Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Handbags on Twitter

One of the things Easily Sorted loves about Twitter is that you get to find out about lots of new places to shop for new and classic designs.

We've been checking out some of the handbags that are advertised via Twitter and here are some of the best:




Rock Royalty Handbag $142.00 from @spiritedfashion.
A selection of unique handbags, patchwork designs.


Sophisticated Sea-Blue Ribbon Effect Large Tote £28.99 from @handbagfix.
The texture of this bag is beautiful and it's a bargain at £28.99.




Pink Giraffe Print Handbag $50.00 from @TiffanysBags.
There are lots of similar giraffe print designs @TiffanysBags.




Purple Boho Disc Tote £24.99 from @handbagfix.
Another great and stylish bargain from Handbag Fix.

Coach Hampton Scribble Purse available on ebay and advertised via @coachHB, bids from $149.99 (free shipping in US only)



@verabradley for $68.00, Vera Bradley Yellow Blue Stephanie Handbag.
Vera Bradley have a range of bags in fabulous fabrics with unique designs.



Chanel Quilted Shoulder Bag, bids from £480 on ebay. A beautiful classic bag advertised via @handbagsuk. Every bag lover would love to add a Chanel classic to their collection.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Roast of the Week

As we are in for some hot weather this week the Roast of the Week is a light summery recipe and is very simple.

Dill Roasted Salmon


Ingredients

Serves 6

1kg baby new potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 salmon fillets
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
Chopped fresh dill

Instructions

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5.

Put the potatoes in a large roasting tin. Drizzle with the olive oil and some sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, then scatter over the onion and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Change the oven temperature to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7 and place the salmon fillets between the potatoes and onions. Drizzle over the orange juice and sprinkle with the orange zest, dill and a good grinding of black pepper.

Roast for 8–10 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through.

Serve with the potatoes. It is also great accompanied by asparagus.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Day The 80's Died

As a child of the 80's I have many memories of growing up listening to Michael Jackson's music and watching his music videos and films. In primary school we had a "Moonwalk" competition to see who could best emulate the dance he made famous (I was not very good at it!). We danced to Blame It On the Boogie and Bille Jean at the school disco. For my 8th birthday party we hired the film Moonwalker from the video shop and I invited my best friends round to watch it.

Michael Jackson last performed the Moonwalk on stage in September 2001 and he was due to perfom it again in his "Final Curtain Call" tour than never was. There are many rumours, controversies and conspiracy theories surrounding Michael Jackson's life and death. Some things are for certain though, he was a musical genius, he liked to spend, spend, spend and his personal style was as flamboyant as his lifestyle.

As well as a musical icon Michael Jackson was a fashion icon in the 80s. The phrase which has struck me as being most fitting following his death was that 25 June 2009 was the day that the 80's died. Known for his shoulder padded jackets, white glove, white socks, and perm-look hair, his style personified 80s fashion. Easily Sorted brings you some Michael's best looks of the 80s:


The cover of Beat It in 1982

On the cover of Billie Jean released in 1983

Michael in 1984

His signature style, a sequined jacket and while glove


Doing the Moonwalk

1987 on the cover of Bad

Thursday, 25 June 2009

This Week's Search For A New Dress

I've been looking all week for a new dress to go out in this weekend. Here was my shortlist:

Dress Number 1: By All Saints available in stone, chalk or washed black (stone colour is pictured) £110

Decision: Rejected

Reason: Price and colour. I love All Saints as their clothes tend to be unique and good quality. One of my favourite belts is from All Saints and I've had it for 5 years but I still get lots of comments on it. I also dug out an old All Saints top a few weeks ago and friends were asking me where I had got it from. Unfortunately though this dress was a bit more than I wanted to spend and I am looking for a more summery colour.


Dress number 2: Zebra Bandeau dress by Kate Moss for Top Shop, £65

Decision: On the definately maybe list.

Reason: I love the pattern and the pleated bodice and ruffled hem which is very feminine. I have been a bit reluctant to buy from Kate Moss' range though, as given how popular her lines are I may see a lot of other people wearing it.

Dress Number 3: El Dorado dress by Wish £100

Decision: On the definately maybe list

Reason: I have had my eye on this dress which I spotted in a local boutique for a while. It is by Australian designer Annette Cannock and the label is called Wish. It is difficult to see from the picture but the fabric is beautiful. It is very light and is made from cotton and silk.

Dress Number 4: Miss Sixty Knot Front Mini Dress was £74 now £44 from Asos

Decision: Rejected

Reason: As this is from Asos I have not had the chance to try it on and being fairly small I am worried that it might be a bit long on me (I imagine the model is quite tall and the dress looks almost knee length on the picture!) As the weekend is fast approaching I do not want to order it and have to send it back. It is a great price though and a lovely colour and the sort of dress you can wear day or night.

Final Decision

I was still not sure which dress to choose however my mind was made up for me when I went to have a look at dress number 3 again today. I had a few reservations about the price tag but a 50 percent sale had just started and it was half price. I was delighted. Now I just need to find some shoes. I normally wear heels when I go out but I spotted these brown sandals (£22 from Faith) which I may well be buying tomorrow!

Abercrombie & Fitch accused of Discrimination

Abercrombie & Fitch are being sued by a 23 year old law student, Riam Dean. The student who worked at their Saville Row store has a prosthetic limb and did not mention this at interview. She was initially told that she could wear a cardigan however she has said that she was then relegated to the store room because she did not fit on with the stores "Look" policy. She is suing the store for discrimination. The employee handbook for the store gives guidance as to the appearance of staff and states that employees are expected to have "a clean, natural, classic hairstyle", and make-up must "enhance natural features and create a fresh, natural appearance".

Is a "Look" policy acceptable? While racial and disability discrimination is clearly unacceptable it is a fact that fashion likes beautiful people. Just as a model is expected to have a certain look to promote a brand, stores often like their shop workers to carry the image that is associated with their brand.

Abercrombie & Fitch is however on dangerous ground. The law student is seeking damages of £20,000 and the employment tribunal has begun. The store has been criticised in the past for only employing young attractive staff. It has a nightclub atmosphere and often has semi naked models at the door to greet customers. The store has previously been sued in America for racial discrimination and has been accused of only employing white staff for shop floor jobs. In 2004 the store settled a racial discrimination lawsuit for $40 million and agreed to recruit more black, Latino and Asian employees.

Appearance based discrimination is widespread in nearly all areas of employment, with statistics showing that more attractive people are more likely to succeed at interview and be promoted. Employment law discrimination rules do not apply to staffing policies that relate to having to do something that you do not want to do such as having your nails cut short or to matters relating to personal style. They do however apply to discrimination on the basis of gender, disability, age, race, religion, or sexual orientation. There are calls (most recently and widely publicised by the French president) to ban women from wearing burkas. The president has argued that there is no mention of the burka in the Koran. If the burka cannot be justified on religious grounds then it could be said that preventing a women from wearing them in the workplace does not amount to religious discrimination.

Exceptions to the law regarding discrimination are permissible in those cases where the matter in question is genuinely needed for them to be able to carry out their duties (for example where a male actor is specifically required for a role, or a female attendant is required for a female changing room).

Riam is not alleging discrimination solely on the basis of appearance. She has a disability and believes she has been treated unfairly as a result. There has been no mention of the effect of her disability on her ability to carry out her duties. If she can prove that she has been treated unfairly it will be hard for Abercrombie & Fitch to justify their behaviour on the basis of a "Look" policy.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Some of the Blogs I Read

A great fashion blog:

http://myfashionflirt.blogspot.com/


I love this blog as it has lots of great advice for free things on the internet:

http://www.contestvalley.blogspot.com/


For very interesting articles on all things relating to the internet check out:

http://shicgeek.blogspot.com/

This blog is great for its range of interesting comments and stories a diverse range of topics including lifestyle and tv:

http://randombloggingsofawannabe.blogspot.com/


Lots of interesting articles and yummy recipes at:

http://belleonheels.blogspot.com/


A really entertaining and informative blog on fashion, design, food and drink and lifestyle and more:

http://www.domesticsluttery.com/



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


by Dr. Kent M. Keith

Habitat and the Dangers of Misusing Twitter Hashtags

Habitat have had to pull some of their tweets and admit they have made a mistake after a social media marketing strategy blunder. The retailer was using hashtags in line with Twitter trending topics in the hope that this would increase readership of their promotional tweets. Tags included #mms, #Apple, #iPhone and #Mousavi. The offending tweets resulted in public complaints and they have now been deleted from their Twitter account HabitatUK.

Twitter users have been put off by their spamming technique and the use of the Iranian election tag #Mousavi has been seen as being particularly tasteless. It is a bizarre strategy to cross market a home retail store with completely unrelated topics such as the Iranian election. Whoever was responsible clearly misunderstood the message that they were sending out and the role of social media, which after all is to create conversation and share interesting ideas and news, not to bombard people with information they do not want to read. Those who were wanting to read about the Iranian election or iPhones are not going to be overly pleased when they end up reading about Habitat's latest offers. It is rather embarrassing for Habitat but as far as marketing goes I wonder how many more people have read Habitat's tweets since the release of this story?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Team Andre v Team Price

I was trying not to comment on the Price Andre separation but I just could not resist. I have to say that I did feel very sorry for Peter when I saw pictures of him crying at the weekend and the papers were quick to jump all over the fact that he was looking after the kids and was an emotional wreck while Katie was pictured partying in Ibiza with a male model and was pictured kissing a girl. Peter who has spent father's day with the children has reportedly said "I don't recognise her as my wife. Has she no idea what this will be like for this kids? It was Katie who I fell in love with and married. But it looks like she just wanted to be her old self, Jordan. I can't believe what I'm seeing. She's like a caged animal that's been let out," Katie meanwhile has accused Peter of staging the perfect dad performance and putting on the tears for the cameras.

I did think initially that in the PR stakes Katie Price would lose. After all it does not seem on the surface that Peter has done anything wrong. He looks like he is a great father, especially due to the way he has taken Katie's disabled child from a previous relationship, Harvey, under his wing and treats him as if he were his own.

The media is out to get Katie Price at the moment with the tabloids full of stories over the weekend of Katie's wild antics and with Peter's mum apparently begging him to ditch her for good. Katie has made millions and it cannot be disputed that she is a very successful business women. A former glamour model she has more female fans than male with her books, underwear and new equestrian range selling well and a column in OK magazine. She has been hailed as a role model and a feminist. The feminist part seems to come from her business success and because she has used her surgically enhanced body and female assets to create millions, while maintaining the fact that she is the one in control. She also has a habit of putting down and ridiculing Peter in public, trying to constantly assert her power over him. She has taunted him cruelly and reminded him publically that she has made a lot more money than him saying he'd be in “a bedsit somewhere” if was not for her.

Peter is perhaps as fame and publicity seeking as Katie however he is meek, mild and sweet in comparison to his estranged wife. Katie's publicist may well be worried by her portrayal in the weekend's press and it does seem that Peter may be winning the PR role now, but for how long? It has been reported that the sales of the rather tacky Team Andre, Team Price (pictured above) are so far going in Peter's favour with 64% to Katie's 36%. Peter has also apparently been offered a solo deal with ITV 2 to make a reality TV show and it is predicted he will do well out of endorsements over the next few months.

The thing about Katie Price is that she has a very tough exterior. Although it is likely that this is hiding an extremely insecure core she is used to criticism and if her past behaviour is anything to go by this criticism will only make her more determined to rise above it. The most probably outcome of the whole drama is that Peter (nice but lets face it a bit dim) will do well on the PR front on the back of it all for a while and his product lines will sell. Katie though has a habit of playing the game very well. If it was anyone else she would probably be relegated like Kerry Katona and Britney Spears to the (alleged) bad mother brigade. This may happen for a while but she will keep reinventing herself and will do what it takes to make sure she continues to be a success and (rightly or wrongly) will eventually win her way back up in the PR stakes. Whether this results in a happy personal life for her or her children or Peter is another matter all together.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Stop that Drittering You May Cause A Twinjury

The first Twitter related death has been reported. A 17 year old Romanian girl was electrocuted after dropping her laptop into the bath as she twittered in the tub. It is believed that she was using Twitter on her laptop in her bath and electrocuted herself when she tried to plug in her laptop with wet hands when the battery died.

According to a survey by eserve the car insurers nearly one in ten of motorists questioned are using mobile internet services and social networks whilst driving.

Driving while twittering AKA drittering is a regular activity for some bored driver who want to share their frustrations. Easily Sorted has found these recent tweets on Twitter:

1) Driving to the store. Because people should drive and tweet more. I know what you are thinking. Don't worry. If I get killed I'll tweet it.

2) Someone honked and fingered me not to tweet while driving. At first I was annoyed & pissed but after further thought, I deserved it.

3) I love driving to the valley with music blaring and my sun roof open. It's a great feeling. Prob shouldn't tweet and drive though!

4) Is it wrong that I surf the web and tweet while driving?! I put my phone down and get mad bored!

5) Driving home, being followed xxxx and xxxx. Hey. Sorry for swirving. It's hard to tweet and drive.

There have been other injuries reported as a result of Twitter use, known as twinjuries. A 23 year old man in America was left dazed, confused and bruised when he ran into a tree branch while jogging to work and tweeting. He said "One minute I was running along posting a tweet, the next I was lying on my back on the pavement in agony."

Another user fractured his leg while tweeting and walking as reported at http://www.viddler.com/explore/johnchow/videos/7/

What's next, a spate of no win no fee twinjury cases to hit the courts?

Roast of the Week

Spanish Roast Chicken

This is quite possibly the best roast chicken I have ever had. It is from Jamie Oliver's website http://www.jamieoliver.com/ and what I like about his recipes is that they are always no nonsense and simple but very tasty. The potatoes are cooked with the chicken which makes it easy and ensures that the potatoes full of flavour. Not only does this roast chicken taste amazing it also makes your house smell lemony and lovely.

It is called Spanish Roast Chicken but I lived in Spain for 6 months and did not have chicken as good as this. The recipe says to use chorizo sausage. I used chipolata sausages instead (because my local supermarket did not have chorizo) and it tasted good, although I suppose that takes away some of the Spanish element but if it still delicious who cares!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
4 lemons
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 x 2kg free-range organic chicken
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g chorizo sausage
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7

Place the potatoes and 2 lemons in a pan of water and boil for 5 minutes.
Drain and prick the lemons all over with a knife.
Remove the parsley leaves from the stalks and put to one side. Stuff the chicken with the hot lemons and the parsley stalks.
Season the chicken and the potatoes with salt and black pepper, and slice the chorizo at an angle. Line a baking tray with wet greaseproof paper.
Place the potatoes into the centre of the greaseproof paper, then place the chicken on top and sprinkle with the chorizo and a bit of the chopped parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cook in the preheated oven for around 1 hour 20 minutes.
While the chicken and potatoes are cooking make the gremolata for the garnish by finely chopping the zest of the 2 remaining lemons and mixing it with the chopped parsley and garlic. Season and toss together. Remove the tray from the oven, take the chicken out and leave to rest.
Shake the potatoes and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up. Carve the chicken and serve with the potatoes then sprinkle over the gremolata.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Pass The Partner- The Hunt for the Perfect Relationship

According to Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice "IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 and society has undoubtedly moved on a great deal from then. As decades pass the number of couples marrying is falling, divorce rates are rising and more and more people are now choosing to live on their own.

Last week Mr Justice Coleridge said in a parliamentary speech "I am drawing attention to the endless game of 'pass the partner' in which such a significant portion of the population is engaged: the endless and futile request for a perfect relationship."

Mr Justice Coleridge was discussing the breakdown of family life and the problems inflicted on society as a result of divorce and separation, especially where children are concerned. However the 'pass the partner' game is a popular pastime of many unmarried people (and I am not talking about swinging!) People of all ages are on an endless search to find that perfect someone.

Jennifer Anisten whose love life is well documented recently said when discussing the perfect relationship "I don’t have one and I don’t think it exists. We are just fooling ourselves if we think it does. Whoever said that every relationship has to last forever? That’s hoping for too much. I think every relationship is a world unto itself."

Long gone are the days when girls were rushing to get married and have children as soon as possible to avoid being "left on the shelf." In the 1950s the average age for a woman to get married was 20, with the most number of marriages at 18. It was rare for a woman to marry after the age of 24. In 1953 a psychiatrist wrote "a girl who hasn't a man in sight by the time she is 20 is not altogether wrong in fearing that she may never get married." The average age for a woman to marry now is 26, with many seeing 30 as a benchmark for giving up their single way of life.

So what exactly is fuelling this endless search for the perfect partner? There are several factors but a key one is that we simply have too many choices. In Jane Austen's day there was a very limited pool from which to pick your husband or wife. Women also had no means of earning their own living therefore it was important for them to marry as wealthy a man as possible as soon as possible.

In the 1950s young people did not usually leave home until they were married and they were likely to meet their finance (who probably came from the same or a nearby town) at a local dance hall. Now young people often leave home to live with friends and they tend to move further a field, especially if they are going to university. There are much more people to choose from and many oportunities to meet people through work, travel and friends. If that is not successful there is always Internet dating which opens up a great deal of new opportunities for meeting someone and which is become less and less taboo.

Women are encouraged to work, people are living longer and there is less pressure exerted by society to get married at a young age. Women and men are therefore postponing settling down as long as possible, and as they are in no rush, they do not want to stop until they find Mr or Mrs Right.

As Mr Justice Coleridge says this search may be endless and futile but there are some advantages in delaying settling down. Statistics show that those who get married in their 30s are less likely to get divorced. Your 20s is a great learning curve where you are learning a lot about yourself and what you want out of life, and as we now have a lot of choice we want to try and make the right decisions. In your 30s you supposedly "settle into yourself" and therefore are more likely to choose a partner who compliments you, has shared interests and a similar life plan.

So off we continue on our search, unsure of where it will take us and when it will end......

The Best Ever Blueberry Muffins









This recipe for Blueberry Muffins was given to me by an American friend and the muffins are just gorgeous so I thought I'd share it with you. I have given the measurements in cups and grams in case you do not have a measuring cup.

Ingredients

Makes 24

2 cups (460g) self raising flour
1.5 cups (345g) sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp lemon (or vanilla) extract
0.5 cups (115g) vegetable oil
0.5 cups (120 ml) milk
1 cup (230g) blueberries

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl and set it aside.
Combine the eggs, extract, oil and milk.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the liquid ingredients until just mixed. Next stir in the blueberries.
Place muffin papers in a greased muffin tin and spoon in the batter. Sprinkle sugar on top of the batter.
Bake for 25 minutes until browned.

Leave to cool (if you can resist them) and then eat!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Mitzy Bag Credited For Mulberry Sales Growth

It appears that many women really cannot do without their designer handbags. Mulberry have reported an increase in global sales of 14% and in Britain an increase of 29%.

The new design, the Mitzy bag (pictured left), which is available from £350, is taking part of the credit for the recession defying sales figures. The Mitzy is aimed at the younger market and is available in three styles and in colours which include lipstick pink, turquoise, beige and white.

The chairman and chief executive of Mulberry, Godfrey Davis said "Mulberry with its authentic and understated designs is striking a chord, not just in the UK, but also worldwide, because over-the-top extravagant consumption just isn't in favour right now."

Mulberry bags are seen as "investment pieces" with classic designs that tend to last over several seasons. Fashion conscious buyers are moving away from "it" bags to more staple handbags in the hope that they will not need to replace them in a few months time.

Mulberry spend a significant amount of their marketing budget on encouraging celebrity endorsements. Fans of Mulberry include Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and Fearne Cotton and the brand regularly send their handbags to celebrities in the hope that they will get photographed with the latest design.

Godfrey is however taking a cautious approach to the sales growth as although the growth may exceed expectations, profits have at the same time fallen. Godfrey said "Unemployment is continuing to rise and it's not clear what impact that will have on consumer spending. I'm sure we can increase our market share, but we are less confident about the size of the total market."

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

You Said What?

When you move from living in the city to living in the countryside like I have you can find yourself easily bewildered by "urban" words (or maybe it is also a sign of getting old and out of touch!). I was extremely confused the other week at work when someone told me I looked "cash." It was dress down Friday and I did have my favourite new jeans on so I was hoping that it was a compliment but I had no idea what it meant. Not wanting to show my ignorance I just said "erm yes it is dress down Friday" and scurried back to my PC where I looked it up on the computer on the Urban Dictionary and I found that it meant "cool."

I recommend the Urban Dictionary if you have found yourself in a similar situation. It is also useful to decipher the teen speak of teenagers and for confusing/ impressing friends or colleagues with your new extended vocabulary.

Here's some of Easily Sorted's favourite definitions from the Urban Dictionary which can be found at http://www.urbandictionary.com/.

Tweet- Dropping

When a twitter user has a one-way conversation with a celebrity so that to the users followers, it seems like they are talking to a celebrity and thus are instantly uber-cool in the eyes of their followers, when in fact they are a loser with nothing better to do than have a fake conversation with themselves. Similar to name dropping url, but even more annoying and even less likely to be true.

Alt Tabbin'


An act of quickly switching the current application to something work-appropriate when the boss walks in.

Facebook Alzheimers

When you get a friend's request from someone that you have no idea where you know them from.

Tweetless

Refraining from tweeting. Finding that you have nothing to tweet or write. Drawing a blank when contemplating your Twitter page. Also used when one is stunned or surprised by something viewed on Twitter.

Dr Google

A person medically qualified by Google's search engine to diagnose symptoms of sickness.

Reader's Block

Related to Writer's Block, this is when you cannot, for the life of you, pick up a book and read it. Sure, you may be able to read a paragraph or two, or maybe even a page, but you don't retain anything of what you just read or have the attention span and/or will to go on. This is common for those who have ADD, are in possession of garbage literature, or are just so exhausted from having to read so many books during school/college that reading anything else, even for pleasure, has become impossible. To those who love to read, this is worse than heart disease and cancer combined.

Twatted

The past tense of "tweeting" on Twitter.

Swine Flucation

The time spent not at school or work due to the closures caused by the Swine Flu scare.

Ghetto Upgrade

When you are flying economy on a near empty flight and can lay across an entire row of seats.

Notice Me Email

In the age of telecommuting, an e-mail message sent either early in the morning, or late at night, with the subtle intent of revealing the fact that the sender was logged on and working at the time the message was sent, hidden within the context of a more "official" looking message.

Recessionitis

Noun: the new disease. Much like chronic bronchitis that can take months, even years to go away. The new excuse to not do anything. This is the act of excluding yourself from social activities because you simply just can't afford it

Recessionata

A person who is able to stick to a tight budget while still managing to dress stylishly.

Cewebrity

An internet personality that has attained celebrity status.

Tweet Up

A group of friends on Twitter (social network) that are planning to meet up. A request by a user to meet with friends via Twitter.

Social Notworking

The practice of spending time unproductively on social-networking websites, especially when one should be working.


Try and see how many of the above you can sneak into your conversation this week (via everyday chat or social media) and let me know how you get on.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Father's Day Gift Ideas

I am sure that you have not forgotten that it is Father's Day next Sunday and time to show our Dads how great we think they are. Dads can be quite difficult to buy presents for. However Easily Sorted is here to help, bringing you some ideas to assist in your search for that perfect gift for your Dad.

Digital Photo Frames are great for displaying your favourite pictures. Sony's are among the best and the most stylish. The Sony DPFV1000B 10.2" Digital Photo Frame With 1GB Internal Memory has a 10.2 inch LCD and a 1GB Internal memory which stores up to 2000 photos. Other features include a search function and a remote control, red eye correction and a Multi card slot which accepts Memory Stick™, SD Card, CompactFlash and xD media. The photo frame can be bought for £199.99 with free delivery available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/. You could even pre-load it with some pictures of you and your family to make it an extra special present.


I am a big fan of Paul Smith and think his range of socks make for a perfect gift. You can buy the socks online at http://www.paulsmith.co.uk/ for £14.00 plus delivery. They have a range of designs and colours available. Just tell you Dad they are trendy and he is sure to wear them with pride.






If your Dad is a bookworm how about buying him 1001 Books: You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall? It cost £16.00 from Amazon with free delivery available. The book provides a short review of essential books to read, well 1001 in total. Let's face it, your Dad is going to struggle to get through all 1001 books but it is a great reference book and he will enjoy checking just how many he has read so far as well as giving him ideas for future reads and you may find him gleefully pointing out books which have been omitted. In the same series there is also 1001 Paintings: You Must See Before You Die by Stephen Farthing and 1001 Movies: You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider and 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery all of which are available on Amazon.




While we are on the subject of albums how about Greatest Hits- Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band which is £8.98 from Amazon. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but it gets a mention here because my Dad has already requested it for Father's Day and there must be other Dads out there who love Springsteen too.



Most Dads love cars and Red Letter Days at http://www.redletter.co.uk/ has a range of gift experiences to choose from including a Ferrari Driving experience for £245. It is available at selected locations around the country and the package includes driving round a race track in a Ferrari and ends with a trip as a passenger, driving round the track at high speed. If it is out of your budget you could club together with your siblings to give your Dad a once in a lifetime exhilarating day out.

For a gift idea that is credit crunch friendly and great for a football mad Dad check out Little Book of Football Legends by Graham Betts which is £6.29 from Amazon with free delivery available (but hurry because they are almost out of stock) or from http://www.debenhams.com/ for £5.00 plus delivery charges.






Cufflinks make for a great gift and there is a wide range of prices and styles available on the internet. A good site for lots of choice and very reasonably priced cufflinks is http://www.hotcufflinks.co.uk/. I like these novelty Rubic Cube style cufflinks which are bound to be a talking point at a black tie event.




I absolutely adore this cute Polka Dot Hearts Daddy 1/2 Pint Mug which is by Emma Bridgewater.
It is available from http://www.johnlewis.co.uk/ with free delivery within 5 days. In fact I love it so much I am going to order one now for my Dad (I hope he is not reading this!).

Roast of The Week

Brits love Sunday Roasts and that's especially true in my home county of Yorkshire where we are very fond of roast dinners with yummy yorkshire puddings.

We still crave our roast dinners even in the summer months and if the full works with roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings and gravy seems a bit too much to face on a hot day you can try serving it with salad instead. The left over meat is also great for salads throughout the week.

For the next few weeks Easily Sorted will be bringing you a "Roast of the Week", a recipe for a great tried and tested Sunday Roast.

Roast Leg of Lamb in Red Wine

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1.5kg leg of lamb, boned
2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
A few small sprigs of rosemary
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
50g unsalted butter
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme
300 ml red wine
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

Instructions:

Pre heat the oven to 220°C/ gas mark 7
Stab the lamb with the point of a sharp knife & push garlic slivers & rosemary into these holes.
Rub the skin with the oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the ginger.
Melt the butter in a roasting tin and quickly brown the lamb all over.
Remove from the tin and fry the onions and carrots until golden brown.
Put the sprigs of thyme on top of the vegetables and the meat on top.
Cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes.
Pour the wine over the lamb and reduce the heat to 180°C/ gas mark 4 and cook for a further 1 hour 45 mins, basting 2-3 times.
Remove the joint, strain the cooking juices and add the redcurrant jelly.
Boil until the liquid is reduced by a third. Remove any fat from the juices and season if necessary.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Why Size Zeros Are Not Fashion Heroes

This weekend the debate over size zeros in the fashion industry has been raging again with the release of a letter sent by the editor of Vogue to fashion houses all over the world. The letter complained that the samples that were sent out to magazines by designers were so small that they forced those magazines to hire so called size zero models for the photo shoots.

The phrase "size zero" has been bandied around the press for some time now. A size zero is a US women's clothing size, which is equal to a UK size four so the term can be misleading to the UK public.

There are various excuses used by designers for producing such small clothes. Many designers believe their clothes look better and have more impact on thinner models especially when on the catwalk. However another theory is that clothes designers see themselves not simply as the makers of clothes but as artists. They design their clothes on paper which is flat and when this is transformed into a garment they do not want to see that piece of art altered by the natural curves of a woman, so the more streamline the model the better. Smaller samples are also cheaper to produce as they require less material and therefore increase profit margins.

In an ITV1 documentary in 2007 called The Truth About Size Zero, Louise Rednapp drastically altered her diet to show what it took to become a size zero. Within 30 days she achieved her target but her oestrogen levels dropped to that of a post-menopausal woman. A low body mass affects fertility and can lead to osteoporosis.

Several models have died of anorexia related complications including model Ana Carolina Reston (pictured left) who died of kidney malfunction due to anorexia and bulimia and who was reported to have been living on a diet of only apples and tomatoes.

So are these size zero models fuelling women's weight obsession and leading to the spread of anorexia? While some young women do think the thinner the better there are also many who see the sight of Victoria Beckham at her skinniest as frightening.

In 2000 the British Medical Association (BMA) issued a report into eating disorders and said that it was likely that there was a link between underweight models and eating disorders in women and called for publishers to act more responsibly.

However it is very difficult to prove a link between images created by the fashion industry and the incidence of anorexia. Government figures released showed a rise in admissions to hospital for anorexia rise from 36 in 1996 to 1997 to 81 in 2006 to 2007. The reliability of these figures is questionable however as the figures do not represent the amount of people admitted to hospital, just the number of admissions and some people will have been admitted more than once. Statistics also show that the number of people with obesity is rising and the average waistline is growing year by year. Where these figures fit in with the size zero debate is unclear.

Following the release of the 2000 BMA report Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman was quoted by BBC news as saying "All we are doing is showing images of women we regard as interesting or beautiful or fashionable. But we are not actually saying you have to be like this."

What has led to her sudden turn around from regarding the images of very slim models as "interesting or beautiful or fashionable" to her current stance? Shulman has now admitted to asking photographers to airbrush photographs of models to make them appear fuller. However she is likely to be taking the stance of a business woman rather than a moral guider and may be reacting to a growing public opinion rather than her own wish to set a good example to her readers. One indicator of this can be found in her letter to the fashion houses published today in which she wrote "I am finding that the feedback from my readers and the general feeling in the UK is that people don't really want to see such thin girls either in editorial or advertising."

Whatever Shulman's motive her letter has made it into the headlines and may be a step towards healthier more natural models in the fashion industry.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Girl Geeks Rule

The computers and the internet have moved on a lot since the day that they were a haven for spotty teenagers and Aspie men. With online shopping and blogging the internet is as much for women as it is for men.

Twitter is becoming very popular with men and women alike, with more women than men on Twitter. However Twitter is still dominated by men according to the following statistics by Harvard Business Review:

1) Twittering men have 15 percent more followers than females.

2) An average man is almost twice as likely to follow another man than a woman.

3) An average woman is 25 percent more likely to follow a man than a woman.

4) An average man is 40 percent more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman.

So girls it is time to fight back and Easily Sorted is here to help. We've traweled the internet for the must-have girl geek stuff to help us keep up with the boys without losing our sense of style.

Since us busy girls like trying to do lots of things at once it is good to have a keyboard that can withstand a bit of make-up remover, nail varnish or a drop of red wine being spilt on it. Thankfully a durable waterproof keyboard is available from http://www.gadgetshop.com/ for £14.99 plus delivery costs. Pretty, pink and rolls up for easy storage. Great for use in the office or at home.



Get girlifying your PC even more with this cute Giften PC Kit which is £16.95 plus delivery from http://giftedgadgets.co.uk/.




While the Windows v Mac debate rages on, when it comes to being sexy the Mac wins handsdown. We love the Mac Book available at 2.13GHz with Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus, 2GB Memory, 128GB solid-state drive1 and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics . Favoured by creative types and matching function with style the Mac Book is slim, functional and great for the girl on the go. One advantage of a Mac over Windows is that with a Mac it is easier to multitask (one thing us girls are great at!) as a Mac maximises screens only to the size necessary to view the document, making it easier to switch between screens. The Mac Book Pro is available from £899 from http://store.apple.com/uk/ .


With a metallic finish, clean lines and soft edges, the BlackBerry Curve 8310 smartphone is described as the smallest and lightest BlackBerry smartphone ever to come with a full QWERTY keyboard. It will soon be available in the UK in gorgeous pink which means you can keep on top of your blogs and Twitter updates on the go while not losing your girl geek style.




Meet Mr Tengu, a USB-powered little fellow who lights up and lip-syncs to music, your voice or other noises around himself. He has different expression to different music and falls asleep when no sound is playing. Completely pointless but kinda cute this is available from http://www.tengutengutengu.com/ for £19.95 plus postage and packing. Much better behaved than any boyfriend and if he does get out of line all you need to do is pull out the USB cable and he is gone.

After a hard day working away you want to unwind at home and get some tunes on. What better way to listen to your Ipod that through these absolutely gorgeous speakers? The dimensions are Height: 25.0cm Width: 20.0cm Depth: 10.0cm Weight: 1.5Kg . You won't need to feel guilty about your latest handbag purchase if you buy these as they are only £9.99 plus delivery from http://www.gadgetshop.com/.

Things You Don't Want To Hear Your Boyfriend Say

1) "Can I borrow your eyeliner?"

2) "How much?!"

3) "Will you get a wax, you are giving me stubble rash?"

4) "Before I met you I had to pay for sex."

5) "We've been going out for 6 months now and I 've been doing a few calculations and think you owe me some money."(then gets out a very complicated spreadsheet).

6) "When it comes to engagement rings I say the cheaper the better, I mean it's only a ring."

7) "It's a good job you are quite pretty because your mates are really fit."

8) "I fancy your sister."

9) "I have started fantasising about men."

10) "Your armpits stink" (said very loudly in a busy restaurant).

11) "That roast dinner you made was alright but not as good as my Mum's."

12) "I'm sorry but you are going to have to move out. Your stuff is taking up far too much room in my bathroom cupboard."

13) "You're too pale" (followed the next week by "I hate fake tan it stinks").

14) "Gaz and Steve have booked to come to Paris with us on our weekend away. Don't worry they are only staying two nights so we'll have Sunday to ourselves."

15) "My ex-girlfriend was prettier/ thinner/ more successful than you."

16) "What do you mean I shouldn't have put colours in with a white wash?"

17) "I love my car/ job/ Xbox/ football team/ mates more than you."

18) "That was just my secretary, she wanted to talk about a letter I've asked her to send out on Monday" (at midnight on Saturday).

19) "I have had a few STI's but don't worry they have cleared up now."

20) "I am only after you for your money."

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Cutting The Cord

I was talking to a man recently who is a self confessed Mummy's boy. Mummy's Boy is married but his long suffering wife has now become a replacement for his mother. He left home at the age of 30 without a clue about how to look after himself. In order to try and wean him off her maternal care his mother placed a large hamper at the end of his bed. Instead of throwing his dirty clothes on the floor she created a new system whereby everything had to be placed in the hamper. This would be emptied periodically and replaced with freshly washed and ironed clothes which Mummy's Boy was then instructed to hang in his wardrobe.

Unfortunately this system was not successful with the hamper never being emptied by Mummy's Boy, leaving the mother to hang the clothes as before. He also never lifted a finger when it came to cleaning and tidying up and felt that tasks such as loading his plates into the dishwasher went above and beyond the call of duty.

The result: a very unhappy long suffering wife. Afraid of angering Mummy's Boy and not living up to the standards set by his mother the wife ended up cleaning up after Mummy's Boy, while holding down a good career and doing all of the housework, cooking, washing and ironing. The wife now has a dilemma- does she stand up to Mummy's Boy and try and wean him off his childish ways at the risk of tantrums, tears and the wrath of the mother-in-law, or does she carry on spoiling her nearest and dearest? Not really a recipe for a happy marriage.

Rising house prices, energy prices, debt levels and the cost of living throughout this decade followed by the unstable job market and economy has forced more and more young men to stay at home for longer.

At the same time many women of the naughties are career focussed with a third of university graduates likely to never have children. Although they may be contributing more to the household income, those who are dating or married to a Mummy's Boy find themselves doing most of the housework and generally cleaning up after and organising the life of their partner, in effect inadvertently having a child to look after. Those women with children have an even more impossible task.

While mother's naturally want to love and care for their child, too much nurturing of their sons especially into adulthood is creating a timebomb for future relationship problems.

Mmm Oreos...Mmm Cheesecake

I love this recipe for Oreo Cheesecake taken from The Sunday Times' Style Magazine:

Serves 12
For the base
250g Oreo cookies
50g unsalted butter, melted

For the topping
500g cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
100g golden caster sugar
200g sour cream
200g Oreo cookies

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Put your Oreo cookies into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin. Mix with the melted butter, then press firmly into a 20cm springform cake tin. Bake for 15 minutes, then leave to cool. Beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, egg yolks and sugar, add the soured cream and beat again. Crumble in the remaining Oreos and stir. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, then fold them carefully into the cheese mixture, making sure you don’t knock out the air. Pour over the cooled base, then bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. Don’t open the oven door, not even for a peek. Once the cooking time is up and the cake is golden brown, turn off the oven. Open the oven door and leave the cake to sit for a further hour.

Not sure about the "Serves 12" part though- I like to keep it all to myself :-)

Annoying Office Phrases


1) "The deadline is close of play" erm yes but it's called work for a reason.

2) "Can you just tee that up for me?" we're not playing golf.

3) "Let's touch base" oh so it's baseball now?

4) "Let's move the goal posts" enough with this sports talk- ok?

5) "With all due respects" in other words "I have no respect for you at all you idiot"

6) "To the best of my knowledge" i.e. I really have no idea whatsoever, haven't looked into it but couldn't care either way.

7) "It's on my desk in front of me, I'll get it out tonight"- I haven't got a clue what you are talking about but am sure it's in my in-tray somewhere. It may get done sometime in the next week or three.

8) "Let's do lunch" you eat lunch, you don't do it.

9) "We are looking at streamlining our business" ouch P45 is on its way.

10) "I have capacity" (in an email sent to whole department or just to boss)which means I have been sat surfing the internet and playing Solitaire for three days, am getting a bit bored but want to look keen.

Underwear Sales Indicate Recession Has Bottomed Out

Underwear sales are being used as indicator of the state of the economy.

Whereas women splash out on small treats and feel good boosts, men cut back on replacing their undies during a downturn. Now underwear sales reports indicate that the recession has bottomed out, as although men's underwear sales still have not picked up, they are no longer falling. Women's lingerie sales on the other hand are rising.

According to NPD in the US sales of men's underpants began to level off during February and March which economist Alan Greenspan says shows the economy is stabilizing

Meanwhile sales of women's underwear have grown and luxury lingerie company Agent Provocateur have reported a growth in sales of eight per cent since March 2008.

So if you want a quick indicator check the state of your underwear as it can reveal more than you may have thought.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

www.internetsalessore.....

While high street's all over the country continue to feel the pinch, internet shopping sales continue to sore for some of the most successful online shopping sites.

Asos based in Camden Town in London is largest online only UK fashion and beauty store. It has seen profits for the 12 months to 31 March 2009 increase by 104%.

Net-A-Porter which has exclusive designs with some of the top designers has reported a 234% rise in profits for the 12 months to January 2009.

The recession encourages more people to shop online as many chose to stay at home instead of going out, but they then treat themselves to items on the internet. It is much easier for consumers to compare prices online so they believe that they are getting a bargain and are therefore more likely to indulge. Research shows that more than half of consumers will review a product online, even if they then intend to go to the store to buy it.

Now collapsed retailer Woolworths is due to make a come back as an online store in an attempt to re-shape the business in accordance with current market trends.

Top retailers will be losing their market share if they fail to develop and market their websites to compete with the rising stars in online shopping.

Does your wardrobe need a little TLC?

Would you be embarrassed if someone peaked inside your wardrobe? Perhaps a little time put aside for organising our clothes and accessories would be time well spent.

A tidy and organised wardrobe will cut down the time it takes for you to get ready and will help you start the day looking great and with a positive approach.

Here are Easily Sorted's top tips to getting your wardrobe in shape:

1) Organise your clothes according to whether they are work, casual, holiday or going out. Make sure your work clothes are easily accessible to save last minutes panics in the morning.

2) Colour code so that if you are looking for that staple black cardigan you can find it quickly.

3) Clear our your wardrobe at least twice at year, ideally at the start of the Summer and the Winter. If you are short of space in your wardrobe consider storing out of season clothes out of the way. Wicker hampers can be bought cheaply and are great for storing clothes that you do not need immediate access to. If you have not warn something for 2 years consider getting rid of it and taking it to a local charity shop. Be ruthless!

4) Choose rails which suit your style of clothes. For example if you have a lot of evening dresses choose a wardrobe where you have some high rails, if you have a lot of T-Shirts or heavy jumpers which need to be folder make sure you have plenty of drawer space.

5) If you do not have enough suitable rails consider buying canvas ones which can add extra space at a low cost.

6) Shoes are notoriously difficult to keep tidy. Try see through shoe boxes. They are great for protecting your shoes and help you find that perfect pair easily. Canvas shoe hangers can also be useful although you may want the extra protection of a box for your favourite shoes.



Crocodile Bags


Luxury brand Hermes are breeding their own crocodiles to keep up with demand for their crocodile skin bags.

Hermes' crocodile bag was favoured by Grace Kelly and in the 1956s she was photographed with a bag which then became known as The Kelly Bag. Victoria Beckham is also a fan of the exclusive handbags.

The brand has a waiting list of several years for their crocodile bags. Chief executive Patrick Thomas told Reuters: "We are now breeding our own crocodiles on our own farms, mainly in Australia. The world is not full of crocodiles, except the stock exchange.

"We cannot face demand. We have massive over-demand. We are limited by our ability to train new craftsmen."

Boost for Affordable Fashion Store

UK high street retailer New Look has posted record results for trading at the start of 2009.

The shop is becoming a major player on the highstreet with its affordable fashion. It has posted results which show an increase of 10% in annual profits.

The retailer claims that 37% of of British women bought an item from one of its stores last year.

Recently New Look was awarded a Drapers Footwear Award for their range of shoes which have been commended for high quality at a low price.

Chief executive Carl McPhail said: “New Look’s strategy of focusing on providing our customers with great fashion at prices they can afford has served us well in the current environment and enabled us to report record results.

“We have increased market share in our core categories and continue to focus on the expansion of the New Look brand in the UK and abroad.

“2009 will be another challenging year for the consumer. However, I am confident that New Look is well equipped to face the challenges of the year ahead.”

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Credit Crunching Handbags

Handbag sales remain steady throughout the credit crunch.

Some retailers have even seen a rise in handbag sales. UK retailer Debenhams reported a rise in designer equivalent bags by what it has labelled "the recessionata."

"The birth of the recessionista is evidence that more and more customers are looking for good value, great design and clothing that’s built to last. Something that our trading figures released today back up and it’s also something that we are committed to continuing to deliver with our Spring/Summer 09 collections," said Michael Sharp, Debenham's deputy chief executive.

Well it seems that handbag sales are fighting back despite the recession and us ladies still desire to grow our handbag collection...... whatever the economic climate.

Time to Get It Sorted?


Whether you are a busy Mum, career girl, socialite or all of the above we'd all be lost without our handbags.

A recent survey by Kleenex has shown that Women carry up to 63 items in their handbags!

When asked whether the items carried were seen as useful 92% of the 1,300 women surveyed admitted that they weren't useful and 57% said they only used a handful of those items regularly.

The most useful items voted in the survey were:

1) Purse
2) Keys
3) Phone
4) Pack of tissues
5) Notebook and pen

So what about the other 59 items ladies? Perhaps it's time to get it sorted?