[Beauty] Guinot + the Guinot Salon, Mayfair

I’ve harped on about my new interest in skincare for sometime so I won’t repeat myself too much.  In summary, I turn 30 this year and my skin was speaking that loud and clearly.  I noticed after returning from South Africa that it had aged, significantly.  Perhaps it was my penchant for sunshine (and the odd “electric beach” session) but my skin now takes effort. When Guinot got in touch I was intrigued.  I’d heard about them from a friend who swore blind by their “lunch break facials” but in truth I was far more of a “home salon” type of girl.  I met up with Aman, Guinot’s Marketing Manager, for coffee and was so impressed with her understanding of my skin-woes I couldn’t have signed up for a treatment quick enough.

I went for the prescription style facial called the Hydradermie2, which lasts around an hour.  After being given what I can only describe as the plushest salon-bed to sit in I have ever come across, my skin was checked over, inch by inch.  I had areas of dehydration and (to my glee) fine lines they were fully confident they could reduce.

I was skeptical until the beauty therapist spoke through her theory, “If don’t give a flower enough water it shrivels and wilts.  The same applies to your skin.”  I then got a stern telling off for not drinking enough what, and my hangover was busted within minutes just by a brief look at the skin under my eyes.  With that mind set she set about giving me the various masks and cleansing my face needed.  Finally (but most importantly) she massaged my skin with electric "ionizers" which effectively deep cleanses the skin as it penetrates far deeper than any other type of therapy. By the end, I could hardly believe my (now much more perky) eyes.  I looked so much better.  Like so much better.

If you fancy doing the same you can – Guinot’s products are available to buy across the UK – have a look at their site here.  I’ve been using the anti fatigue eye gel and hand cream religiously since going. But in all honesty, you kind of need to see it to believe it – so get yourself to the salon.  As previously mentioned if you are short on time they do a “pit stop” lunch break facial, but I can’t recommend the longer facial enough – an eye-opening experience. Thank you Aman and Guinot, my skin is genuinely so much better for my visit!

[Trend] THAT Floral Sweater

street style muses in Carven and Stella McCartney

This “look” has been around for a while so apologies to all if you’ve “been there, done that.”  The mass of floral sweaters that have hit the stores (be they virtual, or not) sings very pretty “buy meeeeeeee” songs to me every time I see one. It started with a mild obsession with the Christopher Kane collection. and then developed into a full blown crush over fashion week when even the edgiest of the muses came out wearing the look. Florals have somehow got chic (if not a bit gothic), no longer are they just got the more mumsy, chino wearing people in this world...

Unsurprisingly this was once look the high street picked up on, how hard can a sweater with a few flowers on be to replicate? Granted the quality will never be the same, but this ASOS (£13, yeah really) and River Island duplicates really are quite something considering their price points. My wishlist below really is just that… £1000 on a sweater is not something I can really justify becoming homeless for (even if I was the best dressed person at 3am on a bench in Victoria station…).

Sweaters can be worn all year long, be they for summer evenings or part of a layer-on-mass ensemble in winter. So this is one look I am 100% happy to invest in.  Personally, pairing them up with my boyfriend jeans (bank roll option: Paige Jimmy Jimmys, budget: ASOS’ Bradys) and my chunky sandals from last year (if in doubt, go to Whistles. Just do it. Click here. NOW) for my “springtastic” outfits.

And lastly, here are my wider high street picks of the trend - enjoy!



[Travel] 24 Hours in Munich with Sofitel

As some of you may have noticed, I've got a little more time on my hands at the moment. So when PRCO asked me if I fancied going to Munich for 24 hours there was very little reason for me not to! I was invited with a group of bloggers from across Europe as part of Sofitel's pair-up with Wallpaper Magazine.  They launched a competition called 'My-Bed' inviting designers to "dream" their ideal sleep (read the initial brief here) and were showcasing the winning design at Sofitel Munich Bayerpost which got me quite excited as I do love a good sleep...

After a surprisingly short flight, I was whisked off in a limo (by a lovely French man who told me Munich was much better than London as, "they are prettier" and much better than Paris because, "the Germans have manners and work on schedule") and arrived at the hotel.  What a treat it was... My room was just... gorgeous.  I didn't really know what to expect but the open bathroom and Hermes bathroom goodies were certainly and added bonus.

Not to mention the bed; the size of my bedroom at home and with possibly the best pillows I've ever laid my little head on (we were given one to take away, which despite the challenge of wrestling into my hand luggage the next morning was one of the best gifts I've ever been given).  After a long massage in the SoSpa and an afternoon's relaxation of just doing nothing, I head downstairs to view the competition winner and their "winning sleep".

A fab part about this kind of thing as a blogger, is meeting new people like you... Together with KateSophie, Samantha and Hassin I inhaled the canapes (except for a slightly odd peach flavoured caviar, which we tactically disposed of in a manner we won't discuss, ever) while Clementine (the winner) talked through her idea and inspiration. Now, I'm no design whizz but even I really liked Clementine's (a French product designer) idea.  The ladder symbolises the uplifting and dreaming aspects of sleep, and stepping stones into bed reflected the effort and care you need to take into making sure you get a good 40 winks.

After a yummy dinner at the hotel restaurant (steak, chips and from I remember, copious amounts of red wine) there was just about time for a soak in the bath (complete with rubber duck, win) before what I like to call, The Best Nights Sleep Of My Entire Life.  Seriously, the beds - sod going out to see the city, stay there and just sleep and stuff.  All in all, a fantastic stay - could argue the French culture of the hotel was a little odd considering we were in Germany, but in terms of service, luxury and fun I really couldn't have asked for more. Thank you Sofitel, and PRCO for a great time!

Flights to Munich run 4 times a day from Gatwick airport by most short haul operators.  Sofitel Munich rooms start at £169 per night.


[Feature] Triumph's Stand Up For Fit

When it comes to clothing, I kind of feel I've got what suits me nailed after 3 years doing South Molton St Style.  It's been full of surprises (eg: pencil skirts work for me, cropped jackets don't - who knew) but all in all I'm pretty confident about what I wear these days.  Which is why when I was approached by Triumph to work with them on their Stand Up For Fit campaign, I came to the embarrassing realisation that I know next to nothing about underwear.  Least of all my bra size, I'd guestimated all my life.  Their campaign (to fit 10,000 women in a year) could not have come at a better time...

photo via the lovely Alex

So the first thing to do: get fitted.  I popped down to Triumph's gorgeous little boutique in Covent Garden (with a rather confused Lopez, who absolutely loved the changing rooms and their many places to hide/run/bark/cause mayhem) to get myself sorted out.  As predicted I'd got it all wrong. Apparently I'd made the classic mistake and overestimated the waist size and underestimated the bust.  So effectively a lost inches and gained a cup size.  I was left a happy woman.

I asked Iesha, the lovely sales assistant in the store for a few pointers on making sure your bra fits:
  • Generally, if you can fit more than a finger into each cup when you're wearing it then its the wrong size.
  • Bra shapes don't work for everyone - fuller cup sizes look best in balconette shapes, whereas flatter cup sizes look great in unpadded styles.
  • Girls confuse bras that "dig" in your shoulders as being the wrong size; it could be the correct fit but not have enough support so make sure you choose styles that do both.
  • When you buy a new bra, it should fit you on the loosest waist fitting - then as the bra ages you can tighten it using the "closer in" clasps
It's also worth mentioning Triumph's Women in Making campaign as the Covent Garden store has some lovely bits on display (and events across the spring/summer) from their ambassadors Roksanda Ilincic, Thea Green (CEO, Nails Inc) Georgie Coulter (Fenwicks Buyer) to celebrate their competition to help "support" (see what they did there) women launch themselves into business with a £10,000 bursary, enter here if you fancy it.

I don't know why I'd been so daft about not getting fitted before, it's genuinely liked I've now got a whole new wardrobe.  My clothes fit me so much better and I no longer spend half the day pulling up my straps... Heaven.  I'm so fussy with my underwear as I hate to look busty - but my favourite style is this one.  Slightly sporty, not too "out there" but definitely looks like I've made an effort! Thank you so much Triumph, and thanks for asking me to take part in this fab campaign - 9,999 women to go!

*this post was written in collaboration with Triumph and Halpern PR. You can ask for a free fitting at any Triumph store, click here to visit their website.


[Outfit] Head To Toe Stripes

As you guys know, I'm a bit obsessed with breton stripes (or just stripes, any will do).  So when I popped into LK Bennett a few weeks ago I nearly floored a sales assistant when I ran over to these new babies.  Meet, Eloise. I've been saving them up for better weather and what with this sudden burst of Spring, it's finally time.  

I paired them up with a top from Whistles I bought at the beginning of the year, a trusty basic (now comes in a cropped version which I'm coveting to wear with my midi skirts etc) and my ever faithful Hobbs leather skirt (worn to death, British weather is perfect for leather as it's that bit warmer) which is now reduced to a ridiculously good £89. In all seriousness, can't recommend this one enough - it's like wearing a massive hug it's so soft.

Also (in the spring clean frame of mind) I've decided to have a little clear out and am parting with my precious Pashli.  I bought it recently and have just never found the time to wear it - it's too special for me to clunk my laptop/dog/stuff in.  In an effort to save for flights for my Christmas holiday I've decided to sell it.  She's brand new, got the dust bag and all. So, if you fancy becoming her new proud owner, have a look here

Photos as always by the lovely and super talented, Nancy. You can now "shop the look" using the very nifty widget below if you'd like!  Hope you guys have an amazing Easter, am off to sunny California this week (at last) with Lucy, Olivia and Chloe - so see you on the other side!



[Craving] Warehouse's Spring / Summer 2014

Last week was a rush of press day madness.  I usually skip them, but thought I'd make the effort this season and am very glad I did.  It makes such a difference to see people in person rather than just over email, and the same goes for the collections I saw too.  One of my favourite PR agencies, IPR, took on Warehouse last year and their AW14 looks set to be one of the strongest on the high street.  Having seen it, I went straight home to check out their current offering - and found tonnes of stuff I want:

I'm going to LA this weekend with the girls and was really struggling to find inspiration to put on anything vaguely summery.  Having not shopped with Warehouse for a while (I have no idea why not, my all time favourite jacket is from there) I was really impressed with some of bits on offer. I struggle with "holiday shopping" as I hate buying stuff for the sake of it... I try really hard to buy stuff I can wear back in the UK as much as I can, as much as I love the summery stuff...

So to start with, you may have read my post in February about silver skirts? Well, this one is a damn sight cheaper than the other options I found and as silver looks set to stay for the winter (from the collections I saw last week) I'm extremely tempted. I've also been after a denim midi skirt since forever so was dead chuffed to find this one for a bargain £38 - bought it straight away!

The other stand out pieces are without a doubt bits like the pale blue leather mini skirt for £60, flamingo fun printed dress with lingerie lace detail (bit different, love it) and some super cool white culottes (I bought these, I've seen so many pictures on Pinterest of girls giving the look a go with Birkenstocks and vests). Price point wise, I don't think you can beat it... Well done Warehouse, I'm a fan again and promise not to leave you ever again!

Psst - they also have some of their AW13 sale stuff still on the site, I picked up this grey basic dress for £10, and this breton tee for £12!


[Feature] Malibu x Sera Ulger

Here's something a little bit different to my usual jeans and t shirt combos! In the spirit (excuse the pun) of the coconut rum yumminess; sometimes you just need to have fun with fashion. That's exactly what I did with Malibu and their new summer collaboration with Sera Ulger a couple of weeks ago.  Sera is a relatively new designer on the scene (having worked with the "greats" from Topshop to J Crew previously), who hand paints her prints to an incredible detail creating a bottle design for Mailbu incorporating everything the brand is about (sunshine, summer, fun, frolics). Above is one of the dresses she created to run alongside the bottle design, I couldn't help but push to borrow it after seeing it being used in the campaign...

Myself, Bip and Gem all went down see the shoot in action, getting to meet Sera to ask her all about how the idea came about and what her inspiration was behind the designs she created for the project. Here is my little interview above (which is huge testament to the video production team as the two of us worked out we had mutual friends as we're both North Londoners and kept going off in a massive tangent - sorry).

Sera's bottle is available for six weeks from today (Monday the 14th of April) so if you're spending an evening with friends relaxing for what I hope is the start of summer, if you are off to a house party or just fancy something different to spruce up your evening try a bottle of this stuff.  My cocktail of choice is some cranberry juice, squeeze of lime and a dash of orange liquer - with a measure of Malibu! You can find out more about Sera and the whole campaign over on Malibu's Facebook page.

*Photos by Nancy Gibbs, this post is in collaboration with Malibu UK and Tea and Cake PR


[Essentials] Leather Trouser Love

I'm about to make a fairly enormous purchase: some investment leather trousers.  Having lusted after the ones seen on everyone from Katie Holmes to Elin Kling, I've decided to invest in a pair of Joseph leggings. It has been a hard decision, for a start they are very expensive.  But I've been collating up images on Pinterest for over a year (here) and feel I now have can justify the immense purchase.

My love for leather started last year and has never gone away. I have one other pair which I have worn to death from Marks and Spencer, but they're half ponte fabric and I want the all over leather look.  For anyone looking for a good "starter" pair then I really recommend the M&S ones are they are only £99.  Before these I thought leather was just for the skinnier girl, but actually I feel my most confident in them as they properly fit (without being tight, as in you could have dessert in them and not feel gross - my usual benchmark) and the fabric really does make you feel a bit, dare I say it, sexy.

For me, when it comes to leather Joseph really is a winner. Helmut Lang was a close second but having done research I found out the Lang's are quite long and as I'm 5 foot 3 that wouldn't really work.  I literally cannot wait for them to arrive, I know they're going to last me forever!  I've been selling a few items on Vestiaire to justify the purchase. If anyone is looking for a Phillip Lim Pashli or some Charlotte Olympia kitty heels, be my guest and shop my closet!  

As you can see from the images, you can wear pretty much anything with them, so my breton shirts, denim chambray, tees and utility jackets all have a good partner in crime now. I'm obsessed with the all over black look like the ones above - leather looks so good with black tuxedo jackets... Here are my favourite leathers and pieces to wear with them (sorry if this tempts you!):



[Outfit] Back To The Best Basics

I read a piece in Grazia last week whilst on the way to Munich (more on that to come) where the point was made that fashion right now is all about looking incredibly "normal."  It got me thinking... They're entirely right.  You only have to look at the amount of street style posts there are of girls in trainers, white tees and boyfriends jean combos to get the gist. I realised I'd never done an outfit post on the stuff I live in the most - which are exactly the basics Grazia was referring to. So, here you go:

Grey jeans are one of the best "basics" decisions I've made. Mine are from AND Denim and are the Flynn fit, however they can be tricky to find to and the Paige Skinny Mid Rise at Selfridges are also really, really nice. Before the blog, I'd never spent more than around £50 on a pair of jeans and lived in high street styles.  Now (aside from those pesky ASOS Bradys) I rarely wear a cheap pair.  Expensive jeans look just that.  They hold their shape, they flatter and they keep their colour.  Rather than saving up for a dress for a single occasion, make that you high street purchase and invest in a good pair of denims, trust me.

As for tees, my purchasing habits have done a 180* too.  Gone are the days of "2 for £10" on this kind of thing.  My first investment tee was a James Perse grey marl short sleeve and I've never looked back. In fact, if it wasn't for losing (possibly having it pinched by someone who will know darn well when they read this... tsk) it, I'm certain it would still look as good right now despite me having worn it pretty much every week. This long sleeve is a new addition and is just as good, and it's super, super soft. If I could afford it, I'd have every style in every neutral colour.

The boots are a little bit extravagant but are worth not eating for a month for, they're my "super crazy luxe achilles heel."  From Jimmy Choo, they're lined (don't hate, made from bi product fur) and they're warm and they're sturdy looking and awesome. Everything a biker boot should be, with a bit more luxury thrown in as Choo does so well. And lastly the new necklace shows how to spend less on trends on the high street, it was £20 from Zara last week - and looks set to be the spring version of that plaid scarf everyone had from them last season, I've spotted about 15 girls wearing it so far!



[Outfit] South Molton St Style x Selfridges

On the first day of Spring I made full use of the newly fledged sunshine and dragged Nancy out to take some photos of me flaunting the fact it was warm enough to wear a skirt and some Spring favourites around my old stomping ground in Little Venice (Nancy is lucky enough to live around there, and I'm making every excuse to visit as I miss the old delis, pretty houses and canals a lot).

The first piece of choice was the ASOS skirt I'd bought in the winter and have been saving up for times just like these to wear it. Most importantly though, my spring accessories gained a special new addition when Selfridges (London's ultimate department store, I rarely venture into any other) kindly gave me this Marc by Marc Jacobs watch to mark the changing of the clocks.  I love the green pastel face; a little bit different yet "quiet" enough to wear with everything. It has certainly upgraded my wrists to a new level of "spring fresh" !

I have had the shirt for a long time and is from J Crew, I found a beautiful similar one here at Topshop last week for £30 too in case anyone is after a similar piece. It was also time to dust off the cobwebs on my favourite spring shoes: my Whistles Slammer Sandals. I bought them last year in their Easter sale (which reminds me, have you seen how good it is this year - have a look here). They've improved the design this year even more, and have brought out the Gina too which I might just have to get as mine are so comfortable (these mint green flat sandals are also on the must have list). I've tried to find the exact pieces I'm wearing below, but failing that have found similar ones! Happy Spring!

This spring could not have come quick enough for me, the winter months got so dull and depressing particularly compared to the South African sunshine at Christmas.  I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes being able to walk around without a coat on, or take the dog out in the evening in daylight.  I hope you all are making the most of the extra light, if nothing else we bloggers find it an awful lost easier to make time to do photos! Happy Spring!

This post was created in collaboration with Selfridges / Marc by Marc Jacobs. 
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