Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Oldies but goodies...

Dress: Zara (old but buy similar from H&M here). Trainers: £70, Adidas at Asos. Backpack: Radley (old but buy new version here). Leather jacket: £295, Jigsaw. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell
It's hard to see bloggers on Instagram everyday in seemingly new clothes ALL the time. But the truth is, new product is new content and generally, if I blog about old clothes, readers get annoyed.

However, sometimes, some older classics are often the best and it's so nice to bring them out and re-style them again in a fresh approach. I wore this dress on a work shoot recently and got so many compliments it reignited my love for it. I love wearing it casually with trainers - it feels smart but also relaxed with its long sleeves (see recent post here for my love affair with sleeves). It was the first item I packed for our trip to Edinburgh this past weekend...




Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. Lipstick 'Bright Poppy': £21, Bobbi Brown
My husband booked a trip to Scotland for a surprise (belated) birthday treat to see the Military Tattoo, something I'd always wanted to see. It was magnificent, and we took some time to see a few Fringe plays whilst there as well. Sadly the weather was expectedly Scottish and after this day it rained for the entirety of our trip, so no blogging after this point!





I still love the feel of white sneakers, and Stan Smiths are still highly rated in my opinion (only pipped to the post in comfort by the Gant 'Alice' versions, which sadly I had to throw out as I wore them literally to their death), although my new Vans are also now a firm favourite.

The jacket, bought 2 years ago now, is still in stock at Jigsaw and is the best leather jacket on the High Street. The leather is butter soft and cost per wear is 100% worth it.




Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. Dress: Zara (old but buy similar from H&M here). Trainers: £70, Adidas at Asos. Backpack: Radley (old but buy new version here). Leather jacket: £295, Jigsaw. 
I know a lot of you bought this Zara dress the first time round, so I hope this inspires you to bring it out again! Or at least to wear your dresses a bit more, they can feel so much cooler and versatile when they're dressed down.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Beauty Sleep

Cashmere eye mask: £38, Boden. Extra soothing balm: £42, Bobbi Brown.  'Dozy Girl' teabags: £5.20, Bluebird Tea. 'After Dark' face oil: £48, Kiss The Moon. Beauty sleeping mask: £29.70, Shiseido. 'Dry remedy' hair oil: £21, Aveda. Brow strengthener oil: £18, Shavata. Pyjamas: £95, Desmond & Dempsey.  
The older I get, the more I crave sleep and enjoy a chance to throw on my comfy pyjamas, brew a cup of herbal, relaxing tea and climb on into those crisp white sheets...

And more and more recently, with talk of mindfulness and relaxation, I spent a lot of time preparing for sleep, making it the best I can to be ready for each day. My husband often laughs at me as my bedside table is more a beauty junkie's shrine these days but I love trying new products and seeing what works.



I am very lucky and occasional get sent beauty products by PRs to try (which becomes an expensive habit when you go to re-purchase!) but there are also many products that you can start on a more Frugal budget: I swear by chamomile tea, for example, and try not to drink caffeine in the evenings. My favourites are 'Dozy Girl' by Bluebird tea (an independent tea company based in Brighton), a wonderful mix of chamomile with lavender and rose, or Clipper's 'Calmer Chameleon'

Copper lamp: £30, Habitat. Marble table: £296 (for a set of two), West Elm.  Pillow spray: £25, This Works.  'After Dark' face oil: £48, Kiss The MoonBeauty sleeping mask: £29.70, Shiseido. Wild mint, watercress and thyme candle: £48, Rathbornes. Hydrating eye cream: £32.50, Bobbi Brown. Brow strengthener oil: £18, Shavata. Quartz: bought in India. Mug: £4.99, H&M (old but buy similar here). 'Calmer chameleon' teabag: £2.39 (for pack of 20 teabags), Clipper Tea 
It's also, obviously, important to keep your bedroom space calm...our loft conversion went a long way to helping my sleep be the best it can be but I also chose white, marble, grey and calming colours to surround me during sleep. We don't have a television upstairs either, so as soon as I go into our bedroom, I am ready to relax. 

I use oils to work on my skin, as night-time is the optimum time for your skin to renew and heal (after suffering from acne pretty much all of my adult life, I am quite diligent about it). A night oil is also good to put on your fingertips and inhale the calming aroma, too. I alternate oils with beauty masks, Origins have a good overnight one to reinvigorate dry skin and Shiseido's night cream is made specifically for 20s and 30s skin to help nourish as well as help you into a good night's sleep.

I also lather my dry, coloured hair with Aveda's 'Dry Remedy' to let it sink into the ends. Tt's one of the only times you'll get undisturbed treatment time, so make the most of it!
'The Sleep Revolution' by Arianna Huffington: £11.89, Amazon. Aromatherapy night-time blend oil: £9.70, Neal's Yard. Overnight moituriser: £14.88, La Roche-Posay. Pyjamas: £95, Desmond & Dempsey.  


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Tea-time

Dress: £38, Asos. Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. Sandals: £135 in the sale, LK Bennett. Tubular earrings: £20, French Connection. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell
I've never been one for a tea dress, they always felt too girly, too short, too low-cut and just not me. But I saw this frill sleeve shirt dress last week and thought 'this I could do'. The long sleeves are perfect for those like me who get a bit chilly as soon as the sun disappears behind a cloud for even a minute or two, and they make it feel less done and easier to wear. There's something underdressed I like about it, plus the colours are that little bit autumnal so will take me through the awkward warm September when we buy coats but can't actually wear them.








Yes, it's a little short but as I'm a total anomaly in the fact my legs are the first to tan and last to fade, I'm getting them out when I can. And it's in the fashion Highway code, if you're covered up top, go all out with the bottom half (or something like that). The earrings are my little nod to next season, I've been wearing the same H Samuel mini rose gold hoops everyday for the last 2 years and thought it was time for something new. The new styles are shoulder grazing and add a bit of oomph to even a t-shirt (plus the High Street have picked up on it big time, so a double yes from me). 





Dress: £38, Asos. Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. Sandals: £135 in the sale, LK BennettTubular earrings: £20, French Connection.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

10 items you can still buy in time for your holiday

Top: £125, Wonder & Weaver. Jeans:  M.i.h Jeans (old but buy similar from Asos here). Mules: £19.99, H&M (old but buy similar in black from New Look here)
So it's mid August and some of us haven't even been on holiday yet, but everything is already in the sale and people (like myself) are telling you to buy coats. Not cool.

I thought I'd put together a few items that are still summery that you can get in time for your holiday, or just those summery British days we're having. I'm actually off to Edinburgh this weekend (chances of wearing a peasant top: slim) and then Croatia in early September for a few days (chances of off shoulder tops: v high) and still looking for a few wow pieces to take with, so this has actually got me inspired!



1. Off shoulder gingham top: £16, TU at Sainsbury's

2. 'Chelsea' sunglasses: £67.50, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at The Outnet

3. Embroidered dress: £120, Whistles

4. Double horn ring: £29, Lucy Williams x Missoma

5. One shoulder swimsuit: £29.99, H&M

6. Leather card purse: £39, Skagen

7. Denim shorts: £28, Topshop

8. Victoriana eyelet blouse: £34.99, Gap

9. Suede espadrilles: £39.99, H&M

10. Clutch bag: £17.99, Mango

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

When it comes to investing...


...I don't really have the answer. There's no formula, like only buy expensive shoes or bag, because often the High Street will surprise you, as these Mango flats and Charles and Keith (online at £39) bag prove.

All I can say is sometimes I get a few more mid priced items from brands I love and trust: Bella Freud, Jigsaw, Whistles and one of my all-time favourites: Margaret Howell. And more importantly, MHL, which is the slightly more affordable store in Marylebone (and online).

Blazer: Next (old buy similar here).Vest: Next (old but Gap have some great stripe tees here). Chinos: £245, MHL Margaret HowellBag: £39, Charles & Keith.  Sandals: Mango (sold out but buy similar from Topshop in the sale here). Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell

I have a MHL chambray short from years ago I still get asked about, and I love her clean, minimal aesthetic (it's a London Fashion Week highlight for me). And it was time to get some 'proper' chinos. Or painters trousers, as they're referred to on the site. Everyday basic, airplane attire, call them what you will, they look effortless with a breton and pair of flats. I was told in store that Sarah Harris from Vogue swears by this particular pair and I'm sad to say, it probably cinched the deal for me.



The thing about an expensive piece is that it can hold together your more affordable 'everything else'. The blazer and top, both from Next at the beginning of the season feel far more expensive suddenly. And I'm always a yes for black and gold accessories. the bag isn't leather but feels and looks as though it was. Plus it fits far more than my Sophie Hulme bag ever could (which I recently sold on Vestiaire Collective in lieu of something more substantial).


Blazer: Next (old buy similar here).Vest: Next (old but Gap have some great stripe tees here). Chinos: £245, MHL Margaret HowellBag: £39, Charles & Keith.  Sandals: Mango (sold out but buy similar from Topshop in the sale here). Sunglasses: £98 with prescription lenses, Bailey Nelson. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

How to juggle a day job and a blog


What not all of my readers know is that I don't blog full-time. I am actually still a freelance stylist first and it's a part of my life and career that I love doing. When people ask why I'm so busy all the time (as if a blog wouldn't keep me busy anyway!) it's because I don't really have much downtime with my job, when I'm away on a week long styling shoot (those times when I'm instagramming from Barbados!) I have to get all my content scheduled ahead of time and I'm always rejigging my diary to squeeze in a shoot for a mag, or a stint at Conde Nast Traveller to work on a supplement, in between posts. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

That said, I'm aware that many of you also have jobs and a blog on the side - it's such a good outlet to have and share with others - and also more and more common with the rise of the 'portfolio career', it's no longer the case that people do just one thing anymore. So I thought I'd share some tips on how I manage, and a few tips from working friends too.

1. Set yourself limits. Everything with a limitation is good. As my blog was always a side project, I found having a niche really helped with my content (and workload). I was only going to blog about affordable fashion I loved, that way my extra content could only go so far and my workload was (somewhat) manageable.


2. Be strict with your schedule - factor in a time to do your work and stick to it. I always found if I wrote a to-do list of 5 things that were the most important to do that day, I was way more productive than with a long list of everything that needed to get done. But also, don't beat yourself up if you don't get everything done. We're only human, and it's okay to let life get in the way.


3. Use your job to your advantage - does it help your blog? Mine go hand in hand, which is also why I keep doing it. My day job inspires my blog and keeps my creativity ticking. And even with jobs which aren't necessarily connected give blogs an edge: my good friend Briony also works in politics and her intelligent political stance helps make her blog (which is pink, girly and glittery) so fascinating to read.




4. Balance up the odds - is a paid job more important? 9 out of 10 times I would take a styling job over working on my blog, as the money means I don't have to sell all my blog content as sponsored, which is what I love about my blog. It's always important to remember why you are doing both.

5. Be realistic. There are so many channels and platforms now, think logically about which ones you need. If it would kill you to do a blog everyday as well as 3 instagrams, snapchats and Facebook, don't do it. Many successful bloggers just have an Instagram accounts and then a blog supports it occasionally with content once a week (or often less!). I must admit, I became far less stressed when I lowered my instagram content to 1 post (sometimes 2) a day.



And here's some advice from some friends who juggle blogging around work:


Photograph: Anya Holdstock
Hannah Rochell is the founder of EnBrogue.com, InStyle fashion features editor and author of En Brogue and The Trainers Guide books:


"I think the main thing to remember when blogging and working full-time, is not to punish yourself. Make it achievable, or you'll stop enjoying both blogging AND working! There's only so much information your brain can store at one time, and only so much time to be creative. If you try and do too much the quality will suffer, and the first people to notice that will be your followers. I aim to do one blog post a week (unless I'm on holiday!) but I keep interest for my readers ticking over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the rest of the time."


Alice Shreeve and Hannah Coniam-Thompson are the designers and founders of fashion & bridal label Belle & Bunty, they also have a fantastic blog and instagram of the same name.

Photograph: Margarita Karenko
"They say variety is the spice of life and we tend to agree! We are lucky enough to run our own business together and blog at the same time which can get a little hectic at times but a top tip to stay on top of everything are apps to help you stay organised. We use Google Keep to note down everything we need to do and tick off as we go as well as use a shared online calendar app to help keep us both in sync and our diary coordinated. Both are so useful!"


Natasha Poliszczuk, Assistant Editor at Glamour and one half of fashion and lifestyle website Wear and Where (and follow on insta here).


"Time. Prepare to manage it (and accept that you will never have enough). I work 9 out of 10 evenings and, where I can, during my little boy’s naps. On the flip-side, this does make you extremely productive: having a limited timeframe means you get stuff done. 

Focus. It sounds a bit hippy-ish, but I try to be present in each role. When I’m at Glamour, my brain is completely in that space. When I’m writing a post/at an event/meeting for W&W, I’m wholly intent on that. When I’m with my children, I’m with them. Obviously, this is an ideal rather than an everyday reality - of course things overlap and distract - but it’s something I aim for. 

The late, great Nora Ephron famously wrote that ‘everything is copy’. True. I would also add: everything is a potential source of inspiration. By being out there, open, exposed to new people, ideas, brands etc, I think I deliver better ideas and a better experience for readers of both W&W and Glamour".  

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The plain pink tee...

Vintage wash tee, Gap (not online, instore, but buy other colours here). Denim skirt: £36, Urban Outfitters. Sandals: £42, Topshop. Sunglasses: £28 in the sale, Le Specs at Very Exclusive. Hat: £30, Asos. Bag: bought in Nerja. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell
FYI: next season Gap is amazing. The perfect pea coat, great denim shapes and dreamy knitwear. But I'm still dwelling on the instore now basics - all hail the classic tee. 

What with the return of the 90s (yes, denim skirts have been this summer's essential and I've been loving it), the classic crew-neck tee has turned into a real outfit maker. 


Really, I want a wardrobe full of Re/Done's twist on the classic Hanes tee but at $78 it's not going to happen. So, as always, Gap comes to the rescue with its classic vintage wash tees - and this one in the sale at £5.99! 


I went for one in pale pink, as let's face it, it's a colour that's not going anywhere for the season ahead and thought it was a nice change to classic white and it's such a subtle wash that it makes you look twice. Girly for the non-committals...






And if there's one thing we've learnt from streetstyle this season? It's that a t-shirt is your wardrobe's new best friend - how to wear that 90s non-forgiving slip dress? Give that summer dress a little more leverage? Wear over a classic tee.

If, like me, stripes are always your thing, Gap have a really strong selection at the moment. I've always been a J Crew girl for tees but these might be a new contender.




Vintage wash tee, Gap (not online, instore, but buy other colours here). Denim skirt: £36, Urban Outfitters. Sandals: £42, Topshop. Hat: £30, Asos.
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