Wednesday

Weekends Away with L.K.Bennett*

links to products = navy knit / green skirt / trainers / sunglasses / bag 

As followers of my Instagram will already know, a couple of weekends ago I went down to Barnsley House in the Cotswolds with Claire to shoot a project for L.K.Bennett. I chose the hotel having been there before, I went down last year and had a brilliant time but more importantly knew that the gardens would be the perfect place to shoot the outfits I'd picked out. Come and have a look...
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Tuesday

Summer Feet with Marks and Spencer*

sandals* / shirt* / skirt* / sunglasses* / pouch* / similar pouch* (links marked with an * are affiliate tagged)

It's officially summer and let me tell you how I know... My feet are out. As much as one of my things is keeping my nails nicely (I have a manicure every two weeks in the cheapy place by the station near me and it's my little treat to myself and has been for years) my feet don't always get the same love and care. When summer comes, so does the panic about about the state of my feet. So, when Marks and Spencer asked me to contribute to their Treat Your Feet campaign (see the content featuring a few influencers here) it really resonated as finding footwear that works for me for the start of the summer is really important. 

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Sunday

How To Add Boho Style Pieces To Your Wardrobe Without Going Full-Pelt-Hippy

shirt, available in black, red and white / trousers / shoes / handbag / sunglasses
NB - these are affiliate links, see base of page for info.

If you're anything like me nailing that "I woke up like this" boho thing is a life goal. I have spent an alarming about of time pinning, saving and bookmarking images of girls who have their tee shirts just so, skirts perfectly floating and backy-hair perfectly loose curled. In the real world I need to face the facts; I'm a short, curvy girl who needs, erm, assistance with anything a t shirt bra doesn't work with. I sadly was not blessed with those lithe limbs that look good framed by a bin bag; I need to think before I make a purchase. That said I was somewhat desperate to get some bits that softened my "look" ...


shirt, available in blackred and white / trousers / shoes / handbag / sunglasses
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Tuesday

How To Dress For Special Occasions When Dressing Up Isn't Your Vibe

If you’re anything like me dressing for weddings, christenings and even just nights out fills you with dread. Yes I love a dress and a sandal, but the kind you can wander around the park in rather than a church or posh hotel. As a useful addition to the problem  I absolutely hate buying for the sake of it – I’ve never been one to buy outfits for a particular thing. Instead I prefer to buy things I know will work a minimum four or five times alongside things I already own. 

dress, here / same dress in black here / shoes, old but similar here and here
NB - these are affiliate links, see base of page for info.

So, now I’ve reached the age that I have a celebration of somebody’s life stages every four weeks, I’ve had to work fairly hard to find things that I can repeat wear – and where I don’t totally lose my style and end up feeling self conscious all day. For that reason this post isn't all about cheap options; because I think it's worth spending whatever you can afford in order to feel good and project good vibes on a day that's meaningful to your nearest and dearest (don't get me wrong, my budget isn't Gabbana but I'm more £100 over £10 when it comes to feeling good). This post serves as a little run down of the places I’ve bought things that work for me…

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The Best Jumpsuits For Spring And Summer

outfit links = jumpsuit / raffia bag / lemon pouch / shoes

This out is one of many I shot whilst in Lake Como with the girls and Mr and Mrs Smith. I have to say, it was a real "pat on the back" moment. I'm not sure what or how I expected this little blog to ever develop, but I certainly never thought I'd be staying in Napoleon's former home in Italy, on the most luxurious trip I've ever been on in my life. Any way, I used it as a proper base for some content and this was one of many outfits I shot, and it's one of my all time favourites.

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How To Wear Leopard Print Without Looking Like Your Crazy Aunt

Before I start I think it might be worth me saying that I fully appreciate this isn't the most original of blog topics. I've seen tonnes of "how to wear animal prints" and similar posts and swore not to follow suit, but when I was looking at these images I couldn't think of a better summary - I'd never have dared to have worn this skirt a few years ago and its only through putting some effort into getting the surrounding basics right that I can actually feel comfortable in it. It's become one of my go-to "looks"  when I want to make an effort, but as I'll explain its through choosing what goes with the leopard print that gives it that "I woke up and din't think about it" kind of vibe.




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Monday

The Best Maxi Dresses For Spring

Newer followers won't be as aware of my sunshine uniform. For about five days of every seven I live in maxi dresses with either flats, block heels or (if I can get away with it) trainers. I snapped these photos recently and rather than just fixate on the splendour of this Ganni dress (find it here if you fancy) I thought I'd do an edit of all the dresses that've been bookmarked so far in 2018. Lets go!

outfit links = dress (also in black here) / boots / sunglasses / bag / green ring


Before I launch into the round up I thought I'd tell you about my first experience buying with Moda Operandi. I'd seen the brand come up in other influencers' feeds but I'm always a bit shy to buy from a new website and also thought most of the stuff was super expensive and out of my price range. However, I've figured out what it's good for and how it's a bit different to other online premium-brand websites...
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Tuesday

New Kicks From FitFlop

outfit links: shoes / trousers / bag / jacket / top (hair by Sassoon Salons)

Ok, so here's a collaboration that completely changed my view on a brand. FitFlop wasn't something I thought would be very "me." I had such a preconception in my mind (sparkly sandals, unflattering soles) that I'd completely overlooked ever buying them. When I was approached about working on this project I initially wasn't keen. Then I saw these trainers, and read up on their benefits...


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Monday

Skiing With Oliver's Travels

Back in March I succumbed to Gus' requests and went skiing. It isn't a sport or a life choice I even considered until my twenties and I used to hold the opinion of, "Why on earth would you choose to go skiing over sitting on the beach with a cocktail?" Gus is huge fan and skiing was a big part of his upbringing so I have had to bite the bullet and book it.  I've skied a total of four times. I'm not a total beginner and I can get down the mountain, but I wouldn't give myself any points for style or etiquette. In fact I'd be running into the negative points style wise. 


I decided to invite a few friends as in the back of my head I thought "If I hate the skiing or if the weather is bad (hilarious given we ended up in the one resort in France with pretty much guaranteed good ski weather from November to April) we can all chill in the chalet and catch up." I'd spoken to friends who recommended Oliver's Travels before and got in touch to see what they'd suggest for a mixed ability, arguably late season, amenity needing group of people. They ever so kindly not only assisted hugely but offered us a chalet for three nights in return for this review. Have a read...
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Wednesday

A Yoga and Self Care Retreat For Newbies


I am finally writing about my wonderful experience with Kaliyoga; four days in the Spanish countryside spent stretching, breathing, eating and "doing" self care. Apologies this has taken me so damn long to write, I went on the trip about a month ago now. I have never had so many questions about a press trip in my life, which has made this feel like quite a daunting task writing it up as I need to make sure I cover off so many questions! I'd never been on anything like this before, and felt very lucky to be able to experience it in this way - god my job is good sometimes!

I was invited through the Kaliyoga team's PR company back in 2017 and at the time thought "this'll be good as that time of year is quiet with work so I can justify the time away." However, in reality that week was a mad one, I very nearly pulled out at the eleventh hour because the office was manic. With hindsight there couldn't have been a better time to enforce some time away like this, so if you are someone always using the excuse of "I'm too busy" then please understand it is just an excuse - there should always be time for taking care of yourself.



outfit links: jumper / jeans / sunglasses

It's probably best if I start with exactly what Kaliyoga is, because I got a bunch of questions asking whether it was a bootcamp, rehab, retreat or diet farm (I don't know what a diet farm is, and the phrase made me chuckle when I was asked). In truth, it's probably a combination of all of those things. Kaliyoga helps it's visitors with physical, emotional, spiritual and dietary issues. My time there was focussed on yoga mainly but as you know from my Instagram it also incorporated a bunch of other aspects as the idea was we got a round up of the entire offering to be able to pass the info on to you. Ordinarily you go for a week, but we squeezed in a snapshot round up over four days. They do different weeks with different focusses, you can see all them here.

I was hugely sceptical of some of the things on our program. I enjoy yoga, but I'm not an "ommmm" person - my purpose for exercise is purely to lose weight and tone up; I'm not interested in the spiritual feel-good stuff at all. Sound bathing wasn't something I was that into and I felt like I wanted to sink into a bottle of wine and there was no alcohol, dairy or caffeine for the duration. I did feel a little bit like Karl Pilkington when I arrived; rolling my eyes in disbelief at the thought of sitting on a mat to try and "bring out the chakras" for an hour hasn't ever been in my life plan.


outfit links: top (always buy my gym tops from here) / leggings / trainers

The property is the brainchild of Jonathan and Rosie who first visited the area nearly 20 years ago (there are two; one in Italy and one in Spain - this review is of the Spanish retreat). Their programs and retreats have grown in a really beautiful way; they've steadily built up a brilliant team of experts and they really are like a little family. There are amazing nutrionalists, masseuses, spiritualists, yoga instructors - the works. Considering how remote the property is, it's testament to the owners that the team choose to work at Kaliyoga - and some indication of quite how much they believe in the concept. They have customers who have been coming to them since the beginning, but are now looking to grow to attract more of the typically "busy" city types who need a worthwhile break. Hence inviting us lot to come and test it out.


outfit links: top (new season and just out) / jeans / sunglasses

As you no doubt already know from Instagram, Kaliyoga is pretty beautiful. It's built into the Spanish hills like something out of a movie set and has plenty of Instagrammable spots with mosaic tiles and views a plenty. What I liked about it was that they'd clearly made an effort to make it a home from home; nothing felt too "done" and it was rustic in places without feeling worried a wall might fall down. The living spaces are gorgeous with a roaring fire and lovely pool area. The bedrooms were lovely, I slept in one of the huts outside and loved it. The yoga centre is stunning, overlooking the Spanish Hills and was really quite special at dusk when we were all doing our last class for the day.

Now, the schedule. To my surprise the weekly schedules are a pleasant mix of activities and "nothing." For anyone worried there wouldn't be sunbathing time rest assured there is plenty of that. There is a morning class, breakfast, free time, then lunch, then either an activity (that might walking through the hills like we did, or a talk about nutrition, or a massage) then an evening/dusk class, then dinner. One thing I did really like is the guys at Kaliyoga recognise that most people who come to them are exhausted, so they don't inflict the sunrise yoga on them. The first yoga class starts at either 8 or 9am. If there is something in particular you want to "tackle" then you can let the team know in advance and they can make sure they have the right team in to help you manage it - I'd really advise the sound bathing as an additional class for reasons I'll go into in a moment.




outfit links: top (new season and just out) / jeans / sunglasses

Before I do, let me tell you about the yoga. To say I was hesitant is an understatement. I walked in and there were Buddhas and scents going off and I just thought "argh, here we go." In the car on the way there I said to the other girls that if I was made to hum I was walking out. What then happened, hugely to the credit of instructor who must have read my mind, was a brilliant class mixed with movement and "proper" exercise. She did make me "ommmm" but for the first time ever in my life I actually wanted to. I didn't feel silly and as I did it I feel my shoulders go down and I wasn't at all embarrassed. I left the first class a bit cross with my former self for being so ridiculously narrow minded; it was really fun and restorative. We had two of these kind of classes a day, and some meditation which I struggled with a bit more than the yoga but by the end of the week found myself able to properly switch off and grasp the basics, which I'd never managed to before.



an example of the yoga classes and my gang for the week

Right, so, sound bathing. Firstly as I'm sure lots of you are wondering, what the hell is it? This isn't the official explanation but instead my interpretation of what goes on: There is a concept that a person's energy is determined by their chakras; the seven spiritual powers in the human body. Bear with me. It is thought that by recognising how and where these powers "stick" to the human body you can rebalance them with sound. So, you lie or sit comfortably in a studio and the therapist "reads the room" (you kind of have to be there to understand this but when I say Kim - the therapist - got stuff out of us, I really do mean it, there were tears of sheer release as we all explained our stresses and woes) and then proceeds to play sounds from bowls (think large, empty drums). I cant explain it, it doesn't make any rational sense to me - but - I could literally feel stress being pulled out of me. 



outfit links: jumper / jeans / sunglasses / shoes (old so now 50% in sale)

At the end of the class we all felt strangely bonded, relaxed and lots of us cried. Not because we were sad, but because we just had this release of stress some of us didn't know we had. It was absolutely bizarre and I don't think any of us saw it coming. Now, I've done this before and can tell you it's not always as powerful as this; last time I did it during a press event I just couldn't get into it and was bored senseless. So the guys at Kaliyoga really do know what they're doing, and I can't recommend Kim enough - she's magical.



outfit links: dress / very similar

Another question I got asked lots about was the food. You lot know I love my grub; I'm a "meat and two veg" kind of girl and I don't stray far from it. I was astounded as to how much I enjoyed the raw food, I didn't miss my usual habits at all. Speaking plainly the food is very much based for a detox so you do, erm, go to the bathroom a bit more than usual. Becky who runs the kitchen and her amazing team really do know their stuff (they're the ones who gave us the talks on kimchi and raw chocolate making) and produced incredible meals every night. In fact they're so good at it they've made a cook book (which they gave us as a parting gift) that contains amazingly simple, tasty food. I was worried I wouldn't be able to recreate stuff, but I can with it. Here is a link to it. As a side, if you did want to come to lose weight Kaliyoga do a couple of specialised weeks a year. They get booked up very quickly but check out their site here for details.





some of the food, and our kimchi and raw chocolate lessons

I really hope this review brings across quite how great I think this place is, I really want to go back and try their other Italy property. I would never, ever have considered using my holiday time for a retreat, I want to sit on the beach with some wine and tan myself stupid. Having now done this I totally take that back and can confidently say I'll be returning. I felt so refreshed and revitalised, friends commented on how much more relaxed and level headed I seemed - and the week I came back was a very challenging one work wise and I suspect I'd have fallen apart if I hadn't had those restorative few days...


You can find all details about Kaliyoga, pricing, retreats and recipes here. I'd like to say a sincere thank you to everyone who made this trip possible; The Kaliyoga team, Octane PR and all the other girls on the trip - it really was a special - and necessary - few days!
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Tuesday

Getting Ready For Spring


I'm done with waiting; I need Spring. Seriously though, aren't you just a little bit over having to wear the same dark coloured clothing? This week's weather is odd; it'll be 12 degrees by the weekend and our poor plants don't know what is going on! Some are in bloom, some are still in hibernation. I did feel a bit sad to see the daffodils on the Heath ruined by March's brutal weather. 

Any way, I'm digressing. I wanted to talk to you about Spring clothing. I don't necessarily believe in needing to equip yourself "for the new season" as in truth I have the basics already so will just add to them when I like something (I'm currently eBaying like a mo-fo to make room for new stuff as my wardrobe's are bursting at the seams). I love adding in some colour; it cheers everything up. I borrowed this top from Whistles for my Blogosphere shoot, so before I needed to return it I thought I'd take some pictures in it...
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Side Striped Trousers

outfit links = grey jumper (in cream here) / stripe trousers / trainers / coat (old) / bag

Phew, that disgusting weather is done with. Don't get me wrong I loved the snow... For about an hour. After that I was wishing it away as early morning walks with a stubborn, grumpy, cold dog just were not pleasant and I spent the whole week in either leggings or my pyjamas. Ridiculously given that I live in London, I was snowed in. My street is on a really steep slope and wasn't gritted so getting anywhere was a nightmare. How I didn't fall on the second day of it when trying to get to the tube is beyond me....

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Sunday

THAT Checked Blazer and THOSE shoes

outfit links = blazer / jeans / shoes / bag / knit

A couple of weeks ago I had a sudden, unexplained need for a checked blazer. It rarely happens and came out of nowhere, but when it does it "gets" me like a new crush; I obsess and obsess until I have tracked them down. Marginal psychotic but hugely relatable (or so I hope). I think I must have seen a picture of one somewhere although I cannot for the life of me source it...



Any way, after about 4 days of stalking searching I found this one from Anine Bing. I'd never bought from the brand before and had never heard of it. Clearly I was living under a rock as when I asked friends in the know, they all knew everything about Anine and her designs. Based in LA, with Scandinavian origin, she makes stuff I want to be in constantly
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And Other Stories Heart Dress


Ever so often an outfit comes together without even trying. In these photos I was actually trying to shoot the dress, but threw on the sweater between takes as it was so unbelievably cold that morning. When I looked in the reflection in a window I decided I preferred it this way - and it solved a month-long problem; finding the perfect red midi "skirt."



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Oriental ASOS Dress

outfit links = dress, ASOS (similar here) / shoes, L.K.Bennett / bag, Gucci

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll have notice trends from the East are, erm, on trend. It started with the beauty world as Korean and Japanese face products seeped into our stores, but when Gucci started embellishing everything with dragons it wasn't long before the high street started doing the same. As a curvy, short person I can't do the kimonos or the majority of Chinese inspired shapes - so when ASOS brought out this dress I was thrilled as I love the look of it all, it just doesn't like me.


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