Yucky Duck Fashion

Yucky Duck Fashion

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happier New Year!

The blogsphere seems to be a-wash with end of year blog reviews, hatin' on New Years Eve and posts of outfits past today so instead of producing a morbid whining collection of all the highs and lows of the latter year, I'm just going to keep it short and sweet instead! I openly admit that I am a fan of New Year's Eve. And while movies of the name-sake build up the occasion for singletons for that 12am grab, I take New Year's for exactly what it is, just another night out. Now with the turn of January, I have been busy obsessing over my birthday celebrations (both blog and personal) that it white-washed tonight's attire planning. As i trawled through older photos on Instagram today, I came across these past pictures taken for Xpose Magazine in last month's issue that had not yet made the blog cut. 

I just love a good power suit, and this Kooples one never fails to disappoint. Opting for ankle boots instead of on-trend bikers (which personally I think look like wellies on anyone over a UK5) this New Year's will be spent celebrating with a sneaky flash of leg and not on the balls of my feet (for once!). As I search for a birthday outfit in the coming weeks, I could not resist giving this House of Holland blue suit a shout-out with it's embellished cocktail glass design and tailored cut. Maybe not for your next job interview (which would likely scream 'drink problem' to your future employer) but with it being reduced in the sale, definitely would prove fun and also highly inappropriate for attendance at funerals. Perhaps start with the trousers and go from there.

Pic: mybeautifuldressing.com

Wishing all my Yuck Duck followers a Happier New Year & best wishes for 2014, and don't forget to spend tonight with the ones you love (instead of with the ones you hope might one day care for you).

Until next year Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Friday, 27 December 2013

ScherzingHair Wrap Party - London

Ben Cooke & I
James & I <3

Little did I suspect that when their marketing manager mentioned the potential of 'future work' with Herbal Essences that I would be whisked off on a plane back to London city less than two weeks later. My boyfriend and I once again packed our bags and flew off to London Heathrow, to embark on an all expenses paid adventure which I will probably never experience the likes again in my life (I said that last time and look what happened so here's hoping!). 

There our driver gave us a sightseeing tour through the city as he whisked us through central London to our hotel. This hotel, which we spent five minutes circling the block to try and find had no signage or big entrance. It wasn't until we headed to the party later that we realised what a big deal this place was, as the CEO of Herbal Essence had gotten us accommodation in the uber exclusive ShoreDitch House, a members only club with a swimming pool on the roof and a charge price list as long as your arm should you be tempted to take 'memorbilia' from your room. Even the pictures of 'no photographs' or 'no mobile phones or suits' signs or when there was a different exclusive facility on each floor, hairdressers, restaurant, gym, spa, we were still none the wiser of the awesomeness we had privilege to enjoy. Think of it like Dublin's 'Vintage Cocktail Club' and a mix of a hidden world of the likes of Harry Potter and THAT is Shore Ditch House. 

After dinner, James had orders to make his way to Selfridges to pick up the pair of Sophia Webster shoes I had regrettably left behind the week previous. The poor lad had never commuted around London on the tube before as he attempted to jump from tube to tube from the suburbs and make it back in time for seven o'clock for the party. In a race against time, (and a sprint down Oxford Street) Cinderella (me) did manage to get those magic blue slipper heels in time for the ball. Woo woo woo! Thanks James! I on the other hand, was picked up and made my way to Brick Lane where my hair was styled by Ben Cooke's team and my make up was done. 

The party was full of bloggers, journalists, pr, advertisers as we celebrated the end of the 'Scherzinghair' campaign. As I got the chance to mingle with some of those responsible for the whole campaign's production, I also made full use of the fun facilities on the night such as the instaglam bottle cover girl pop-up as well as James prising me away from the photo machine. Making the most of the free bar, I apologise for my 'glazey eyes' in my photos and also had a lot of giggles with our Nicole Scherzinger masks as we watched the X Factor final on a big screen. Guests were treated to mini hair and make-up makeovers on the night as well as fancy canapes and meet and greet with celebrity hairstylist Ben Cooke. 

The next day, James and I strolled around Brick Lane, before being picked up to fly home. There are so many people I want to thank for just being amazing in making this trip so enjoyable and memorable. Jo, Sarah, Catherine, Janette, all at Herbal, Talk, Shoreditch, and everyone else who looked after us so well I am just forever grateful for the opportunity and pleasure of meeting all of you. If you haven't already seen it, be sure to pick up the newest copy of HEAT magazine to see my full shoot and editorial. 

Finally, a BIG THANK YOU to the girls at The Ivory Closet for sponsoring my dress for the event. How gorgeous is this Clover Canyon dress which is a dinger for a Mary Katrantzou or Peter Pilotto. I, being a 'print magpie' LOVED this figure flattering dress with the brand coming in a various styles and sizes. Be sure to check out The Ivory Closet Limerick's Facebook page and you can avail of their courier facility regardless where you are in Ireland. I have previously rented and purchased from this business and can not recommend them enough for customer service and efficiency. 

Next post will be a full feature on my Heat Magazine shoot with Herbal Essences,
Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Happiest of Holidays

Christmas has become extra special in subsequent years as siblings flew in from afar, meaning it is the only day of the year we of seven are in the same room together. Cheating at Cluedo, fighting over the chocolate Rose tin and sometimes resembling a scene from 'Eastenders' is what our household is all about. This year I once again worked in retail over the holiday period, with a few surprise trips to London thrown in for good measure too! It meant, however long days of work to bed and bed to work, with little time to spend on sharing my news from my recent trip to London and my Herbal Essence shoot details, all of which I will catch up on over the forthcoming days.

There have been low points to this year, but the news and experiences over the last month have wiped away the pain and hardness that 2013 brought and I am delighted to announce that next month I will start an internship in January and move to Kilkenny in the coming weeks. This, along with the prospect of future work with Herbal Essence means 2014 will start with a bang!

Despite trying to cut back this festive season, I have been spoilt with gifts of Orla Kiely, Lulu Guinness and of course this absolutely AMAZING Charlotte Olympia Popcorn bag from my super vigilant boyfriend. I had to have this gingerbread man Christmas jumper which I spotted in Topshop Oxford Street, and today I finally got the chance to wear my Joanne Hynes for Pretty Polly love heart tights. That along, with my Jones and Jones gold skirt, Irregular Choice kitty boots and this 'amazing' necklace from Topshop completed a fun and festive look for the day that was in it.

Unfortunately, I wasn't brave enough to wear the skirt to mass! I'm off for second helpings of dessert!
Hope all of you have a peaceful and happy Christmas and that you were all on Santa's nice list. 

Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Meeting Nicole Scherzinger - A Herbal Essence Fairytale Story

The money shot

 Celebrity hairdresser & #ScherzingHair preliminary round judge Ben Cooke


It was nearly three weeks ago now, where this fairytale begins. Our 21st century heroine, was lying in bed and heard a *ping* from her IPhone. Not another spam email she thought, rolled over and thought no more. It wasn't until later that morning that she came face to face with the first line of an email sent from the Herbal Essence marketing manager: "Hi Vera, congratulations, this is to let you know that you have been voted the winner of the Herbal Essences #ScherzingHair competition." Well it's fair to say I nearly died with shock. So convinced I would not win, I decided to scrap the long-term balayage for a much healthier natural brown hues a month previous. 

After littering social media with status', I engaged in a serious of interchanging messages between their PR regarding arranging my prize itinerary. I flew to London less than 10 days later with my boyfriend for an all expense paid trip to shoot with Heat Magazine with celebrity photographer Alex James.

The issue itself is out on the 17th of December, and I will write a separate post with behind the scenes photos and all the details as I have to keep certain elements top secret until then. After shooting, we were whisked away to lunch at Cafe Anglais. Tired but still in an overwhelmed mood, we were asked to return to the studio later that evening for a press event. There I met with some of the UK's contemporary female press powerhouses. It was there I was introduced to Nicole Scherzinger, Herbal Essence Ambassador as she relaunched the Herbal 'classics' collection. 

For the next part I am going to answer some of the questions I received about her since arriving home. Yes she is just as amazingly beautiful in the flesh, if not a little unnecessarily heavy on the make up. She is around 5ft 5-6ish and likes to throw her arm around your shoulder to make you bend down to make you shorter. No really, she did cleverly do that and I remain slightly hunched in certain pictures. We spoke about the #ScherzingHair competition, how excited she was to meet me and how beautiful my hair was after running her fingers through it (I can envision my male readers getting a bit too excited now so I better bring this back to family friendly). We spoke about her time in London, as we sipped Cosmo cocktails, then preceded to take far too many photos including my favourite selfie picture. Obviously I did not wear any false tan for my magazine shoot, so when I saw that I looked like nothing other than an Irish albino next to her, I annoyingly asked her to retake photos with my jacket on to wish she replied that she wished she had beautiful pale Irish skin (lies). 

Overall, I found her to be amazingly polite, professional and so friendly. She had great time for everyone as she moved around the room to entertain all present despite having arrived at the studio 13 hours previous for an all day shoot. I will also delighted to meet celebrity hairdresser Ben Cooke, of whom I thanked for sending me in to the top ten of the hair competition. Ben is also Nicole's personal hairstylist and is responsible for many of her hairstyles every week on the XFactor. After leaving the event, to which I can now announce that I was asked if I was interested to doing future work with the hair company (to my delight and shock), myself and James ended up back in our hotel room, with me passed out from exhaustion and him helping himself to our complimentary bottle of champagne from Heat. 

Since arriving home, I have been in contact with the Herbal Essence marketing manager and I am thrilled to say that the #ScherzingHair journey does not end here! I have been invited back to be both a guest of honour and brand representative to address the press at a special Herbal Essence party at Brick Lane in London this Sunday, all expenses paid once again. Both myself and my boyfriend will be packing our bags again and jetting off for part two of this amazing experience. I would like to thank all the girls at Talk PR, Herbal, Heat, Sunbeam, Superdrug and Black Tomato Agency for all their help and planning. This has been one of the best experiences of my life to which I owe too many people to name. I would like also to thank all my followers who voted and who have been so supportive to both Yucky Duck and Vera McGrath since this whirlwind opportunity had come to light. I am beyond grateful for all your 'likes' shares, and comments and will definitely be posting full time again post Christmas mania. 

I will be tweeting live from the event on Sunday so be sure to follow me on Twitter here to keep up to date on all news from the night!

Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Thursday, 17 October 2013

You're so WOW!

I had been lusting after this pop-art Markus Lupfer 'WOW' jumper since Penneys released their knock-offs last Winter and was delighted when I picked one up from eBay for €50 this month (RRP €400) from a UK seller (similar here). I am a big fan of red, and the hand crafted speech bubble is made of french knots (a whole load of little balls glued on in other words). My wax pleather jeans arrived today from Irish online clothing company IClothing and I picked them out of a voucher I received. I'm loving the double zip detail on the hips and ankles but bare in mind that I'm just hitting 5ft 8" in height before you purchase! I picked up the very on-trend cut-out boots a few weeks back from Penneys / Primark for €22 (similiar here) as well as this gorgeous black fedora for €8 (similar here). Winning.

Today I went for a €6 curly blow dry in the City Wax sister hair salon 'Dollhouse'. I had previously been there for an upstyle earlier this year (of which I subsequently took down after I left) so this really was last chance salon for them. The trainee stylist herself was so lovely but totally overwhelmed by the work and effort it takes to style my hair. I had pre-warned the secretary of my thick long mane when booking to ensure that the trainee was aware of what she was getting herself in for but alas no help aided her by splitting the workload.

Once we went over the two hour mark, I felt weak, bum-numbed and even Prince Harry staring back at me from the cover of Hello! magazine couldn't keep my spirits up. When I complained earlier this year about the upstyle I praised the stylist for doing the best she could within her abilities but slated the management for not providing adequate guidance and a helping pair of hands to get the job done efficiently. Today was the same scenario, 9 months on. In the past I have had people make excuses to my face blaming my hair type or length, but in a world of hair lusting and every second person having a head full of extensions, long hair blow-drying really should not be a big deal anymore. A blow-dry should not take 2 hours and 50 minutes. Period.

What do you guys think of my blow-dry? Was it worth the wait? Let me know!
Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

(Please note the longest I have ever sat in a hairdressers chair is 5.5 hours)

Monday, 14 October 2013

70's Skirts & Vintage Flirts

With designer Samantha Kennedy

Last Saturday night I attended the penultimate show of fashion week for 2013 organised by Le Chat Noir Vintage Events which saw a vintage fashion show take place in an old derelict Protestant church north of the river in Cork City. The whole experience was more of a 'lesson' for me as beautiful pieces and trends of the times from the thirties to the eighties were showcased. I have been a self confessed vintage snob in the past as I always felt that the price-point of non-designer vintage gems were often just too high. Lately however, I have picked up a few pieces online and in vintage stores, as I found I have finally bought into the potential character of the piece as well as the decade it originated from.

If I could go back to any of the previous fashion decades it would definitely be the 70's due to my love for long unruly hair, full floor-grazing maxi skirts, floral crowns and Volkswagen camper vans. My outfit for the night was unintentionally seventies inspired as an underground world of vintage lovers gathering amongst the candle lit church each demonstrating different decades of fabulous fashion. I had been gifted the beautiful full floor satin skirt by Samantha Kennedy from one of her previous collections, accessorised by my red metallic Lulu Guinness Lips clutch and my new letter 'V' necklace from Topshop. With the high waist nature of the skirt I opted for a mesh nineties long sleeve crop top available from Asos here. The night was truly enjoyable, a huge congrats is in order to the organiser and vintage boutique owners for putting on such a magnificent show.

In other news, I announced on my Facebook page that I have made the FINAL 10 of the Herbal Essences 'most naturally beautiful hair' competition! I can not believe it, I am so grateful and shocked! I would be so appreciative for your vote to be crowned the winner and have the opportunity to appear in a UK hair magazine campaign as well as all the other goodies! Please take 30 seconds to vote for me HERE.

Tomorrow night I am off to the Brown Thomas Autumn / Winter event so keep an eye on my Twitter for snaps from that!
Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

When Emerald Irish Eyes are Smiling - CFW

Pic: Dermot Fitzgerald

Pic: Dermot Fitzgerald

Last Saturday night saw the opening of Cork Fashion Week 2013, with the Irish designer of the year showcase taking place in Triskel Christchurch in the heart of the city. I had been particularly excited about this years events due to my collaboration with Lulu Guinness and her 'Day In The Eye Of' campaign, of which I received an eye purse from her new collection from her UK PR team. I had chosen the emerald eye, not only due to it's stereotypical connection to Ireland but due to the shading of my own peepers and is available to purchase here

It was so important for me personally to wear an Irish designer to the events of the week and I was delighted when Kerry Designer; Colin Horgan sent me a piece from his forthcoming Spring-Summer '14 collection. This stunning two-piece dress, aptly named 'AJ' is made from 100% silk organza, with patent white leather pieces and orange coated rubber. As heart-broken as I was to return it, the dress is now available to buy at colinhorgan.com for €800. 

The two big winners on the night were Eileen Healy of OH Designs for the millinery award for her 'candy' inspired collection, and Deirdre Collins who won the overall design award for 'Falling Gaelach'. I had previously tipped Deirdre as a bright star in the future of Irish fashion a few months back here and I am delighted that her talent is being recognised. 

Thank you again to Lulu and Colin for kitting me out in style for the night and photographers Dermot Fitzgerald and Gary McShane for sending on some snaps of me at event after a camera malfunction! Next up I will be wearing a piece from one of my favourite designers Samantha Kennedy for the closing day of fashion week. For those of you asking about my post-show outfit, I will put up a separate post on Thursday with all the details.

With designer Samantha Kennedy

Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx