Monday

[Craving] Oh Deer....

get similar: Topshop deer print coat

Just a little post from me this morning - a hectic week ahead. On Saturday I popped over to Selfridges on Oxford Street to buy my dress for my birthday party (I chose this Miss Selfridge one, what do you think?). I strolled through Topshop on their ground floor and was stopped in my tracks by this.  For months and months (almost years) I oohed and aahed over the Carven coat in the shot above. Hell, I've probably pinned that image 20 times.  So this Topshop one has made me so happy inside and is now firmly on my birthday wish list. I love patterned coat as then you can wear all your plain basics with them and look like you've made an effort. ENJOY!
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Thursday

[Beauty] My Autumn Beauty Buys


I only recently realised how different my summer beauty regime is to when it's a bit colder the other day when I found myself frantically scrambling around for face creams et al that I hadn't used since the early months of the year. So, in celebration of my new autumn handbag (thank you very much for Rosie, L.K.Bennett) I had a clear out from my old bag and worked out what things I actually do need to carry around with me every, single day.


Here are a few things I've picked up that are proving absolutely essential at the moment:
  • I did that embarrassing thing Ross from Friends does at hotels and when staying at Babington House completely fleeced the room of everything vaguely packable. Notably, the Cowshed Cleanser and Toner.  When these run out I might cry - they are perfect size for keeping in your bag for the gym and are the only thing I can find that get my industrial mascara off...
  • ... The industrial mascara in question is called They're Real from Benefit. I am a mascara fiend. If I wear nothing else, mascara is always, always on.  I have very long lashes and often get marks under my eyebrows where my lashes have touched my skin when I've just applied it. But this stuff is hardcore, seriously impressed.  I went swimming with it on and it didn't move. Impressed.
  • My nails get super dry and gross in winter. When OPI gave me this cuticle gel oil I didn't really think I'd use it. But, having seen the difference it makes it's now become the first thing I do the minute I sit down on the bus/tube/train. It keeps my cuticles all neat for an extra 10 days before I need to crawl into a salon looking guilty for them to sort out my occasional nail biting issue...
  • One unexpected brand I love to promote is Superdry's EyeMarker. I was given one of these two years ago at a press day and have since bought two more as they're just so good (and I lost the others). It's just the most idiot proof eyeliner on the planet. And I'm an idiot so it works well.

  • The first of two vital skin make up bits: No Concealer Concealer by Perricone MD. It's just brilliant - and lasts forever as you need one drop for your whole face.
  • My nail polish for autumn is most definitely Victoria from Nails Inc. It's just warm and lovely and doesn't chip instantly. Poifeck
  • My concealer never, ever changes. It's called Boiing from Benefit and I buy one every year. It's perfect for under the eyes, sudden mammoth-mountain spots and day to day blemishes.  It's reduced on ASOS (it's never reduced, wahey!) at the moment - so buy it (I am shade medium, and most people I know seem to be too)
  • On the subject of under eyes, Guinot's eye gel is a genuine life saver. I've been using if for a few months now, and essentially it's what you use to hide the fact you went to bed at 3am
  • Last but by no means least, my new-in J Crew perfume. Mine is in a little bottle which is super as I carry it around with me and I can take it on holidays. It's called Arquiste and  it's scent is just so nice - I appreciate thats a vague description but essentially it seems of luxury and is a great every day wear...
Ooh and as lots of people on Instagram are asking me, my phone cover is from Whistles - it's currently available to buy now and I really, really love it. At least I do until the Stella McCartney shark case goes live on Net A Porter. That will be a very happy day indeed....


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Wednesday

[Outfit] Mid Month Monochrome


As promised, here is a little outfit post wearing the Jimmy Choos I picked out for my trip to The Berkeley with them for #tea4choo (read the post 'ere). I went shopping last week with my friend Holly who has just got a fancy new job and so wanted to look equally fancy in her new office. I swore blind I wasn't going to buy anything, but when I got into Whistles I just couldn't resist this lace shirt. I'd gotten as far as the door to leave, when I spotted an assistant wearing it.  Within 30 seconds, it was mine (I also bought Ben a navy t shirt, which if you have a spare £25, and a boyfriend, I would suggest strongly you buy one).


The skirt is part of my attempt to "boomph" up my work wear wardrobe (I'm doing an exciting project at the moment on the subject, which I annoyingly can't tell you anymore about...).  Having worked from home for a summer now, I have suddenly been faced with the realisation of having to go to an office (exciting, I love my new work space) and also going to fairly corporate/serious meetings. It's very easy to forget that wearing jeans on a Wednesday is a bit of a novelty!  The skirt is fab, and a really nice halfway house. I've been wearing it with serious shirts, but also with things like my (topshop) denim shirt when I just need to look like I've made a bit of an effort.


The leather jacket... Ahhhhhh. My new baby. It's so soft you could almost slip off it when sitting on it.  Which you really shouldn't do, it deserves it's own seat. It's quite literally my dream come true.  I'd been mucking around trawling over Pinterest (the fruits of my labour can be found here) for the perfect one, and then just bit the bullet and got this Reiss one. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE, EVER.  It's perfect, I just can't tell you. In fact I'll stop. Just save up a bit and buy one. The. End.


And of course, the shoes.  I spied these at the Choo Townhouse event over Fashion Week and instantly clocked them. So when I was invited to select a pair to wear for tea these were a no brainer. They come in black and maroon, and my only decision (having worn them solidly for a day and my feet feeling like I'd been in slippers) is which colour to buy. Thoughts? Decisions, decisions.



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Tuesday

Afternoon tea at The Berkeley with Jimmy Choo


Just a quick little post from me today as I've been so, so busy - suddenly panicked and realised I hadn't blogged - which is so annoying as I've been doing some really cool stuff recently (note to self: must do better)... Any way; ever so often being a blogger is ace, Wednesday was one of those days. Myself and some of my blogger friends (Anneli, Emma, Briony, Shini, Monica and Kit, to be precise) were all treated an afternoon of everything I love; cake, champagne, and more cake.


And I don't just mean any cake, I mean tea at the lovely Berkeley hotel in London, shaped as shoes and handbags - plate after plate for hours on end. You can see my gobsmacked face in the above picture. I was in my element (even more so once the champagne kicked in).


The Berkeley's Pret A Portea has been running for some time, but their ingenious collaboration with Jimmy Choo continues until the 27th of October.  The atmosphere was really, really chilled - I expected it to feel a lot more pretentious as their website strictly says no vests, sportswear or ripped jeans (i.e: quite a bit of my wardrobe) - but it's got the balance entirely right. It felt special, and like you should make an effort - but not stifling, and was very relaxed.

I wore some lovely Jimmy Choo heels for the occasion, my new (best purchase ever) grey jumper from ASOS which I now want in every single damn colour (outfit post to follow, we stayed chatting for so long that it was dark and rainy by the time we left) and my failsafe black AG skinny jeans.


If you've got a friend or family member's birthday coming up, or just fancy treating yourself - please do so here. It's so easy to forget when you live in London quite how great your city is and how much it has to offer. This experience was a fantastic reminder!

Thank you to Jimmy Choo and The Berkeley for being amazing hosts!


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Thursday

[Trend] Little Fluff Bags

photo via Pinterest from this blog

This is a super short post as I'm frantic with various work projects at the moment (all very exciting and I shouldn't complain, but I'm so tired and really want an evening just to watch all of my rubbish TV and Sky haven't installed in our new place... first world problems). Although this phrase (the post's title) is my affectionate name for my dog, this time around I'm actually talking about handbags. Or clutch bags, more specifically. 

my super fit friend Pin Sykes from Sunday Times Style

I don't know about you, but everyone around me seems to be strapped for cash right now. Maybe thats why all the stores have gone into sale, to tempt us to go in with our last remaining £20 (which isn't made EXTREMELY hard when The bl**dy OutNet do the bl**dy Marant jumper I want for bl**dy 70% off). 

Any way, for that reason I've been on the look out for real bargains or simple little bits that will update my wardrobe really quickly. Freddie told me about an ASOS clutch she'd bought (here) and it got me hooked looking for others. On top of that some of my favourite street style muses have all be donning them. Conclusion: it's a must have. Here are my faves:



Over and out xx



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Wednesday

[Feature] The Perfect Little Black Dress with L.K.Bennett

Freddie and I arriving at the hotel for our yummy dinner

It's really difficult to find the perfect little black dress, and for that reason I've never had one.  There was a more obvious gap appearing in my wardrobe, particularly now that the Christmas parties, work parties and birthday bashes are starting to appear (Christmas is 11 weeks away!). For me, winter is always a bit more dressy as in summer you tend to be out all day in the sunshine and then pile in to an event - in the darker months you're more inclined to make a bit of an effort and get the glad rags out to cheer yourself out of the cold..

afternoon tea and biscuits whilst getting ready!

L.K.Bennett have recognised this exact issue and created a selection of 6 dresses, housed under the Little Bennett Dress campaign. There is one for every shape and size, and to celebrate they asked myself, Alex, Freddie, Monica, Julia and Lucy to come and enjoy an evening with them at The Savoy with each of us championing a different dress from the range.

I picked out a little sparkly number (usually very not me, and having had so much fun wearing it I'm planning a lot more glitter in my winter wardrobe) and paired it with some pony skin baby pink heels.


my inner magpie coming out and spying on all the treats in the gift shop!

We were spoilt with lashing of tea and biscuits whilst Blow did all of our hair and make up (I love my side plaits and have been trying to work out how they did them ever since... I'm such a novice with my hair!). Once ready we were all taken around the hotel to have out photographs taken by the lovely Kris Atomic and Justine.   So much fun... Freddie and I nearly locked ourselves in the Marilyn Monroe elevator, and there were a lot of confused hotel guests wondering what we were doing..!


L-R: Alex, Julia, Monica, Lucy, me and Freddie

Getting me (and a few of the other girls) out of jeans and t shirts isn't an easy task, it was so fun to dress up properly and feel really smart.  On top of that when you live in London you often forget to take use of the city - it was lovely to get to enjoy one of our finest hotels. All of the other girls looked so great, and it was amazing how each of us really suited each style... I loved the back detail of Lucy's dress, and am desperate to get my hands on Alex's to pair up with some ankle boots for autumn!





It's not often that we bloggers get to hang out together in such a relaxed environment, L.K.Bennett and The Savoy could not have made us more welcome. The food at Kaspars (the seafood restaurant inside the hotel) was incredible - I've never had a club sandwich like it... It was so nice to catch up with the girls and find out what is going on with us all.  Freddie has recently become part of the ASOS online styling team, Julia's tales about her adorable toddler had us all getting very broody, and Monica, Alex and Lucy's summer holidays were enough to make anyone jealous...



This post is unusually long, but simply because there was just so much to share.  Do check out the other girls' blogs (links above) and the L.K.Bennett campaign page showing our entire afternoon here.


The dresses are all available on the L.K.Bennett site, along with a number of other lust-worthy pieces. Have a look at the whole selection here (or see our individual dresses below).





This was a sponsored collaboration with L.K.Bennett. Project managed by Pitch and Post
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Tuesday

The last month of my twenties...

I had the sudden realisation yesterday that today marks the last month of my twenties. Yep, on November the 7th I am turning the big 3-0.  I'm actually feeling really good about it, I feel ready for a new chapter and most people I know who are in their thirties seem to enjoy them more than the decade previously.  It's becoming a bit of a blog cliche, but I thought I'd write a few things I've learnt in the last 10 years in the way of telling my 20 year old self to get some perspective...



Spend money on your hair - It wasn't until I was 27 that I stopped trawling the high street for the cheapest deal on highlights, and washing my hair with whatever 2 for 1 offer was available. I now  get my hair cut and coloured every 12 weeks and it's a proper investment, which I would strongly advise anyone doing. Even on a bad hair day it looks a million times better than 5 years before and my hair is an awful lot stronger...

Credit cards are not free money - As the saying goes, if it feels too good to be true it probably is.  I was one of the those girls who suddenly found herself living in one of the most expensive cities in the world earning rubbish money and dreaming of holidays and nice shoes. So instead of dreaming, I got a loan. Mistake. I only finished paying it off last year, and it wasn't even that big. I had very little restraint in my twenties, if I wanted something I just found a way to buy it. I paid for it, literally. In fact I probably ended up paying double with all the interest..! 

Nights in are really cool - You reach a point in your life that an ideal night consists of a Dine in For £10 deal (possibly to yourself), back to back TV you missed out on during the week, and a clean-linened bed which you get into by 10pm.  You still haven't quite realised your alcohol tolerance, but you have discovered hangovers. They're absolutely horrific and they now last 2 days. Gone are the days of pints of wine and sambuca shots (before you head out on the town).


You're going to lose friends - And it will be for the best. As painful as it will be you and some of your closest friends will stop speaking. Sometimes it will just fade, other times someone will scream at you in public due to their own insecurities and you decide enough is enough... (!) Making that cull is one of the smartest things I've ever done, and left me more time to concentrate on the friends that really matter. Granted, I probably have far fewer friends now, but the ones I do are extremely important, make me feel good about myself and never let me down (and I like to think, vice versa).

You are what you eat - I wasted about 5 years of my life feeling fat.  I've had those horrible occasions where I felt so awful about the size of my legs/bum/arms that I've given up on the idea of going out and stayed in all night feeling sorry for myself (and most probably ordered a pizza). Then I took an honest look at myself. I didn't exercise much, I loved sugar (read: booze) and I ate a lot of bread. I started keeping a closer eye on what I ate and realised it was pretty simple: if you eat less, you weigh less and it's the start to feeling a little better. The same with exercise. I've recently discovered I enjoy cycling - as my issue was that I could never find something to do that was enough to tear me from my bed/sofa enough. I try to do 10k three times a week, and every time I get the nerves before and the strong wish to turn around and go home (to eat cake) - but afterwards I feel so much better. I fully recommend it to anyone.

You aren't a morning person - so don't make decisions, form opinions and generally speak to anyone until 11am. Find yourself coffee, make that your focus and worry about everything else after lunch.

Sick days are obvious - no matter how much time you spend creating the elaborate story. Quite frankly, if I had a pound for every sick grandmother I've heard about the NHS would be in even more trouble than it currently is.  Similarly I think Chinese food would have been banned in this country if all accounts of dodgy stomachs were true. It's also the *Most Dumb Idea Ever* to pull a sick day, a) the day after you have told your entire office that you intend to get very drunk, b) the day after a weekend in Amsterdam/at Glastonbury, and c) the day before you are going on a holiday.

Be yourself - I spent a lot of my twenties trying to fit in with the crowd. I wore the clothes every one wore, watched the TV everyone watched and had the opinions everyone talked about. I then realised that the things I loved the most about the people I knew and respected, were the ones who didn't fit the mold. I became a little braver, I spoke my mind (a little too much - another lesson I learnt was not to give an opinion until it is asked for) and I stopped feeling the pressure to like particular music or find particular things funny... I instantly felt like I was being truer to myself, meaning I was an awful lot happier.

Believe in yourself - Similar to above, but generally speaking you aren't going to be able to get much done if you don't believe you can do it. Take compliments (give compliments too, people like them) and take criticism. People often aren't critiquing you to be nasty (and even if they are), their words can only help you move forward.

You'll learn most from the bad bosses - so stick with it.  Having started working for myself this year (after much deliberation) I find myself looking at my previous seniors for inspiration.  I surprisingly found I've spent more time reflecting on the bosses I found most challenging - what I didn't like about their decisions, attitude and management - than the ones I adore (and I've had a couple of those, you know who you are, thank you). I try and think about what made me happy as an employee, rather than just what I want to do as an employer when I have people helping me. It's difficult at times, but 100% worth it. 


You are never going to enjoy camping - It's not your thing. Some people love not washing for a couple of days, sleeping in a cocoon/bag and getting really muddy.  You don't. You like Mr and Mrs Smith. Never having experienced that kind of holiday is something you should be really happy about (your 2 day Wilderness experience was enough) because you'd be a nightmare to be around. 

Bullies never go away - they just get older and what changes is how you choose to deal with them. As I've discovered the childish behaviour goes way beyond into adulthood. I've had blog-trolls, Mean-Girls type faces greeting me at events/parties, people sl*g me off behind my back (yup, if the "fading away" bit in the "losing friends" section rings any bells with me - I know) - the works. The way I like to look at it is; approach it head on. If someone has a problem with you, let them. It says more about them than it does about you.  As a friend told me "Don't rise to it, you could give them an ugly look but you can clearly see they already have one."

Smear tests are FINE - so just go and get one. Stop making excuses in your head. They are uncomfortable but they do not hurt.  By the time you are 30 you will have lost dear friends to cancer, friends who will always, always be remembered.

You aren't going to succeed at everything you do - but you will learn from trying. Over the last ten years I've made some pretty epic mistakes (some hilarious, some just down right cringe worthy) but I'm strangely proud of them. I'm so happy to be going into my thirties doing what I love, being around the people I love and having experienced some of the most amazing things in the last few years

Calm the f*ck down - Breathe. Stop worrying. Stop swearing. Have some tea. Ignore the person winding you up (for fun... say what?). Remember you are only human, and sometimes the best thing you can do is remind yourself of that. Whilst eating cake. Oh, and finally: Never lose your silliness - Sometimes dancing on the table, staying for that extra drink, having a pudding, buying the shoes or telling that terrible joke just should be done.

Anna/me, you've done pretty well and you make it to 30. Congratulations.

And the 31 day countdown to 30 begins...
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Monday

[Trend] Visiting The Cape


I made a note to make this post months ago, just after the AW15 shows back in February but back then I hadn't (naively) anticipated how much of a trend this was going to be for autumn. Ladies, I'm talking about blanket scarves, capes, whatever you want to call them.  All it took was one Burberry catwalk show (if you haven't seen it, have a look here) and one very strategic round of gifting to the street stylers and bang - everyone wanted one. 

Pernille in her grey/orange blanket coat - get similar here

Any one close to my age will remember the poncho phase we had in the late 1990s.  I had a cream one from Topshop and I was in love with it (most probably worn with my Morgan t shirt and pedal pushers - major cringe). This is something a little bit better. Nothing says Sunday dressing more than being able to dress up in a tent. All day, and be considered stylish. Win win situation.

Hanneli Mustaparta in her cream and grey cape coat (very similar here and here)

If you're lucky enough to be able to afford a Burberry one, click here. With the luxury brands its all about lots of lush fabric combined with netural colourings - lots of greys and creams. My favourites are from The Row, Chloe and Vivienne Westwood - not forgetting a very "Miroslava Duma" McQueen number here which I'm a tad obsessed with... Alpaca seems to be the wool of choice (sorry bunnies, but you can ask if it is a by-product which many are now), and the creams and grey shades are most popular like Hanneli's above (which I'm obsessed with).


go boho with a cape like this Topshop one

You could however go the other way and go for the "magic carpet" look as I head it described yesterday - Topshop have an amazing selection including a dead ringer to the one above here.  Theirs something very relaxing about this kind of cape - pair it with some ankle boots, jeans and a tee and you've got it nailed - and I'm guessing you'll all have some of those... I personally don't like the kimono-inspired ones as there are a lot of people who wear them really badly... Any way, as it's lighter than a coat but warmer than a scarf it's the perfect piece for autumn transition (that sounded very fash-un, sorry), so I'd fully recommend getting one...

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