Archive | Life RSS feed for this section
X Factor Logo

Sam Bailey – Tracking a class act on X-Factor

Sam Bailey the unexpected class act of X-Factor 2013

sam-bailey-x-factor

I’ve never written about X-factor before but this year it has been very interesting to watch one persons journey through the show towards the final. X-Factor is an interesting TV show, and ultimately it’s about stereotypes. I always get the impression it’s a battle between the producers and record company execs behind the show and the voting public. They often have different views which makes for occasionally interesting TV when the contestants and the public veer strongly in a direction that the producers don’t really want to go. The show’s producers must have loved Jedward from a performance and ratings perspective but the record companies must have been in a panic!

What the producers want?

Ideally the producers want to reveal the next teen singing sensation, the person the think will appeal to a mostly young audience as they think that’s their sales market. The irony is that all the other demographics actually watch the show. It’s a family show and no doubt that affects the voting each week.
This explains why someone like Sam Bailey is in the running to win the show. Family’s, kids, parents and grandparents alike will all love Sam Bailey. She can really sing and she looks great on stage. It’s a visual transformation that people love, ordinary over 25 working class mum getting a unique chance at stardom.

Sam Callahan – perfect popstar image?

Sam-Callahan-x-factor

It also explains why Sam Callahan survived so long on the show when perhaps when he should never have been in the final 12. Visually he was a record companies dream, looked great, would appeal to youngsters and upwards alike and no doubt technology could have auto-tuned him to perfection for the record companies. Unfortunately while Sam is able to sing somewhat it was rapidly clear he does not have the vocal talents of many on the show and ultimately and correctly that led to him leaving.

Luke Friend’s interesting voice

luke-friend-x-factor
At the other end of the scale we have Luke Friend, visually interesting and with a voice that while not unique (anyone remember Seal?) stands out and he can sing a bit too. Potentially he’s the new choice for the record companies. He doesn’t have the candy floss appeal that Sam Callahan did but he is interesting and clearly is a musician with ideas. Ending up in the sing off in the semi final is proof that Luke maybe is quite what the public want, having said that I think choice of song is very important for Luke to succeed.

Nicholas McDonald – x-factor winner in waiting or not?

nicholas-mcdonald-x-factor

Nicholas McDonald is a bit of a square peg for me. He sings well but appears quite one dimensional. He is only 16 and perhaps the days of teenage singing sensations are a thing of the past. Today’s media is in our face all the time – there is no time to breathe between seeing an act numerous times and frequent exposure like that unless they are very talented is likely to dampen audience enthusiasm and this is potentially what is happening to Nicholas. He’d have been better entering the show in a few years time when he is a more mature performer who can adjust to the demands of a show like X-factor. Nonetheless he has to be a possible for the record companies – he can sing and they can market him but probably with more effort then they’ d have required with Sam Callahan or Luke Friend. Despite this Nicholas sailed into the final after what wasn’t his best performance so who knows! After all we don’t know the exact differences between the votes. The producers clearly do and I wonder do they update the judges on singer votes after each week?

Hannah Barrett – a gifted voice

hannah-barrett-x-factor

I do feel sorry for Hannah Barrett and here’s an example of where things don’t make sense. Hannah is clearly an outstanding vocal talent, she’s truly gifted and we’ve probably not seen a singer with her type of voice for a long time. However as previously pointed out, today’s deal is about the whole package and Hannah for whatever reason did not capture the public’s heart, which is a real shame. Talent and the personality behind it can take time to develop and record companies never seem to learn, they don’t like investing in long-term talent like Hannah could be. It was a pity to see the judges cast her aside in favour of less impressive singers.

Rough Copy – X-Factor strength in numbers

rough-copy-x-factor

Rough Copy played to their main strength in that there are 3 of them. None of them are good enough to stand on their own as an individual performer, perhaps with the exception of Joe. He may have enough charisma and vocal ability to perform on his own. As a group they have worked very hard and turned out good performances every week. It will be interesting to see if they get a contract and if they can make it work for them.

Sam Bailey – X-factor Star Act 2013

Sam-Bailey-Red-Dress-x-factor

That brings me to Sam Bailey, she is by far the best act on X-Factor this year, she has enough of all the ingredients to make her a success, the only real question is whether or not that is the kind of success the record companies wish to exploit. In a harsh mind she doesn’t fit their stereotype of what a female singer should be, young, slim very beautiful and able to sing. But she is marketable, she can look great and of course she can sing amazingly well. Sam can put soul into a song which some of the other contestants can’t yet do because they are too young.

When the show started it was clear the producers didn’t think Sam could make it and they presented her in as drab a fashion as they could, mumsy and little overweight and quite ordinary. You can see this clearly in the progression of outfits that Sam has worn through the show. As the talent has dwindled someone has realised (reflected in the voting perhaps?) that Sam Bailey can win and they shifted up a style gear and dressed her in a more classy style for her performances, someone is packaging her up for victory.

That’s as it should be, after all as Gary Barlow frequently reminds us this is a singing competition.

So Go Sam Bailey!

In my next post I’ll talk a little more about the dresses Sam has been wearing and why they really work for her from a style perspective.

Sophie Davis

Quality plus size clothing and designer fashion For Women Size 14 – 28

Comments { 4 }
Colour Clashes Colour Wheel

Have Fun with Colour Clashing

Use Colour Clashes to energise your wardrobe

It’s time to be bold, take a step forward and add some colour to your wardrobe. It will add interest and is an instant way to add style to your look. It doesn’t mean you have to be loud (though you can if you wish!) Think of colour as a set of accents you can add to your look to create your personal style.

Is your wardrobe a rainbow, or a field of classic neutrals?

Most of us have at least a few colourful pieces mixed in with the staple blacks and navies and browns, but how many of us are ever brave enough to really mix it up and deliberately clash those brighter hues?
Using colour clashes is a fantastic way to breathe new life into your style, but it can be daunting too, so we’ve put together a few tips to ease you in gently (and avoid the ‘got dressed in the dark’ look!)

Start with small colour clashes

Look at what colours you have to play with – if you love blues, try mixing darker shades with a pop of aqua or turquoise for a fresh new look. If you have lots of greens, try wearing a lime green top with forest green skirt or cardigan. Clashing shades of the same colour is an easy way to experiment with the trend and see what works.

Create a colour clash with accessories

If you’re a slave to the little black dress, try piling on the clashing colours through accessories – a stack of bangles in neon pink and lime green perhaps? Or bright blue earrings with a lavender beaded necklaces. Our red pashmina: Would look amazing worn over a dark green dress or top. Shoes, scarves, bags and even hair accessories are a fun and inexpensive way to bring more colour into your existing looks.

Red Pashmina from Vida Moda

Colour Clash – Red Pashmina

Create Colour Clashes with handbags

An obvious way to add colour to your outfit is with a handbag. (we can ever have too many handbags!) They are particularly effective with darker colours because they are generally not “worn” on the item of clothing and attract attention in their own right. Why not try one of these from Vida Moda to create a colour clash you can be comfortable with?

Pink Satchel from Vida Moda

Pink Satchel Bag

Know which clashes work

Not all colour combinations work, but it’s easy to figure out those that do by using a colour wheel:

Colour Clashes Colour Wheel

Work out your Colour Clashes

Your best bets for a great clashing combo are:

Colours right next to each other (e.g. yellow &yellow-orange or yellow and yellow-green)
Colours straight across from each other (e.g. yellow and violet or blue and orange)
Colours that make a T (e.g. blue, orange, and violet-red or yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow)
Or if you’re feeling especially brave:
Colours that make an X (e.g. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow)

So, have another look at your wardrobe, see which colours you have to play with. Don’t be frightened, adding a dash of colour is a subtle way of energising an outfit so get experimenting!


Create your colour clashes with Vida Moda – women’s wear size 14 to 28

Comments { 0 }
Eden Rock Orange Blouse Jacket at Vida Moda

Are You Obsessed With Colour Matching?

Colour Matching Your Wardrobe This Summer

Fuchsia Tee Shirt by Siganture at Vida Moda perfect for colour matchingSome people can’t walk out of the door unless they feel co-ordinated. Something has to match something else, the colours must complement and not be an assault on the eyes. But what is the secret to co-ordination through colour matching?

Colour Matching – an obsession for you?

If you’re obsessed with being colour co-ordinated, you know how it feels before you step out the door. You take one look in the mirror to check everything looks right, otherwise, bizarrely, it won’t feel right. Colour matching can help us feel ‘together’ and in control, it puts us at ease and we wear colour to feel comfortable. Black, white and red are a classic blend, spring pastels make the perfect day look, neutrals and cream plays it safe. A lot of larger ladies prefer black because it makes them look slimmer, however at Vida Moda I am always on the look out for collections that make great use of colour and I’d love to see more larger women using colour matching to create a different look for themselves. It is amazing how clever use of colour can projet a totally different and confident image. One of my favourite techniques is to team a bright colour top with white trousers or a white skirt. This simple technique is powerful but subtle.

Colour Matching or Colour Blocking?

Those of us who are a bit braver will go for the opposites on the colour wheel, i.e. purple and yellow are loud partners in crime but they work. This is colour blocking which is very much in vogue this season, you can stick with complementary colours or you can “push” it a little! Perhaps some of the more extreme variations look better on the catwalk but you can still make some great colour statements yourself.

Colour Matching – This Seasons Colours at Vida Moda

Some strong colours have continued to from the Winter season, Strong purplesa nd mustard have been joined for summer by vibrant oranges, dark blue, and kiwi green all colours which are good for colour matching or which look superb with white.

Flax ElderBerry Tank Top at Vida Moda perfect for colour matching

Colour Matching with Accessories

What if it goes further than matching jackets with trousers or shoes? Do some of us find ourselves crafting a look to the minutest detail, earrings, nails, eye shadow or lips? It certainly seems like a lot of effort but when the ensemble looks 100% bang on, we never forget it. So much so, that getting the right colour match for you can be a bit addictive but also easy to differentiate between times when you want to relax, veg out and be lazy in a striped top matched with floral trousers. You can, if you wish do a little more colour matching and accessorise with shoes and handbags!

In Summary

All of it says a lot about our personality. Those who don’t feel the need to colour co-ordinate are possibly more relaxed and spontaneous people. For a lucky few, mismatching actually works but it mostly down to the actual garment and how it fits, rather than the choice of patterns and colours. It’s all too easy to play it safe but choosing styles we wouldn’t normally go for or blend can rejuvenate our brains and personality. It’s a statement of rebellion or change.

Whatever we do with colour, it’s important to have fun. So the next time you find yourself matching a pair of earrings to a top, think to yourself – is it really that important?

Start splashing some personality into your wardrobe with Vida Moda’s new summer collections which are all about colour this year. Speaking of colour why not read our tips about fake tan!

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion and Plus Size Clothing For Women With Curves

Comments { 2 }
Floral Print Top By Emreco At Vida Moda

There’s More to Easter Than Chocolate Eggs

A Gift for Easter

Attention! loving husbands, boyfriends and partners, (or even sons and daughters). Before you splash out on a fancy chocolate gifts and a slap up Easter lunch for the forthcoming Bank Holiday, think about a gift for Spring that says “I love you, I think you’re amazing.” Chocolate is a girls best friend but the gift of style treats her to a whole new look.

Easter weekend is four glorious days off from work for most, perfect for spending quality time with our loved ones. So looking fabulous for a special family lunch is one of the best presents that special someone could receive. Having a whole new outfit can make them feel like a whole new person. Even one brand new fabulous item of clothing, can turn a tired wardrobe into multiple opportunities. But buying clothes as a gift for other people can be tricky.

Here’s our top tips for choosing a risk free outfit as a gift:

Secret squirrel: if you’re able to get into her wardrobe without her noticing have a look at the colour range and sizing. It may be she wears a different size for trousers vs. dresses and tops. Or ask someone who is likely to know.

Style: look for garments that will flatter her best features. There are some where you can’t go far wrong for all shapes and sizes. Don’t be afraid of offending her with the number that’s on the label. Don’t forget, the key to looking great in an outfit is buying the right size for your shape, not the size you feel you ought to be! Make sure you a buy a gift that is the correct size!

MultiColoured Jersey Dress by Vetono at Vida Moda

40% off Now Only £49.20

Marine Polka Dot Blouse by Heteroclite at Vida Moda

40% off Now Only £39

Colours: Although you may be tempted to stay in your lady’s comfort zone, Spring symbolises buds forming, flowers blooming, so mirror nature and inject some colour into her style. If you know she has a penchant for a certain colour, such as black, try and find a garment with subtle hints of colour or flair to liven it up. Alternatively give the gift of colour and look for pastel colours that look fabulous now and during the summer months.

Ideal Easter Gift Scarlett Necklace At Vida ModaAccessorise: depending on your budget, adding some jewellery, bags or belts to an outfit makes it extra special. She will love feeling groomed from head to toe, accessories lend that finishing touch. Accessories always make a great gift.


Place your gift order by Tuesday 2nd April with Vida Moda for delivery in time for Easter Weekend 2012.

Take a look at our spring offers for that special gift for Easter, treat someone to special fashion gift that you won’t find easily on the high street.

Joanna


Vida Moda | Designer Fashion and Plus Size Clothing For Women With Curves

Comments { 1 }

Caring for your Skin – 7 Speedy Facial Tips for Women

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to stick to our skin regime religiously for healthy looking skin but modern life isn’t that simple. If you can grab 30 minutes in the bath, you can give yourself a mini-facial which can repair a multitude of skin errors from your busy week.

7 Speedy Facial Tips

Facial Tips 1.

While the bath is running…….remove make-up with a cleanser & cotton wool pads. Using wipes may not remove all make-up and dirt, so try and cleanser which you need to remove after applying. Grab some clean flannels and line up plenty of cotton wool pads by the side of the bath. 5 minutes

Facial Tips 2.

Get in, relax and breath…….bath foam or salts with citrus, tea tree or eucalyptus base are particularly de-stressing and perfect for a 5 minute yoga style breathing exercise with eyes closed to clear your head. 5 minutes

Facial Tips 3.

Cleanse your face with a foaming wash that balances out the skin but doesn’t strip it entirely of your natural oils. Skincare is personal to our own physiology, so make sure you ‘try before you buy’. Once you have rinsed thoroughly, pat face & hairline dry to get rid of excess water. 2 minutes

Facial Tips 4.

The #1 rule of good skin care….exfoliate. Find yourself a decent facial scrub that suits your budget and skin type. Rub slowly delicately over the skin using two hands, focussing on areas where dirt builds up more heavily (e.g. side of nose, chin). 5 minutes

Facial Tips 5.

Drink it up….use a face mask that rehydrates the skin. If you didn’t have chance to slice up the cold cucumber, dip two cotton wool pads under the cold tap and place over the eyes. 10 minutes

Facial Tips 6.

Setting the tone…..using a toner can remove excess oils and residue from a facial scrub plus they can help absorb moisturisers. 2 minutes

Facial Tips 7.

Hop out and smooth on……once out of the bath, dried and relaxed, sit for a few minutes and smooth some moisturiser on the face. Try and find an oil-free type which will plump up the skin but not leave residual grease. Try before you buy, places like Origins, Body Shop and most reputable cosmetics counters in department stores will have samples you can take away. Don’t be scared to ask. A good moisturiser can be a clever and valuable investment and smart companies know that if you‘re hooked, they have a repeat purchaser for a long time.

Women of all ages can have great skin, and despite the daily buffeting our skin gets from the outdoor elements and heating systems in buildings it is easy to maintain your skin with these simple facial tips which you can work into your daily routine. It just takes a little care and attention, and why not use these speedy facial tips as part of a relaxation routine for yourself, you’ll feel good and look great!

Fashion Models use facial tips like these to keep their skin fresh

Models tend to have great and the ladies who model our collections at Vida Moda certainly do. They both work extremely long hours and do varied jobs and spend a lot of time standing under bright flashing laights during their working day. They have to look after their skin in order to look good and they will use daily routines like these facial tips that they use to maintain their skin.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion and Plus Size Clothing For Women With Curves

Image courtesy of: Ahmet Guler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments { 2 }
Size 20 Tunic by Anathea at Vida Moda 2012

Why the tunic dress is your wardrobe staple

The tunic dress, popularised in the 1960′s got a make-over for the new millennium. Now it’s a staple of many women’s wardrobes of all sizes and generations.

Delicious day wear

Tunic dresses are perfect for flattering figures and showing off our best assets.

If you have killer toned calves, then find a pair of leggings, footless tights or even skinny leg cut jeans to team up with the dress for day wear. For those lucky enough to be of ample bosom, choose a v-neck or wide scoop neck with close fitting sleeves. Belts would suit tall, pear shaped figures. Fasten it fairly loose, hanging across one side. This khaki number has a small cowl neck and looks perfect with chunky boots plus would suit lots of different heights and shaped figures.

Vetono Khaki Tunic Size 20 from Vida Moda 2012

Going out glam

Convert any tunic dress to evening wear with a stylish pair of heels and semi-opaque tights for that night on the town. Or for tunic style tops, swap jeans for shiny black trousers, go boot cut for a more flattering shape.

Size 20 Tunic by Anathea at Vida Moda 2012

Accessories make any tunic dress look dazzle, especially if you match your pieces. A pair of simple, elegant but long drop earrings teamed up with a pendant necklace will finish off any look. Or find a pair of nude patent heels and matching clutch for a look that is bang on trend.

Joanna
Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

Comments { 3 }

“It’s Martine… With Extra Curves”

The Daily Mail had an article last Thursday pointing out that Martine McCutcheon is currently more curvy than in her TV advert for Activia. Does it matter, it is really worth writing about? Those ads were probably made months ago. The article also quotes Miss McCutcheon as not wanting to fly a flag for being unhealthy and overweight or being too thin either.

It is sad that the Mail used Miss McCutcheon’s curves as a basis for the article which goes on to provide some publicity about her career. Why does it discuss her curves first (in a negative tone) and career second? Do we not enjoy her presence on our screens for her acting talent or do we all rush to watch her on screen because she has extra curves? It is equally baffling as on the same day the paper had quite a feature on “regular people” a set of 5 couples (all over 30) finding out what they thought of each others bodies after a number of years together. This article had a relatively positive tone about body image.
Curvy Marine McCutchoen looking Fabulous
So it was ok to talk about about body perception and weight with non celebrities in a positive fashion but then to subtly criticise Miss McCutcheon for her “extra curves”? Martine McCutcheon is a beautiful woman with a successful acting career and her weight fluctuates like a lot of other people and she looks fabulous regardless. There is no perfect weight and is sad that people automatically associate that being overweight means you are unhealthy. Being skinny can be also be bad for your health and I’m not simply referring to very thin people.

It is perfectly possible to be healthy and be over or under an accepted bodyweight for your height. And it is possible to look good too. Curvy is just as good and as beautiful as skinny, so if you are a curvy bird then hold your head up high and use your curves to express your personal style. Celebrate your talents, skills and achievements and don’t measure yourself on the basis of how other people think you look because of your weight.

Joanna

Image ©DFS

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Designer Fashion for Curvy Women Size 14 to 24

Comments { 1 }
The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

“Drawing Inspiration” an exhibition of Art by Diana Probost at the Cambridge Art Salon

Diana Probst, a Cambridge artist, opens her first show, Drawing Inspiration, on Friday, at the Cambridge Art Salon. This post is about her experience of setting up the show. Diana is a talented artist and we are pleased to provide her with a guest post on our blog. Everybody gets to see the the finished work of artists but few see the effort or trials and tribulations that people go through to achieve that end product. The piece below, in Diana’s own words reflects the challenges we all face in “making something happen”, often these challenges are where we get pushed out of our comfort zone and dealing with them, while stressful does help build our experience. So read on to find out what it is like to go through setting up your own art exhibition for the first time. If you are in Cambridge between the 11th and 16th of November do come and view Diana’s work and look out for the invitation to the private viewing at the end of this post.

“I have been a professional artist for a little over a year now. In oil paint terms, that means that things I started last year are now framed and ready to sell. Oil painting is slow, and gives you plenty of time for thought. By contrast, the show date has come crashing in on me, with the speed and unblinkingness of headlights on a rabbit. If it were not for the support around me, I would be facing an empty room on opening night.

Bottles on a Blue Cloth in Oil by Diana Probost

Bottles on a Blue Cloth

The first thing I did was make a blog post and ask my friends to comment. Artists I did not know I knew dropped by. There were plenty of advice sites on the net, and I added things I had skimmed to a huge spidery brain-dump. With my husband’s help, and a donated ten minutes by a friend who advised on software, I got everything onto my computer and scheduled from there.

It cut down the mountain into smaller bits that were hardly rocky at all, and I was able to separate my painting time from my preparations. I went back to the suggestion lists again and again, for moral support as much as for the ideas.

The last couple of weeks were surreal. I did not have any more painting I could do for the show itself, and I found myself worrying about my lack of expertise in marketing. That was where my friends shone through. There was a lot of support and just knowing it was there got me through the tough parts. Today I will be walking around Cambridge distributing postcards advertising the show. It’s all coming together, and I’m really chuffed.”

The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

The artist, a self portrait

For your invitation to the private view please click HERE.

The show starts on Friday 11th, and runs until 16th, with the gallery closed on Monday. Opening hours 10-5

Cambridge Art Salon: 29 Cromwell Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EB
Diana’s URL: dianaprobst.com
Twitter Feed: @dianaprobst

Comments { 4 }
Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor