As I was packing my suitcase I was thinking to myself; seriously – your going to London Fashion Week, actual LFW not the weekend aftermath this time it’s the real mccoy.

Arriving at Euston the heat hit and oh my I wasn’t dressed or prepared for the weather.  Will I ever learn, a few years back I went LFW weekend leaving Scotland that chilly morning in my faux fur coat and tights only again to arrive in an indian summer.  In the excitement of it all I never checked the weather.  It was all a bit last minute – I read and reread the email.  “We are delighted to have you confirmed as a Backstage Dresser for HUISHAN ZHANG at LFW tomorrow”  It was a case of hotel and train booked, the dress code was all black, flat dark shoes, no heavy make up, short nails and no jewellery incase the delicate fabrics were snagged.

I packed light, all black outfit for Monday, the basics – PJ’s and underwear.  I travelled in jeans, blazer, light knit (!!!) and my trainers.  It was 26 degrees when I got to London.  My feet were like balloons by the time I got to my hotel, I ended up with the blisters from hell and later on that night I was on the phone to my mum when I jumped out of bed after discovering a rash all over my legs. Helloo prickly heat!

No rash, blisters or seriously puffy tired face was going to dampen my day, I’d never been to the Holburn area so I set out early for the tube..  My heart went out to the commuters having to endure that cattle market every day.  Crammed in like sardines in the hundreds, the smell of cigarettes, perfume, aftershave, sweat I’d never been so close to a bunch of strangers!! The silence is deafening: so many people so little noise.  Only the sound of footsteps; waiting on the lift to get back up to fresh air there must have been at least 50 of us huddled waiting for the door to open when a lovely lady from Trinidad shouted from the back in her cheeriest accent “Good morning everyone” no response, only 1 young girl looked up from her phone, she made eye contact with me which is a no-no and cracked a smile.  Finally we cracked the code & broke the sound of the underground!

Rosewood London, what a place. Built in 1914, hidden from the hussle and bussle of the busy streets through an archway you enter into a grand courtyard.  I didn’t have a clue what door to go through, I was looking for the Grand Ballroom. One of the chauffeurs saw the confusion / panic in my face, took pity and started chatting.  Turns out he was from Scotland too; Dundee with only a few years until he retired I found out he chauffeured all his days. He managed to pin down one of the concierge who directed me to the ballroom, I thanked Tom / Tam if your from Scotland and made my way in.

Greeted by a softly spoken lady, dressed in a gorgeous black full length lace dress, I was passed through security and given my Access All Area’s band I was directed down the beautiful winding staircase to the ballroom.  The sound check and lighting was being rehearsed and the soundtrack for the show was Dorris Day – Perfect!

Girls were in makeup when I arrived, we were briefed and put to an outfit, my outfit was a beautiful pink shimmer high neck mini dress with cap sleeves, nude bodysuit, feather bag with strap to be wrapped round the left wrist and hung in a certain way, this was important so the all the bags were carried the same. People who had dressed before were put to the trickier outfits.

I met Millie a beautiful girl with a warm smile, we chatted for a bit, she’d done a few shows already so new the set up. I felt lucky some dressers just stood around whilst there models were on their phones. Then it was time.

I put Millie’s shoes on carefully as the leather was  fine & delicate and we had been warned about this beforehand and we were ready for the walk through. We got to see this on the screen just outside the dressing area so we had an idea of what was going on.

Back to hair the girls went, I did go down and watch as a trained hair dresser I was fascinated.

One by one the girls came back and were dressed, I patiently waited on Millie she had beautiful hair and a lot of it. Eventually she came bouncing through the door full of life and adrenaline.

She got dressed, there was a panicked silence in the room, lots of rushing and helping others. Millie’s was ready quickly so I helped other dressers with shoes and making sure the feathered drawstring bags were positioned correctly even helping one model with one of my blister plasters!

It was onto photos, every girl had their photo taken individually back stage then made there way to the the line up where hair & make up we’re doing there final touch ups.

The music started and the stylists quickly made one last check on the girls then it was time. One by one the disappeared through the curtain to the eagerly awaiting audience.   We huddled round the small screen watching the girls do their thing!  Eyes focused on the end of the runway as they made their way one by one, the collection was stunning, Camera’s flashing, phones filming every detail and just like that it was the finale with cheers from crowd, it was another successful collection from Huishan Zhang.  As the girls came back to the dressing room full of cheers and applause , it was  a quick change for them back into comfy clothing, make up off and racing on to the next show.

As the guests made there way out into the courtyard full of excitement, chatting of fabrics, who was there, who sat where. They finally parted ways air kissing their goodbyes as they made there way to the Bentleys and Mercedes waiting to take them to the next show.  I stood for a few minutes just to take it all in, my eye caught the chauffeur I was chatting to on the way in. “Well, he asked, how did you get on?”.  My face said it all.  “Maybe the next time we meet, I will be on the other side sitting front row being chauffeured around”.  We both laughed said our goodbyes as I stepped out of the archway back in to the real world I looked back, smiled, my heart still racing…………..did that just happen ?

 

Marlene x

The weather is heating up and with Summer just round the corner I’m seeing at lot of the latest trend on Instagram & in magazine’s, yes I still read them! The trend I want to chat about is the Short Suit.  Short suits have came back on trend every decade dating as far back as my favorite, the 80’s. I wa an eighties child and loved it. The power ballads, the films – Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, the fashion – shoulder pads, stiletto heels.  It was the best.

Best get back to the post …….. Tailored shorts paired with a blazer is right up my street.  I love a classic look, chic and stylish.  Keeping it chic with a crisp white shirt for the office or a beautiful silk cami for nights out.

There’s some great choices on the online at the moment, I’m heading in to Glasgow this week so I will also be checking out the high street too.

 

Here are some of my favourites

 

 

 

 

And a few high end – a girl can dream right………

Will you be investing in the short suit this season? Let me know in the comments below.

Chat soon

Marlene x

Well technically 7 months since I opened the doors but I’ve been planning this post in my head from over a month!

Opening the door that morning to the freshly painted walls, fully stocked boutique with items all hand picked my myself was surreal – it truly has been my proudest accomplishment to date!  The months have flown past, I’ve learnt a lot and I still have lots to learn but I thought I’d share my tuppence worth!.

Structure

I’m in my office job 2.5 days a week & I book-keep for another small business weekly so routine is key for me to achieve what I have set out to do.  This is something I’m still trying to master.  I want to build a new website & would like to have a blog post going out every week.  My advice is find what works for you & stick to that routine.  Night time is out for me, once I’m home and we’ve had dinner my brain doesn’t seem to function the way I want it too.  So my evenings are mostly spent with Alex and the dogs or catching up on the house chores & social media.  I’m most productive first thing in the morning.  I can wake up at 5am and be on my laptop with a huge mug of tea by 5.15am tapping away on the keys or straight into the accounts.  I’ve also started to exercise in the morning too.  I find it helps me sleep better.

Network

If like me you’re a one man band, it can get very lonely.  I would like to expand and employ someone maybe next year but for now it’s just me.  Getting out and meeting  other people either in your industry or trying to build their own brand can be so motivating.  It gives me the energy and encouragement to keep going.  I joined the Ayrshire Business Woman and Glasglow Girls Club & I try to get to as many events as possible.

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Say Yes to as much as you can.

I see a lot of influencers I follow advising to take down time and say no to more things, put away your phone at nights etc.  I advise the opposite, that’s fine once you’ve built the brand but when your starting out say yes to it all, getting a brand “out there” is a lot harder than what it was a few years back.  People are less likely to follow on social media these days.  So if you get the offer to showcase your brand in any way, go for it!  I done an interview and photoshoot with a local magazine recently.  I was dreading it, totally out of my comfort zone, I’m usually a behind the camera kinda gal but it is publicity for My Serenity Boutique and also for my blog.  The girls were amazing and Im arranging to do some work with the photographer for the blog.  So win win.

Nobody is you and that’s your power

I see this quote a lot and it’s true.  I follow other boutiques on social media, I have done long before I had the shop.  I admire the hard work they’ve done, hit the like button and scroll past. Don’t follow or copy what others are doing.  It’s hard not too but what works for them probably won’t work for you.  Get to know your own customers or audience and I can rest assure you will succeed in your own way.

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I’ve wanted a boutique and to work for myself for so long, I thought it would always be a dream, I’ve been the happiest girl in Ayrshire these past 7 months and I’m so grateful.  Thank you to all those who have followed my journey so far, this is just the start………..

Thanks to Foster Photography for the photographs x

Yours

Marlene x

Hey everyone,  I want to get back basics, wardrobe basics that is.  The staple pieces that I would advise you all to have in your wardrobe – if you don’t already.  Pieces that never go out of fashion, the classic, effortless just put together look that makes you look & feel super chic!

Kick starting this series off with the camel coat – It looks amazing with an all black outfit or even cream!  Worn with chunky knits in the chillier months is one of my favorite looks.

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This coat comes in all different shapes and sizes, belted, double breasted, single breasted it really doesn’t matter.  It’s your personal preference and what suits your style.

After searching around I have found a few reasonably priced ones to share with you.  I really like the structure of this one from missguided and this double breasted one from River Island is on sale.  Currently I have this one for my day to day and my best purchase of 2017 was my Jaeger camel coat down from £400 to £100.  It was an absolute steal in the January sales last year.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photograph of me wearing it (yet!)

I’ve linked a few different options down below

 

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If you don’t already have a camel coat and your on the look out for one, I hope this post helped a bit.

Marlene x

I only get 1 day off a week, my choice. It was my decision to work six days out the 7. I’m not complaining at all, I want my business to work & for this I need to work my butt off BUT what this means is I SO appreciate my day off. Today was 16 years since our very first date!

We jumped in the jeep & headed for the Galloway Forrest.

Stopping off for a romantic breakfast at a “Chuck wagon’ roll n sausage & egg, it was actually delicious!!

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Cheers!!

Typical Scottish conditions gale force winds gusting at 40mph with a Baltic wind chill of -4. It’s all good when your wrapped up (so they say!)

When I got up this morning I had no notion, the list of things to do playing on my mind but I know getting outdoors works wonders for you’re mind set.

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Loch Braden was rough!

My cheeks resembled Aunt Sally with the wind but I felt great ~ what list?? who cares!!

2 hours later we turned back to the jeep. We were planning to go out for a nice meal but after we go home, done the food shop & I had a long soak in the bath with bubbles & a face bath – takeaway pizza it is!

These two had a ball, there now feed & tucked up in bed!!!

Hope you had a good weekend.

Marlene x