's wedding costume from "Sense and Sensibility"

Fashion’s flirtations with lace are nothing new, but all the most deserving things in life are recycled for the better (apart from Madonna’s version of American Pie).  2011’s lace conversion is palpably antique and romantic. If you feel like you should be skipping through fields of buttercups in a Jane Austen novel, you’ve got the look right.

£27.50, yesstyle.com

Coloured lace has replaced gothic black; not so much the smarties brights of S/S 2011, but tea-stained hues and dried flower petal colours.

Tutu - £10 boohoo.com

Whether it’s sheer lace layered over fitted fabrics or a lace body under a cute crop top, embrace the return of feminine and vintage.  This trend has strong ballet influences, with billowing skirts,  bodices and ballet pumps – so put your hair up in a bun, finish it with a flower clip and pirouette on the dance floor.

Team lace with leather for a rock chick look, a fur gilet for boho or flower prints to adopt this season’s 70’s hippy craze à la Erdem.

Erdem Moralioglu

Shorts - asos.com £30

F&F £10

New Look, £28.99

TK Maxx, £24.99

River Island, £24.99

Phase Eight £128

Topshop £38

little lacy bits

There’s something bewitching about red shoes.  The arts have made them an object of unethical desire – from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of a little girl who dared wear red shoes to church and as punishment had her feet cut off, to MGM’s The Wicked Witch of the West’s attempts to steal Dorothy’s ruby slippers.  That didn’t end so well for her either; “What a world, what  a worrrrld!”

Andersen's Karen in her red shoes, unable to stop and hear what the angel says because the shoes compel her to dance.

Andersen’s The Red Shoes inspired the 1948 film of the same title, wherein Moira Shearer plays a prima ballerina in a tale that is equally as dark and tragic as it’s predecessor.

Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes

I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye the illustrations in a childhood book of the skeletal little girl whose red shoes become stuck to her feet and force her to dance “over field and meadow, in rain and sunshine, by night and by day.” Even after the executioner slices off her feet, the shoes continue to dance.  It says something of reverse psychology that although my mother knew this haunting tale off by heart, for my first pair of walking shoes she couldn’t resist these cherry red 1984 Clarks beauties.

My "Tippy Tappy Shoes"

Apparently I screamed and flailed so much in the fitting for these that the only way my Gran and Mum could get them on my feet was by telling me they’d magically enable me to tap dance.  All I needed was Grandpa’s walking stick as Fred Astaire’s cane and my world became a black and white musical where I danced better than the Nicholas Brothers. I’ll have no one tell me otherwise.

Here are some shoes I defy you not to stop dancing in.

Dancing shoes

The Red Shoes album

Kate Bush also paid homage to the taboo footwear in her 1993 album.

L. Frank Baum’s original Dorothy wore silver slippers, but wanting to take advantage of the new Technicolor, MGM felt ruby slippers would be more aesthetically alluring.

An original pair of the ruby slippers

Several pairs were made for Judy Garland and in 2000 one pair was sold at auction for $666,000.

If you’ve been searching for your own Emerald City, perhaps skipping down the road in these will help:

sparklingstrawberry.com, £30.99

Red or Dead, £100

Pope Benedict XVI has reintroduced the tradition of the red leather papal shoes.

Papal Shoes of Pope Pius VII

Inside his residences the Pope wears papal slippers which are made of red velvet or silk.  I like to imagine that when the Pope’s taylor, Gammerelli first placed the red papal shoes on Benedict XV’s feet, the Pope did a little tap dance, just to psyche himself up for the day ahead.

For Cardinals, the use of red shoes is abolished. It’s no wonder then, that for her vanity in stepping through the church’s doors in red shoes, Andersen had to cut off his character’s feet.

Due to religion’s hang-ups with red shoes I was so pleased my cousin chose to wear red shoes on her wedding day – they looked fantastic peeping out from under her pure white dress.

Abbie's wedding shoes

Part of the traditional rituals that take place when a pope dies is to bury him in his red shoes. This sounds like something a non-catholic girl from Swansea could pull off well.

I ♥ ebay

As Andersen wrote, “There is really nothing in the world that can be compared to red shoes!”