[Craving] Net A Porter Sale Edit

There isn't much that can deter me from my resting place at Christmas, other than a fresh supply of cheese and a Net A Porter sale. Both those things happened yesterday, and rather than me detailing all about my fromage adventures I thought I'd share my findings on the online bargain emporium.  It's a little bit good - here are my favourites for under £100:

Starting with a surprise piece from Chinti and Parker - slightly panicked at the number of Breton pieces in the sale (if this means they are going out of trend then I will be extremely unfashionable until they come around again, and proud) - I've loved this stripe tee ever since I saw a friend wearing it.  I bought this quicker than you can say 'add to basket.' Other breton gems included this one from J Crew for £42 and an MIH red stripe jumper for £32.50.

Keeping on the nautical theme, these Charles Philip flats are ace.  I was given a pair back in the spring and having worn them to death they still look brand new - and the name seems to be popping up everywhere. A pair for less than £80 is a steal... I can't quite believe these Hunter Boots are 50% off - you so rarely see them discounted!  Admittedly the heritage colours aren't in sale - but I blogged about the bright red pair a few months ago and have been lusting after them ever since, love the Shoreditch pair too (which are also half price).

The orange belt from J Crew will come in handy as tangerine is big for this summer but quite hard to wear - little hints of it like this are perfect and for £17.50 you can't really go wrong... and I couldn't really be a fashion blogger unless I mentioned a piece from the mothership, Isabel Marant. Her wool garments are SO nice, and this everyday grey jumper is £90. Buy it, wear it, revell in it... Etc.

The cobalt blue vest from J Crew is a little find I made this year - just buy one and you'll see what I mean.  You'll never buy high street vests again. The fit is amazing and you'll find yourself living in it - I'm wearing my nude one as I write this, also in the sale... Staying on the knits, Crumpet Cashmere are one of the best finds I made in 2012 - this fuchsia jumper is a steal at 50% off and the colour is perfect for perking up the grim British-grey weather days again.

I blogged about this Rag and Bone fedora a couple of weeks back, and now it's 40% off - it's as if it knew. I have no idea why their denim is reduced so heavily, but I'm not questioning it. Miranda Kerr was spotted in this white and black skinny jeans (50% off) last week, so that confirms they are a worthy purchase in my eyes... You can never have too many Equipment blouses in my opinion, and this one is perfect for the peach colours for SS13. Just buy it, you'll love it - trust me.

Last but certainly not least - and put simply - who doesn't want an Alexander McQueen scarf?  This one is a bargain for £62.50... Back to the cheese, day 3.


[Craving] Laveer by Kate Ciepluch

Kate Ciepluch for Laveer

I've hidden myself away from the Christmas food table for long enough to post about something I discovered yesterday; I started the blog for a few reasons, but the two primary ones were finding new names hidden away behind the global brands, and culminating a finely tuned capsule wardrobe (to stop me spending stupid sums on stuff I wore for 2 minutes). So when I find out about new things like Laveer and it's founder Kate Ciepluch, I get a little bit excited.

photo via The Coveteur

As one of the first employee's of Shopbop, Kate climbed the internal ranks there before launching her own jacket range, Laveer.  She believes a jacket is the unsung hero of a girl's wardrobe and can frame any outfit they wear... Keeping her 'urban boheme' theme for her own personal style, the collection is made up of the kind of pieces you could wear every day and never look bad.  Serious attention to detail too, with solid hardware finishings and colour injections in the stitchings, linings and lapels.

My favourites are the Kadette blazers in green/cobalt and grey/leather but you can shop the whole collection here at Shopbop, and read all about it in Vogue, The Coveteur and Barney's Wardrobe.


[Competition] Win The Whistles' Advent Pinata

It's CHRISTMAS EVE!  Not sure about you, but I am far from organised - today will be spent rushing to get the last of the presents together, wrapping them, getting up to my parents and (once I'm there) seeing off a bottle of Baileys with the help of some mince pies, my sister and a cheeseboard-of-dreams.  But there is one other thing to squeeze in - entering the Whistles Advent's final competition to win the content of the piƱata in the below video (it wasn't really empty, they just said that to stop the model losing the plot) with £800 worth of  Whistles and Bliss products..!

The prize includes an £100 gift voucher, some of the pieces from Markus Lupfer collaboration, Bliss products, Whistles jewellery, the red croc-skin iPad cover as well as other goodies. To enter, you need to be following Whistles' twitter account @thisiswhistles and send a picture via Instagram  of your Christmas tree with the hashtag #WHISTLESADVENT.  Mrs Jane Shepherdson herself will be picking the winner - you have until the 31st of December to do it, so you have very little excuse to not try!

I've already got Mummy Hart on the case with hers - she's excelled herself this year (our house could most probably be spotted from space by the number of lights we've got going on) . Just trying to stop Lopez climbing it... Merry Christmas to you all, hope you have an amazing couple of days.  Best of luck with the competition!


[Loving] Azzedine Alaia's Beautiful Craft

Azzedine Alaia basically makes all the clothes I want.  For those of you who don't know him, Azzedine is a Tunisian born designer who moved to Paris in the 1950s and worked as a tailor for Christian Dior and Thierry Mugler, going on to launch his first boutique in the 1970s. He went on to be stocked in Bergdorffs and Harrods when his pieces made appearances in many a movie in the 1980s.  What a lot of people don't know is that Azzedine is the man behind the bodycon and lazer cutting phenomenons...

His sister sadly died suddenly in 1990 and Alaia disappeared from the fashion scene until signed a partnership with Prada in 2000. Working with Prada saw him through a second impressive renaissance, and in July 2007, he successfully bought back his house and brand name from the Prada group, though his footwear and leather goods division continues to be developed and produced by them.

Elle UK Editor, Lorraine Candy in Azzedine Alaia / Sofia Coppola's Azzedine Alaia Wedding Dress

He is famous for creating 'clothes not trends' - remaining free from seasonal fashion.  Catherine Lardeur, the former editor and chief of French Marie Claire in the 1980s, stated in an interview that "Fashion is dead. Designers nowadays do not create anything, they only make clothes so people and the press would talk about them.  But Alaia remains the king. He is smart enough to not only care about having people talk about him. He only holds fashion shows when he has something to show, on his own time frame. Even when Prada owned him he remained free and did what he wanted to do."

Alaia's pieces are right up my street - well structured, usually monochrome and intricate without being fussy. Here are some of my favourite pieces (and they don't come cheap):

As a final note, if you don't have a spare fortune to drop on a piece of Alaia's designs -  I strongly recommend you buy his tights.  Think what bodycon does to your midriff - multiply by a thousand and that gives you a rough idea of how good the tights are... For £45, they're £5000 cheaper than liposuction.  Matches stock them, here.


[Christmas] Westfield Gift Cards

I hadn't done any Christmas shopping until yesterday - not one thing. Not even wrapping paper.  I should have been freaking out but I chose my usual 'bury head in sand' tactic and it was working a treat. But then my sister came over and talked me through all the gifts she'd arranged for our friends and family and I nearly passed out in panic. Then, as if it came from the sky - the lovely Westfield team popped up and saved the day and gave me an early Christmas present of a gift voucher to encourage me to get off my bottom and start shopping...

I didn't actually know they did them - it's genius. You can shop in any store in Westfield, and given the number of them popping up across the country there is bound to be one near to whoever you are buying for - I was half tempted to just buy everyone one of them rather than facing the stores. So... off I went to Westfield London in Shepherds Bush, and the love I once had for it was reignited.  Despite it being a matter of days before Christmas it didn't feel packed - the place is so big it absorbs people and they have thousands of tills in each store.  I ended up buying myself a lot of stuff, oops.

I actually enjoyed it. Above is some of what I bought from Accessorize, Topshop, Gap, Oasis and Reiss amongst others (admittedly I massively exceeded the voucher's limit, but I was in the zone and got everything done!) - and thank you once again to the Westfield team. Merry Christmas!


[Beauty] Sassoon's Winter Hair Guide

I've been working with the lovely team at Sassoon Salons for a while, and this week they spoilt Sarah and I rotten with a shiny (literally) new hair cut and colour.  I went a bit shorter, which took some persuading - but I absolutely love it and as always with the team there my hair feels like it's been to rehab for about 6 months. Amazing. Before I went my hair went all dull and miserable - always does in winter.  Having spoken to the stylists there about it, here are some tips to keep your hair glossy and lovely throughout the colder months...

  1. Avoid shampooing hair in hot water. Instead use warm or cool water as the heat can damage and dry hair plus rinsing in cold water adds extra shine whilst locking in vital moisture which hair lacks during the winter season.
  2. Keep hair well-conditioned throughout winter months and use a treatment such as Sassoon Professional Intense Restore weekly in addition to your regular conditioner as it’s vital to replenish and retain moisture. If possible, visit a salon on a monthly basis throughout the winter time for a super moisturising and revitalizing treatment to keep your hair looking radiant and healthy.
  3. Before blow-drying use a heat protector such as Sassoon Professional Halo Hydrate and apply a serum such as Sassoon Professional Diamond Polish before using straightening irons. Both products will protect the hair from the heat as well as shielding hair from the harsh winter elements.
  4. Don’t go outside with wet hair as it will become susceptible to breakage. Ensure your hair is dry thoroughly before facing the cold weather. 
As you know, I wasn't really a 'hair person' before I started working with Sassoon - but since I've been using their stuff I've genuinely seen a huge difference in my hair (especially the Diamond Polish, that stuff is incredible). So if you are in the area, pop into one of their salons and get yourself some hair care...



[Loving] Emma Watson's Style

I might have just woken up, but I've just realised I love everything Emma Watson wears. Like her or loathe her, you can't criticise her style - she's always got a certain 'Englishness' about her.  To be honest, anyone who loves blazers, bretons and ballet flats is a hero in my book. Can't believe I missed this for so long... Her festival style is one thing (love the denim cut offs, try London Loves LA for some of those) but as I am get to grace a festival AKA three days of hell without a shower or a toilet I can't really relate. But her penchant for mixing luxe pieces with cotton basics is something I'd like to grab with both hands...

It's absolutely no secret that Emma loves a trench coat - ever since she did her campaign for Burberry she's been spotted in multiple versions of their style. I think you're either an Aquascutum or a Burberry fan with these things... (and I know which camp I'm in) but I cannot knock the effort the Burberry team have gone to update their trenchs season after season.  Miss Watson certainly has embraced them with open (sometimes studded, sometimes leather) arms...

As always, I'd recommend you bought the classic (here) and would suggest buying an expensive one as trenchs need to fit you well, and last.  My mum still has her Burberry trench from the 70s and it looks brand new, so it's definitely worth it. However, if you're after an alternative check out my trench coat post from a couple of months ago, or my friend Dearne's lovely APC style in her blog post. If you do have lots of cash to flash however, there is an amazing khaki green version with leather sleeves available on Net A Porter here for just over £1,000.

She also likes to keep it fairly neutral (love) with her clothing - nearly always wears blacks. navys, greys and beiges - often with denim if out of the limelight.  Above are some examples, on the left she's wearing some Tom Ford wedges and J Brand scuba leggings with a white tuxedo jacket (an essential, read the post here) and on the right she's kept it simple in vintage Proenza Schouler.

Jason Wu white peplum top / Jason Wu SS10 monochrome dress

Notice she always wears pieces that pin in at the waist to give her some shape (not that I personally need any additional shape added... but just a thought) - she's a huge Jason Wu fan (above) who is brilliant at this.  She has worn his peplums (great figure shapers for all sizes) and his black and white pieces loads. You can  often pick up some good Wu bargains at The Outnet here.

Rafael Lopez black lace dress / red Valentino dress

One thing I do really like about Emma is that ever so often she goes all out and gets her legs out - usually with some lace. Her red Valentino dress was a complete winner for the Lancome opening and I love her black lace Rafael Lopez piece too. Every girl needs a wear-it-once dress (although Emma has several) that kicks all other aspects of their style into the bin...

Here is my pic of all stuff Emma Watson. She's obsessed with her Alexander Wang Rocco handbag, her trench coats and her jersey knits.  She also loves a good blazer, collars, some ballet flats and the pixie-ish collared piece. Overall, 


[Christmas] Gift Guide Part 2

Lopez high jacked the limelight with his own gift edit last Friday, so I thought I'd sneak in a cheeky extra one in to make up for his behaviour... Here is another list of stuff I want/want to get for other people... Starting with a Christmas essential - pyjamas. Not sure about you but I'll be spending all day in mine. Hush do my favourite ones, these floral print ones are perfect for Christmas morning (and the dark colour will hide all the mulled wine stains... just me?). Also, Osprey very kindly sent me their Dark Amber candle this week, and I've been sniffing it with happiness ever since.  Gorgeous scent - Christmas in a candle so again perfect for present opening.

I'm so pleased Daisy Knights (number 6) is on ASOS as she deserves a big stage - I've been a fan of hers for ages.  These gold earrings are gorgeous, I have the ring already and always get asked about it.. If you're after something incredibly luxe for an iPad owner then I can't  preach about BoBelle London's gold glitter case (number 4) enough. Literally dazzles when I get mine out and the quality is insanely good... And while we're on the subject of luxe - check out Owen and Savary's Candice leather bracelet on LuxxLab. I have one, and I'm obsessed. 

If you have to buy for any beauty experts, they'd be pretty impressed with you tracking down the Azature Black Diamond Nail Polish from Selfridges.  These are the guys who made the most expensive nail varnish in the world - and they'd developed a version for regular human beings for £17 - still with real black diamond in it. It's lush. The fedora is something I've been after for weeks (after my post here) and this one from Miss Selfridge was recommended to me by a friend.

The slippers are made by hand by my talented friend Alexa of Motties (number 8) - I bought my Mum a pair last year and she's worn them every day and they're still going strong. And the bag was a cheeky early Christmas present to myself (number 5) from Reiss (big thank you to them for my voucher). She's red, leopard printed and called Mirelle. I love her - just need some red shoes to go with it... Which leads me on to these little gems from Hunter (number 10). Perfect for that muddy walk on Boxing Day morning to make you feel slightly better about the food consumed the day before. Everyone needs Hunters, fact.


[Trend] Orange Knit Obsessions

Ever since I spotted the photo on the bottom left on the Sartorialist, I've had a bit of an obsession with Proenza Schouler knits.  Who knew a fairisle could look so cool?  I later saw Miroslava Duma is a similarly coloured tangerine striped jumper and started the hunt to find something for myself with an orange twist...

Proenza Schouler Instarsia Knit £555 / Miroslava Duma at Marc Jacobs AW12

Here the best of the ones I could find - starting with a simple little H&M piece for £14.99.  Obviously not quite the same quality is Miro's - but you could probably get the same look if you tried hard enough (grey beanie, boyfriend jean... £1000 handbag).  The next is from Whistles, who are getting better and better at knitwear, this one may be £225 but I promise you the feel of it will validate every pound for you.  Ted Baker is rapidly going up in my estimations at the moment (number 3) and 4 is from American hero brand J Crew - suspect this is my favourite of the bunch - and am a bit chuffed I found some of this style available over a Net A Porter - if you like it I'd hurry up...

Number 5 is from menswear brand Burton - never expected to be blogging about this company but I spotted a girl wearing this in Soho last week and asked her where it was from. Number 6 is a cheat from Hobbs as I already own it (outfit post here) but as it fits the bill and is one of my favourite purchases of the year, I couldn't leave it out.  Lastly, and by NO means least is this lovely white fairisle knit from Paul by Paul Smith - for the quality I can't quite believe it's under £200... Which is your favourite?


[Outfit] Trench Coat Trails

Last week I blogged about my girl crush on Mrs Miranda Bloom/Kerr, and on my way to a girly weekend in Mayfair with my best friend I decided to try out a few essentials like the Aussie hottie herself.  You really cannot go wrong (in my view) with heels, jeans, bretons and trench coats.  My Jennifer trench was a gift from my sister this year, and is from the only place I really think you should get them from - Aquascutum. (geek fact, they invented the trench coat, in fact their name means 'water shield' in latin due to their invention of the waterproof trench fabric)...

I paired mine up with my new Breton from Quba, a Devon based sailing brand.  They very kindly gave me one of their Mimram knits last month for my birthday, and I've been wearing it constantly.  As you know, I'm a massive fan of bretons but I didn't have a wool version. Recommend Quba a lot - and they're such a nice bunch.  My jeans are Benetton as always, I really need to stock up on these Pin Ups as I've been wearing my current pair to death...

The boots are an old Reiss pair, although saying that they still look brand new.  Reiss boots are the BEST. As usual, Lopez got a bit jealous of not being in front of the camera and butted in.  He's been a busy boy what with creating gift guides and shooting some rather exciting photos for a magazine next month (he's asked me not to say which one so he can build some suspense over Christmas...).  



[Christmas] Lopez's Gift Guide

Some of you might know, I have a dog. Not just any dog - I have Lopez. He's nearly 18 months now and I still get a bit teary eyed when I think about the day I first met him.  He was the size of my palm, and although he is now twenty times bigger he's still my little puppy - and always will be.  This is his 2nd Christmas, so he's caught onto what happens (and what doesn't, like weeing up the Christmas tree when the whole family is over).  Being the talented pooch that he is, he's put together a little gift edit to help you dog owners find good presents for your own fluffy friend...

Lopez picked out a mix of things he'd like people (ahem, Aunty Rhian - thats you) to buy him, and things he has accumulated this year that he loves.  Special mentions need to go to Mungo and Maud who introduced Lopez to his very own Mungo (the toy at number 5) The arms and legs are velcro and come off, Lopez's face was priceless when this first happened - he thought he was in serious trouble.  The collar at number 9 is also from them, it was his very first one and he managed to lose it - a new one is a must.  Number 4 is definitely the best doggy-bag product around - the rest are hopeless and the bags take ages to open...

The eyepads at number 10 have been an absolute life saver for Lopez this year.  Maltese and little terriers get lots of eye infections, and tear stains.  These pads are the only things I have found in this country that stop it - I firmly recommend a purchase if you have a four legged friend of your own. We're still toying between Lopez's Christmas day outfit - between number 7, number 2 and number 3. What do you think?


[Loving] Miranda Kerr's Leopard Print Flats

As it's coming up to the end of the year, I've been doing my annual wardrobe clear out. As I've been doing that I've been finding various things I've bought and realising which purchases have been the best this year... Without a doubt my Clarks leopard print pumps (original post here) have been the shining star in the shoe department... for £39.99.  I spotted this pic of Miranda Kerr yesterday and she wears them exactly like I (attempt) to...

... and she's also sporting some of my other favourite finds for 2012.  My Aquascutum trench coat was a gift from my sister, and I have Bretons for all occasions a) a generous Mummy for my birthday and b) tweeting a hell of a lot about them on Twitter and companies like Quba being very lovely to me (their Mimram knit is a personal favourite, and warm enough to keep me warm during these disgustingly cold days in London).  

A mon avi, Miranda's style is the best around - what I would do for her handbag collection - I've based so much of the essentials series on her stuff...  Anyway, enough girl crushing (but buy the shoes, BUY THE SHOES) - have a busy day ahead what with working, Nicholas Kirkwood sample sale-ing, London-ing with Sarah and fitting in a hot chocolate with the lovely Sassoon girls on South Molton Street...  Have a lovely Thursday! ps - very depressing how tanned my feet are in that picture - GAH I NEED SUN...


[Trend] Velvet Jackets

Putting aside the general fears of anything remotely scary, haunting or bloody - my biggest fear is slightly unusual; velvet.  My old flatmates will tell a highlight of us living together was the time one of them pushed me on to velvet duvet cover in a department store and I screamed the place down... So it is with great reluctance that I post about a little trend that's come up for AW12, velvet jackets.

Ralph Lauren AW12 / Gucci AW12

Velvet was around last winter, but was quiet enough for me to ignore - thank god.  But this year everyone is doing it and there is no way I'm getting away with it.  The most irritating thing about is that I love how it all looks, I just can't touch it - it has a nails-on-a-chalkboard effect on me...  I loved Ralph Lauren's piece in their AW12 collection and Gucci followed it up with a similar blue style (both above).  I've decided I'm going to endure the pain and get one, in a dark shade so it will last me a bit longer than a brighter trend colour... Here are the best ones I've found:

The high street hasn't failed to help me out here, with lovely pieces from British brands like Next and Ted Baker - in fact I think those two (number 1 and number 3) are my favourite.  I'm drawn to the tuxedo shape of the Next one, although I have a couple of Ted Baker blazers and know the quality is really good.  The navy pair (number 2 and number 4) don't fall far behind - the J Crew jacket is gorgeous (spotted someone wearing it over fashion week) and how good is Mango at the moment?!  Decisions, decisions... Which is your favourite?



[Craving] Victoria Beckham's Collar Dress

Not sure about you, but when Victoria Beckham first appeared on the fashion scene I was (in polite terms) dubious.  But, she's doing incredibly well - to the point it is easy to forget she was ever a Spice Girl.  Her RTW collections are getting more and amazing as time goes on, and her new Victoria by Victoria Beckham collection for this season catapulted sixties chic back in the limelight.

But lets not pretend, her stuff is expensive - and unfortunately for her  (but great for us) it's not hard to get the look at all. When I spotted this collared dress on ASOS this week it instantly reminded me of the cobalt blue Victoria Beckham SS12 piece (above).  As there is over £1600 difference in price, I know which one I'm going for...  Happy weekend!
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