Rye, Me – the sassy edition

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There is a lot of sass in the air right now. Rye girl Laura Oakes has landed herself a nationwide interiors range. Take a trip to Penny Royal and you can spell your name in lights. Head to Smallhythe and see the dress that had to be so green, they covered it in beetlewings. It is so Emerald City Chic. Plus read about my pilgrimage to the town that inspired my column:  the camp, crystal encrusted town of Brentwood, Essex.

Now, before you read on, put this tune on to get you feeling sassy too.

TUNE OF THE WEEK
Meeting in the Ladies Room- Klymaxx
full of sassiness
full of sassiness
WHO’S HOT
Laura Oakes at Debenhams

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Laura with her new range
Laura with her new range

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Copper Rose Cushion £28
Copper Rose Cushion £28
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Rye gal and creator of vivid, dreamy montages, Laura Oakes has joined huge name designers by producing an exclusive interiors range for Debenhams. She has butterflies, flowers and jaguars tangled up in florals printed on cushions, mirrors and ornate boxes. Plus signature scented candles. Prices from only £10. Add some drama to your home with Laura’s designs. My favourite is her Copper Rose Cushion. Laura, who is one to adorn anything within her reach, plans to bring out her own range of personalised leather jackets in the near future. Laura, you’ve like . . . made it.

TO SEE
The Costumes of Ellen Terry. Smallhythe Place
Green beetlewings, the same used on the dress
Green beetle wings as used on the dress

Here’s one for anyone into fashion or making. My interest is actress Ellen’s famous iridescent green Beetlewing Dress. I’ve seen it. It’s sooo Emerald City Chic. Costume Designer Zoe Lloyd told me it inspired one of her costumes. The dress was worn by Ellen in 1888 for the part of Lady Macbeth. It’s creator described it as “Sewn all over with green beetle wings . . . Great Griffins embroidered in flame coloured tinsel, rubies and diamonds.” It happens on Monday May 18. Call 01580 762334.

TO BUY
Light up letters, Penny Royal, High Street, Rye
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Say it in lights

I spend unacceptable amounts of time hovering around the house, wondering what and what not to put on shelves. It’s beyond obsession. If I’m watching a film, I’m distracted by wishing the characters would move so I can see how their shelves are arranged. So I was relieved to see these letter lights in the card section of Penny Royal! Obviously the entire alphabet is available, plus the seemingly popular “&”  symbol. Thanks to this little light, my frustrating, year-long project of getting my shelves to look right is finished!

OUT OF TOWN
I did a self-guided Towie tour
Tides of Brentwood
Tides of Brentwood

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Typical Apprentice in Brentwood.
A typical Essex apprentice

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Paparazzi catch me at Sugarhut
Paparazzi catch me at Sugar Hut

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My inspiration for Rye Me was The Only Way is Essex a docu-soap, filmed in and around Brentwood. I’ve been a fan of the show since it began. I love its camp dramas and perfect hair and make-up. So, I finally made my pilgrimage, via Lakeside, to Brentwood, Essex. The High Street is a real mash up of glam and not so glam. There is an Iceland a few doors away from Tides, where crystal studded ornamental cheetahs crawl across giant, crushed velvet sofas under a ceiling dripping with chandeliers and you can buy crystal bananas for £7 each to put in your glittery, fake fruit bowl.

Brentwood’s nail bars and glam little cocktail bars are punctuated by the nine or so boutiques and salons owned by the stars of Towie. Gemma’s Boutique has a neon pink door with Diva splashed across it in big, crystal letters. She sells plus-sized dresses and industrial strength, candy scented perfume in neon plastic, high heel shaped bottles. The walls are hung with pink netting and bows and sexy, moody photos of Gemma. Two doors away from Amy Childs Salon is Brentwood Kitchen, the most stylish of the lot and best of all it has a kids’ play area with a dressing-up rail. But as a tourist, you can’t beat the authentic Essex feel of Sugar Hut or Suite 104 for a glass of fizz, listening to quiet club tunes under the twinkling chandeliers. If it sounds hideous to you, I say go as a voyeur. You can’t say Brentwood is boring.

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