Bright and early on Monday morning this week Lopez and I had Sheerluxe over for a morning cuppa and a catch up. You can read all about it over on their site here, where I talk about why I started the blog, tips on why you should start one and my favourite beauty bits, coffee trips and home stores. Enjoy!
One of my favourite things to do around Christmas is have a jolly good sort out. The lead up to the 25th is often a mad dash to get the final bits and pieces, but the period between then and New Year can be quite quiet. In previous years I've used it as my time to sort out my wardrobe and work out what stays, what goes and more importantly what gets added. It really is the best time to invest in your clothes as these days retailers have such little clue as to how many pieces they will sell at full price they are often left with surplus stock of all of their products, so all of their collections go on sale rather than just the sparkly pink tutus and extremely cropped tee shirts. Here is a selection of the best I have found pre-Christmas day.
Maje bow tie silk shirt, 40% off / Neil Barrett Black cropped jumper, 50% off / Topshop grey long gilet, 60% off / Neil Barrett quilted leather skirt, 50% off / Oak white cropped shirt, 30% off / Topshop Premium leather culottes, 60% off / Reiss black shift dress with mesh shoulders, 50% off / Paige premium leather boots, 50% off / Whistles grey ankle boot, 40% off
I find the sales the optimum time to improve my work clothes. I appreciate I'm lucky in that I work in fashion/marketing so can wear leather etc, but generally speaking office appropriate clothes make it into the sales. If you can wear leather then the Topshop Premium leather culottes should seriously be on your radar as they're now £70. I stock up on decent shirts like the Oak cropped number, Equipment blouses and I couldn't pass on the Neil Barrett black cropped jumper for 50% off. Finally, boots are always a good sale buy and these two from Whistles and Topshop couldn't be missed.
James Perse tee, 40% off / Maison Kitsune "Parisien" tee, 40% off / Topshop military shirt, 60% off / Maje terry red sweater, 40% off / Reiss cable knit jumper, 40% off / Helmut Lang jersey skirt, 30% off / APC plaid shirt, 30% off / Moschino McDonalds case, 50% off / Cream Converse trainers, 30% off / Adidas Stan Smith trainers, 30% off
For casual stuff, of "Sunday simples" as I've called them, I picked out the above. There rarely is an opportunity to buy Herve Leger for less then £150 so I jumped at the chance with this jersey skirt. The Reiss cable knit jumper reminds me of one of my own, which turned out to be one of the most immensely useful jumpers ever. Looks great with jeans, but equally smart enough to go with leather trousers in the evening or a work skirt during the day. Other good finds include fab James Perse basics (I picked out the grey but they're available in a host of colours here). And I couldn't not mention the Stan Smiths - regular readers will know I've been after these for some time. Really shocked they made the sales...
Tibi silk cami, 50% off / Topshop sequin and feather top, 50% off / Topshop plunge jumpsuit, 40% off / Whistles lilac dress, 50% off / Needle and Thread sequin dress, 50% off / L.K.Bennett red skirt, 50% off / Whistles white bandeau, 40% off / Reiss Isla black sandals, 40% off / J Crew Necklace, 50% off
Had to mention this Needle and Thread dress as the price is amazing (very reasonable at full RRP let alone sale). It's £122.50. I appreciate how frivalous this sounds, but I have about 8 of these Tibi camis and I love them. They're just such good basics, this mint coloured one is now on it's way. My favourite jewels are from J Crew but they can be astronomically expensive. Net A Porter have a great selection at 50% off including this beauty. Whistles does really well with this kind of thing, the lilac dress could be worn during the day too if you wanted to and the bodice is a great piece all year round. Finally, these Reiss shoes are literally adorable...
Black Arizona Birkenstocks, 40% off / Marni embellished flat sandals, 40% off / Whistles mint sandals, 40% off / J Crew moccasins, 50% off / Emamo crotched bikini, 40% off / Zimmerman blue and white bikini, 40% off / Mara Hoffman swimsuit, 40% off / Finds leaf print swimsuit, 40% off
Last but not least, stuff for summer. Yes, for most of us it feels like an eternity away but the Christmas sales are the perfect time to invest in new bikinis and swimwear. Fantastic (usually very expensive) brands like Mara Hoffman and Zimmermann are often heavily reduced, just like some of the ones above. Crochet bikinis are most definitely the new trend, love this Emamo one. Additionally sandals and flats are a good purchase, as long as you can hang on a few months to wear them!
Today I am proud to be number 19 on Phase Eight's advent calendar series! I got to choose an item from their collection to giveaway to one lucky reader. Having recently seen a campaign that Suzie had done, she inspired me to pick this necklace, above (which has sold out - so I'm the only way you can get it, muhahaha). She made the valid point that when dressing for Christmas you rarely see anything from the chest down as you're sat at a table - therefore a necklace is the perfect way to dress up a classic piece you already have for the festive period, to stop you going too overspending on outfits. My staple in question is this silk shirt, which I bought 3 years ago and is still going strong.
To enter, you must retweet my tweet about the competition and follow Phase Eight on Twitter. The winner will be selected at random tomorrow morning at 9am (so it runs for 24 hours). People who follow me too get an extra entry. Unfortunately those without a Twitter account cannot take part... Good luck guys, and Merry Christmas!
*For further terms and conditions click here. This post is in collaboration with Phase Eight.
Unsurprisingly last week's most favoured pin was this, shot by Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist (or at least so it was originally credited when I found it). I did giggle when I worked out this was the pin of the week as I'd literally just spent half an hour pondering over whether I should by these exact culottes. They're from Whistles and are now 50% in their winter sale. I felt it was fate, so they're on their way...
The rest outfit is painfully simple. She's got a pair of plain canvas shoes on (if you like that idea for me Superga are the best) but given the wet weather in the UK at the moment I'd probably go for white Stan Smiths - or black loafers paired with tights. The navy roll neck is a staple and therefore I'd stick to my favourite options like Uniqlo (or try River Island for this one) although if you wanted to really invest (and quite rightly as you'd probably get a lot of wear out of it) try brands like The Row and Rick Owens.
Bag wise, you can't go wrong with a simple envelope clutch. I was pretty anti getting one at first as I thought they just weren't practical, but I bought a neon pink one a couple of seasons ago and it seems to come out with me more than any of my other evening bags. If you want to invest, make this Loewe piece your friend. On the cheaper side, this Missguided one is great too.
It's been a long old while since I did an eating out post, but I've decided to go back to it - so expect a few more over the coming months. The re-thought was prompted by my favourite department store, Selfridges, opening a new restaurant called Le Chalet which sits proudly on the 5th floor of their Oxford Street flagship and masks itself as a French ski cabin packed with everything you need for Christmas and gluttony.
With south facing views across London (you can see most of the City, right through to Knightsbridge clearly) it has a distinctly relaxed feel with an informal outside area (complete the heaters, rug and a cigar bar), an unreservable bar/drinks station, as well as the restaurant inside.
I took my friends Victoria and John along for a Sunday treat and kicked it all off snuggling into the big, comfy chairs whilst sipping their Malted Chocolate cocktail (it's essentially a dessert and is amazing, but possibly a little too heavy to begin) and Vic had their gingerbread martini which was very, very tasty even for someone who doesn't really like gingerbread.
The whole feel of the place just oozes comfort; its the type of restaurant you could arrive for brunch in and then find yourself getting a taxi home from at 9pm. The majority of tables were taken up with groups of girlfriends - and it is an ideal spot for eating with the parents (we also spotted a very comical pair of bloggers posing across the tables and doing selfies - which is exactly why I didn't take a single shot of my myself for this post - cringe).
Back to the food - we started with a blue cheese fondue with roasted garlic and toast. If it had been possible I'd have jumped into the pot of cheese - it was that yummy. Our starters arrived pretty quickly afterwards - I went for the crab, John had the raclette (and was very happy to have found it in London) and Vic had the salmon. We inhaled them, which may have been an error as our main courses were enormous...
I went for the baked short rib with parsnip mash (ooh and some cabbage with chorizo in - a side dish I plan to do over Christmas at home, with a few added chestnuts). It's been a while since I've smiled during a meal (which coincidentally makes eating a little bit tricky). The meat fell of the bone as it was so tender. The only downside was that I couldn't finish it, and unfortunately I couldn't take it home for
Lopez dinner as they have a policy that doesn't allow hot food through the department store, sob.
We couldn't manage pudding, so had some fresh mint tea (it's all about balance, right?) whilst regaining consciousness from our food induced comas... All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The waiters were incredibly attentive, but at the same time left you alone to enjoy your time with your friends. I'd recommend going at a time where you can see Le Chalet at night as it does rather come alive - that said, you then wouldn't get the views as well... Perhaps a 2pm lunch would be best...
Any outfit which makes a breton shirt acceptable for dressing up is perfect in my book. Last week this pin was highest on my favourites list, and thank you to everyone who follows me on Pinterest, I made it to 100k last week! I love what she's done here - mixing a really good staple breton shirt (the best are from Saint James, buy a size smaller as they come up big) with a bit of texture (fur/faux fur) and then a full, festive skirt.
Breaking the outfit down a little more in depth: Midi skirts are a real favourite of mine, I have several. So I guess having a festive-like one makes sense, right? Fit wise I think they're great for me, they draw me in at my smallest part and as they poof out they disguise larger bums and legs - ideal. For an investment piece I love this No 21 skirt, and ASOS have some great budget ones too, like this and this. As for the shoes, I see little point in scrimping on something as important as a pair of black sandals. These Rupert Sanderson ones are amazing, closely followed by these Isabel Marant bow heels.
Accessories and heels wise: Chanel handbags are just expensive and there is little we can do about it, without sounding like a broken record do remember to check out luxury resellers like Vestiaire Collective and Covetique who often have some great nearly-new ones for a fraction of the price (like this and this). Last but not least, the fur stole. I bought my Whistles one as a way to liven up my old coats as I didn't want to have to buy a new one. If you're looking for something a little cheaper this ASOS one is lovely.
I came home this weekend for some rest and relaxation as it's all been a bit busy of late. My parents live in leafy North London, still in the house I grew up in - and the area I've been in since I was 18 months old and in some ways it's still exactly the same. Saying that, it's become a hell of a lot more trendy than when I was there - suddenly there are streams of pop up restaurants and Christmas markets. We certainly didn't have any of that in my day..!
This week certainly got a lot colder, which in some ways I was glad for as I'd been wanting an excuse to wear my new French Connection coat (Emma has the same one, if you're looking for more than one outfit idea) since I was given it at their Old Street pop up a couple of weeks ago. I love the colour, and it's clever as you can zip off the furry bits in two seconds (any girl's dream) and wear it as a shorter jacket.
My jumper is from Gant, and I love it. You can't really see how soft and snuggly it is, but I've spent most of the weekend in it. I feel its a nice halfway house Christmas jumper; it's red and white but also a pretty simple style so I can wear it throughout the colder months. I pinched the scarf from my Dad, we bought it for him a couple of Christmases ago. It's from Burberry and it's one of the best presents I've ever got anyone - he wears it everyday in winter (expect when we steal it "back").
My jeans and boots are old favourites and I wear them relentlessly on the blog so won't go on about them too much, other than to say they are the best in the business and every one should save up and buy some as they won't regret it. Last but by no means least, my hat. It was a birthday present and comes from a company called Loma. The bobble is awesome and it's the only hat I've found that I don't look (that) ridiculous in. Here are all the components of the outfit, with some extra high street finds:
Any way, one December weekend down and two to go until Christmas - best get onto some of that Christmas shopping!
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