[Outfit] Christmas Jumpers Aren't Just for Christmas

The weather in London has been deceptively cold over the past few days, so I reluctantly dug out some winter favourites to wear last Monday. Here I am by Battersea's Albert Bridge the other day prancing around in this week's outfit post as only a fashion blogger could. I picked up this Isabel Marant "Christmas" jumper in a sale a few weeks ago and didn't think I'd wear it till autumn time - forgetting of course that I live in the UK where the temperamental weather plays King most of the time. 

The bag was a gift from my friend Claire who created BoBelle, we did some work together a couple of years ago and the bag was a thank you - although working together was so much fun, it was me that needed to thank her! I use it all the time as it fits my laptop, gym kit and work stuff in without being ridiculously huge - the colour is also great as it pretty much goes with anything.

The jeans are my staple AGs - I've had them for so long now, and in truth given that I wear them once a week or so they are a little tired around the edges, I think its time for a new pair... (they are massively discounted at The Outnet at the moment here). The heels (as always) are LK Bennett, a lovely gift from their team two weeks ago.  

They are the Floret style I wax lyrical about at any given opportunity, if I could I'd own them in every colour. The they are smart without looking weird with jeans, and the heel is perfect (about two inches I think) for all-day wearing. I felt so snug in this outfit - but am hoping to be able to wear some more springlike stuff soon... Happy Monday everyone (they best thing about a Monday is, it's closer to a new weekend than on a Sunday...).

Photos by Nancy Gibbs


[Eating] Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden, London

Writing food reviews on the blog is a little bit new for me, so apologies in advance if I don't really "get it right."  I've done a few before, but only in the last couple of months has it really become part of South Molton St Style as I do eat out quite a bit in town... To be honest most of the time (if its any good) I just want to write "yummmmmmmm" repeatedly, occasionally with a few caps locks thrown in for good measure. Last Thursday my dinner very much lived up to that childish (and apparently inappropriate) way of writing.  My friend Gemma and I went to Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden, a stones throw from the hustle and bustle of the market.

From the minute we walked in, we knew it was going to be a bit special.  The dimly lit restaurant oozes cool but not in a way that some places do in London where you feel like the waiting staff are judging you on your outfit.  We were shown to our table and through the menu and cocktail list by possibly the sweetest waitress in the world, ever.  The concept is simple: half the menu is sushi and half the menu is "sticks" - or as I like to call it, kebabed-style meat and fish. On top of that, they have a reputation for some of the nicest cocktails in the bizniz...

After devouring some chilli edamame beans and tempura breaded prawns, we were faced with the mammoth task of eating our way through the "sushi" part of our platter for two (as above).  The fish was just so good it almost melted in your month.  If I were being at all particular, I'd say the avocado was a little hard in a couple of the california rolls - but I'm not, so it was brilliant.  When the "sticks" arrived we really didn't know how we were going to squeeze it in - but when meat tastes that good your body finds a way to cope...  Maybe the cocktails helped too, as we were three down by this point.

After a little break to regain consciousness from a food induced coma, we were persuaded to test the desserts.  We went for the "taster of 4" which came with a mini chocolate pudding, mini creme brulee, mini ice cream and mini white chocolate rice cake.  We Brits usually don't trust foreigners to make puddings as they're usually never yummy enough... Not the case here. If Gemma had let me, I'd have got into the pot of creme brulee and thrown a party. Again perhaps the cocktails influenced this idea...

Considering the amount of food, ambience and service, you'd expect to pay a fortune in Covent Garden.  The main course was £46 for the two of us and the cocktails are around £7 a pop - name me anywhere in the centre of town that can match the standard for that price and I'll eat my hat (though not my new H&M one as I'm a bit fond of it).  

Thank you so much to Cottrel and Klar for inviting us, we genuinely had a blast and have already recommended to friends...  For anyone else, here is the site - book it right now!


[Trend] Burberry Inspired Head To Toe Lace

As my last outfit post showed I'm in the mood for all things colour at the moment and where better to seek inspiration than Burberry's SS14 collection? Their runway show was ablaze with all things spring, and gave everyone an idea on how to work with "head to toe" colour look with a mix of dresses and two pieces.  What I loved most was that it also showed how to use both halves of a set with other things to give you maximum use out of a spontaneous trend purchase.  

I've spotted tonnes of girls out and about in Topshop's take on the look without having to spending in excess of £1000 (if you do have those kind of funds, click here and feel free to share)...  Their lace pencil skirt and lace top combination looks fab together, but also work as really cool separates - paired up with the pieces you already own. Total win. 

The skirt would look great with your denim shirts (particularly this one) but also with plain white fitted ones like the Victoria Beckham one I added in above. For the shirt, I'd put it with my ever faithful boyfriend jeans - my Paige ones are a favourite at the moment. All in all, I think it's a trend worth going for - you can wear the two together for a formal event and then separately for work and play! What do you think?


[Trend] It's Nike Air Max Day!

Last week an email popped into my inbox that I thought was fate. It was from ASOS and read "It's Nike Air Max Day." Only hours before I'd been drooling over this pair of trainers and I felt it was a sign. Saying that, I still haven't bought them and really wish I had as they seem to be selling out at the rate of knots...

As a girl who swears my "casual-come-crazy lazy" the trainer trend is a great one for me. I leaped for joy (sometimes literally) over the number of fash-packers wearing them during the shows and there seems to be an overwhelming amount of street style photos of people wearing them (I have collating my faves in a dedicated pinterest board, here).

Any who, I have put together my favourite ones above (added in some other Nike styles too as they're too good to ignore). It's a look I just don't see how anyone couldn't buy into. It's so easy to do - wear anything and then add trainers. Simples. For me, I pair mine (a pair of Nike Liberty Pixels I bought last year) with my basic boyfriend jeans and tees and let the shoes do the talking. You?


[Outfit] Getting Some Colour Back

As my post yesterday explained, Nancy and I spent a day last week getting our hair sorted out for Spring all thanks to Sassoon Salons. The sun was shining and so I decided to make the most of it and put on my favourite spring colours to show off my new locks.  I've had all of these pieces for a while, I bought the skirt from Zara about a year ago, having lusted after the Jil Sander paisley prints for weeks and weeks. It is an absolute dead ringer for this one, which if I had the money would buy without hesitation. But I'm completely happy with my Zara version, it's been worn hundreds of times...

The shirt is an old faithful which I bought 4 years ago from Topshop. I live in it, and my more oversize denim shirt.  I count owning one as a complete essential and pair them up with everything from my maxi skirts to my boyfriend jeans.  This style works really well for me as it's quite fitted without being too tight, and if you needed any other encouragement to buy it if anything shows that it is a wardrobe staple its that the same shirt is still on sale at Topshop here. For £34 you really can't go wrong.

The shoes and clutch are both from LK Bennett. If you've been reading the blog for a while you'll have seen the heels before as I live in them.  They're the Florete style and are probably the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.  The heel is enough to be considered "making an effort" but low enough to wear all day (in fact they're the only shoes I can say I've done that in).  I've had these blues ones for a year and given my habit of destroying heels within days the fact they still look pretty much new is an enormous testament to them.

The clutch is actually a travel wallet which I've changed the use of. I was lucky enough to have been given it as part of an event last week at Duke of York Square.  No doubt I'll change it back to it's core purpose in a few weeks as I am heading over to sunny California to visit LA and Vegas (to say I'm excited just doesn't even begin to describe it) with some friends. I am delighted to have some sunkissed looking locks to some off whilst I'm there! Any way, this is how I'm intending to dress for the next few days = colourfully. How do you get yourself "spring ready" ?



[Beauty] Spring Hair Spruce Up with Sassoon Salons

I've been going to see Sassoon Salons for nearly two years now, and I can't tell you what its done for my hair. Before going I had yellow-blonde highlights that I'd get done every few months and didn't have a regular salons, I just shopped around for the cheapest deal close to me. I've never really given Sassoon the credit they deserve on the blog so thought I'd take some pics (read: drag Nancy along to take some pics) of me getting a bit of a spring refresh to my hair - also partly in celebration that my favourite colour-expert Abi is back at their South Molton Street Salon having come back from travelling around Oz.

What I love most about going is that Sassoon (or least, Abi) doesn't waste time in telling you what your hair needs. I hadn't been since November (eeek) and in that time my hair had been through a sun holiday, extreme cold and my general negligence.  On top of that, my colour had got a little built up over time, my ends were brittle and my roots were a mess.  Abi spotted the lot instantly (there really is no hiding from her) and told me off for not being better to my hair.  We chose some colour to help lift my hair a little and Abi picked out the right enriching treatment.

Then came the meticulous process of putting in the colour. For hair length like mine it takes around 1.5 hours so thankfully I had Nancy and a stack of magazines for company.  I find the whole process really therapeutic, I know I'm going to look so much better for it.  Having had my hair washed and treated (the salon swear by Kerastase treatments and having benefitted from the results, so do I) it was time for a cut. I let the girls decide how much to cut it by based purely on the hair's condition, so had around 2 inches taken off.

After a blowdry, I was ready to go - Nancy and I head out into the sunshine to take some piccies - check back tomorrow for an outfit post showing off the results!  I really can't recommend Sassoon enough, I never imagined anyone would motivate me to manage my hair in the way they do but every time I visit I get a new lease of life around hair maintenance. If you're in the London area I really recommend visiting the guys on South Molton Street - failing that they have salons across the UK, the US and Germany.



[Beauty] Spathrooming with The Sanctuary

Last week I spent an evening looking after me, all thanks to The Sanctuary. Sadly, their spas are closing down this May but they have decided to take a new tangent with the brand and launched their "spathrooming" concept... Thats creating a spa at home to you and me.  I was lucky enough to be sent a range of their products and tested them all out one by one (and in truth have been using most of them everyday since).

So, we've got a fair few to get through so I thought I'd pick out my favourites as there really are some amazing products in this bunch.  Firstly, the Warming Sugar Polish.  This has actually been part of The Sanctuary's range for a few years and is an old, trusty favourite of mine.  It buffs, shines and softens the skin - it's perfect for this time of year when you need to get the legs out from hibernation. For £8 it's remarkably cheap. The results are instant and your skin stays soft throughout the day from it.

Two new excellent finds for me were Cleanse and Nourish Dual Oil set. Just use one pump from the Cleansing Oil onto dry skin as you get into the shower, and let it wash off - doesn't hurt the eyes at all.  When you get out, use the facial oil (again a teeny drop) when you're skin is still a little wet. It helps that it smells divine too. This is a little more expensive at £25 for the two, but I can't tell you more much softer and brighter my skin feels after using these two little gems. I've got mine on the shelf by the shower now so I don't forget - and I've even got the boyfriend using them. They're so good.

Whilst the shower cremes, body creams and bath soaks are very good, the final show stopper for me has genuinely brought me joy.  The Peptide Eye Repair Cream has single handily got rid of my dark circles, and that is some quest. I've been using it for 10 days now, and the skin around my eyes is tighter, lighter and generally just a bit happier. I've noticed a couple of fine lines look even finer too.

You can buy these products directly from The Sanctuary site, or they will continue to be stocked at Boots and other good pharmacists. I'm so pleased that the brand's new direction is such a good one - and wholeheartedly recommend making a purchase...


[Trend] Patchwork Double Denim

Yesterday I noticed my friend Olivia waxing lyrical about patchwork denim, and then on my wandering about London yesterday between meetings I spotted loads of similar pieces in stores. As you know, I live in my ASOS boyfriend jeans (which have just dropped to £15 again, FYI) so I'm thinking of going down the full-blue route and getting an oversize shirt to go with them... Below are my favourite picks of the look...

This whole trend started with that Celine shirt. Everyone wore it and got street style snapped in it at fashion week a few seasons ago and it's surprising how long it's taken for it to all take off on the high street. Topshop have an absolute dead ringer to this one (here) and they've gone all out and created a matching pair of jeans and a tote bag in case you really wanted to go to an extreme (saying that, I saw it on a mannequin and it looked awesome). For a slightly softer version, Uniqlo have a great one for £29.

On the more expensive route (but more lustrous fabric) new name Jonathan Simkhai has made a gorgeous style at Net A Porter for £180 who actually have some really good pieces inspired by the trend including this denim and lace (sounds awful combo, isn't) from Sacai and these Junya jeans. Finally this Band of Outsiders patchwork dress is perfect for anyone looking for a way to dress the trend up for summer... There are tonnes of pieces like these, but in my humble opinion these are the best quality... What do you think of the look?


[Beauty] Four Seasons Park Lane, London

Some of you might remember my trip to the beautiful Four Seasons Hampshire a few weeks ago? Well, this week I was lucky enough to test their urban equivalent in the heart of the capital.  Placed right by Hyde Park Corner, Four Seasons Park Lane really was something special. Considering how many times I have walked past the building it's crazy I had never noticed it - but that actually makes is a lot of more quaint compared to the enormous tower-block hotels surrounding the area.

I sampled the spa for the afternoon which is situated on the top floor of the building, so all rooms (including treatment rooms) have an incredible view across Hyde Park, Knightsbridge and beyond.  Having been shown around the beautiful changing rooms (sounds like an extreme comment, but they had everything you need from curling tongs to cotton buds) and switching into a super soft robe, I had a hot stone massage in their Sky Room which boasts 270 degrees of the city.

I'd never had a stone massage before and was a bit dubious. However, the treatment was incredible and I just lay there feeling all tensions and stresses drift away (in fact I suspect I fell asleep at one point). I spent the rest of the afternoon playing around with the bubbles in the swimming pool and watching the world go past from the sauna (pretty awesome, never had one with a view before) before heading down for dinner with Lucy.

The Amaranto is a refreshing change from the "hotel restaurant" stereotype. For a start it has genuine atmosphere rather than that half forced-half awkward vibe you get from a lot of central London hotels. Starting the evening with some cocktails (obviously, darling) we had a plate full of canap├ęs before heading over to our table to start the feasting.

Following this, it's a bit of a blur of beautiful food. I had burrata cheese to start followed by pork, trumped with possibly the most amazing dessert I'd ever seen involving 7 types of chocolates and an illusion. I kind of don't want to talk any more about it because you really should try it for yourself. Price wise I was pleasantly surprised too, main plates are around £15 and desserts about £8 - so pretty normal for London.  

After a break to take stock and regain consciousness from a blissful sugar (pudding induced) coma, I rolled myself into a taxi and went home.  I'd never thought of spending an afternoon at a London hotel, as a Londoner it's something you sort of forget about as an option.  I'd totally recommend it. Thank you very much Four Seasons and PRCO.



[Outfit] Showing Your Stripes

Last week was actually quite a nice one in London town, so Nancy and I made the most of it and got ourselves out in the sunshine to shoot an outfit I've been wearing a lot recently. Although it's not quite time for "legs out," I've been sporting this Topshop dress for a while now (since I mentioned wanting it in this post) with tights - cannot wait to when hosiery isn't needed. Pinstripes were so all over the runways last season and managed to resist buying into it when everyone else went nuts for the coats etc, and I'm glad I did as this is much more practical purchase.

My shoes are one of my favourites, I always get asked after them. I got them last summer from SuperTrash as part of a London Fashion Week campaign they did with a bunch of us bloggers.  At first I thought they were a little bit too "out there" but every time I wear them I get complimented so I must be on to something! I wear them to work all the time now, but also love putting them with my boyfriend jeans at weekends - they're insanely comfortable.

The bag was Nancy's though will soon be mine. It's funny how putting an outfit together for the blog highlights something you are missing in your wardrobe! I've realised I really don't have a decent "work style" bag as I tend to go for totes and other less practical shapes.  So, I'm going to be following in Nancy's steps and buying one of these - it's well structured, versatile and more to the point easily fits a laptop in and zips shut!  Overall, an extremely simple office-savvy outfit, no?

Images by Nancy


[Beauty] Make Time For REN Skincare

A couple of weeks ago I met the lovely REN team, who truly opened my eyes in terms of skincare and generally looking after yourself.  After a through talking to (comparing my skin care regime to their own really was a tad embarrassing, even after the effort I've been making recently) they kindly gave me a few of their products to try - and as they are so damn good I thought I'd share them with you.

First up, don't panic if you're a lazy girl like me. The above may look like a lot of different things (read: effort) but when you see the results for yourself - and how quickly you can achieve them in - you'll start to understand why I'm happily setting my alarm 5 minutes earlier to make time for them.  For a start the V-Sense day cream has already (after 6 days) toned down the fine lines I have around my eyes and the skin around the same area feels less puffy and tighter - which is the one thing I feel really self conscious of so am delighted.

The hot cloth cleanser was something I went a bit "Oh god, looks complex" about, but I timed it and it took me 7 mins to do. When I say it cleans your skin it, I mean you'll want to smack yourself for letting it get that dirty in the first place - even when your skin looked fine in the first place. My face felt like it had been to a day spa. Amazing, and for £16 it's a damn sight cheaper than a facial. I then followed it up with shower with the Moroccan Body Wash with smelt super yummy and one of few that hasn't dried my skin out afterwards.

Last but by absolutely no means least is the Radiance Renewal Mask, which was another I half rolled my eyes at when I saw. I did this on Sunday (5 days ago) and my skin still feels as good as it did when I took it off.  It got rid of all the blocked pores and general nastiness we tend to use concealer for.  It's a bit of a "rejuvenator" and really good for people who come back from holidays - ski or sun - and I can totally see why.  

Perhaps its the combo of all 3 products, but to be honest this is one routine I am 100% keeping up.
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