Sunday

Hotel Caruso

outfit details at the base of this post

I'm taking you back to Italy in this post - have been itching to put this content up for weeks! Whilst we were visiting the Amalfi Coast one hotel kept on being mentioned - Hotel Caruso. When availability came up for a night we literally rearranged our holiday plans to make the visit, and were not disappointed to do so AT all.

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I mean, you only need to look here to see how unique and incredible this hotel is - give me another place in the world with a view like that? We arrived and went straight for a dip (how could you not) before enjoying a bottle of bubbles in the room overlooking the very same view - here is a picture.

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It's very much a boutique hotel, so even when at full capacity (which it invariably is, unsurprisingly) it doesn't feel crowded and guests have their own patches of grass by the pool overlooking the view and right by the extremely relaxed bar. In the evenings you can dine inside the hotel or at the incredible Belvedere restaurant - we did this and were blown away with the quality of the food, service and, of course, the views.

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When you're somewhere as special as this, you need to dress for the occasion. I got this Zimmermann dress a couple of weeks before the trip and was dying to wear it. I'm not usually a girly girl, as a kid I was the one with the mullet hair cut wearing blue and playing with my train set and Lego, but this really brought out an inner princess I didn't know I had. It's so comfortable, the cut out is in just the right place so I felt amazing in it... If you make one special purchase this summer, let it be this (totally get its expensive so put a couple of similar high street ones at the base of this post).

outfit details at the base of this post

The shoes you've seen before and thats because I live in them. Such a brilliant purchase. Look designer, cost nothing. I could run around all day in them too...They're from Mango here, but look like absolute copies of the Chloe ones here. They're now even cheaper than when I bought them - £12.99, do it (I'm itching for the black ones, here)!

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I really cannot recommend the hotel enough, it was a highlight of our trip. From start to finish it was absolute perfection. Our room was gorgeous, the bathroom was the size of my flat (we spent hours in the tub drinking champagne watching Entourage #thuglifechoseme) and little finishing touches like chocolates on your pillow before bed really make it the luxurious stay you'd want...


Outfit details

Thank you Belmond for hosting this trip, all content, text and photography my own. Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Thursday

The Perfect Mojito

Summer is here! No but really! Finally after months of waiting, the sun is being kind to us and showing us what he can do best. As soon as this happens I get an urge to be outside sipping my favourite summer drinks. Here I am doing what I do best; absorb mojitos in the evenings....


Mojitos were one of the first cocktails I've ever mastered making myself and I love them.  I think rum is one of the nicest spirits to drink; it has a softer taste than other alcohols like vodka or gin. Captain Morgans is my favourite one because it's spiced a little bit - not "spiced" as in "spicy" - it just had a little extra flavour to it. 


Here's how to make one: Following the measurements here, take your limes and your sugar and crush them together in the base of your cocktail glass. Grab some mint (I've bought a pot of the stuff on the window sill for times like this...) and pop them into the mix. Then add your rum and your soda water (you can use lemonade if you prefer a sweeter taste). The most important thing for me is that a mojito is ice cold so I keep crushed ice in the fridge all summer (so much better for cocktail making and saves a lot of a mess trying to shake/crush drinks yourself). Shake it all together, et voila!

This post was in collaboration with Diageo as they promote their summer cocktail menu. Check out their full cocktail suggestion menu here. All words, images and positioning my own. Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Wednesday

Berlin

outfit details at the base of this post

As part of the #makeitpop4 campaign with Alcatel (check it out on Instagram here) I was asked to go and explore Berlin for 48 hours. Having visited the city on business before - so only getting a glimpse of what was to be seen - I was so keen to go back and jumped at the chance. Dragging Emma along for the ride, we caught a very early morning flight with Norwegian (they have wifi on board, perfect for trip planning) and landed in Germany in time for breakfast on Monday morning.



Berlin is a city so rich in history and culture it's difficult to know where to start. We decided that we'd concentrate on two districts, Kollwitzkiez and Mitte, and really mine them for all they had. Having inhaled our avocado and eggs at Soho House (we're bloggers, what else do we eat for breakfast!?) we decided to hit Mitte first, as it's so great for shopping and we had a fix that needed, errr, fixing.



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Mitte has a unique offering for shopping that I really don't think you get anywhere else. There are several really strong independent boutiques that are genuinely a joy to spend time in. The pieces and designers the store owners find are incredible. Using my phone (the POP 4, obviously) as our guide, we found all the shops we were looking for really quickly - we'd been recommended RebeccaThe Store, Isobel Gowdie and April First and were not disappointed.


I bought a few things (oops), discovering labels like Leon and Harper as well as getting my fix of Maison La Biche with an exclusive tee from a collaboration with Alex Eagle, here. We also strolled into stores you'd find in the UK like And Other Stories and Urban Outfitters - which seem so much better stocked than at home - finding bargains like this gorgeous bag for the equivalent of £12.




Food wise, Berlin has so much to offer and really needs more credit for the surplus of cool bars and outdoor settings for you to grab a bite. We stumbled upon an incredible burger place, but in truth if you stick around streets like Linienstrasse and Alte Schonhauser Strasse you really cannot go wrong.


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In the evening we stuck to Soho House so we could catch up on emails and enjoy the rooftop view. New for the hotel, it also has an infinity pool looking over the city with brilliant views of the major monuments like the Reichstag. Bose Museum and the infamous Fernsehturm (essentially like our BT Tower in London, but better).


The next morning Emma got me up bright an early promising a day of graffiti exploration and book trees. Street art really cannot be ignored in Berlin as it's absolutely everywhere. I wish I'd done more research as you could spend days on the hunt for the famous artists' work - we tried to find the Banksys and failed miserably... That said we did discover some amazing work by artists like Dede and C215. Even if you aren't into art as such, I challenge you not to enjoy going on a bit of a bear hunt for the stand-out pieces.


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All in all, you just have to go to Berlin. I'm already planning my next trip back - it was that good. We didn't touch on the historical elements of the city which I'd really like to do; the older buildings in the centre of the city and by the river look absolutely incredible, and locations like Checkpoint Charlie are very much on my bucket list...




I used the POP 4 for the whole trip - it was fantastic - everything from the camera (super strong, especially in the midday sun) to the maps and planning options made it the perfect city break partner... Please don't forget that anyone who buys the POP4 handset this summer gets return flights to one of nine cities in Europe, so if you're looking for an excuse to get away to have a break like this this could be your answer. Discover more here
This post was written in collaboration with Alcatel. All words, images and positioning my own. For more details on their free flights offer visit them here.
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Sunday

Sunday Morning


As most of you know I've recently moved house, back to the north side of the river in Hampstead. We spent a long time looking for our new home and had this one not come up I think we might have given up after a couple of real disappointments. The flat isn't very big so we have to be incredibly creative with the space, and when La Redoute got in touch to ask how we'd furnish a dining/study room it came at the perfect time...

furniture and outfit details at the base of this post

If you're anything like me the brand La Redoute reminds me of good old fashioned French catalogue shopping. I had absolutely no idea they did homeware, even if I have since discovered that friend's amazing interiors are made up of pieces from them. I am determined not to have any Ikea in the house (one sneaky shelving unit has made it's way in, but it's days are numbered) and wanted proper furniture without the mammoth price tag. For that, La Redoute is absolutely perfect.

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We wanted to keep the room light and airy and have furniture that worked for me to use an office and for entertaining (ourselves and groups!). The table and bench combination work really well as the bench can be stored underneath for space, and also comfortably sits 2/3 people (or often in our case, 2 and a dog). I love the white metal legs, and whole thing has a really cool industrial vibe which perfectly fits our home...

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We picked two extra "normal" chairs as benches don't work for everybody and they're handy to have around the home. I'd had my eye on these for ages, they're such a classic style. The floors are already a lovely natural wood but we wanted something soft to walk about on. The boy picked out this rug which initiatively I wasn't all that keen on, but when it arrived I fell in love with it - the simple pattern is a really nice addition.

furniture and outfit details at the base of this post

But the big thing for us, like so many people, is storage. We needed cupboards to keep the surplus crockery from the kitchen and my necessarily large candle collection. Traditional cupboards can look bulky and take up a lot of room so we went with these wire mesh containers as you can see into them creating an illusion of space (I also snuck a copper one in, here).

furniture and outfit details at the base of this post

Accessories wise, I've tried to keep it light with pops of colour - my Tom Ford perfumes look great in my (meant for a bathroom) ceramic holder and Percy the polar bear is loving his new life on the window sill. Lots of you ask about my laptop cover; it's from Etsy here and after a year is still going strong...

furniture and outfit details at the base of this post

We snapped these photos early this morning, apologies for the lack of make up and wet hair. It sums up the start to our weekends quite nicely. As a blogger, weekends are the perfect time to organise ourselves and sort out some content, so I usually start going through emails and sorting my calendar before Lopez gets up for a cuddle. 

furniture and outfit details at the base of this post

Lastly, my dress is from Millie Mackintosh, lots of you probably already know of it as everyone was trying to get their hands on one last month - it's just come out as a mini dress here and also as the same maxi in blue here. Hurry up if I were you....

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Furniture details

Soft furnishings and extra details

This post was written in collaboration with La Redoute, all photos, text and positioning my own. Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.

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Friday

Hans Crescent

I'm not sure about you but shopping seems really fun at the moment. There are so many bargains to be had in the sales but better still the new season stuff is starting to trickle through. Yes, it's a heatwave and nobody wants to buy autumn knits just yet but fashion seems to have realised that 
 September and October are lovely warm months in the UK and are prepping us accordingly.

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Last week I popped down to the Feathers Store in Knightsbridge with Farfetch to check out their boutique. Their lower level floor is filled to the brim with cool designers and their new collections. I'd forgotten how nice it is to spend time browsing in store and their edits are so good (check out there online boutique at Farfetch here). The first thing I picked out was this top by Rahul Mishra. I'd never heard of the Indian designer before, but the level of detail is just exceptional. Follow his Instagram account (a real gem) here.

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Next up, boyfriend jeans - the long forgotten essential in my wardrobe! Long term readers of the blog will remember the days when I lived in my ASOS Brady jeans (here). When I say lived I mean 360 odd days of the year... Somehow I'd totally forgotten how great they are as a jean fit, but these Frame denim ones put me back in my place. So comfortable, so soft and so good for running about town - I kept on hugging my own legs with happiness... Shop Frame here.

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Accessories wise, my sunglasses are from Givenchy, here. I've worn them a lot so you've probably already seen them on my Instagram here. I love that they are super simple, but have little studs at the top for an added edge. Yes, they're an investment but I can't see these going out of style anytime soon... My bag is from a new designer (for me at least) that I discovered at Feathers; Marsell. The leather was insanely soft...

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Ooh and the shoes. They were a cheeky Zara purchase. I was out a couple of weeks ago and realised I didn't have time to change to meet the girls before dinner (and was in my gym kit) so popped in to buy something in the sale = error. Ended up with these new in shoes and this dress, £90 poorer but 100% happier. Last but not least but you can hopefully just see my Rosie Fortescue rose gold hoops - I've been wearing them non stop since her launch dinner, the quality for the price insane, check out the whole collection here.

Outfit details
jeans = as worn, Frame boyfriend fit / shop whole Frame range  / similar high street
handbag = as worn, marsell
shoes = as worn, Zara 

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here. This post was in collaboration with Farfetch UK.
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Monday

Jemma el-Fnaa


Last week I was having a rummage through my photos and realised I never posted this outfit! These were taken on my weekend away with the girls back in May and I remember thinking "it's too cold to post these now for the UK" and then obviously it slipped my mind. We were walking through Marrakech in the baking heat trying to find the main square. Emma and Lindsey had never been and I wanted to see their faces when they saw the snake charmers and the dentist (who has a little stall, you choose your replacement tooth, he knocks yours out and shoves the other one in - yep, really).

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Sadly as we are idiots we didn't find it. In fact I'm pretty sure we just walked around in a circle, got too hot so went back to the safety of our hotel. However, we did stop to take some pictures. I'd just bought this shirt and was questioning the investment. I'd ummed and ahhed over it for weeks and weeks; I love green shirts as it's basically a staple colour and looks great with all my blues, greys and blacks.

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 Two months on I can confirm it's one of the smartest buys I've ever made. I love Equipment, but have only ever bought their silks before... As this is a linen blend it's very lightweight. The criss cross detail means it looks great thrown over a bikini, or if you want to wear it at home you can tighten it up or wear a vest underneath. Buy it here.

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The shorts and shoes are this year's summer staples and I apologise for the constant feature in my feed! I'd been hunting for the perfect denim shorts for months - in fact make that years. I finally found them at Topshop which is fantastic as they didn't break the bank. Find them here - and they come in various shades of denim here. The shoes are from Havaianas here and are fantastic as they're made from flip flop material but are espadrilles. I have a couple of pairs now and on holiday I really don't need anything else... They're also excellent for late night dog walking ;)


Outfit Details
sunglasses = red frames, Gucci

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here.
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Wednesday

Amalfi

After the first wedding in Sicily, we drove to Palermo, caught the ferry to Naples overnight and drove on to Amalfi - all in twenty four hours. We found a teeny little hotel in neighbouring Atrani (here - and more on that village to come) and went for a walk along the coast to see what all the fuss was about.

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The Amalfi Coast is everything you expect it to be. It oozes cool; everything you love about the sea and Italy in one place. It's the first place I've been to in a long time that has a clear dress code from the start. You need to have white and blue sundresses, floppy hats, off shoulder tops and expensive looking swimwear. Luckily the piece at the top of my suitcase was this dress from Monsoon. I'd seen it on a few blogger friends so when they asked if I'd like to wear some of their pieces on holiday I jumped at the chance.


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Things like this are perfect for Italian holidays. It's light, comfortable and very "throw on" but smart enough for an evening cocktail. In my opinion you can never go wrong with blue and white clothing, especially when you're by the sea!

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Amalfi wise, we were really surprised by prices. We expected London-level charges on menus but a pizza and drinks in the nicest bar on the promenade (the first one if you hit it from the East) was around 20€ in total! Don't be fooled by no obvious large road veering you towards the centre of the town (behind the strip of hotels and shops on the sea front).  Venture down and of the little paths between them to discover the beautiful central square and incredibly impressive gold and black cathedral.


In truth, after a dip in the sea and a drink/meal there isn't all that much to do in Amalfi so I'd recommend using it as a base to discover neighbouring Positano and nearby Ravello. It's also a great place to catch a boat trip over to Capri. As a really boring final tip if you're driving; don't bother trying to park in Amalfi itself as it's absolute carnage. Instead go to the LunaRossa car park between Atrani and Amalfi and walk through their own tunnel to the heart of the town...

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Oh and the sea... I mean just look at the photo below (which has had no editing whatsoever). Who can resist a dip in that ocean?!



Outfit details
dress = blue and white dress, Monsoon (US shoppers use this link) / similar here (just order this, love it)

This post was in collaboration with Monsoon, all words, images and positioning my own. Follow more of my Italian adventures on Instagram here.
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