Thursday, 3 September 2015

The three second rule

Dress: £39.99, Zara. Belt (so old, I don't even remember where it's from!). Bag: Anya Hindmarch (old). Sandals: Dune (old)
When trying on clothes, I have a three second rule. If I don't love it within those seconds and see a multitude of outfits I can incorporate the piece into within the time it takes me to take it off again, I don't buy it. 

But sometimes, it does take me a little longer...but there is something in me that knows it can work. The exact thing happened with this dress, I bought it in a rush whilst shooting in town and when I tried it on at home in my slippers and wearing no make-up - it just didn't look chic. It's a funny length that screams heels and the waist needed some 'cinching' to say the least. The super high neck made me feel claustrophic and I looked like a Grandma (and not in a good way).

But yet, I didn't take it back...

But the reason it looks like nothing in my wardrobe was the selling point for me. I feel grown-up, but in the best possible way - I knew I had some old rhinestone heels tucked away in my wardrobe somewhere to add the right amount of 'bling', and with a small bag (that carries nothing) and a splash of a red lip - the dress came into its own.

A ladylike dress is a key style for A/W, as are winter florals, and long sleeves are a bonus for me. Great for after work chicness:

Dress, £55, Topshop

I hate having too much flesh on show in the winter and the sleeves make it feel less 'dressy'. But how do you wear it if you are a tomboy at heart? Well, I tried that too.

Dress: £39.99, Zara. Denim jacket: J Crew (old but buy similar from Asos here). Trainers: £65, Adidas. Bag: Anya Hindmarch (old)
Despite its midi length, it actually looks good with trainers - and that's a winning combo for me. The lip is also my new beauty secret - a £5 chubby stick from Accessorize - it's a much more punchy orangey/red than others and it suits my skintone more than most. It's really moisturising too - £5 was never better spent!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Grasping onto the last of summer...

Top: £55, Atterley. Shorts: And Other Stories (sold out). Diamond necklace: £150, Laura Lee jewellery
That's it, folks. Summer has gone for another year - I will no longer be serving you kaftans and off the shoulder tops as style advice but will swaying towards heavy duty knitwear, cashmere and coats. 

But let's grasp onto one last summer hit, before we leave backlit beer gardens and easy-packing capsule wardrobes for another six months. I have booked to go back to Nerja for a week in October (I'll have been on a big week long styling job and then Paris Fashion Week so will need the break) and bought 2 items. Just 2...because we never know what the weather may bring and also, believe it or not, I'm on a bit of a spending curfew.

Exhibit A - never let the fact that you already have too many kaftans stand in the way of having the perfect one in your life. I love the blues, the stripes, the embroidery. It's the one.

Top: £55, Atterley. Diamond necklace: £150, Laura Lee jewellery
Exhibit 2 - the dream dress. Holidays are made for 'peacocking', and i had to have one new thing for my trip. It reminds me of the brand I'm currently obsessed with - 'The Jet Set Diaries', and makes me a teensy bit happier when I look in my wardrobe, as opposed to currently looking outside my window into the bleak, grey skies. 

Dress: £65, Topshop

So that's a wrap now, no more S/S buys until next year. So long, summer.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

6 websites that *could* save you money

*but might make you spend more...

Dress: Cecilie Copenhagen at Vestiaire Collective. Sandals: Next (sold out but buy similar from River Island here)
1. Vestiaire Collective

My number one site at the moment for getting those designer pieces for less. The great thing about the site is it's not just great for the power player brands like Gucci, Celine and Chanel - its sellers and buyers are super savvy so you're likely to find brands just n the radar too. Like this Cecilie Copenhagen dress - I managed to pick this dress up for £95 - almost half of its original price on the Cecilie Copenhagen website. 

2. Curate Sales

An invitation only website, set up by a group of fashion industry experts (with a wealth of events, sales and communication backgrounds) to be on the list for shopping events with discounted clothes (around 70% off) from top designers - including Victoria Beckham. The difference here is that the sales will be beautifully merchandised, and with different sizes available. They will be also be held across key shopping cities, not just London, the next one in fact will be held in Manchester with Paige Denim along with other brands. 

3. Shoeaholics

Basically, discounted footwear - but from great brands like Kurt Geiger, Ugg and Hunter. A great place to get your classic boots from for the winter ahead. 

Leather boots were £160, now £49, KG Kurt Geiger at Shoeholics
4. Sample Sale Guide

This website is more functional than chic. But it does exactly what it says - search by location or date for all the sample sale info - upcoming London ones to know are Crumpet Cashmere, Alex Monroe and Temperley.

5. The Wardrobe Gallery

Not your typical sales website, this one specialises in Independent designers and selling their past season collections. So expect more up and coming brands like Ellie Lines (a stylist I used to lend to back in my PR days), thus championing and supporting new talent at the same time (and they are offering free shipping with the code FRUGALITYSHIPPING until 30th September 2015). 

6. Vente-Privee

I'm not going to lie, I'm not a big fan of sites you have to sign up to even before you've seen what it's about (Achica, Brand Alley, Secret Sales etc) - but Vente Privee pretty much invented the 'Flash Sale'. With previous connections with Parisian brands such as Maje and Longchamp, you get invited to a sale which lasts for roughly 48 hours - get it before it goes! Of all of these sites, this one is worth checking out.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Road-testing denim (literally)

Leather jacket: £295, JigsawDenim frayed hem top: £17.99, New Look. Denim A-Line skirt: £19.99, New Look. Flats: Jimmy Choo (sold out but buy very similar from Boden here). 'Bixby' bicycle: Shinola
Last week, we managed to time this shoot with the one single day of sunshine. Although the temperature is chilling down, it's still warm enough for A-Line skirts and no tights, thankfully.

Denim frayed hem top: £17.99, New Look. Denim A-Line skirt: £19.99, New Look'Bixby' bicycle: Shinola
When New Look asked me to 'Road-test' their new denim range, I knew I wanted to show something a little different to the classic skinny ripped jeans (which obviously they sell here, as well). I've been wearing a lot more denim pieces outside of the classic jean realm - A-Line skirts, culottes, thought I'd show you the new denim range with a slightly different angle. 


I'm not sure I'll ever get bored of dungarees - one piece that instantly makes you feel cool and pulled together. Wear with a pair of kick-ass heels to feel a bit more grown-up (I often wear with trainers which I love, but never feel 'polished').

Top: New Look (old). Denim dungarees: £26.99, New Look. Sandals: Jimmy Choo (old)


I already have a lot of New Look pieces in my wardrobe (from mainly recent trips to be honest - it's so good at the minute!), so mixed this frayed denim tee with my own skirt (frayed denim has been around for a while now but it's an ongoing thing). I love how frayed doesn't necessarily mean grungey, now. 

And double denim? Who cares - denim is having such a moment I don't think I'd even look out of place with a denim jacket thrown over my shoulders, as well (but I stuck to leather, for my sanity). I think the fact that they're different grains of denim actually works better so the look isn't too matchy matchy.

Now, I don't know what possessed me to borrow a bike for this post, maybe it was because it was so pretty...who am I kidding, that was the exact reason. Short skirt and a bike? A recipe for disaster, really. But we had fun riding round the park anyway, it has been a while since I have ridden a bike around the city and it is such a nice way to see things. I always hire a bike in Amsterdam and Berlin - but never in my own city, perhaps because I'm always in a rush and the tube seems the more sane option with our traffic congestion. Sadly, I had to take the bike back before the store closed - so until next time!

'Bixby' bicycle: Shinola. Leather bag: £75, The Cambridge Satchel Company

Denim frayed hem top: £17.99, New Look. Denim A-Line skirt: £19.99, New Look. Flats: Jimmy Choo (sold out but buy very similar from Boden here). 'Bixby' bicycle: ShinolaAll photos by Christopher O'Donnell using the Olympus Pen E-PL7
This post was made in collaboration with New Look (which means I sadly had to send the top, dungarees and bicycle back!).

Friday, 28 August 2015

Frugal Interiors: Bloomingville

Marble table, £209, Bloomingville at Amara

I've been procrastinating all week over doing a Trends post for today, it just hasn't happened. And then an exciting email came through my Inbox, informing me that Bloomingville, one of my favourite Scandi interiors brands, has landed at my other fave online interiors store, Amara. Hurrah! My blog today is done. Love it when that happens.

Ever since I posted a picture of one of Bloomingville's marble tables earlier this year, I've been trying to track down a decent stockist (for both myself and readers) for months. My friend bought hers from an Achica sale that promptly sold out and I had begun to lose hope. There were a few sprinklings across small boutiques but not enough, frankly.

It's definitely not cheap cheap. But I've also come to the conclusion that nothing good, furniture wise, really is. And I'm at a general feeling that under £300 for decent, quality furniture that is a little bit different is worth the money. And also means that your friends won't come round and say 'I've got that' as most do when they see our Ikea home.

1. Rattan chair, £289, Bloomingville

2. Marble and gold jewellery stand, £47, Bloomingville

3. Coffee table, £145, Bloomingville

4. Set of 2 votives, £30, Bloomingville

5. Kitchen roll holder, £53, Bloomingville

6. Grey marble chopping board, £31, Bloomingville

7. Brushed gold table, £175, Bloomingville

For chic, quality furniture, I believe it's worth spending a bit more, after all, you'll be living with it for a long time. But for the little extras? The High Street has got you covered.

Wire basket, £12.99, H&M Home
Copper hanging mirror, £35, Oliver Bonas

Marble and wood serving board, £25, Habitat

And my absolute 'must' interiors shop at the moment? The Little House Shop - the most affordable carnival letters out there (and I think it's fate that the selling shot is mine and my husband's initials):

Carnival lights, £58 each, The Little House Shop
And my sister just bought one of their DIY Lightboxes for my nephew's room:
DIY Lightboxes, £30, The Little House Shop. Photo from @The_Rocco_  (yes, my nephew pretty much has a dedicated instagram account!)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Quick Style Update: Turtleneck T-Shirt

T-shirt, £20, River Island. Skirt: £35, OasisSandals: £68, River Island. Suitcase: £169, KiplingSunglasses: £20, Toyshades.
Being slow on the A/W bandwagon, I'm easing myself in gently. I can't quite bring myself to crack open my winter suitcase just yet, neither do I want to put on my new oversized knits just yet (even if the weather demands it).

This is a trend I'm seeing everywhere, and it's so easy to achieve on the High Street. The stripe t-shirt, in general, is a trend - in a 70s, 'Peanuts' kind of way (Peanuts is a whole trend in itself, but I'll come to that another time)...but if you find one with the added high neck? A bonus. 

Cotton 'Not Ordinary' t-shirt: £20, River Island
This t-shirt satisfies my two loves - stripes and logos. Wear with an A-line skirt now and with next season's pinafore dress for that September 'not sure what season we're in' moment (we're still loving dungarees but it has morphed into a chicer silhouette).
Suede pinafore dress, £125, Another Eight

£28, Dorothy Perkins

Roll-necks, polo-necks, turtlenecks (to be honest, I'm not definite on the distinction here - are turtlenecks a smaller version of a poloneck?) - whatever you want to call them, high necks are in. Time to even add a 'neck' to your evening dresses - it will be your signature A/W Look, I promise. My style, currently, is in the form of a more relaxed t-shirt, as I said, I like to easy myself in gently...

How to wear...the turtleneck

1. Stripe jumper, £24.99, H&M

2. Suedette skirt, £38, Oasis

3. Suede flats, £62, Topshop

4. Floral dress, £55, Topshop

5. Suede heels, £79, Dune

6. Chiffon top, £42, Atterley

7. Denim culottes, £38, River Island

8. Cotton t-shirt: £20, River Island

9. Denim pinafore dress, £38, Topshop

10. Leather bag, £236, Manu Atelier

11. Snakeprint boots, £160, Carvela

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bathrooms: Making the most out of small spaces

Towels: £32 each, Gudrun Sjoden. Linen dressing gown: HM Home
Bathrooms. They excite me far more than other rooms in the house. Maybe it's because my bathrooms have always been so tiny, they've seemed easier to achieve. I've been looking forward to sharing photos our new ensuite, and I'm sure my husband is too, as I've been making us both shower downstairs until I finished taking these photos!

Hooks: Wilkinson
Our bathroom is pretty much as small as it could possibly be. But to me - it's perfect. Yes, again, we had to compromise (I was desperate for marble tiles but even for our tiny surface area, they were way out of our price bracket), but I'm so happy with how it has turned out.

Sink: Victoria Plumb. Towel holder: £6.50, Ikea. Hand towel: £12.99, H&M Home

Unsurprisingly, we went for a monochrome scheme - it was just easier that way to keep it looking chic and expensive looking. The white tiles were pretty much the cheapest ones available at Topps Tiles - but we went with square rather than Metro tiles for a change and the grey grout keeps it modern looking (and easier to keep clean!). H&M Home sufficed for most of the interiors.

Perfume: Tea Tonique, Miller Harris. Toothpaste: Marvis. Toothbrush holder: H&M Home (sold out but buy similar here). Shelf: £52, Rowen & Wren
Taps: Victorian Plumbing. Soap: £14, L:A Bruket
Bathroom shopping was difficult, as I was suddenly in a field I had no knowledge on - was it a rip off, was this shop naff? I basically came to accept that all bathroom shops are the same - there really isn't much between them in regards to stock, pricing etc. After deciding Burlington sinks were just too pricey for what possibly won't be our 'forever' home, it really was a case of just picking one that did the job and didn't look too cheap - and was small enough not to get in the way.

Mirror, £35, Cox & Cox
Towel radiator: Wickes. Towel: £4.99, H&M Home
The basic style of our bathroom was based on Cowshed, with a bit of The Hoxton Hotel, Holborn, thrown in (how middle class of me!). We were lucky to have a friend help us with the tiling, as that saved a huge amount of costs. Pinterest, was of course, a huge inspiration (see my 'Dream Bathroom' board here).

Shower Door: Elegant Showers
Shower taps: Victoria Plumb
I HAVE A COWSHED BUILT IN SHELF (the one thing I wouldn't compromise on). Pro collagen Cleansing balm, Elemis. Shampoo and Conditioner: Josh Wood x M&S
Shower head: Victorian Plumbing

I am really liking the mix of patterns and shape tiles that are going on, now. And I just love opening the door into my little tiled haven...even more so that I'll actually be able to shower in it now this post is up!

Blood orange and white pepper sugar scrub, £30, Bliss. Nails:'Porchester Place by Nails Inc (an old colour which i wish they still made!)

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