Monday, 8 February 2016

Sweater Dressing

Coat: £227.50 in the sale, Gant.  Wool dress, Asos (sold out but buy similar here). Shoes: Next (old). Bag: £64.50, Aurora London. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell
I've never owned a sweater dress before. It feels like an oxymoron to me...and I don't like wearing tights under knitwear. So why did I buy this? 

Well, I feel I needed to get out of my everyday jeans and jumper routine. Plus, dare I say, we're having a few milder days out there where tights are no longer required (it is in fact sunny as I type this). And they certainly are easy to wear - just throw a coat over and you're done - I have also tested this look with Stan Smiths and it works equally well.

What I like about this Asos version (sorry, I bought before Christmas and annoyingly, it has sold out), is that it's not super tight. Another reason I've avoided jumper dresses in the past - they have a tendency to make you look a bit 'bulky'. So I would suggest looking for a lighter knit and a slightly oversized shape.

The tan is thanks to a top-up on a recent work trip to St Lucia, styling a shoot for a brand. It's lovely to go away for work but life gets a bit 'put on hold' whilst you're prepping. I am actually off again in a few days to Barbados which means more palm instagram shots - apologies in advance (although it is good to start some Spring Summer outfit research).

These shoes are from Next last year, and they have been so useful. A great alternative to an trainer if you need to be smart but still want a casual, sporty look. And loafers are still in - try this season's backless styles for a modern update.

Coat: £227.50 in the sale, Gant.  Wool dress, Asos (sold out but buy similar here). Shoes: Next (old). Bag: £64.50, Aurora London

Saturday, 6 February 2016

On my dressing table...

I don't often do beauty posts, only when something comes up that I really believe in. I'm definitely no beauty expert, but I am certainly more interested in beauty products as I get older. I'm also privy to a lot of products: beauty sales at Red, product launches etc. So I thought I'd share a few pictures of what's actually on my dressing table, and what makes the grade.

Nail horse fertiliser: £17, Butter London. Nail polish in 'Babe Watch', £7, Cheeky. 'English pear & freesia' cologne, £42, Jo Malone
I rarely paint my fingernails, but I do like to keep them in good condition - this horse fertiliser keeps them nice and strong and when I do, they're usually blue. I love Mavala 'Cobalt Blue' but Cheeky also do fab colours - I get lots of compliments on this colour.

The 'Prozac' cannister is one of my favourite brands, Jonathan Adler - my sister bought it for me from New York (it's much cheaper over there, and the store on Greene Street Soho is so much fun). It's a far more interesting place for my cotton wool buds!

I love trays to separate items - Muji has great china ones, as does H&M. I keep my perfume on mine, 'English Pear and Freesia' by Jo Malone was my wedding fragrance and it's divine - I can never afford the full size bottle, so it's always these handy smaller sizes I use (better for travel, anyway).

Day cream, £85, Verso. Micellar water, £25, Darphin. Gentle eye make-up remover, £3, Nivea
This is where it gets sad, as this verso cream was a gift (I would never spend this much on moisturiser) but it is so amazing that I don't want it to run out! I love the packaging, the thickness of the cream - it's dreamy. This Darphin micellar water is also my first choice of toner - it's not cheap, and when I'm feeling a bit ore frugal, the Liz Earle one is also good for £10 cheaper. The Darphin is also gentle enough to remove most eye make-up. I do, however, usually like to use a separate eye make-up remover - and this Nivea one for £3 does the trick.

You are probably aware by now that I swear by Muji storage. These acrylic drawers separate all my favourite jewellery and stop all my fine chains from getting tangled. Anthropologie and H&M also do lovely ring stands (I love my quirky mushroom one from Anthropologie, pictured).

Wearing  nail polish in 'Babe Watch', £7, Cheeky.

Nail horse fertiliser: £17, Butter London. Nail polish in 'Babe Watch', £7, Cheeky. 'On The Hoof' foot balm, £19, Cowshed.
I love a bit of 'me' time, and keeping my feet soft with this cowshed balm is my idea of heaven. I also love anything by Margaret Dabbs - her foot oil, in particular, is divine.

'Cato' desk, £125, Habitat. Storage basket: H&M. Peacock print cardboard box, TK Maxx
We ended up buying a desk instead of a dressing table for this room, as the space was so narrow, nothing else would fit. It has served us so well and at a good price we ended up buying the grey version for a second desk in our spare room. 

In terms of make-up, I am a creature of habit. I often carry the same items in my Anya Hidmarch washbag. I mainly stick to a neutral, soft palette with a touch of rosy cheek. These are my can't live withouts...

Stay Matte powder, £22, Clinique - this helps tame the shine.

Eye Basics, £21, Laura Mercier - I've sung the praises of this so many times - helps eye make-up's durability and eyeliner no longer runs down my face!

Corrector in 'Extra Light Bisque', £19, Bobbi Brown - I now wear this religiously underneath my concealer, and have had a few compliments.

Studio finish concealer, £15.50, MAC

Magic eyebrow concealer, £10, Lord & Berry - this pencil is great as it is not just one colour and blends really well.

Express day tan for face, £22, James Read - the only fake tan that hasn't given me spots.

Cream blush, £27, Chanel - I prefer cream blush to poder for a more 'glowy' look.

Camera Ready BB Water, £29, Smashbox - this has revolutionised my make-up regime. Stays on like foundation but feels very sheer, almost like nothing.

Lipstick in 'K.I.S.S.I.N.G Bitch Perfect', £23, Charlotte Tilbury

Liquid eyeliner, £15, Eyeko - my everyday liner. So easy to apply.

'They're Real' mascara, £19.50, Benefit - I'd heard good things about this mascara, and it lives up to my expectations.

Illuminating balm, £42, Bobbi Brown - I've just started using this under my makeup for a dewy glow.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

*Frugal Buy* Asos lace-up sandals

Sandals: £25, Asos. Straw hat: £12, Asos. Sunglasses: Ray-Ban at Vestiaire Collective
I know it's still only February and it's freezing and the last thing you want to think about right now is sandals. But when I find a decent pair at a good price, I always think it's a good idea to snap them up. Incidentally, I have actually been summer shopping already - after our India holiday and then a work trip to the Caribbean (might even have another job in barbados coming up, please don't unfollow me!). 

Obviously, I sing the praises of Ancient Greek Sandals, if you have the budget then they are a great investment - I bought the Fteroti in black last Christmas and wore them all summer. But I can't afford (or justify) another pair, and these tan 'Fuerta' sandals are super comfy and look great for the price.

Sandals: £25, Asos. Straw hat: £12, Asos. Shorts: Wrap London (shorts coming soon)

In other early spring Summer news, I've got my eye on these from J Crew, pricey but total outfit makers:

Leather sandals, £118, J Crew
And these beach bags from Innika Choo, more is definitely more this season (but I can't vouch for customs costs, sadly):

Straw pom pom basket, $55, Innika Choo
Summer obsession: Innika on Instagram

I'm such a summer girl and I must admit, I'm over the cold. Bring on pom poms, lace up blouses, bare legs and pedicures.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Frugal Interiors: A touch of boho

Just a touch, mind. I'm still all about the Scandi aesthetic.

Chair: Out & Out Original. Cushions and throw: both H&M. Throw: £29.99, H&M. Plant: Ikea. Rug: The White Company (old but buy similar here)
But I also really like the softness that something with a bit of texture - a raw edge, a pom pom trim - gives to a minimal style. It's basically the Isabel Marant look for the home, a fringed boho jacket with skinny leather leggings translated into a minimal charcoal grey sofa sprinkled with linen fringed cushions in soft muted tones. Perfection.

The great thing about this style is that you can still keep it monochrome if you're not intrinsically a 'hippy' kind of person (I enjoy order far too much for tapestries and wall hangings, but a scatter cushion and a Morrocan rug? I can do). Minimal and boho actually go hand in hand, just how I like a chic grey minimal coat in the winter, but can equally appreciate a great peasant top on my holiday.

Blanket: £115, Edit 58

I'm still saving for one of West Elm's Kasbah rugs for our living room (once we finally pull up the cream carpets), but for now there are a few more 'frugal' buys to get me through (and did you see that THE Marks & Spencer pom pom blanket is back in stock?!).


1. Dipped edge basket, from £32.50, Rockett St George

2. Sheepskin rug, £130, Ikea

3. Wool blanket, £19.99, H&M

4. Wool pom pom blanket, £69, Marks & Spencer

5. DIY Wall hanging, £26.50, Holly's House

6. Wool cushion, £74.95, Holly's House

7. Cushion cover, £12.99, H&M

8. Washbag, £31, Sluiz at Amara

9. Macrame plant hanger, £15, Geo Fleur at Etsy

10. 'Copenhagen' rug, £99, Holly's House

11. Hammam hand towels, £14, Ines Cole

12. 'Ellsworth' stripe towels, from £6, Anthropologie

Sunday, 31 January 2016

The new denim style you need to know...

Coat: Atterley (old). Top: H&M (old). 'Dree' Jeans: £36, Topshop. Bag: £350, Sophie Hulme. Boots: £22.50 in the sale, Asos. Photographs: Christopher O'Donnell using Olympus PEN E-PL7
I've been in a denim rut for a little while now, skinnies with boots? Boyfriend jeans in winter? Well, I think I may have found the answer. Enter the cropped kick flare jean, yes she has been around for a few seasons but I haven't yet been convinced - the J Brand ones are too pricey for me and I wasn't too sure how long they'd be around for. But now, the High Street has fully adjusted and everywhere from Gap to Zara have done a version - they're narrow on the leg and kick out just above the ankle - THE perfect jeans to show off your boots with. And guess what? They look good with flats too - so they will take you through to Spring seamlessly.

I'm wearing waist 26 and length 32

These Topshop 'Dree' jeans have been on and off sold out ever since they landed online. I've been watching closely for a pair to come back in stock and they seem to be replenishing, it definitely seems like a style which will be sticking around. Oh and I wear belts again now, I'm not sure when it happened but suddenly jeans don't feel right without a little bit of added structure - look for a classic black with silver buckle style - mine is from Gap and they have a good selection.

Coat: Atterley (old). Top: H&M (old). 'Dree' Jeans: £36, Topshop. Bag: £350, Sophie HulmeBoots: £22.50 in the sale, Asos.

And for this cold, wet weather? I've been relying on my classics...too cold to think about buying anything new season - a breton and a camel coat will suffice until the weather clears up. The coat is from Atterley winter collection but sadly they have gone into administration. I am absolutely gutted as they had so much potential as a brand and the S/S collection was something I was really excited for. It just shows how much of a tough financial climate we are still in.

And the boots - they were a cheeky buy, mainly because they are £22.50 in the sale and you can never have too many pairs of black boots, right?

Boots: £22.50, Asos

Coat: Atterley (old). Top: H&M (old). 'Dree' Jeans: £36, Topshop. Bag: £350, Sophie HulmeBoots: £22.50 in the sale, Asos.

Friday, 29 January 2016

5 things I learnt whilst 'switching off'...

This Christmas holiday was the first time in 4 years I didn't work on my blog, and although I kept up social media (to some extent), it was a really big step for me. If I'm honest I'm a bit of a workaholic (I fully understand this is an oxymoron, like being a 'tad OCD') and although the idea of taking time off almost scared me a little, I knew it had to happen and hopefully it has put changes into place that I will live by going forward. Here is what I learnt...
  • It's okay to stop sometimes, it doesn't mean you're a failure. I didn't post for almost 3 weeks and guess what? My website didn't break, or close down. In fact, my traffic stayed quite healthy due to instagram and twitter. The same stands for putting in extra hours, I've always gone above and beyond when I work for a client, but it is also okay to say 'this isn't achievable in the time I've been set'. I've been reading 'The Off Switch' (it's okay, a bit too self helpy for me) and how it is actually healthy to switch off, take a break and leave work on time. Generally, you'll be more productive.

  • I actually love my work. As much as I enjoyed being sprawled on a beach every day, I was also really looking forward to getting my teeth into a project again. For me, not being able to switch off is partly because of anxiety but also partly because I really enjoy what I do. 

  • Travel is good for the soul. We met some amazing people whilst away (and most with a much more positive outlook to us - us Londoners need to work on it!). The kindness of strangers mixed with a relaxed coastal attitude really rubbed off on us and we're determined to be more positive.
Copper lamp: £30,  HabitatBed: £350 in the sale, Habitat. Table: West Elm (sold out). '101 Dreams' book, £21, Kikki KLime and bay candle, £20, The White Company. Mug: £10, Kikki K
  • It's not the end of the world if you don't instagram daily. Yes, social media is important for me but equally it shouldn't define me. Some days are manic days, some are rainy days, bad hair days and some are just relaxing days - write-offs are okay. I'm choosing to slow down a bit on social to enjoy a bit more leisure time (and not keeping my phone by my bed!).
  • Travel needn't cost the earth. We bought our flights to India in the January sales last year, paid for accommodation throughout the year and saved spending money from doing a carboot sale. We stayed in Homestays mainly and if you choose somewhere where food and cost of living is affordable, you'll never have to sit scanning the menu in a restaurant for a side salad or starter only! 
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