How to throw a Gatsby Party on a Student Budget

For my 19th birthday earlier this year I decided to have a party at my University Halls to celebrate finally turning 19 as well as the impending start of the summer break. I also decided that I wanted to have a theme - The Great Gatsby (one of my favourite films). The only problem was, I was quite limited budget-wise and felt that it would be a challenge to replicate the opulence of Jay Gatsby's soiree's when there was no chandelier, waiting staff or caviar. However, I took this challenge and now have a few pointers on how to achieve a Gatsby party that's sophisticated, people-pleasing and affordable.

Step 1: Create a Facebook event about a month in advance so that everyone clears their diaries for that date. It's also good to get an idea of numbers relatively quickly. Be realistic about how many you can invite, baring in mind the space you have available and your budget for drinks.

Step 2: Decide whether you're going BYOB or providing drinks. I went with the attitude of 'I'm making a few cocktails but it might be best if you bring something too'. There's never such a problem of too many drinks. If you're making them yourself, I'd recommend a jug of Pimm's and a jug of a fruity cocktail. (I used this recipe, which went down VERY well. The brandy was substituted for Archer's Schnapps http:/ )

Step 3: Tell your guests to dress up, the more 20s the more fun! Everyone loves a fancy dress party. 

Step 4: Little snacks such as pretzels and cupcakes are a really cheap way to serve with the cocktails without taking the effort to make canapés - who has the time!?

Step 5: Make a Gatsby playlist. Mine included the catchy songs of the film soundtrack and a few chart songs that fit the Gatbsy tone. 

Step 6: Decorate the area! Silver bunting and a few Gatsby posters can make an incredible difference - enlist the help of fellow flatmates and it's not a hard job. My bunting was left there for a week because it looked that good. (Plus, effort to take it down)

Hope this helped and provided some inspiration for throwing a fancy party without the scary price tag.


A/W Essentials

Since September is nearly upon us, I thought it would be fun to create an Autumn Winter 2014 Essentials Collection - all from the UK High Street. As I'm on a student budget, all pieces are wearable with other clothes I already own, making these items very versatile. Luckily I'm drawn to items that are classic and timeless so I'm not too affected by short-lived trends. Additionally, I always think - What would Audrey Wear? Her style certainly doesn't date.

This post is all about building a capsule A/W wardrobe that won't require another student loan and epitomizes cold weather chic.

1. Black Chelsea Boots

An essential for work / sixth form / University. I lived in mine last year and they can be styled up or down, depending on the occasion. My favourite way to wear them is with a skater dress, black opaque tights and a woolly knit. My pick here is from Topshop - Month Chelsea Boots, £45, however I recommend Clarks if you're looking for something more long-lasting.

2. Printed Scarf

Image 2 of CHECKED SCARF from Zara Nothing says Autumn quite like a warm printed scarf. Whether it be winter florals, houndstooth or simple stripes, the bolder the better! I'll be teaming my tartan scarf with a black leather jacket, a plain white T-shirt and - of course - my Chelsea Boots. This one is from Zara - £19.99 - but New Look stock ones just as bold.

3. The Statement Coat / Jacket

This Miss Selfridge Duster Jacket is the perfect transitional piece from the end of the UK 'Summer' going into Autumn. It's not quite a coat but it's more weather-resistant than your typical cardigan. It could also be worn under a coat in the Winter. At £35 I think I may be tempted to invest in this soon..

4. The Blazer

Sticking with the theme of jackets, no A/W wardrobe would be complete without a structured blazer. This wine-coloured piece from New Look is a great buy at £27.99 and I wouldn't be surprised if it's earned it's way into my wardrobe. I can see myself wearing this on days at University when I want to look sophisticated but not too corporate. Audrey would have LOVED this.

5. The Slogan Tee

In the past few months, Zara have released a selection of beautiful T-Shirts and this has to be one of my favourites. It's so Audrey. It screams 'stylish', 'elegant' and 'classic monochrome'. And at £12.99 it's not going to break the bank. 

6. The Pastel Knit 

Pastel isn't going anywhere this season and this cute jumper would look perfect with a white collared blouse underneath - the ideal layering piece! For me, it would definitely be a lecture outfit due to it's ultimate comfort and cosiness. It's £25 from River Island.

Hope this was useful! Happy shopping


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Starting University - SOS

For those of you in the UK lucky enough to be going to University for the first time in September, it may seem like a huge step to finally move out of the family home and become independent. And it is - a step bigger for some than others. But one thing that gets Freshers the most frazzled is the thought of those first few days settling into a new 'home' and making new friends. This was me one year ago. And this blog post is all about a few pieces of advice I would give to a 2014 Fresher, or myself circa. 2013.

-Pack your favourite alcoholic drink with you to use at pre-drinks (if you drink, obviously); even if you don't intend to drink or go out on the first night, it always helps to be prepared. If you hit it off with your hall mates, it's a great ice-breaker to hit the University SU together. Try not to spend your first night arranging your fab new room, like I did - with Audrey posters, of course.

-Get with the Fresher's Programme. Buy tickets in advance to the SU events as spontaneous nights out do often occur and tickets often sell out on the night.

-As much as it can be a lot to take in, try and use the communal areas of halls as much as possible, especially in the first few days. Chances are you'll find someone like-minded and have someone to walk to lectures with.

-You'll regret missing lectures later, but if you absolutely cannot leave halls in a fit state during Freshers Week, look for online lectures and pray that one of your fellow course mates is kind enough to lend you their notes. I personally was more of a determined spirit and was blessed with the beautiful gift of very few 9ams.

-Join a society. Whether it be salsa, swimming or spanish society, it's the best way to meet new people and try new things. Or simply to bond with your hall mates and have a laugh. I tried a few things but the most memorable experience was Fencing. A bit over-hyped, I think. Plus I was awful at it.

-You won't get on with everyone. It doesn't mean you're not incredibly fantastic and likeable, it's just life. But you will most definitely meet people that will form part of hilarious anecdotes and stories. Which will score you humour points in the future. 

Obviously every University experience is different and I would wholeheartedly say the best advice is to just completely immerse yourself in University life and enjoy it. And also not to leave referencing essays until the night before (I'll probably never break this terrible habit).

Hope this was helpful,


<<< My first day!

My New Project

Hi there and welcome to my blog, The Modern Audrey! I've wanted to start my own blog for a long time and after much consideration and suddenly thinking 'Why not?', I'm here now writing my very first blog post. It definitely feels weird but I think it's the right time for me to start something new and exciting. 

First thing's first, an introduction, my name's Melissa and I'm a nineteen year old student living in Warwickshire. I'm about to start my second year at University (panic starts now). The name of my blog was inspired by my obsession with the beautiful Audrey Hepburn, who features on many of the walls in my bedroom as well as my DVD collection. I named my blog 'The Modern Audrey' not because I compare myself to her - I am a blonde after all - but because I identify with the way she presented herself and the values she stood by. I also LOVE her sense of style. 

I have many ideas for 'The Modern Audrey' and I hope you enjoy my journey into the blogging world!