TGIPD Part 1

It's rare that I commit to starting a new content series, but this is one I think I will actually be able to enjoy doing. TGIPD (thank god it's pay day) serves to help us all remember the pieces we saw a week ago when we barely had enough money to get the bus home, and window shopping felt like a punishable offence. Why is it that during these testing times we spot the things we really want to be buying? And then when we have the money (at least until the rent leaves our accounts) there doesn't seem to be anything worth splurging on? So, I've been listing up all the must haves for last fortnight to share with you...

First and foremost this denim dress from Warehouse! I've been pining for it ever since press days and now the time has come - yay! Next, I go through a love/hate relationship with Topshop. We fell out a couple of years ago when the store only catered for people like Rihanna, but I feel like it's becoming more trustworthy and caters better to my needs at the moment. I mean, can we discuss these shoes? They're genius - not to mention these. Other favourites include this striped top and this Victoriana-ish shirt (so flattering for anyone with a waist far better than their stomach).

Some other bits I've found are this fedora and suede skirt from Reiss, and ever since I saw Petro in this Stella McCartney jumpsuit last month I've been on the hunt for something similar. So far I've found this incredibly discounted Alice Temperley piece which is firmly on the wishlist. Last but not least, having seen friend's promote Banana Republic recently I've taken a refreshed look at the brand. These simple cargo pants are perfect weekend wear...

TGIPD will feature on the last Friday of every month moving forward, and if you see anything you think should be featured please email me here


Off The Shoulder

Last week I posted this top from Marks and Spencer on my Instagram, more to show off a new blow dry from Duck and Dry than anything else. I don't really make habit of putting iPhone selfies on the blog, but so many of you have asked about it I thought I'd just use the same photo rather than shooting it all over again...

I usually save off the shoulder tops for holidays, but I've decided I'm making an exception. As a tip, go a size down if you buy this particular one as there is a lot of fabric to play with - and Marks and Spencer tends to be quite a generous fit anyway... They can be a little bit "man repeller" - the boyfriend did not understand this outfit at all, although he did later say he really liked the fact I wasn't wearing a bra (more fool him, I was obviously wearing a strapless one - this one - men are idiots).

As we really don't care what boys think, here are some other options for off the shoulder tops that I've tracked down. First up, the ultimate "when I get paid quite a bit" must have from Alice and Olivia here - I meeeeean who doesn't want to dress up as Frieda Pinto and ride around India on a donkey in this little beauty? This striped Ganni top is gorgeous for weekends, and brands like Free People are equally good for "down days" with pieces like this and this. ASOS have some good finds, like this denim one. And lastly, this one from Reiss is a brilliant one if you're looking for something a little smarter.


Showing My Stripes

I'm going to say something that might rock the boat a little bit: I absolutely hate London Fashion Week. It brings out the ugliest part of blogging; the need for one-upmanship. People who are ordinarily lovely suddenly turn into piranhas over invites - and not just whether you've got one, but where you're sitting, and who you're sitting with. Then there are the events, the dinners and who you're meeting with between shows. It's ridiculous as the reality is no blogger is going to be front row at the shows that really matter unless they're sleeping with all of One Direction - and as yet that hasn't happened. Then there all the brands loosely bidding in for their piece of the pie (their involvement rarely fits), and the infuriated editors who just can't understand why you would ever let a blogger attend anything. Overall, it's a headache.

I popped in for a few hours on Friday and that was enough for me...

The other funny thing that happens is the "peacocks" coming out to play... Girls who usually spend their Monday to Friday in boyfriend jeans and sweaters suddenly feel the need to do "a Joey" and put on every item from their (or Chandler's) wardrobe at once, and backcomb their hair into oblivion. I, almost in protest, put on what I always wear - as did Anneli who took these pics. I didn't get asked to have my photo taken, which actually made me feel quite smug as I didn't fall into the category of "The Tryhards"(which isn't always the case, but most of the time - at least if you're standing outside the venue wearing a rainbow and holding your phone seductively).

Enough of my belligerent moaning, here is my outfit. My coat/gilet is the one we're all wearing at the moment after our shoot with Iris and Ink last month (see here). When I first saw it I wasn't sure, but now I'm living in it. Yes it's expensive (shop it here) but it's a worthy investment as it's perfect for the UK's unpredictable weather. Find less pricey versions here and here but I do recommend the extra cost. My trousers are my "must have" leather ones from Marks and Spencer here. If someone had told me five years ago I'd be caught dead in something like this I'd have laughed. But they're perfect for the days you need to be that bit smarter, they're insanely comfortable and they're not an off-putting expense...

The top is obviously a Breton and there is only one brand to go to for your staple piece - Saint James. Conveniently they're now stocked at J Crew here too. As it's pretty chilly I wore a white shirt under mine, which I really like doing as it dresses it up a bit. It's from Hobbs here, but you can get away with a cheapy like any of these here if its just going underneath a top. Lastly the boots are my old faithfuls from Jimmy Choo, lots of you have been asking me for similar versions so here is a pair in the Kurt Geiger sale.

If you can't see the product feed of all the items in my outfit above, disable your ad blocker or use the following links: shearling jacket, Iris and Ink at The OutNet / breton shirt, Saint James at J Crew / shirt, Hobbs at John Lewis / leather trousers, Marks and Spencer / bracelets, mainly Astley Clarke / sunglasses, Max and Co / boots, Jimmy Choo / bag, L.K Bennett London

I hope you all have wonderful weeks, and may your coffee be strong and your Monday be short!

Photos by Anneli Bush on her super wizard Olympus Pen



Getting Dressed with The OutNet

Followers of my Instagram will already be well aware that two weeks ago myself, Erica, Sarah, Petro, Anneli and Freddie joined our friend Naomi who was hosting a brilliant event at The OutNet for her website The Lifestyle Edit to help us get "Fashion Week ready" with Iris and Ink. It was a lovely reminder of everything I love about blogging; we're a collective and love having a giggle, especially when plied with Prosecco and a rail of clothing for the afternoon...

The idea was that we all picked out our key pieces from Iris and Ink, and styled them up in our own way. Favourites within the team definitely included this faux fur gilet (3 of us fought over it) and my navy pencil skirt, and it was great to see how we wore them. The outfit above was one of my favourites (excuse the extreme resting b*tch face) as it's my style, coined. Stripes (courtesy of Tibi) jeans (Iris and Ink's own here, and very good too) mixed with a sleeveless blazer and my trusty Jimmy Choo courts and LK Bennett personalised tote.

L-R; Erica, Fred, Petro, me, Anneli, Sarah and Naomi

I absolutely love this group shot, taken by the renowned photographer Candice Lake. It's definitely getting framed, as the girls with me in it are some of my favourites. Anneli and I have known each other for a long time, since being introduced at the Glamour Awards in 2012. Naomi and Fred are excellent prosecco buddies, Fred and I actually worked together a few years back. Erica, who I've known for a while, proved to be excellent at hiding my hangover from the PRs when we spent the day as a festival last summer (I'd met my boyfriend the night before and got in a wee bit late)...

I never expected to make the friends I did when I started blogging, but it's been the most welcome of surprises. Non-blogger friends, as cherished as they are, really don't get what we do - I arrived to one of my best friend's birthday parties after this, and was greeted with a mix of confusion and intrigue as they'd all spent their day, quite understandably, working at a desk. In comparison, we bloggers really don't think it's at all weird to stand in the street, game face on, in a mix of each others clothes (that you've just swapped around in the toilet) and have your photo taken. Who'd have thought...

Thank you so much to Naomi, The OutNet and Candice Lake for a fantastic afternoon!


Turning Five...

If someone had told me I'd still be keeping up with the blog five years after I'd started it, I'd have laughed. I don't think I've ever done anything for five years before... Somehow, by some miracle, here we are. Five years ago today, as I lay in bed unwell and stumbled through the London Fashion Week articles, I realised I didn't have a clue what any of it meant. LFW, RTW, AW11... it was all complete Mandarin to me... So I started a blog to help myself figure it all out...

I can vividly remember joining Twitter and being very excited about my 20th follower (who as it turned out, became a great friend, Sarah), and embarrassingly recollect spell checking "chic" because I thought it ended in "que" (this coming from someone who studied English and speaks fairly decent French..!). I didn't put myself on the blog for 18 months, until I was persuaded to do so by friends Briony, Sarah and Dearne. I remember that being somewhat of a turning point... I still to this day find it fascinating that some of you find my ramblings in any way interesting. The blog has never, and will never, become the core business in my life. It's far more of a cathartic creative exercise - somewhere I can say what I like, do what I like and pose like an idiot in the street. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who reads the blog, and supports it. Putting yourself on the internet most definitely has it's ups and downs and having a fantastic group of friends who have a great "you only live once" mentality, a thirst for a terrible PR bulletin, and an equal appetite for gin and tonics at 3pm on a Wednesday "just because" does keep you going at times...  And to my sister, thank you for being an unpaid copy editor for the last five years. I'm sure you will be sending me an email within the hour with at least ten suggested revisions...

Lastly, to the girl who came up to me last May at Clapham Junction station and told me how much she loved the blog and (probably more pressingly) my dog - I can't thank you enough for doing so. I'd actually just come to the end of the worst day in history and was about to go home, cuddle up with said dog and close down South Molton St Style altogether. I'm very glad I didn't and your words definitely leant me in the other direction... Whoever you are, thank you!

Here's to the next five years!


Bicester Buys

Not sure about you, but I've been spending as much time as humanly possible inside in the warm. London has got cold all of a sudden, which we can't really complain about as we were spoilt with a mild December and January... Any way, last week I mustered some strength and left the house for breakfast with friends at Riding House Cafe in the centre of town...

As you can see I kept it pretty simple; wrapping up in my Karen Millen camel-coat (still available in their clearance section, here) and my trusty Jimmy Choo Youth boots (2 years in and still going strong - best investment ever) are the easiest things to wear for this kind of day. Yes, a bunny or two may have passed away in the making of them - but they're bi-product rabbit fur and so, so warm... They're very expensive, but you can find them at their Bicester Village store for much cheaper (more on them in a minute)... My jeans are my standard Paige wonderful-ones... Between these and my Topshop Mom jeans, I need no other denims...

And the jumper? Well, I may be going a little old-school but a couple of weeks ago Anneli and I went to Bicester Village (read her post here) and I snapped up this bargain from their Kenzo store. It's been years since I wore this designer, everybody had one of their Tiger tees a few seasons back. There definitely was an element of nostalgia that influenced the purchase. Ooh and not to mention how incredibly soft and comfortable it is. Basically like wearing your pyjamas...

Accessories wise, the bag is from Prada. I had hoped to snap one up at Bicester's store here but they'd all been cleared out - you really need to rush up their for opening (easier now the trains run direct) to get yours mitts on one. For now, I'm making do stealing Anneli's. The sunnies are from Hugo Boss (every season they seem to make my favourite pair) and the scarf was a gift from the Selfridges team a few Christmasses ago... All in all, a very lazy attempt at getting dressed to face the world - but I think I just about got away with it... 



Valentines Day with Mr Porter

A huge part of me thinks its a little bit wrong that there is a day to tell someone you love them, as if it excuses you for the other 364 (or 365 this year). But being a Scrooge about Valentines Day is almost as cliche as roses and chocolates these days, so I've decided to meet romance in the middle and buy a present that isn't all that traditional. Mr Porter asked me to put together my choices for best gifts on the day, so I killed two birds with one stone and bought mine at the same time (easily done when their new in section is so good).

You could easily pass the site off as just being clothes, but no. I'm very pleased that they stock Perricone MD as since asking if it will "sort his face out" half of my pot has disappeared - and it's the best night moisturiser in the world, ever. Secondly, they stock Tom Ford fragrances. If you follow me on Instagram (here if you don't) then you'll have seen that I went to a dinner with a brand a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of girlfriends. It was to celebrate their new SS16 beauty collection, but Rose and I were transfixed with this fragrance. As Rose says Oud Wood "is so good I want to have sex with it." So, buy it for your boyfriend, husband, commute-crush, or anything you have a remote inclination of doing physical activity with. Lastly on the beauty front, I really recommend REN Skincare's 1 Minute Facial here; perfect for the guy who is beginning to realise skincare isn't the devil, but can't be bothered to spend much time doing it...

My other half doesn't want for much, or so he says - put Mr Porter in front of him with a budget to spend and it vanishes in seconds. Their content is bang on - this piece about "manssential wardrobe pieces" is an excellent starting block. Quite a few pieces were subtly (read: not subtle in the slightest) highlighted: Newish name Officine Generale was frequently dropped in, this white shirt and this blue one are clearly on the wish list. Other favourites were a J Crew chambray top and a pair of Rayban Wayfarers.

Forgetting what he says he wants, I want him in Common Projects trainers. I am obsessed with them, to the point I realised I'd gone off piste on the way to a meeting the other day because I was following a man wearing them (to see if they were CP ones - promise). They just ooze cool - if he won't wear them I may have to replace him with someone who will... Seriously. These are my favourites, or these, or these.

Whatever you're doing this weekend, I hope it's a good one. I'll be embracing my Welsh side and going down to Cardiff for the rugby on Saturday - so Sunday will most likely be spent in bed with tea and the papers. With a boy who wears Common Projects trainers...

This post was written in collaboration with Mr Porter, all selections are my own.



Pyjama Party

Once again I think I'm hugely late on the bandwagon here - but better late than never, eh? In fairness, when a new trend comes in I like to watch it for a while and see where it goes. I'm completely done with spending money on a look that I can only get away with wearing for a month - too old for that rubbish now...

photo credit, Pinterest / paisley shirt, here and here

But the pyjama trend isn't going away is it? I first considered it when J Crew launched their paisley pyjama prints, but I couldn't get past the idea of my Dad asking me why I hadn't got dressed to meet him for lunch... Then I spotted my favourite editors and muses doing it and thought, "they're cooler than me, this isn't going to happen." But then mainstream brands like Marks and Spencer (this top here and trouser here are so cheap they're almost free) selling them and began to think it might be a look I can pull off - since the "normal" kids are rocking it...

So, I've decided I'm giving it a whirl during London Fashion Week (as if there is any time standing out blends in, its then). I'm going full on, night-time during day-time. So far I have found this Topshop shirt in the sale, the aforementioned Marks and Spencer pieces here and here, this And Other Stories print and this top to toe olive green pairing or this Maison Kitsune playsuit at The OutNet. I am slightly torn, but think I will probably go for the M and S pairing...

Lastly - is it pajama or pyjama? Answers on a postcard.


Just another manic Monday

I'm not sure about you, but 2016 feels like it's running away with me. January has already gone, this week marks the middle of February... Before we know it we'll be basking in the wonderful British summer sunshine. I jest...  Last week was absolutely crazy - tasks being thrown around left, right and centre. We decided to escape it for a couple of days this weekend and go up to see my parents. They live in London too, but I hadn't been there yet this year (which gives some indication of how busy things have been). Home really is where the heart is; nothing ever changes and I felt my shoulders relax the minute I stepped through the door. I was straight into my spot in the living room; next to the fire with a mug of tea and the papers. Bliss.

Outfit wise, comfort is key. I disappeared into Mum's wardrobe and pulled out this oversize cardigan from Quba. So cozy, without being too thick and heavy. Funnily enough I was in my "London is always a good idea" T shirt from BA&SH, which made me laugh as I've been pondering over leaving the city recently. I do really love the capital, but it's very very hectic. As much as it is the "place to be" for what I do, the world is becoming more and more global every day. It raises the question; do we need to be here? I digress...

My jeans are my "forever pair" from Topshop here, you're probably bored of me talking about them. The fit was an unexpected success for me - at 5 foot 4 I didn't think the "mom jean" would work for me but I feel super confident in them and wear them at least twice a week... You can probably spot my yoga bra underneath too - this was a gift from White Stuff over Christmas. It's one of those sportswear pieces you swear blind you won't get into the habit of wearing unless exercising - but it's so damn comfortable you can't resist. Oops.

Any who, the weekend break gave me some time to relax and think about things I want to get done (or in the habit of) in February. Here they are:
  1. London Fashion Week - It's very easy to get huge FOMO during this time, as Instagram and all the social media channels seam to burst with all the "look at me at this party" selfies + front row seats. Quite frankly, it's not for me. I find the shows pretty boring. That said, it's a great time to catch up with friends as everyone is in town. So I'm making sure thats my focus, and not worrying about whether my invites were lost in the post...
  2. Wardrobe Declutter - We move at the end of the month (where to remains a big question) and so I am downsizing like a mother f*cker. If I have two similar things, one goes - without question. Even if I love it. Last week I had a little cry over parting with SEVEN denim shirts. Even some of my twenty five Breton shirts are going to be finding new homes. Keep an eye on my Vestiaire Collective account here if you fancy anything.
  3. Pancake Day - YES. Pancakes aren't optional in my house, they're religion. I've been pretty unwell recently and struggling to eat much, but this Tuesday I am 100% going to indulge - even if it means swallowing a pharmacy afterwards. I cover mine in orange squash (don't knock it till you've eaten it) or cheese and ham. Yum. 
  4. The blog - South Molton St Style turns five next week and I've been thinking lots about where it's going and what I'm going to do with it moving forward. It would be great to hear what you all think, content you enjoy or would like to see more/less of. Please do email me here with your ideas...
  5. Yoga - I've got the bug. Since acquiring new kit from White Stuff and Theory (thank you) I've got a new lease of life for all things yogi. I've even broken a promise I made to myself long ago and am practising with the boy - most days! We've found a great series on YouTube here - try the one for tense shoulders, it's amazing!
  6. Plan weekends away - I am itching to get a proper city break in the diary. My T-Shirt's brand BA&SH are running a competition on their Facebook page here to win one - so get on it pronto! I'm thinking a couple of days in Paris could be good for the soul, non?
Whatever the week has in store for you I hope it's a good one - it's apparently supposed to rain all week in London. Wrap up warm, or stay in and snuggle.


On The Couch

Some of you may have already seen my earlier post about my shoot with L.K.Bennett to show off their SS16 collection? If not fear not, here is the full interview on their site. It's not often that I like more than about 2 photos from a shoot, but I really wanted to share these ones of my in the Addison dress.

We shot it at Duck and Dry's new basement event space which is a brilliant little spot for a group of girls to get together before a night out. You can drink at the bar whilst friends have their hair and make done at the dressing stations. The blowdry bar has long been a haunt of mine (well, since it opened a year ago) but it really has just upped its game - I'm plotting plans for as many pre-party trips there as possible...

I think it's pretty obvious how much fun I'm having in this picture but just to reinforce the point: I had a wail of a time wearing this dress. It feels like an outfit you'd wear when you are a little, and run around doing pirouettes in. That said, I felt awfully grown up and could definitely wear this in the office as much as I could to a christening (ok, so my office is also my living room, and I work in fashion, but still...).

The shoes are also from LKB, and although I was dubious about them being a little "normal" I've found them incredibly useful post shoot. They are called "winter rose" and are essentially an upgrade from the taupe coloured heel that took over 2013. They look fantastic and I really can't fault them, despite trying (and look brilliant with blue denim, for the record. Find them here.

In collaboration with L.K.Bennett London. Photography by Amelia Allen.


The Dominican Republic

Annnnd somehow it's February! I realised at the weekend that last month I was a terrible blogger and only blogged three times. Oops. I'm going to try and get a bit better this month, aided a lot by the number of shoots I did in January - meaning you guys can actually see some half decent photography rather than the usual iPhone snaps...

Any way, the main reason for the lack of postings was that we took a very last minute break to the Dominican Republic for a fortnight. We'd set aside the time off but didn't book until Boxing Day. We (ok he, not me) found some amazing last minute flights on with Thomson (not sponsored, for the record) and before we knew it we were sitting on a beach sipping cold beer with sand between our toes... (when we say amazing flights, we mean £250 each - here).

We spent the first few nights in a hostel in Bavaro, 20km from the airport to get our groundings and to see in the New Year. The town was essentially built for tourism, so besides the coconuts on the beach and a few rum huts it was more "burger and chips" than "rice and peas." That said, I did eat the best quesadilla of my life at a tiny little cafe called "Kat's Corner" which I really, really recommend.

The beaches are beautiful, but the Atlantic coast makes them a little choppier... Most of the people in the area are in all inclusives and don't leave their hotels, so restaurants are quite quiet. It became clear that the more picturesque places are on the South coast of the island so we plotted a way (through two new friends armed with questionable "cigarettes" and an open top Jeep) to get down to Bayahibe on New Years Day...

After a day of travelling through the centre of the island we arrived in paradise, quite literally. Bayahibe is a quaint little fishing town which lives up to every Caribbean cliche you can imagine; bright coloured boats, sandy rum shacks and lots of local character. We knew as soon as we arrived that we'd be staying here a while. We found an apartment for a week in Dominicus (the next town down, walkable in 15 minutes from Bayahibe) at the Marina.

This was where the holiday started to come into it's own. We made several incredible local discoveries, including a tiny shack of a restaurant run by a Frenchman called Didier. The kitchen comprises of an enormous barbecue and only serves lobster and rum. It was without a doubt the best seafood I've ever eaten.

We took one day out to visit Saona, a relatively uninhabited island to the south of the Dominican Republic. You can take your pick of either a "party boat" or an old fisherman's boat to get there (you can guess which one we picked). To say it is beautiful just doesn't do it any justice. The beaches there were used for the Bounty adverts if that helps set the scene... We lay in our hammocks in between snorkelling with stingrays for most of the day, before heading back through a stretch of warm (like a bath) sea water covered in starfish. One of the most incredible days of my life.

For the last few nights we decided to treat ourselves and stayed at Tracadero. The all-white hotel and very Italian hotel is absolute bliss. When we got into our room it was so lovely we burst out laughing as we only paid $100 a night for the room. It very much has a beach club feel, anyone who has been to a Puro Beach or Blue Marlin - it's the same kind of thing but a fraction of the cost. Sipping Pina Coladas by the salt pools overlooking the sea, we felt a million miles from home... Firmly recommend the rose champagne too... ;)

To anyone looking for a complete break, I really recommend the DR. It has a reputation for being solely an all inclusive style destination, but with a little bit of planning you can have the total opposite. Book it NOW.

Find flights to Punta Cana here.
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