Saturday

Port Isaacs and Polzeath

The last few weeks have been pretty busy, not just for myself but the whole family. I'm not sure if I told you that my little sister did something I am pretty envious of. She took 6 months off from a pretty cool job and went and lived in Africa. In that time she experienced a hell of a lot; from malaria to monkeys stealing her shoes (if any of you are interested, this Instagram feed is for the reserve she lived on for 3 out 6 months). Any way, she came home a few weeks ago and along with the parents (who have been very busy running up and down the M4 to help my Mamgu) we decided to escape the city and go to Cornwall for a long weekend for some long awaited family time...




Everyone else did the cleverer thing and drove down, I took the train. Lopez and I spent most of the journey sat on the floor by the toilets with our heads in each others armpits to avoid loo-smells. But we arrived at our cottage in Bodmin (Mum and Dad tried out Air BnB for the first time and absolutely loved it) on the Friday evening. It was like being in "The Holiday"as you can see from the pictures below - with big fires and a huge family kitchen (and a lot of Baileys and hot chocolate). Any one thinking of a cute weekend away should check out the same place here.


October is one of my favourite months of the year weather wise but I couldn't have predicted how lovely it was going to be all weekend. We drove to Port Isaacs on the Saturday morning for a wonder around the fishing town and could have got away with not wearing coats. I had just got my grey coat from Atterley out of the cupboard from last year though, so was insistent on wearing it. Equally, my new khaki and navy Breton shirt is pretty much glued to my body at the moment (and is now in sale for half price which for J Crew is awesome - here). Sophie came along for the ride, as did my trusty coral Nike trainers (which are years old, but these will do as a sturdy copy).




I have a bit of an obsession with gift shops found a new favourite in Port Isaacs. Kiln is tucked away behind the harbour in the middle of the town and well worth a visit. Its the kind of store you could happily buy everything in and, as per the name, all of the crockery and pottery is made in a kiln at the back. Check out their Instagram here, but be prepared to want to buy all of the stationery and soaps!



Next up we drove to Polzeath for a bit of what we British do best; brace the cold (definitely windier on the beach) and pretend it's summer. My sister braved surfing, I stayed inland and posed for pictures (naturally).  Lopez had a great time sorting out the hierarchy between all the other dogs, which to anyone who was there I whole heartedly apologise for… After a big hot chocolate in Rock we went home for homemade curry and crumble before playing cards until we were too tired to keep count of scores...




It was so nice to spend some time with family, even though we all live in London we rarely spend time as a four. Obviously within minutes I as the one with the job no-one understands with a penchant for selfies was the subject of all the jokes, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm very lucky to have a (slightly bonkers) great family who actually enjoy each others company. For a weekend at least!




Shop my outfit by clicking on the below images (or if this isn't supported in your browser use the text links):


coat, Atterley / jeans, Topshop / trainers, Nike / breton, J Crew (on sale, £24) / bag, Sophie Hulme at Monnier Freres

Thank you to Nick for making your home super lovely for us all (check it out here), and to Blue Tomato for making possibly the best hot chocolate ever eaten!
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Thursday

Navy Sleeveless Jackets

This autumn I am making very few purchases. My wardrobe is busting at the seams and I've been given strict orders to downsize. I'm not sure how it happened, and it isn't like I've got piles of stuff I've bought in sales I haven't worn. I have lots of the same thing, but they're too good to give away. I'll be gradually selling bits on eBay and Vestiaire etc, but I'm definitely not buying anything before I've sold 10 things. In fact lets make that the ratio - 10 things gone, 1 new.


So, with that in mind my "one thing" is going to be a navy sleeveless coat. I've been storing up images of people in them on my Pinterest for a few months and bookmarking pieces I've found for a while… For a start they look to be unbelievably simple to wear. Essentially just put on your outfit and plonk it on top. For me and my job it's perfect as I spend the majority of my time in jeans and striped tops - if I put one of these with it (and some nice ankle boots like these) then all of a sudden I'm ready for business. Basically I want to look like Camille above, and this lady below. Pretty please.


So, I've had a bit of a traipse around and this is what I have found. First up, Jaegar needs a serious mention. Their one is beautiful, and if anyone if conscious of exposing their arms the slightly capped shoulder will solve all complexes/hang ups - find it here at John Lewis. A notch down on the price point front is this Adam Lippes piece at The Outnet. Anyone who doesn't know about this designer really should - his tailoring is exceptional and worthy of an investment. Topshop have a couple of strong options. This one from their premium is lovely with the fur detail, and this one is good too for £50. An excellent "proper high street" option includes this one from New Look and this from Mango. On the other end of the scale this Lanvin baby is made from the hair of beautiful, angelic eunuchs from cashmere and will make you feel really rather excellent.

!NB since posting I have found this amazing one from River Island for £45!


Incase you missed the round up, here is a shopable gallery of all the picks made in this post:




Enjoy shopping (sorry not sorry), and I have added in links to other products featured in the photos where I can figure out their source (underneath the photos)!


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Sunday

My new friend, Sophie


I've made a new friend this week. Meet Sophie. The lovely team at Monnier Freres brought her to me at the weekend, and we're still in the midst of our honeymoon phase. I'd wanted her for ages, and now we're together we're inseparable. On Thursday Lindsay and I took some time out from very busy and stressful weeks to have a wander around Chelsea, get our hair done at Duck and Dry and then inhale from carbs. It was one of those days that you really appreciate the flexibility of our jobs...


It also gave me the opportunity to road test some new pieces - a new silk shirt from Reiss (coined as the "man repeller shirt" as it covers everything up in a very Dickensian fashion). I have always wanted a good, Victorian style top and this 110% fits the bill. The culottes have been a summer staple for me, from River Island here. Now its a bit cooler I'm wearing them as a replacement to a midi skirt - nice alternative and love an excuse to wear some denim again (they're now £15 in the sale).


The jacket is definitely one of the most useful pieces I've acquired this autumn (I first wore it in Paris in September). It's from Reiss and is actually now in the sale here. It goes with everything, I'd stupidly hidden it under one of my boyfriend's blazers and so hadn't worn it for a while. Now that it's resurfaced I'm wearing it most days as it makes dressing a little bit smarter a whole lot easier (also very much recommend it for anyone who doesn't like their arms because it sits wide on the shoulder which frames your shape and makes your upper arms look smaller).


Accessories wise (not including Sophie) I'm wearing a tonne of Astley Clarke jewellery, including a piece from my brilliant friend Naomi's collaboration with the designer here. My sunglasses are from Tommy Hilfiger, who I'd never think I'd be wearing as when I think of the brand I think of my first ever perfume when I was fourteen. I love them, never had navy sunglasses before but will do a lot more in future. The scarf is super old from Whistles… They have a really similar one here for this season. Finally my shoes, a recommendation from Rose, are, as she puts it "butter soft" and super comfortable. Check them out here, they've been reduced since I got them - so even more of an incentive!


Shop the post here!


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Monday

Suede Coats

similar coat, here / adidas black stan smiths, here

If like me you have been living in a bit of a cave far away from learning about what we should be wearing this coming season, then you will have missed anyone and everyone wearing suede coats. It's taken me some time to realise you don't have to be hippy to pull these off; I've seen lots of people wearing them in town with blue denim (amazing colour mix), simply grey sweaters and pumps.

similar suede coat, here / round sunglasses, here

I rarely highlight one place in particular, but one store that shouldn't be ignored if you're looking for a suede coat is Mango. This shorter one is perfect (just replace your denim jacket with this for winter), if you're after more of a duster coat (think "dressing gown for outdoors") this is fantastic, and last but really not least the double breasted one all the fash-mags have raved about, and I've found it for £50 off, here

long suede jacket, here / knee high boots, here

Other super ones include this beauty from Topshop, love the 70s pockets and this slightly deeper toned one from Miss Selfridge. Having tried a million of them on, I have to say they are far more flattering than you'd think and because they have proper weight to them in the fabric they fit a shape really well. I am paranoid about my arms, and they all seemed to really slim them down.

short suede jacket with frills, here / Louis Vuitton satchel (second hand), here

If you're after a darker coloured one then there are lots of options, but for very different prices! If you have won the lottery, this Gucci one is possibly something I'd consider losing limbs for. This ASOS one is the other end of the scale and super cheap, love the grape-like colour. If you buy one thing this month, make it one of these… 
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Thursday

Dubrovnik


I tried to think of a witty title for this post, but my brain is in one of those days where nothing witty is happening (not that I'm a comic genius on a regular day, but you know what I mean). Some of you may remember me going to Croatia a couple of months ago, I had to hold back on posting about it as my camera decided to hold the photos to ransom. Finally it surrendered, so here is the post!

A few of us were taken over to Dubrovnik back in July with Adriatic Luxury Hotels. I didn't really know what to expect; friends of mine had been to Croatia beforehand and raved about it (some literally) but further up the coast and none had been to Dubrovnik. After a surprisingly short flight, we landed in the city (almost literally, it was a very short transfer to the hotel) and arrived at our home for the trip, Hotel Excelsior.



Hotel Excelsior, Dubrovnik

When I was invited on the trip I was so excited at the prospect of some sunshine I didn't really take the time to research the city at all, which made the beauty of it even more of a surprise. Game of Thrones fans will recognise it as the home of the Lannisters (I spent the whole tour of the old town humming the theme tune) but there really is a lot more to it than meets the initial eye. Dubrovnik has a deep history, which as a European I felt pretty ridiculous not knowing anything about. As an indication our guide himself has lived in 3 different countries in the last 40 years, without ever having to leave the city itself. The sand stone buildings and terracotta roofs create one of the most beautiful urban places I've ever seen, so perfect it could almost be a movie set (and the food isn't bad either, we ate locally twice and both times it was exceptional).




The following day we headed 40 minutes up the coast the Croatia's unique "oyster zone." The rare mix of fresh and salted water in this area means that it's the only place a particular oyster (and being the idiot I am, I can't remember the name) can be found. We caught a little fishing boat across the sea - past several oyster "catching" boats like the one below - to an island about the size of a tennis court. When we arrived a lovely fisherman had prepared a picnic of oysters and wine for us… Needless to say all offerings were devoured in minutes.




On the final day we were a little spoilt as the hotel kindly arranged a boat for the day to explore a few of Croatia's 1000 islands (yup 1000, though only 60 are inhabited). Friends had already told me that the sea was beautiful but it still took me by surprise - unbelievably clear and beautifully green! It was so hot that you had no choice to jump in, and after the initial change in temperature it felt like swimming in a big bath!


We hulled up at one of the 60 "built up" islands for lunch and had my favourite meal of the trip. The size of a living room, run and owned by a true Croat local - he cooked us a meal centred around what he pulled out of the ocean that morning. We had the most amazing seafood risotto, huge white fish and whitebait - I was in my element. Luckily I was wearing my Pampelone dress which hid a multitude of greedy sins..!





For the last evening we ate at a sister hotel to ours, Villa Orsula who had just opened their Peruvian inspired restaurant, Victoria. Not something you would necessarily expect from Dubrovnik, but an amazing meal and would definitely recommend (and save room for pudding because they are excellent). We toasted the trip with copious amounts of cocktails and watched the sun set over the city from our seats.



As my first trip to Dubrovnik, I can wholeheartedly say it won't be my last - I'm already trying to find time to get back there next Spring. If you are looking for a city break with the perfect mix ratio "stuff to do / nothing to do" then I really can't think of a better place. Flights were easy, hotels were lovely, people were welcoming and the weather was perfect. Don't just sit there, book!

Flights to Dubronik start at £150 return via Skyscanner here.

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