Wednesday

What To Buy In September

Well, the last month flew past and we're now at my favourite month of the year. I am a massive September fan - it's still light in the evenings, mild in the afternoons but you can justify the odd winter purchase. When friends ask when is best to visit London, I always say September. Plus, the schools have gone back which means I can get from A to B near my flat without mowing down a few 9 year olds playing Pokemon. Here's all the stuff I've hunted down to buy this month, as you can see I'm still going for colour, mixed amongst the basics...

bardot top, Storets / shorts, Topshop / flip flips, Charlotte Olympia for Havaianas / bag, Urban Outfitters

Fashion

In my mind, now is the time for investments. I've been through my wardrobe and culled it significantly (expect me to push my Vestiaire Collective page imminently) and am using the proceeds to fund the new season. Autumn is great for working out which basic long sleeves, light knits and warmer work clothes I still need. I am really enjoying Net A Porter at the moment, they have introduced me to new names like Mira Mikati and her awesome emoji based collections including this must have sweater...


J.Crew really does make me happy, as a concept. In reality it's damn expensive and you need to shop wisely (ie: the sales). However, you can't beat it for basic long sleeve knits like this navy one and then I meandered over to their collection with Drake (whole thing here) and accidently slurged on this oh-so-soft Bengal tiger print shirt here. I'm not one bit sorry. Ooh, and if you're looking for noticeable-effort-looking work tops, these are great and super flattering.

Off the shoulder tops (or "Bardot tops") aren't going away and neither should they... I bought the pom pom ones above from Storets here, and have also found really good options at Topshop here. I don't really like my upper arms or shoulders so I've found that tops with a thicker band at the top like this one at Topshop, this one from Storets or this one (with additional cover/detailing) from ASOS are total winners.

Flower power has well and truly hit, this shirt from Topshop and this from Etoile Isabel Marant are awesome. For foot wear we're going back to basics with these gorgeous suede go-with-anything ankle boots from L.K.Bennett. I try to resist their collections every year and fail miserably. And last but not least, Warehouse. This brand completely went off my radar for about three years their most recent collection has put them firmly back on there. This jumpsuit is amazing for anyone looking for "office casual" and they have some super basic-with-twist tops like this and this.

Underwear wise, if youre anything like me you ate too much on holiday and just want to be comfortable. New discovering Cosabella is perfect for anyone who wants to look good for no effort whatsoever. This bra is like a hug, and the boyfriend actually commented on my hot new underwear which is a win because little does he know it feels like a sports bra...

Beauty

My skin has continued to really struggle this month, the ever changing weather can't be good for us can it?! I've been militant with my regime using my usual daily creams and serums and adding some specialist treatments.


I'm going to continue to wax lyrical about REN skincare Glycolactic Radiance Serum until all the women who read this blog buy one. It's amazing. Skin is dry? Skin is oily? Trying to hang on to tan? Trying to prep your skin for a tan? Worn too much make up? Hungover? This stuff solves it all. Yes it's not cheap and yes it feels like marmalade, but shut up and try it. Rant over.

I was also sent over some new products my Perricone MD. I love this brand and swear by their "no make up, make up" range (find it here) so was curious to test some things out. The one I'd really like to mention (they were all excellent) is the Intensive Pore Minimiser. I have quite large pores at the sides of my nose and they often get blocked (gross, TMI, sorry). This stuff has really helped, in fact looking at my face now they've really shrunk and are very clear. Use it like a toner each night and within two weeks expect this difference, find it here.

Next up, Estee Lauder's Resilience Lift. I hate my chin, and everything between my chin and my neck. I've spent hours looking up how (bar reducing food intake by half) to get rid of it. When this arrived I was dubious but jeez it actually does work. Admittedly not forever, but if you've got an event or a wedding coming up get this, use it the day before and perhaps in the morning and your skin will look firmer, tighter and just a bit better!

Our friends started Skin and Tonic some time ago, and it's always tricky to communicate that to readers without sounding like I'm just telling you to buy their stuff because they're friends and we want them to become the next big brand. There's an element of truth to it, but whats really true in this case is how good the products are. Their Gentle Scrub is a brilliant morning revitaliser and doubles up as a face mask if you mix it with honey or yogurt (or in my case, coconut oil). I used this on holiday and it really helped me keep my skin soft and supple in the sun... Check out their whole range here.

Last but not least, Malin and Goetz. Not the first time I've harped on about these guys so I'm hoping you'll get the message soon. If you have a problem go to these guys. Their sulfur paste is the miracle you need when a spot blows up suddenly (it stings, I won't lie, but it works). Their face pads are the most thorough thing I've found (they scratch a bit but they take out blackheads by themselves) and swear by them, and their peppermint shampoo and conditioners make my hair volume-y, not fly-away and generally pretty damn nice.
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Tuesday

Monastero Santa Rosa


If you follow me on Instagram (here) you'll know I've been lucky enough to travel quite a bit this year, in fact we're currently exploring a festival island off the coast of Croatia, Obonjan. This post goes back to our Amalfi Coast road trip earlier in the summer and to a rather special hotel, Monastero Santa Rosa.




I've been saving up this post as our visit really was a bit special. We'd planned to head straight to Capri after Atrani, but having heard rumours of a 17th century monastery with an infinity pool to rival any other in the world we thought we couldn't not give it a go. That said, driving there takes some guts. We had planned to get a classic car to do the trip in but my God am I pleased we didn't - for this part of the world you want a standard, small rental car and pay the extra insurance premium. The twists, turns and mental state of some of the Italian drivers is quite something...



outfit credits in the base of this post

So we arrived, comically bedraggled after several sharp turns, wrong turns and inevitable domestic disputes along the way. As the hotel is built into the rock face, from the entrance way you don't really get that much of a sense of the wonder that lies beyond the wall. And then you see it... The view.



The inside to the hotel consists or amazing low ceilinged tunnels between rooms which were really cool to walk around, but outside really is where it's at. For a start the view above is what you get from the pool. You just don't get that anywhere else in the world, do you? The infinity pool is what dreams are made of - I didn't think I could out do one I went to in Colombia, but in comparison that one was a B&Q paddling pool... The little dot in the pool in this picture is the boy. Amazing.


Even the gym is tempting, coming from the worlds most prolific gym avoider that's quite a statement. It's outside too and overlooks the same view. I spent a good hour going around gardens too which are very special. The sun beds are all positioned to be very private, hidden behind branches and bushes in the gardens. You really do feel like you've got the place all to yourself, even though the hotel is pretty much booked out a year in advance...


outfit credits in the base of this post

Before I forget, my outfit. I was wearing a steal of a Topshop buy. Every summer when the sales start I zoom into the store and clean up with their boho style vests. I've just bought this one and this one too - so cheap it would be rude not to. My shorts are also from Topshop - the mom jean shorts. I get the "Tall" ones as they've got a bit more length in the leg (the regular ones are very short, shorts). I live in them all summer, I'm actually in them right now as I type and have just bought the black pair, here.

My shoes are from Tods. One of the best investments I've ever made. When I got them I was half ecstatic, half worried I looked like a toff. But to be honest if there is one thing posh people get right it's driving shoes. They're brilliant on holidays and nothing looks better with skinny jeans and a white shirt, or a fitted sweater at the weekend (although the pearls can go f*ck themselves, never happening). Get your own here, and check out The OutNet as they often have past season reduced ones here.



I don't know how I can best stress to you to get yourselves to this hotel. Yes it's expensive, but to be fair so it bl**dy well should be. It's one of the most impressive places I've ever been to in my entire life. Aside from the view and the venue itself, the staff were exceptional (we realised we were very close to missing our ferry to Capri and they could not have helped us more) and the food was really good. Go on, treat yourself and book it, here. You won't regret it.

Outfit Details (click on links)

me
sunglasses = as worn, Max Mara

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Sunday

Pearson Square

Happy Sunday everybody! This weekend is a very quiet one for me. Last week my body sort of went "umph" and I had to rest up and do very little. It's taken me years to realise it's ok to do that; the world isn't going to end if you walk away from your desk. Sometimes you need to just sit back, calm and listen to your body. 

outfit details at the base of this post

When I did eventually surface out of the house, I went for the most basic of all basic outfits. This look is very "me on a Sunday" as it's easy, comfortable and ready for all eventualities. Firstly, the top. It's from the Zara sale I found it right at the back of a rail a few weeks ago (it has sold out but I dug out this from ASOS for £12 for you). Boho tops are just a blessing from above when you want to look like you've made an effort, when in fact you fell out of bed into it...

outfit details at the base of this post

The trousers are from Monsoon, my winning brand of the summer. I've long been a fan of cargo pants, and have owned these Gap slim fit ones for ages. These Monsoon ones are ace; little bit roomier and have a really nice detail on the leg. They're the kind of things that go with everything - they look amazing with a denim shirt, or grey tee shirts or even as a neutral to go with a more patterned top or blazer. I am going to upgrade to a J Crew pair (here) at some point because everyone tells me they're brilliant, but for now these will do me just fine. I guess what I'm trying to say in my round-the-houses fashion is that every girl does need a pair...

outfit details at the base of this post

Shoes wise, I really struggle to do smart casual with footwear but these Topshop flats were a bit of a find. They're genuinely a joy to wear (coming from someone who lives in trainers that's quite a compliment) and make you feel like you've dressed up a bit when you can still run about all day...

outfit details at the base of this post

Lastly but not least, my bag. long time readers will know I'd been stalking Vestiaire Collective for a Neverfull for nearly a year. The number of times one came available, I missed it and I cried - it's probably not a good idea to dwell on it... I wanted a vintage one because the new ones are made from plastic, and I kind of feel if you're investing in a bag you want real leather. Finally one came up in my price range and I got my hands on it. We've lived happily ever after ever since.

outfit details at the base of this post

I hope you all have lovely weeks ahead of you. I'm going to check out Croatia's new festival island called Obonjan for a few days. Follow me over on Instagram here to see what I get up to!

Outfit Details
flats = as worn, Topshop / similar in silver / similar in blue

Photos taken on a Canon 5D from John Lewis here.
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Wednesday

The Art Of Living

Last week was an absolute blast. Having finally got home from Scotland (a two day storm meant we were stuck on the island for a little longer than planned) we had a very quick turn around to join the Quintessentially lifestyle team for two days of adventure as part of Aston Martin Lagonda's new Art of Living experiences.


I'm no car expert, but I like fast and good looking ones. Aston Martin is one of those brands every one knows, every one associates with luxury but yet few actually get the chance to drive one. So when we were invited to do just that and be some of the first people in the world to drive their new DB11 it was an instant yes (and I never need buy G a Christmas present ever again...).


outfit details at the base of this post

We arrived at their head office for a tour of the factory which really was fascinating. I had no idea how intricate the processes are when building a car, and Aston Martin really let the car owner get involved - they can come in and see their car being built and are notified when the car is at each stage of development.


It was really apparent that they are a "quality over quantity" brand - with only 85,000 car ever made in the last 104 years (90% of which are still on the road) which is the same as other car manufacturers you might otherwise put alongside AM produce in 6 months... Having learned all of this, I could hear the DB11s being revved up outside and I was itching to get in and give it a go...



I really wish I was better at describing how it felt to drive, other than just saying "OMG it's unreal." Other words that could just about work include: incredible, unbelievable, brilliant... You get the drift. I've been in some nice cars in my time, but this one really is on a new level.


outfit details at the base of this post

We drove in pairs across the Cotswolds with routes carefully planned out so we got a real sense of the car's performance, stopping for lunch at Cowley Manor before driving on to our home for the night, newly refurbished hotel, The Painswick. This place was my kind of hotel; boutique feel with very cool interiors, good sheets, excellent bath stuff (I'm a stickler for this, it was all Neom Organics which is one of my favourite brands). Their veranda (above) felt like it was in Italy, so beautiful!




After a great dinner with the group it was straight to bed to get up bright and early for day two. We drove back to Aston Martin Lagonda HQ through some gorgeous villages like Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold (stopping to take a few pictures with Lucy and Etienne) before a morning discovering how every Aston Martin design starts off it's life in clay.




We met the man behind it (John) who was so interesting, and it was great to meet someone clearly so in love with what he does for a living. The craftsmanship involved was incredible, and it was almost relieving to know that in this day and age some skills are required away from a computer to make something like an Aston Martin.




A few hours later, having all failed miserably at trying to craft a car from clay, we reluctantly left to go back to London. If you're looking to treat yourself or someone you know to a unique experience, do this. Just do it. I can't put into words the feeling of driving a car like that, and I'm now itching to do it again. Aston Martin now do all kinds of exciting trips around the world as part of the Art of Living series; check them out here
Thank you to Quintessentially, Aston Martin and The Painswick for a brilliant couple of days.  Rooms at The Painswick start at £149pp, book here (and do, it's awesome).

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Tuesday

Syracuse

These pictures were taken just after our friend's wedding in Sicily. We were wandering about the beautiful venue in search of bacon sandwiches and medical aid after dancing the night away. In a typical "poor old Instagram husband" fashion I made the boy stop what he was doing and take some pictures of me in my dress because I really, really wanted to share it with you all.  

outfit details at the base of this post

It's amazing when you find the perfect little white dress, it's even better when your friend made it. In summer things like this form the basis of every single one of my outfits. You can throw it on, put some flats with it for daytime or some heels for evening and you're done. You can also keep it handy in your beach bag for putting on during lunch, or to pop to get ice cream, or for post-beach drinks. 

outfit details at the base of this post

It's from Pampelone which you've more than likely already seen on Instagram as lots of us bloggers have been making any excuse to wear it. My lovely friend Holly set up the brand having seem a gap for premium quality, reasonably priced beachwear. She's completely nailed it and less than two years on she's stocked all over the world, included Very Exclusive.

outfit details at the base of this post

Sizing wise, I'm a pretty standard 10 (with a bum, so sometimes a 12 in places like Topshop were they almost fine you for not being a model) and I take a size small in all things Pampelone. Considering they're all quite oversize I always feel really slim in my dresses, Holly has got the fit completely bang on. I can't recommend them enough, check out the whole range here.

outfit details at the base of this post

After the picture we drove up to Palermo, took the overnight ferry and headed to Amalfi for the best holiday of my life. I'm itching to get away again now, it seems like too long ago...

Outfit details
dress = as worn, Pampelone / stocked at Very Exclusive here too (as always sells out super fast)
hat = as worn, pinched from a feature at the wedding and therefore not for sale

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Sunday

Capri


Ahh, going back to this day makes me so happy. We'd just sailed into Capri on a spontaneous travel detour and decided to make camp for a couple of nights. Neither of us had been before and it had always been on our bucket lists. Arriving into Marina Grande was every bit as special as you'd hope, and the taxi ride over to our little hotel in Ana Capri had some of the most breathtaking views I'd ever seen.

outfit details at the base of this post

We stayed at Hotel Orsa Maggiore which is absolutely amazing. All the options were either incredibly expensive or hostel-like so we were a little apprehensive as to why we could afford this one, and in truth we still can't really work it out. It's a really beautiful family owned guest house, with a gorgeous pool. The rooms were beautiful and just outside the town rather than off a market square, which most of the others seems to be. I'd definitely recommend staying in sleepy Anacapri if you're looking for a more relaxed break.

outfit details at the base of this post

These snaps were taken from our balcony and I just remember feeling so incredibly content. We later wandered around the area somewhat aimlessly, which is exactly what you should do in a place like Capri. The backstreets, pretty little boutiques, restaurants - couldn't get enough of it. Without a doubt one of the most special places I've ever been.

outfit details at the base of this post

And of course, my outfit. This dress is another brilliant holiday-throw-on from Monsoon. I've always wanted a black summer dress, I think they're so chic and perfect for a European beach break. I felt like someone from a film in it! That said, it's unbelievably comfortable and being black means that it hid a multitude of sins (by this point I was about seven days - so probably ten pizzas and twenty ice creams - down). I cannot recommend it enough, get one here - and hurry as it's already sold out once...

Outfit Details

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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Friday

Linienstrasse

A couple of weeks ago I was walking the dog past Bimba y Lola in Hampstead and spied this dress in the window. For some unknown reason I had never gone into one of their stores before, but for the following few days I "oohed" at the window and by the weekend I popped in to try it on. I had completely assumed the brand was very expensive, but it really isn't. Whats more the dress was very reduced in the sale, find it here.

outfit details at the base of this post

Lopez had a great time with the lovely staff who were very happy to mind him whilst I proceeded to try on everything in the shop. I very nearly walked out with 200 things (this dress and this dress were seriously close purchases) but managed to limit it to just the yellow dress and some brilliant little sandals which were all reduced - to £19 - find them here.

outfit details at the base of this post

Yellow is a really tricky colour to wear unless you have darker skin, so as soon as I get the slightest hint of a tan I bring it all out of the cupboard. I don't know if it's an actual "thing" but I feel so happy when wearing yellow, there is something really liberating and brave about it. The cut of this dress is so classic too, I know I'm going to have it for years and years...


I really would recommend taking a closer look at Bimba y Lola, I'm kicking myself for not giving it a go sooner. They have some really good basic sweaters, work-suitable dresses and this shirt is a dead ringer for a much more expensive Equipment one I spotted in Berlin (where these photos were taken). Check out the whole collection here.

Outfit details
sunglasses = as worn, Fendi

Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.
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