Saturday

Christmas Dining with La Redoute

The major fun part of Christmas is the emotional blackmail you can bestow on friends you haven't seen for a while, when you throw a last minute party and force them to come over... I jest, sort of. After the burglary we decided we wanted to create some happier memories in the flat so threw together some food on our fancy new crockery and put the cheesy tunes on loud.

product and outfit credits at the base of this post

Hope you don't mind that I didn't do that many pictures of the party itself (thats what too many glasses of Chandon does to you) but I did manage to capture some of our latest La Redoute acquisitions. I have wanted to have a proper crockery set for ages, or at least more than 4 of the same plates and when I saw these I knew I had to have them.  I swiftly bought the large plates here, small plates here, small bowls (amazing for dips at parties as well as limiting the amount of ice cream you can eat), larger bowls (for no-limits Haagan Dazs sessions).

product and outfit credits at the base of this post

I also smuggled in a marble platter for the cheese (which we use as a candle stand when we've eaten all the forage), a fancy pants gold tray here which we keep permanently on the end of the sofa now as a bit of a feature, and some new pretty candle holders in a star shape and ones dipped in gold leaf here. Gus didn't even moan when they arrived, they're boy-friendly (I get told off when anything new arrives at home now, we're seriously running low on space).

product and outfit credits at the base of this post

La Redoute has been there interiors find of 2016 for us. When I was first told about it, I passed it off as just a mail order clothing catalogue for the French... Then I saw a few furniture pieces from them and completely changed my mind. When we moved into the flat we essentially got everything from there, from the wardrobe rail to the table... 

product and outfit credits at the base of this post

We were very stubborn about not wanting anything from Ikea in our new home; we wanted to feel like we were progressing. La Redoute's stuff is a cut above the Swede's offering, without spending a fortune (and there is usually an additional offer on, at the moment you can get an extra 30% off homeware with the code HOME30).

product and outfit credits at the base of this post

On top the more important stuff = our party. Considering we arranged it a week before and it was the weekend before Christmas, lots of our favourite people came to say hello. Some swiftly ate the mince pies, others stayed till the small hours playing Cards Against Humanity and letting Gus play mixologist (don't ever let him do this unless you want to be motionless for 48 hours afterwards).

Most importantly the plan worked, we're back to loving our home. 

Product details (click link to shop)
marble platter = as shown
table runner = as shown
gold tray = as shown
table = as shown

This post was written in collaboration with La Redoute, all images and text my own without edit. Photos taken using the Olympus PL7 from John Lewis, here.
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Hampstead Rise

One of the main reasons we picked our area to live in was how dog friendly it was (ironic as the dog himself isn't dog friendly at all). Seconds from our place is the Heath, and all the paths and streets that lead to it are so quite we can pretty much have the place to ourselves which suits Lopez perfectly as he isn't one to share... Here are a few pics of us on a typical weekend walk...

outfit details at the base of this post

I'm wearing (pretty much) head to toe Monsoon... Longer term followers of my blog will remember I paired up with them over the summer during my trip to the Amalfi Coast. Before that it had been a while since I'd even considered shopping there, I'd assumed the collections wouldn't suit me. But after wearing pieces like this black dress and this white and blue number the brand are firmly back on my radar (as it seems to be for the majority of fashion peeps these days, the bun fight over this shirt this season is quite funny). 

outfit details at the base of this post

The coat was the first thing I picked out, it was on my hit-list since their press day. The colour goes with everything. I mean everything - it's work acceptable, more interesting than the standard neutrals and stands out as a bit special. It's also incredibly soft, like wearing a blanket. Find it here, they also have a super bright-pink crombie coat here that I've got my eye on...

outfit details at the base of this post

The jumper is a really solid staple. The peplum hides a multitude of sins, again very soft (and - nerdy comment - washes really well). Navy goes with everything, I've packed it for over Christmas as it's smart and shaped enough to wear with jeans and heels, but also good for this kind of thing (walks, Sundays, etc). Find it here

outfit details at the base of this post

Now the boots. An unexpected success... When I first saw them I thought they might be a bit, old, if you know what I mean. Then they arrived and - first things first - they are so warm and snuggly I didn't know what to do other than giggle. They remind me of proper winter walks as a child and the nostalgia just makes me love them. They look great with skinny fit jeans (although these cropped ones perfectly sit on top of them) too, and mean that I can chase after the dog when he decides to show a poor, unsuspecting squirrel whats-what... Find them here (pssst they're also in the sale...).

Outfit Details (click link to shop)
jeans = as worn, Donna Ida at Jaeger (in the sale)
sunglasses = as worn, Fendi

This post was written in collaboration with Monsoon, all text and images my own. Photos taken using the Olympus PL7 at John Lewis here.
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Thursday

Christmas Dressing

It's not often that I can convince Gus to get himself on the blog so as much as he's 99.9% responsible for my photos, he rarely makes an appearance. So when Mr Porter and Net A Porter asked me to show you what we're wearing for Christmas I had to twist his arm (perhaps literally) ... 

outfit credits at the base of this post

Neither of us really plan outfits, we're busy people and relish putting on whatever is washed/available at the weekends. Both of us swear by the jeans-jacket-and-shirt mantra when we do have to dress up so we used this as a bit of an opportunity to try something new. We also thought we'd give coordinating a go, as unnoticeably as possible (I was desperate to do a Britney and Justin denim pairing, but he was less keen...).

outfit credits at the base of this post

My first pick was a classic I've been after for years. Everyone bangs on about J Crew cashmere and I'd never joined the party... Until now. My camel knit is butter-soft, I'll wear it with everything over Christmas for sure. They come in a gazillion colours but I picked camel/taupe as it goes with all my blues, blacks and greys - and looks super with denim. Find it here.



Now that I'm hooked, above is a selection of my favourite J Crew cashmere pieces. My one is here, I also love the grey version here. The black one is, for some unknown reason, half price in the sale here. Next for me will be a v-neck purchase. I really want to treat myself to this one (again in the sale) as I've got an outfit in my head with it over a blue denim shirt, black skinny jeans and heels. Thoughts? Lastly if you're after an entry-point price, this light blue turtleneck is less than £80...

outfit credits at the base of this post

My skirt is from a brand that I've never bought from before called Mes Demoiselles. The inspiration behind the collection is "Parisian, bohemian, traveller." Essentially Marant for cheaper... I thought I'd try wearing a maxi skirt in winter, they're usually something I reserve for sunshine to pair with vest tops. Not anymore, this is proving to be perfect. It's dress-up enough to look like you've made an effort, without being over done. Most importantly it's comfortable AF and in the sale so it's only £114 ... Find it here.

outfit credits at the base of this post

My shoes are from Jimmy Choo, and it's complete love. It takes a lot for me to venture away from my  L.K.Bennett (which are so, so comfortable for my little feet) so if I'm endorsing heels, please know they really must be quite good. They're a classic shape and style, find them here. I was worried they were a bit Middleton-like but actually they go super well with everything and don't look stuffy at all on the foot. I'll own these for life...

outfit credits at the base of this post

Now to over to him... I've wanted him to get this jumper for bl**dy ages. It's from Club Monaco, a brand I think really doesn't get enough attention. It's part of the Ralph Lauren group and didn't really launch in the UK till last year when it's flagship store opened in London. All their stuff is amazingly good (see the womens here, and mens here). Gus is a "I'll buy them in bulk from Uniqlo" kind of shopper so spending this amount on a knit took some doing. Given that it hasn't left his body since it arrived, I'm guessing he feels it was worth the investment. It's excellent for cuddling in too, as a side. Find it here



Above are a few of my favourite mens' bits from Club Monaco, incase you were searching for a gift still... This denim shirt is gorgeously soft, but super well fitted (I don't mean "tight" when I say that, I mean as it actually fits the shoulders). This cardigan is actually more like a bomber jacket as it's so warm; a really good buy for anyone who wants to invest in a couple of good staples but doesn't want to go too fashion. Lastly this jumper reminds me of Jude Law in The Holiday so I'm hoping that memory stays in place when I see someone (Gus, duh) in it... 

outfit credits at the base of this post

He picked himself a pair of Grenson Chelsea Boots which he's always wanted, here. I tease him for how "city boy on a weekend" they are but actually I really like them. Before now he's always had cheapies that he replaces every few months, again I think he's learning this isn't really the way forward. Pay peanuts, get monkeys... They'd be a solid present for someone who likes a classic (go half a size down, they come up big). Find them here.

outfit credits at the base of this post

The scarf is the all-star purchase. I haven't told him how much it was, yet. I made him get it because I want to wear it too... It's a proper "gift" - a proper treat of a present. Sticking with the idea of peanuts and monkeys this is a billion times better than any high street equivalent. It's so warm you can almost forgo a coat when wearing it. I've got my eye on the camel coloured version, although I know he'd pinch it as he's addicted to his one. Find the navy one here, be warned - they sell out fast...

Outfit Details (click text to go through to shop)
his jumper = as worn, Club Monaco
his shoes = as worn, Grenson

This post was written in collaboration with Mr Porter and Net A Porter, all content and photography my own. Photos taken using an Olympus PL 7 from John Lewis here, and their 45mm lens here
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Wednesday

Flask Walk

Eeeek it's party dressing time. My worst nightmare... I really hate being told how to dress, particularly when I plan to consume the intake of a small country over the course of the next few days, so usually pyjamas are the way forward. I'm also not really all that dressy... So when Topshop asked me to pick my favourite festive look I initially thought it was going to be tough. Then I found an outfit that makes me feel so carelessly Ziggy Stardust that I'm positively relishing wearing heels inside (seriously, it's the only day we ever do that isn't it?!) this weekend...

outfit credits at the base of this post

For those of you who wear tonnes of colour all the time I apologise, I get that this outfit isn't off-the-scale-groundbreaking. However for me, the idea of wearing sequins is a bit of a revolution. I follow a blogger called Fran who mentioned on Instagram that she was seeking out an all-sequin top and it set the idea in my mind. Then I found this! It's brilliant and so fun to wear, particularly around babies who just stare at you for hours on end. As a further point, it's fitted around your shoulders and then loose everywhere else... So no post-lunch pain.

outfit credits at the base of this post

Next, frayed denim. Followers of my Twitter will no I've been harping on about getting a pair for ages. I originally wanted this pair from Net A Porter but they were so, so expensive. As much as I believe in investing in denim when something is so trend focussed as opposed to a solid investment piece, I just couldn't justify/afford to buy them. Then I found this pair from Topshop and knew I had to have them. They're fun without being mental, and they make denim party-acceptable.

For anyone nervous around sizing (buying Topshop jeans has been known to cause a breakout of hives over sizing) I bought my regular size and although it took an initial wrestle to get them on, they now fit perfectly. As a side note, old people really like these jeans. A lovely lady at the post office told me they were wonderful when I was dropping off some packages last week and it made my week. Find them here, and I've put a couple of colour options at the base of this post.

outfit credits at the base of this post

Accessories wise, I got my red stuff out. It is Christmas after all. My shoes were from a super fun project earlier in the year, find them here. I save them for special occasions which is stupid given how much they cost, I really need to get my cost-per-wear out of them. The block heel is really good for parties as you stand up for ages and look like you made an effort. Bag wise followers of my Instagram (if not do so here, pretty please) will already know what this is = my precious L.K.Bennett x Boyarde Mariel bag (here) and initial stickers (here), which if you are looking for a last minute gift is most definitely the way forward...

Whatever you are doing over Christmas I really hope you have a wonderful time. I'll take this as a little opportunity to say thank you so much for all your hits, clicks and support with the blog this year. I really considered stopping blogging this summer but you guys and your positive words have kept me going and I'm back to loving it again. So thank you from me and from Lopez (who can, thanks to you, continue to eat his organic chicken for dinner and would otherwise be back to Pedigree chum).

Outfit details (click links to go through to their site)

sequin top = as worn, Topshop 

This post was in collaboration with Topshop, all content my own -without editing or input. Photos shot using the Canon 5D available at John Lewis, by Ben.
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The Christmas Gift Guide Part Two

Christmas is suddenly here, sh*t. We've got one more weekend to sort everything and if you're anything like me nothing is sorted. I'd actually been a little ahead this year thanks to the following images and last week's gift guide here but sadly we were burgled, so I'm now starting from scratch. I thought I'd focus this post on some really special show stopper presents as well as some ideas for those people who are a nightmare to buy for...

Firstly I really wanted to share a friend's company, The Workbench. Unless you've been living in a wifi-less ditch (zone 4?) you'll have spotted these guys running evening prosecco fuelled ring making classes around London. Essentially you carve your own wax ring over bubbles with friends (with the careful guidance of their team) and a couple of weeks later your creation arrives in the post. It's a brilliant idea for birthdays, hen dos and catch ups. Brilliant idea. Gus bought me a ticket last year and together we made our own, unique ring for my pinky finger. Find tickets and dates here.


Due to demand they've also created The Box which allows you to make it from home too. Order one here, and then follow the dummy-proof videos on their website. I intend to spend a day carving mine between Christmas and New Year (lieu days that no-one really knows what to do with, right?). Perfect presents for people who already have everything, or have a creative streak they rarely get to show off. 

In the same vein I also found the Homemade Gin Kit on Amara's site from Men's Society. Aside from being wildly sexist (give me a woman who wouldn't enjoy their own limitless supply of gin during these cold months?) this present is an excellent idea. Gus and I are actually going to make a bottle in advance and take our own gin to each of our parents' for Christmas. You can flavour as you'd like (we googled the ingredients of our favourite gins to get the balance right) and it comes with the majority of bits and pieces you need. Just add tonic.

Also I really need to give praise to my wonderful friend Lizzie's company Elizabeth Scarlett. This woman is storming the interiors market, view her whole collection here. Lizzie's collections are a fabulous mix of own artistic skills and time in the South of France. We have her linen which seems to  only get softer and more luxurious in time (find it here), and her wash-bags in the below photo have become the must have accessory for any self respecting blogger. This year she started making candles (produced in the South of France too, not made in the 1000s in Taiwan etc) and this one is a fave in our house. Suggest you get in there before the masses as this is going to be the brand to have in your home... 

On the subject of vastly-more-successful-than-me friends, do make sure you check out Kelly's collaboration with Auree jewellery where all profits (note all profits) go to Rangers With Tusk to help the fight for Africa's elephants. Maasai based designs, beautifully delicate and easy to wear - find them here. Similarly, Rosie's collection has massively taken off this year; I love it all but out of everything this is my favourite piece.

Last but not least if you have a tricky man to buy for please do check out Alice Made This. I had already bought Gus a pair of gold cufflinks above and then realised I was standing next to one of the founders at a party. Such a lovely man, he was incredibly humble about the success of the company. Their stuff is simple without being boring, slick without being overtly "fashion." In other words its an excellent punt-present for any guy (actually saying that I'd happily wear it all myself). Check them out at Mr Porter here.


Now for a bit of colour. I've already told you about Lizzie's pouches but here's a link incase you need it. Sticking with bags, unless you've been living in wifi-less cave you'll know Manu Atelier is the brand to have right now. Sticking with the festive theme here is a gold one, but the classics are the tan and black versions. They ain't cheap but neither should they be as a shed load of quality and craftsmanship goes into them. Gus if you are reading this click here and purchase - thank you muchly.

Beauty wise, I could go on for days but here goes; Eisenberg has been an excellent all-round discovery this year. Their stuff works. The Creme Contour is a favourite but to be honest it's all good. If you're buying for someone who is looking to fight for youth, make it a little bit easier for them with something from these guys. Try them out at Urban Retreat at Harrods if you're around town! Next up something I was given for my birthday; Kiehl's Turmeric and Cranberry mask. If you're looking to maintain the glow during these winter months get yourself one of these. As a warning do wash the sink out afterwards because it goes everywhere, but you'll look so good its worth the tidy up.

As for make up the NARS lipstick set is awesome value, and all of the colours are their best sellers. I had a field day playing around with these, a great mix for all skin tones too. The Sarah and Betty shades are my personal favourites... Ooh and an excellent frugal find: Rosie for Autograph's eyeshadow palettes here. When this arrived I was dubious but it's really rather good and outdoes the other sets I was sent to review, ten times over. Really good day time shades and then equally good night time colours. It's the kind of thing you can keep in your handbag all the time and it'll see you through every last minute crisis!

Before I go, lets not forget the idea of gifting sunglasses. As it's cold in the UK eyewear often gets overlooked and then come summer you suddenly need a new pair. Besides the obvious Ray-Ban aviators and Jimmy Choo Andies, I've found Kate Spade's collection to be really, really good. I especially love these ones (which I wore in my Instagram here). Hope this all helps!
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Tuesday

Bolton House

Some of you remember a few months ago I went to Berlin with Emma for a quick 48 hour trip? Those who followed our Instagrams (mine here) will know that I completely and utterly lost myself shopping in the city. Who knew it would be so good? I certainly didn't! One of the stores I went to was called April 1st (which is the perfect example of what boutique shopping should be) and spotted an Equipment blouse of dreams - jungle print and super soft. Not every one's taste I'm sure but I was head over heels. 

outfit details and links at the base of this post

More fool me, I decided not to buy it. It was 35 degrees when we visited and it was long sleeved... It was quite expensive too and me being me thought I could outsmart the market and find it cheaper at home. Well... I was wrong. I scoured the internet for days, weeks and months. I had alerts up on Farfetch, Lyst and ShopStyle, the works. Nothing. My sister works for an online retailer and I had her going through the systems for signs for a jungle print shirt. No luck.

outfit details and links at the base of this post

So I bit the bullet and emailed the store back in Berlin. A few weeks later, my credit card a few pounds lighter and a brownie-point-earning sister earning her keep, here it is in all it's glory. As I said, this isn't for everyone and I'm sure half of you would go mad if you knew how much I spent on it... It's probably best if I direct those of you who do like to a super similar one I found at Bimba y Lola here, and a paler version here.

outfit details and links at the base of this post

I'm wearing mine in the way I always style printed shirts/tops = with jeans, boots and a jacket. The "jacket" in this instance is my everlasting fur gilet from Iris and Ink (a hero purchase last season you can still buy one incredibly similar here) which gets so much wear at this time of year. My jeans are my staple Topshop mom jean which you can find here and my sunglasses are Fendi (again! becoming a bit of an obsession!) here...


Outfit details and links
fur gilet = as worn, Iris and Ink (past season) / similar here
sunglasses = as worn, Fendi
belt = as worn, Fat Face (12 years old) / similar here

Photos taken with the Olympus Pen 7 found here at John Lewis, using the 45mm lens here.

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Saturday

Highpoint Grove

"She wore bluuuuuuuuue velvet" as the song says. No one is more shocked than me that I am buying into the velvet trend. For one, I didn't used to even be able to touch it. I spent ages tracking down the "one for me" before settling on this one from L.K.Bennett. I will wear it constantly over the party season as it draws me in at the waist, is a stretchy fabric (for 2nd puddings and surplus snacks) and covers the tops of my arms...

outfit details and links at the base of this post

As I said, I never expected to buy into this trend. At all. I saw the Gucci collections at the beginning of this year and shuddered at the prospect of wearing the fabric. However, something has certainly changed since the days of velvet Alice bands are a child (a thought which stills sends shivers down my spine) as these pieces are soft and silky - more akin to silk. 



Aside from the L.K.Bennett gem (which also comes in red, here) I found a few more: I dodged all the bodycon versions because why in Gods name would you want anything tight over Christmas?! We all know what happens, we've tried and tested belts and buttons - they don't work for us now until about March... 

This green ASOS one is a really good option for someone looking to "do" velvet without being super fancy, whilst this one is a bit more showy (but only showing the bits that really can't be chubby, on anyone). This pink one is good for anyone with more of an apple shape as the wrap style gives you a waist and finally I couldn't not mention this one I found for £15 that is an excellent all rounder...

outfit details and links at the base of this post

The most important thing around Christmas time is that you feel good. There is nothing worse than arriving home to a full house of visitors and not feeling you look your best, or that you appear tired and bit peaky. I make sure I stay on top of my fitness and beauty regime throughout the month of December otherwise I end up really really rubbish come the 25th... I really recommend using REN's Glycolactic Mask as it keeps my skin tight, fresh and soft during the month of over consumption...

As for an outfit to pair with the dress, I'll wear mine with some more glitzy heels in the evening, but these boots are great for daytime. I've worn them to death since I got them for my birthday party... To the point that my friends are wondering if they are soldered to my feet!

outfit details and links at the base of this post

Outfit details with links

Photos taken with the Olympus Pen 7 found here at John Lewis, using the 45mm lens here.
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