Monday

The Everyday Breton

I've put off doing this post as I didn't really think I was wearing anything interesting or new (great start to a post Anna, well done). But then I realised this really is what I wear all the time, and by "all the time" I mean that I'll wear this as many days of the week I can get away this. These are collectively my best finds of 2017 so far...

full outfit details at the base of this post

Lets start with most obvious one; my Breton tee. I actually really wish I'd started my blog just wearing Bretons and then that had been my thing. Every outfit would have included one, it would have been much better than the blog I did create - and leaves far less margin for error. As I said in my birthday blog piece last week I own a lot of these. However, Joules sent me theirs for my birthday and the others have been left gathering dust ever since. They're just so good, the one I'm wearing is my favourite here - but they also kindly sent me a lovely green one here and one which is a sort of cream and gold here that looks amazing with my blue denim jeans.

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Saturday

Topshop Gingham Skirt

I knew I wanted a gingham pencil skirt as soon as I saw them on the runway back in September at the fashion weeks. As my Instagram Stories here will have told you I had a bit of a trial and error finding one. At first I tried a red and white one from ASOS but it made me look like I worked in a diner (nothing wrong with that, but as I don't it could look a bit weird at a meeting). Then I tracked down this one at Topshop and it's been love ever since...

full outfit details at the base of this post

It's navy and white (rather than black which it kind of looks like in the pictures) which means it takes the formality out of it, and the ruffles make it very flattering. I used to be really nervous about pencil skirts on my shape, I assumed I was too short and too curvy. What I've learned is that they're actually really good for me - I wear them a lot. The secret I find is making sure they are cut on the bias (Google it) and they're not a silk or satin based fabric as that opens up a whole new level of questionable lumps and bumps in areas girls don't want them. If you really aren't into the shape, I found this one at ASOS.

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Friday

Happy Birthday Blog!

Well this is now officially the longest job I've ever had. Not that the blog is a job, I vehemently protest that the blog is fun and the consultancy is work but the reality is I earn a fair chunk of my living through South Molton St Style... And now it's 6. SIX. The last year has been the most fun with the most travel and I'm feeling the most comfortable about my presence online - which took me a while to find.

To "celebrate" the blog's birthday I'm getting smashed answering the questions you guys have sent me via Instagram because none of this blog stuff would have been close to possible without you all having my back. I thought about doing a giveaway but the reality is thats what bloggers do to attract new followers and today - just today - I'm not looking for any new ones because I want to say "hello" and thank you to the ones I've got.

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Topshop Pink Floral Dress

I've decided to dress like Spring is already here. Dammit I'm done with cold weather. So, when Topshop got in touch and last me to style out my Valentines Day outfit (in truth, I'm expecting the day itself to be a PJs and pizza kind of affair) I instantly went for something bright and beautiful. Say hello to my new friend; the pink midi dress.

outfit details at the base of this post

It's very pink, it's very pretty and I'm more than a little bit happy with it. I did a little preview post on my Instagram here and lots of you said it was a bit of a Gucci dupe which hadn't occurred to me. Probably because right now everything on th high street is a bit of a copy of the Italian brand - the loafers, the logo tees, the prints and belts. Isn't that what we love about the high street? All hail the ability for us normal folk to get our hands on the look!

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Wednesday

My Net A Porter Sale Bargains

One thing the start of the year does have going for it is the sales. As customers have been slightly less keen to shop full price under the world's current economic circumstances, it's meant that there is a huge surplus of stock left over from last season. Thankfully (for us) this means big discounts on some otherwise never-reduced stuff...

outfit details at the base of this post

This outfit is a prime example. I would consider everything in it a necessary style staple which totally removed the guilt from spending money (lets face it, we're all a bit skint at the start of the year) or the need to smuggle the delivery into the flat without the other half noticing... I wear tops like this at least twice a week, and chino pants are a brilliant dressed-down-but-up option for any casual dresser. It's really not normal for pieces like this to go into a sale, but I got them both for 50% at Net A Porter - the sale that keeps on giving!

outfit details at the base of this post

You only need to take a look at my Pinterest boards to see how obsessed with denim shirts I am. I already had my eye on this MiH one before it went into sale, and had actually assumed it wouldn't be included and reduced. When it did I snapped it up straight away. In case you aren't aware of the brand, MiH are a premium jean/denim maker with a real understanding of cutting on the bias/shape. 



This is my first "investment" denim shirt and I've already thrown out my Zara and ASOS ones as this is just so much better. The fabric is slightly stiffer than other cotton based ones I've had, meaning as much as it is still just as soft and wonderful = it also creates the kind of silhouette a girl wants in a shirt... (slightly oversize without looking fat = goals). Above are a few others I've found (all from MiH as I'm now obsessed) that I'd put in the same category. I really don't understand people who don't wear them; I kind of freeze up. It's the perfect half way house being making an effort and being super comfortable. They also go incredibly well with...

outfit details at the base of this post

Chinos! I had a love/hate relationship with chinos for ages. I used to think it was just for people who were a bit posher than me - women who wore pearls, Aspinals notepads and Ralph Lauren cable knits. In other words, I thought they were a bit, twee (I repel any resemblance to Kate Middleton's style like the plague as it's achingly boring). Then I started working for a French company all the Parisian girls had them. They paired them with white shirts, or a tee shirt and jackets - and it looked really good. Like, really good. 

outfit details at the base of this post

So the hunt started for a pair for me - a short girl with a bum and "curves" (read: thighs that need more gym based activity). I tried a pair on in Zara which ended in tears and me swearing never to eat a carb again. I soon realised no Spanish brand was going to be my friend as all their fit models are also toned athletes (in my head). I then started to hear about J Crew's Sammie pants... I was curious but pretty reluctant to go through the emotional turmoil of a trying on session.

outfit details at the base of this post

Having seen them on so many people, and then spotting them in the sale (on Net A Porter here, and in a wider range of sizes on J Crew here) I decided to give them a go. They're really good! They're quite stretchy so I don't feel like they're too tight anywhere - and look as smart with something tucked into them as they do with this kind of outfit. Being completely honest with you, I'm considering buying a couple more pairs just to have them in stock - concerned that as they're in the sale they're going to be discontinued!

outfit details at the base of this post

Accessories wise, yet again the Sophie Hulme bag is making an appearance. Id totally forgotten I owned this as I went through a real "only colourful bags" phase. I found this over Christmas and am now wearing it all the time. As I said in a previous post, it's three years old and still good as new (and I'm really tough on bags with my clumsy ways) so I do recommend the investment. Ooh and the shoes are not Chanel - but are pretty solid dupes. Yet again they're from L.K.Bennett here (sorry to be so boring but these guys just do make the best shoes), here. They come in a few colour ways, all of which I'm after...



Outfit details (click link to brown/shop)

Photos by Amelia Allen Photography, taken using the Canon 5D available at John Lewis.
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Monday

Sorting Out My Sudden Problem Skin

This is just a little post as those who follow me on Instagram (here, go onnnn) will know I've had a bit of a nightmare with my skin lately, and wanted to let you know of the products that solved it. My skin routine is pretty bullet proof - it's taken years over perfecting. It's not a cheap one either, I'm very much of the feeling that if you're going to invest in one thing it should probably be your face, no? However, when I was away over Christmas I forgot one thing (my NARS exfoliator here) and it all went to sh*t...


I took this snap whilst out on Saturday and (because I think for a post like this I really should declare) it doesn't have any retouching (I do have make up on though, which is listed below). A week ago I was in tears in the bathroom over the state of my skin. It was spotty, painful and red - and the eye bags were not welcome visitors either.  I raided my bathroom cupboard for products I hadn't got around to testing out and spent about a day on youtube looking for help. Here is the routine I created for 5 days which got my skin back to being as above...

Morning
As soon as I wake up I put REN's Vita Mineral gel here under my eyes. I'll then sort my life out for five minutes before jumping in the shower as it needs to soak in to work. In short, it gets rid of eye bags - and really does. I wash my face with NARS Double Exfoliator here every morning and make no exception. It's so good I even decanter it into little bottles when I go away. It's fresh and really feels like your skin wakes up with it, and doesn't leave my skin dry. I then go into my make up routine, listed below.

Evening
I have added in a time frame to my regime; when I get home. Make up is removed straight away with Caudalie's Remover Oil here (I was nervous about using something oily but it really works better than any water-based stuff I've used) and put on a *revelation* of a product; all hail to Bobbi Brown's Instant Detox Mask, hereI did some homework (found Caroline Hirons post here) and discovered this alongside the Skin Nourish one here

When my skin is bad I'll rotate using these two every day, and then when it's recovered I'll go back to using them both once a week. Even Gus noticed the difference - the Detox one got rid of the spots, and the Nourish one completely eradicated fine lines (for that reason I'll be using it before an event in the mornings from now on). Mask or no mask, I'll then put on Malin and Goetz's Vitamin E lotion here.

Bedtime
This is when I do all my "fight against time" stuff. First for my eyes I use (new for me) Perricone MD's Thio:Plex eye creams, here. I'm an enormous fan of the brand and this really works well for me - I can see the difference already and only started a week ago. I then put on Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Serum, which is fantastic. It is quite expensive but I've found it for £12 cheaper here. Once soaked in (takes 2 minutes) I then use a little bit of Clinique's Overnight Mask here which is brilliant (I've tried out lots by this brand before, and it's the only one so far I've ever been incredibly impressed with).

Weekly = Every Sunday I use REN's Glycolactic Mask which is incredible, here. It really dries out spots and leaves your skin feeling like it's had a workout.

I really hope this helps anyone who is getting "problem skin." Mine was definitely a combination of accidentally stepping away from my usual routine, and then being unwell at the start of the year. Never before have I ever really had sympathy for girls who complain about painful skin, as it's nothing I could ever associate myself with. Now however, my god. I get it, and I'm sorry to those I should have been a little more supportive of.


Now for my make up. Hilariously, ever since making an effort to keep Instagram Stories going you lot have seen the clear difference between me with and without make up on as I get a lot of messages asking for where I get my foundation/mascara/brow pen. I don't know whether to be flattered or not - but either way it means my make up is clearly pretty decent. In these pictures I'm wearing my go-to basics, so I thought it was a good time to share =

I'm incredibly lazy so never, ever re-do my make up during the day. So I was convinced into using a primer for that sole purpose. Tom Ford's one here feels invisible but at the same time keeps your face on, literally. I don't know how it works but it does (they also have a tinted one for summers and on holidays this is all I wear in the evenings, here). 

My "foundation" isn't really a foundation. When I can I like to just use a tinted moisturiser, and Perricone's Face Tint here is the only one I've found that covers blemishes without feeling thick. It's also medicated, so it's fixing all the flaws while you've got it on - which is ace as I often worried that covering up spots was doing more harm than good... As a little extra I put a dot of Benefit's Sun Beam here on each cheek and spread outwards. It really lifts your face and gives you a summer glow...

I rotate between two depending on the scale of cover up required. Benefit's Lemon Aid here is incredible for under eye bags or purple-ish markings (apparently it's being discontinued so hurry up, I've bought four) and Tom Ford's liquid foundation/concealer here (I use the Sable tone)is brilliant for red marks, pimples etc. How people use it as foundation I don't know as it's very thick, but it's like using an eraser pen on spots!

New territory for me. I used to pluck them into oblivion and leave the rest down to luck of however my face had slept on the pillow the night before.I use two Tom Ford products which are completely and utter game changers - they're the only products I will not leave the house without having on. I brush and fill in my brows with this pen/comb combo, and then use this brow gel to keep them in place (very simple, I just brush them upward). It's been a revelation and I seriously recommend giving them a go.

I've played around with my mascara and am currently debating getting extensions (is that even what I mean?) as I like the idea of not having to put mascara on every morning. However, for now I'm making do with Charlotte Tilbury's Legendary Lashes, here. It's very, very good and never smudges. Comes off easily too.

I really hope this helps girls out, really do. I'd love to hear about your own life savings skincare and make up tips are, particularly if they are home made ones as I'm really keen to try then out after doing a honey and avocado mask on my hair last weekend (which was amazing). Let me know!

Photos taken using the Olympus PL7 at John Lewis here.
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Saturday

The Boodles Townhouse


Ever so often blogging feels really good. Like really good. Speaking truthfully, after six years (six years?!) of having the blog you kind of become numb to the majority of perks. We're damn lucky and it's easy to forget... But one moment I felt instantly grateful for was when the lovely Boodles team invited a few of us over to Antwerp on a whirlwind trip to the discover the "diamond district" - I didn't even know there was a diamond district so was instantly excited to discover more...


outfit details at the base of this post

We spent a day inside the notoriously private and confidential world of diamond dealing, including playing about with £17 million worth of jewels. I had absolutely no idea about the intricacies of the industry - nor how heavily regulated it is. 80% of the world's rough diamonds pass through Antwerp, 50% of the polished ones do too - so it really is the centre of the stone's world. I learnt all sorts of things; a carat weighs 0.2 grams (3 apple pips) - and to find that single carat you need to dig out 20 tonnes of gravel. Ooh, and the pressure required to get carbon to form a diamond is the equivalent to carrying the Eiffel Tower on your little finger... Fascinating.

outfit details at the base of this post

It was lovely to really feel like I was learning something; something I don't do enough of any more. On top of that we got to discover a new city, stay in a beautiful hotel (here) and have a very fun dinner with new/old friends. That said, the diamond district was very industrial so not the best for images so I thought I'd take a few snaps featuring some of the jewellery with a better background when I got back to London. Boodles' flagship store on Old Bond Street has an incredible townhouse above it - which set the scene for these photos...


outfit details at the base of this post

I'm usually a really "dress down" sort of person, as followers of my daily antics over on Instagram will know... So, I wanted to use the excuse of the diamonds to wear one of my favourite brands, Needle and Thread. I've worn their stuff a few times before to events and weddings, but never really shown them off on the blog. They're perfect for me as their simple, flattering shapes are also covered in pastel embellishments - a happy medium of effort/boho/comfortable. They say a lot, without it looking too much...



navy skirt, 50% off / black and pink dresspink playsuit / off shoulder dress / black and pink bomber / lilac midi dress

I love a long sleeved dress as they're super flattering (particularly when all of those New Year fitness resolutions haven't quite gone to plan) so this black and pink dress felt incredible on - note that both mini dress come in other colour ways, as noted at the base of this post... The cream dress - with all the colourful detailing - paired with my earrings - made feel a million dollars. I think you can see in the photos that I actually really wanted my photo taken, which a) made Amelia's job a lot easier and b) is an incredibly rare event. I've selected a few of their pieces above, including a ridiculously reduced skirt (which is a version of the navy dress I wear below) here.

outfit details at the base of this post

The jewellery itself taught me a thing or two. Firstly, that you can always find a way to wear them. I'd previously assumed I wasn't fancy enough to own quality jewellery, but their more simple pieces (like the earrings I wore above, here) look as good with denims and tees as they do in with this kind of outfit. In fact, we ended up shooting another look (to follow) in the clothes I turned up in. I'm also now saving my pennies for a tennis bracelet, as this one just looked incredible... I spent hours going through all of Boodles' collections in the hope of forming an idea of a "capsule collection" of jewels - so I can start to develop a collection. It was tricky as every time a new tray was brought over for us to view I wanted them all, but I've whittled it down to a few key pieces =

Studs = I think every girl should have a pair of simple diamond studs. They're timeless and will be passed on for generations. I stumbled upon this guide to work out the right size for your ear and having seen - with my own eyes - how painstakingly the Boodles team pick out their stones, I'd seriously recommend going to them... Browse their selection here.
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Tennis Bracelet = As explained above, this is going to be my first real investment. They're just so beautiful and look good with everything. Boodles' offering is here.
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Diamond Ring = No, I don't mean an engagement one (although when we get to that stage, we're coming to Boodles). I really like the idea of buying myself a nice ring - and really want a custom made diamond pinky ring like this. Thoughts?

outfit details at the base of this post

Outfit details (click link to shop/browse)

all jewellery, Boodles = enquire here for details
see all of Needle and Thread's Spring collection here

cream and pastel dress = as worn, needle and thread / in black 
black and pink mini dress = as worn, needle and thread / same in cream
navy backless midi dress = as worn, needle and thread / as a skirt, in sale / in purple (ASOS exclusive) / in cream (ASOS exclusive)
silver shoes = as worn, L.K.Bennett (previous season)
pink shoes = as worn, L.K.Bennett (previous season)

Photos by Amelia Allen Photography, taken using the Canon 5D available at John Lewis.
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