Saturday

Topshop Gingham Skirt

I knew I wanted a gingham pencil skirt as soon as I saw them on the runway back in September at the fashion weeks. As my Instagram Stories here will have told you I had a bit of a trial and error finding one. At first I tried a red and white one from ASOS but it made me look like I worked in a diner (nothing wrong with that, but as I don't it could look a bit weird at a meeting). Then I tracked down this one at Topshop and it's been love ever since...

full outfit details at the base of this post

It's navy and white (rather than black which it kind of looks like in the pictures) which means it takes the formality out of it, and the ruffles make it very flattering. I used to be really nervous about pencil skirts on my shape, I assumed I was too short and too curvy. What I've learned is that they're actually really good for me - I wear them a lot. The secret I find is making sure they are cut on the bias (Google it) and they're not a silk or satin based fabric as that opens up a whole new level of questionable lumps and bumps in areas girls don't want them. If you really aren't into the shape, I found this one at ASOS.

full outfit details at the base of this post

I've been wearing the skirt with denim tops and white shirts but I dug out this cropped knit from my collaboration with Jaeger last week and it's the perfect length (which is great because it had been sat in the cupboard since I'd worn it on the shoot day as the denim pencil skirt I paired with it has disappeared...). It's really soft and the bell sleeves give you a really lovey silhouette, ie: you feel quite slim in it - and that comes from someone who really hates their arms. For the quality it's not even that expensive, find it here. It's got me looking for additional options; I found this one in the sale at ASOS, and this one from Millie Mackintosh's new range is incredible too.

full outfit details at the base of this post

Ooh and the boots. Of dreams. I love a good ankle boot but it's been a while since I've found a pair good enough to deviate from my solid collection. I found these when I went to Reiss at the crack of dawn last month (I had the Regent Street store to myself because we had a courier issue I'm a queen which was ACE). They're a butter soft leather but not the kind you worry about scratching as soon as you walk out the door... The little gold detail (you can't really see in these pictures, so have a look here) is really luxe looking, a few friends have assumed they're designer. I've always been a fan of Reiss shoes, and this pair have just deepened the feeling...

full outfit details at the base of this post

In other news, I'm really digging February. Not sure about anyone else but January was rubbish. It wasn't helped with being wiped out with something I can only describe as swine flu for a fortnight, but on top of that me (and several of my friends and family) just had bad news, after bad luck, after silly run with a deranged landlord from two years previous... February has been much more sedate and all the hard work seems to be paying off! Oooh and I've finally after thirty two years got a gym buddy... Lizzie and I are going 3/4 times a week and we've nailed a routine. The fact I wore an outfit that shows my tum demonstrates how much better I'm feeling about myself. Once we're a little more into it I'm going to post our routines because we have ab lines and this doesn't happen to people like us... Stay tuned!


Outfit details (click outfit to shop/browse)

Photos taken using the Olympus PL7 at John Lewis here.
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Friday

Happy Birthday Blog!

Well this is now officially the longest job I've ever had. Not that the blog is a job, I vehemently protest that the blog is fun and the consultancy is work but the reality is I earn a fair chunk of my living through South Molton St Style... And now it's 6. SIX. The last year has been the most fun with the most travel and I'm feeling the most comfortable about my presence online - which took me a while to find.

To "celebrate" the blog's birthday I'm getting smashed answering the questions you guys have sent me via Instagram because none of this blog stuff would have been close to possible without you all having my back. I thought about doing a giveaway but the reality is thats what bloggers do to attract new followers and today - just today - I'm not looking for any new ones because I want to say "hello" and thank you to the ones I've got.

What made you start the blog?

It was the classic "wanting a creative outlet" and being incredibly bored whilst recovering from an operation. A friend had a really cool blog and she (Geneva, here) talked about how it made her day job more enjoyable - knowing her "creativity box" was being ticked in her spare time. I knew nothing and no-one in the fashion industry.

To put it in perspective I started it during London Fashion Week and didn't know. I can remember seeing the terms LFW, RTW, AW11 and not having a clue what it was all about... Put simply, I was sick of not feeling very happy with what I was wearing so wanted to record (and therefore force myself to stick to) my style journey. Wow, that sounds naff! It took me two years to put myself on it - when I realised the reason people followed bloggers was because they were a person (with a personality) rather than a publication...

In 2011 the blogging landscape was entirely different. Had I known how public it would become I would probably not have started it... Strangely I felt like the internet was an anonymous way to document stuff. There was no Instagram, you couldn't even put pictures on Twitter. In fact, when people ask how I built my following the crazy fact is I used to write (note, not photograph) my outfits in a tweet with the hashtag #wiwt attached and British Vogue would retweet their favourites every day, and along came the followers. Can you even imagine that happening now!?

How do I start a blog? Any tips?

This is a question I, and I'm guessing the majority of bloggers, am asked all the time. I'm going to be brutally honest here - for the majority of people my advice is simple; don't. I get it, you see us all with our surplus gifts and trips and glossy Instagrams (ok, maybe not me with the Instagrams) and think "Hey, if she can do it I can too." Well...

The truth is setting up a blog is easy, anyone could do it. But that's half the problem - anyone can do it, and a lot who wouldn't bother if they knew the effort required, do. My stern advice to you if you're thinking about it is - do you honestly want to put the time and creativity into a blog - and keep it up - with the very strong possibility that no person or brand will ever notice you? Would you be ok with that? Because that is the reality.

I find a huge amount of girls don't want to write a blog; they want the stuff that can come with having a blog. But let me tell you, it ain't easy. You guys see the smoke and mirrors. For every friend I've made through blogging, I've lost five. It's because it's so competitive and it brings out the worst in people. I honestly think the only reason that my blog is anything close to a success is because I got in early. Brands had 50 to choose from, now it's 500,000.

Also, and I mean this politely - let's stop asking each other for shout outs and contacts. If you're my proper friend (ie; if I spend my free time with you and we've shared a vino at something other than a press event) then fine - but "randomly" emailing to "congratulate" someone on a great blog post, quickly followed with a contact request. No. If you were in line for a promotion, would you be happy to hand over your boss' details to a colleague who wanted to climb the ladder as much as you? No - and putting someone in that position is incredibly unfair.

Contacting a blogger on Facebook you went to school with (and in my case: bullied. LOLS) after ten years asking if they can promote your sister in laws jewellery brand? No. This happens so, so much to people - and never gets said.It's dog eat dog these days sadly - and any smart blogger knows it.

Where are my headphones from?

 On a much lighter note! It really makes me laugh that you ask this so much as they're something Gus absolutely hates and says they're way too big/hispter/cool for me! I love them though! They were a gift from Frends, and you can find them here.

outfit = striped jumper / jeans / sunglasses

  What are your all time favourite purchases?

This is going to make me sound so, so boring because these choices aren't any kind of revelation. I've put the first things that spring to mind below - but here is a download: Firstly, jeans. Before the blog I lived in those £35 Baxter jeans Topshop did back in the day. I owned them in every wash and I wore them because they came up big (so I wore a small size) which made me feel good. The truth was the zips broke after two wears and they were around my ankles by the end of the day, and not for any fun reason. Through the blog I discovered Paige Denim. If someone had told me I'd willingly recommend £200 pairs of jeans I'd have laughed out loud. But they're really good. Like, really good. I treat my denim really badly; wear them a lot and throw them in the tumble dryer... My favourite pair are the Hoxton but I also love the Jimmy Jimmy and the Verdugo...



1. black shirt2. green chinos / 3. white shirt / 4. Breton shirt / 5. denim shirt / 6. utility jacket

Clothing wise, it's been an education. You only have to look back at some earlier posts to see it look me a while to get to grips with fashion. Deciding that less is more has been a big step - I have one small wardrobe rail and a cupboard and I never go beyond filling them... My little collection of Equipment silk shirts are worn all the time (they're perfect for work meetings with heels), my MiH bretons are firm favourites too - and not forgetting this Reiss white shirt that I get every single season without fail. I also of course have to mention my handbags which have been bought through either dedication to the cause, or the blog.

I feel guilty the moment I'm not using something (so I am a big seller/charity shop giver) so when investing in something I'll always hunt for the best deal. Whilst I have every respect for those that do, having a tonne of designer bags doesn't appeal to me - so the few I have are pretty sacred. My much documented need for a Louis Vuitton Neverfull was finally fulfilled when I found a gem on Vestiaire Collective (where I worked before starting my own thing). Through them I discovered that new LV's are made of PU (plastic) so I really wanted a vintage one - another excellent reason to buy pre owned. My Celine Trio and Saint Laurent Duffle are both from Bicester; again with 50% or so off...

outfit = striped jumper / jeans / sunglasses

How many Breton shirts do you own and where are the best ones from?

Yeah, thanks for this as I now have to document my problem... I have a lot. I'd say it's probably around twenty which is pretty sickening. I have two favourites for two very different causes. For weekends and casual outfits I think Joules is the best (the fabric is soft but thick - so they're really warm) and you can find them here. If you're wanting to go for a more dressed up look; MiH's are the best here. They're more structured and look a lot more expensive than they actually are...

What are your favourite shoes?

What a question. Can I just take the moment to say I really don't consider myself a shoe person. Below are a few of my favourites but I've found what I like and I stick to it, religiously. As I just said about my denim discovery, I've learnt that it's not about quantity but quality. I used to just go to New Look or Dorothy Perkins and buy £20 shoes every month, even though they were made of plastic and so made my feet sweat like a b*tch.


1. taupe heels / 2. bright blue heels / 3. red heels / 4. cream and navy Chanel dupe / 5. navy suede heels / 6. grey suede boots

I have really small feet, a size 36.5 (3.5) and a fair bit for them to carry around so high heels hurt me and I avoid them. I'm lucky in that my job means I can wear trainers a lot - my favourites are the Nike Thea's here and Adidas Superstars here. When I do wear heels there are only two kinds I'll spend money on - L.K.Bennett's Floret here and the Jimmy Choo Romy 85 here. Yeah, I'll happily pick up other pairs through the blog throughout the year, but if all ended tomorrow those are the two styles I'd gladly spend my money on.

outfit = striped jumper / jeans / sunglasses

What breed is Lopez?

Lopez is a Maltese Terrier, which is somewhere between a Westie and a Yorkshire Terrier. He's nearly  6 now too which terrifies me because I've already explained that when the decision comes to say goodbye, I'm going with him. 2 for 1 at the vets, for real. He's hands down the best decision I've ever made and I don't know what I'd do without him.

  Where would I choose to go for a weekend break in England?

 I had a few people ask this which is great as I had no idea people from The U.S and other places followed me! We're really lucky here in the UK, as our weather isn't the best (that mean 9 months of rain/cold and 3 months of weird summer heat/sweat) the hotels and their facilities really are rather amazing. There are tonnes of places to go just an hour or two outside of London if you are visiting the city for a short time (and therefore unable to do a proper tour of the country). My favourites are Limewood which since I've been going has been cited as the best hotel in the UK. Their spa, food and furnishings really are very special. Every time I go there I leave relaxed, full and happy!

Also really want to include The Painswick; a lovely little hotel (only opened last year) in the most picturesque village in the Cotswolds. If you go there you are a stone's throw from all the wonderful things the English countryside has to offer (and it has an awesome Elemis spa inside, and the breakfasts are the best). If you are able to a little further afield I really recommend getting yourself to Devon. We had an incredible stay in Instow in November (we stayed at The Anchorage here). Believe it or not, it felt like a European break. The seaside towns, beaches, local pubs and best stocked local store in the history of time set the base of a super fun weekend. The house was amazing; even had a hot tub!

  Where do I get my hair done?

 I've been a loyal patron of Sassoon Salons for a long ol' time now. When they first took me in my hair was a blonde, bleached pile of mess. Now I like to think it's a lot better. I've learnt that you need to spend a fair amount on your hair to get a decent look - and (as I was doing before) not jump around visiting whatever salon has the best deal on. Seeing the same people makes an enormous difference, and sometimes if you tell them your plans to visit them regularly they'll give you a discount for the year etc... I get mine cut and coloured there every 4 or so month and deliberately have it styled in a way that regrowth looks ok as my hair always takes a while to recoup after its been coloured...


1. Living Proof Shampoo / 2. Living Proof Conditioner / 3. Duck and Dry Blow Dry Spray / 4. Phillip Kinglsey Elasticiser 

Product wise I've really shopped about and tried a huge amount of stuff. I absolutely swear by Living Proof's "restore" shampoo and conditioner here (it's what Jennifer Aniston uses, and anyone my age will all know we wanted the "Rachel" for most of our teens). I wash my hair every other day or sometimes every three days... Once a week I use Phillip Kingsley's Elasticiser here; it's brilliant for people like me who have naturally flat and uninteresting hair (probably the best find hair wise). For every day I really love Duck and Dry's Blow Dry In A Bottle spray here to give you a good volume boost (it's also very good to do the whole "beauty" look) and even though I have tried a gazillion more expensive and arguably more premium brands I can't beat Tresemme's Freeze Hold hairspray here.

outfit = striped jumper / jeans / sunglasses

How old am I?

 I'm 32. It's a tragic tale of time, fear and anti wrinkle creams and I don't want to talk anymore about it... I am absolutely dedicated to my beauty regime in a shameless attempt to defy time and ageing - I recently did a post on the product I find so useful here.

  How long have I been with the other half and how did we meet?

 I often forget that you lot don't actually know me like my friends do, so when I get sent personal questions it feels really odd. I was in a long term relationship that didn't work out when I started the blog so when Gus and I first started dating I was really hesitant about putting him on my social media channels having already broadcast one relationship so heavily... Plus it took him a while to get used to all the selfies (he's now an A Grade, fully fledged Insta Boyfriend). We've been together for just over a year and a half (neither of us can really remember the exact date, we just say "summer 2015"). We met through a mutual friend at a dinner party in Mayfair (something neither of us ever do on weekends).

 I remember the friend saying she thought I'd fancy him and being slightly cross about being set up. It was all very laid back until he went away for a week and I realised how "into" him I was. We were both quite happy as we were, having come out of fairly heavy things earlier in the year. I can vividly remember being peeved he hadn't called me all week, then I woke up to a message saying he missed me... He called on the last day of his trip, came straight to my place from the airport and we have been glued at the hip ever since. It's cringingly cliche and boring... We're an excellent team.

  What is my "day" job?

 I've always known I don't want to be a full time blogger (for the reasons stated in an earlier question); I think it strips the joy out of it a lot of the time. I never want to be put in a position that I'd have to take on a project for the money... Yeah there was one time I stood in Times Square eating an apple in the rain and had pictures taken, but I got to go to New York and the apple made sense because I was in the Big Apple. To me at least. So, yes I monetise the blog but it's my fun money and I never predict my earnings based on it.

There have definitely been points when I've strongly considered it, but I want to be able to not worry about it, let it flow - write when I want to write. The influencer market is enormous now; it's incredibly competitive and (in London at least) it can get quite b*tchy. Having experience a bit of that I decided it really wasn't for me. The real job is One Roof Social.

It's a little influencer media agency meaning we create and manage marketing campaigns for brands. We've been really lucky and worked with some incredible companies and - fingers crossed - this year looks really good too. It took me ages to find my feet working for myself - I knew I wanted to pair up my marketing experience with my influencer knowledge but didn't know how. I bumbled around for a year or so freelancing and then finally founded the business last year.

As a final note, it feels so cliche to say it but thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support, comments, likes and feedback. It means so much and without it there is no way I'd have stuck at it. It would be lovely to know what kind of content you have enjoyed to date, and what you'd like to see more (beauty will feature heavily as my face is falling down due to my prehistoric age) - I'm also considering entering the world of YouTube... Any feedback much appreciated!

  Photos by Amelia Allen Photography, taken using the Canon 5D available at John Lewis.
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Topshop Pink Floral Dress

I've decided to dress like Spring is already here. Dammit I'm done with cold weather. So, when Topshop got in touch and last me to style out my Valentines Day outfit (in truth, I'm expecting the day itself to be a PJs and pizza kind of affair) I instantly went for something bright and beautiful. Say hello to my new friend; the pink midi dress.

outfit details at the base of this post

It's very pink, it's very pretty and I'm more than a little bit happy with it. I did a little preview post on my Instagram here and lots of you said it was a bit of a Gucci dupe which hadn't occurred to me. Probably because right now everything on th high street is a bit of a copy of the Italian brand - the loafers, the logo tees, the prints and belts. Isn't that what we love about the high street? All hail the ability for us normal folk to get our hands on the look!

outfit details at the base of this post

In addition; prints are incredibly flattering. Partner that with the split midi length hem, the long arms and the open back = voila, the perfect dress for you to ease back into Spring. When I was leaving the house Gus asked "isn't pink and red a big fashion no-go?" - if it is I'm embracing it as after weeks and weeks of wearing blues and greys I felt positively electric in this... It's not very man-friendly, I apparently resemble a great aunt going to a Christening - but thats a look I'm 110% happy with...

outfit details at the base of this post

I paired it with my showstopper heels from L.K.Bennett (yes them again, are you getting the hint yet?) which were a Valentines Day gift from the brand. They're exactly the same shape as my classic Florets that I have in a million colours but have the extra little bow on. I've worn them a lot already, they look as super with my breton shirts and jeans as they do with dresses. Find them here.

outfit details at the base of this post

Finally the bag. It was a little treat to myself for getting through January (the toughest month I've ever had working for myself, when I had to make some pretty hard hitting decisions - ergh). I spent the day up at Bicester Village with Emma last week, and kind of knew I wanted a Saint Laurent. Longer term readers will know I take my time over these designer purchases and don't do it often - my Nevefull took me a year, and the Trio... Well lets just say I've deliberately kept it off the blog for a while in fear of deterring readers... When it comes to making a purchase like this I'll always go to Bicester first to see if it's there - you might as well get it for less! The Duffle bag is timeless (find it here full price or here discounted) so I'm really happy to have found it... We make a good team!


Outfit details (click link to browse/shop)

Photos taken using the Olympus PL7 at John Lewis here.
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Wednesday

My Net A Porter Sale Bargains

One thing the start of the year does have going for it is the sales. As customers have been slightly less keen to shop full price under the world's current economic circumstances, it's meant that there is a huge surplus of stock left over from last season. Thankfully (for us) this means big discounts on some otherwise never-reduced stuff...

outfit details at the base of this post

This outfit is a prime example. I would consider everything in it a necessary style staple which totally removed the guilt from spending money (lets face it, we're all a bit skint at the start of the year) or the need to smuggle the delivery into the flat without the other half noticing... I wear tops like this at least twice a week, and chino pants are a brilliant dressed-down-but-up option for any casual dresser. It's really not normal for pieces like this to go into a sale, but I got them both for 50% at Net A Porter - the sale that keeps on giving!

outfit details at the base of this post

You only need to take a look at my Pinterest boards to see how obsessed with denim shirts I am. I already had my eye on this MiH one before it went into sale, and had actually assumed it wouldn't be included and reduced. When it did I snapped it up straight away. In case you aren't aware of the brand, MiH are a premium jean/denim maker with a real understanding of cutting on the bias/shape. 



This is my first "investment" denim shirt and I've already thrown out my Zara and ASOS ones as this is just so much better. The fabric is slightly stiffer than other cotton based ones I've had, meaning as much as it is still just as soft and wonderful = it also creates the kind of silhouette a girl wants in a shirt... (slightly oversize without looking fat = goals). Above are a few others I've found (all from MiH as I'm now obsessed) that I'd put in the same category. I really don't understand people who don't wear them; I kind of freeze up. It's the perfect half way house being making an effort and being super comfortable. They also go incredibly well with...

outfit details at the base of this post

Chinos! I had a love/hate relationship with chinos for ages. I used to think it was just for people who were a bit posher than me - women who wore pearls, Aspinals notepads and Ralph Lauren cable knits. In other words, I thought they were a bit, twee (I repel any resemblance to Kate Middleton's style like the plague as it's achingly boring). Then I started working for a French company all the Parisian girls had them. They paired them with white shirts, or a tee shirt and jackets - and it looked really good. Like, really good. 

outfit details at the base of this post

So the hunt started for a pair for me - a short girl with a bum and "curves" (read: thighs that need more gym based activity). I tried a pair on in Zara which ended in tears and me swearing never to eat a carb again. I soon realised no Spanish brand was going to be my friend as all their fit models are also toned athletes (in my head). I then started to hear about J Crew's Sammie pants... I was curious but pretty reluctant to go through the emotional turmoil of a trying on session.

outfit details at the base of this post

Having seen them on so many people, and then spotting them in the sale (on Net A Porter here, and in a wider range of sizes on J Crew here) I decided to give them a go. They're really good! They're quite stretchy so I don't feel like they're too tight anywhere - and look as smart with something tucked into them as they do with this kind of outfit. Being completely honest with you, I'm considering buying a couple more pairs just to have them in stock - concerned that as they're in the sale they're going to be discontinued!

outfit details at the base of this post

Accessories wise, yet again the Sophie Hulme bag is making an appearance. Id totally forgotten I owned this as I went through a real "only colourful bags" phase. I found this over Christmas and am now wearing it all the time. As I said in a previous post, it's three years old and still good as new (and I'm really tough on bags with my clumsy ways) so I do recommend the investment. Ooh and the shoes are not Chanel - but are pretty solid dupes. Yet again they're from L.K.Bennett here (sorry to be so boring but these guys just do make the best shoes), here. They come in a few colour ways, all of which I'm after...



Outfit details (click link to brown/shop)

Photos by Amelia Allen Photography, taken using the Canon 5D available at John Lewis.
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