[Outfit] Meandering around Mayfair

There is no doubt about it, it's hot in London town.  I spent the morning today meandering the streets of Mayfair with Monica who kindly agreed to take a few snaps.  It wasn't supposed to be a blogged-outfit but I realised this kind of thing is pretty much my basic outfit in this weather so it would be cool ('xcuse the pun) to share it with you...

My dress is an oldie but a goodie, I've blogged about every year since I've started the blog.  It's from Uniqlo and I have it in three colours (khaki, black and cream).  They bring out an updated version each summer, here is 2014s and here is a dead ringers from ASOS. I love them as they're super cool in the heat, formal enough for a work meeting but casual enough to meet friends.  My shoes are Birkenstocks - I fell for the craze, and man did I fall hard. I love them and wear them constantly - I got mine from Atterley Road as they were half the price Net A Porter were selling them for, win!

The breton tee is also via Atterley Road, from a brand called Saint James which is kind of the unspoken official place to get your stripes from.  It comes up very oversize, so do size down if you're buying one. I live in mine and like tying it round my waist with dresses to break up the block colour - it looks just as good with the basic denims, tees and skirts I spend the summer in too. 

The cap (featured later in the pictures) is a J Crew number. I was prying over one for months having seen it in a magazine and then finally found it in Los Angeles in April - God bless America for that exchange rate. Although, having worn it the amount I do I think the price would have been justified even if I had shelled out the UK rate. I was given the bag by a friend and don't know where it's from - it's exactly the same size as my laptop which is super handy.

I promise you I didn't spend the entire day meandering - I did actually do some work! Monica and I said our goodbyes after a mammoth catch up to head back to our desks and focus on all things day-job. I hope you are all coping ok in the heat - drink water, wear loose clothes and try and fit in some tanning time ;) !



[Trend] Utility Jackets

Right readers, I owe you an apology.  A few weeks ago I blogged about the idea of going to a festival making my skin crawl and vowed never to do it.  Then I got offered tickets to Wilderness and said yes. I'm sorry. I did the typical blogger thing and have fallen for the freebie.  But you know what?  I'm so damn excited and it's caused me to take a real look at my wardrobe as I have very limited (read: no) suitable clothes. Thinking more about I'm not actually all that sorry... Oops.

I am not going to suddenly stock pile neon cropped vests and flower crowns, but I am going to need to get a couple of necessities.  I bought these denim cut off shorts last week which were a total win, and have decided to purchase a utility jacket as everyone seems to be wearing them at these things.  I've decided it is a worthy investment as having scoured Pinterest (and created a board here, obviously) I have concluded that I can wear this all year around - so I'm not falling into the retail-trap too much...

I love the idea of wearing mine with heels and a little dress as much as I do with my weekend basics and trainers.  I can't quite decided which look I prefer.  My only question is, where can I get a good one from? I have shopped around and seen a couple (particularly this Current Elliott one which is everywhere in the street style world, and this shirt style Topshop number) - but I need help from a seasoned festival-er - can you help?!

Ooh and if you fancy watching a total amateur "do" a festival, follow me on Instagram to see my adventures... 


[Craving] Whistles New Season AW14

Not sure about you but I am well and truly done with sale time.  Don't get me wrong I've picked up a few bargains, but I am ready for a change.  It probably doesn't help that I'm not the keenest summer dresser so this 32 degree (say WUT?) London heat has felt like the apocalypse.  I'm so ready for some cooler, long sleeve tee shirt type, sunshine.  

Whistles White Coat (she's probably a bit warm here, but give her a few months and she'll have a happier face)

The temperature is also causing me to rinse cash, as an example last weekend I dived into Harvey Nichols purely to benefit from the air conditioning and found myself in Whistles spending all my money (namely these sale bargains here and here) whilst going through their new season and made a strong decision: I would quite happily dress solely from their new in category for the foreseeable future.  Here are my favourites...

So to kick off with, here's a jumpsuit.  Clever blend of a pair of dungarees and jumpsuit in fact (dungasuit? jumparees? dungajump..?).  The fabric is linen and they're navy = you can wear them a lot. The embellished pool slides will definitely not make boys fancy you, but girls will think you are super, super cool. A few pieces are your new forever-basics; Whistles are renown for their leather jackets, this white split skirt could be a very useful piece (with vests now, jumpers later) and the navy skater dress is a bit of a failsafe for a night out, or even the office. Oh, and I wouldn't be being me if I didn't mention a navy and white stripe piece so here are two: love this strapless dress and the jumper has got lazy-Sunday written all over it (well it's hasn't, it's got C'est La vie, but whatever). Finally, I've mentioned the leather culottes in last week's post so I won't again but if you are after a solid investment, they're your new friends.

Sometimes I do worry that I get a little bit "samey" harping on about Whistles - but you know what? I don't care. For me, they are without a doubt the best store for norm core-with-an-edge dressing - enjoy!


[Feature] Whats In My Rucksack?

A few weeks ago, L.K.Bennett approached myself, Anneli and Wendy with an idea.  A very simple one; wearing a rucksack. I for one had never worn one before (unless you count being eight years old, when my mum bought me one so large it rubbed on the backs of my calves on my way to school) so was pretty keen to give it a go.  You'd have to have lived in a hole this year not to have noticed rucksacks are a pretty key piece right now, but was I going to be able to pull if off? 

L.K.Bennett Sophia rucksack / APC x Liberty Tee (old - similar here) / Zara denim/linen shorts (old - similar here) / Shore Projects watch / Jimmy Choo x Carrera sunglasses

So, off I went on my first day armed with my Sophia (the lady herself, which has just launched on the L.K.Bennett site)... As much as you could argue you are "hands free" with a handbag it feels all the more apparent when you wear a rucksack.  I'm normally balancing carrying a dog lead, answering phone calls, finding my Oyster card, using my wallet and grabbing my sunglasses all at the same time.

This somehow felt an awful lot more doable with my Sophia than with any of my others (all the more noticeable when you go back to using your usual bag, and you drop your phone and the dog makes a run for it halfway up the street...).  Forget hands free, this is arms free - running around town was an awful lot easier and I didn't have that ache in my shoulder I usually do after a long day...

I am completely sold. Who'd have thought something so simple could make my day that bit easier? I guess the next issue is, was it big enough? Size matters with these things.  I could fit my iPad easily in it on top of all my usual essentials. It's funny, until setting up my camera to take this I'd never really considered that I had "essentials" as I'm pretty "rough and ready," but on trying to lay this out artily I've realised there are some bits I just cannot live without besides the obvious keys, wallet, phone, etc...

You've probably noticed quite a few tech-type things, but when you work on the go you have no choice but to be prepared. My iPad and I are joined at the hip, closely followed by my Anker phone charger (£10 and has around 4 full charges for your phone before needing a boost itself, I bought one last year and now all my friends have them) and my Alcatel My-Wifi dongle (£20 and you can get 4G coverage wherever you are).  The Kindle was a birthday present, I wish I had more time to read but I always keep it in my bag just in case.

Beauty wise, I'm clocking up quite a list now which is quite impressive given how "only-face-wipe" I used to be:
  • Weleda Skin Food I think I've talked about this on the blog before, it's an absolute saviour. I get patches of dry skin quite a bit in summer, and it's also great for sun burn and scratches. Available in a lot of places but cheapest at Birchbox.
  • Guinot Eye Fresh Cream As you know I'm a bit obsessed with Guinot's facials, but this is a product is one you can use at home. If you've ever had a late night, this gets rid of it. You need one. Seriously
  • OPI Big Apple Red I always keep a red polish in my bag as it goes with everything. OPIs are bullet proof, I've even managed to paint my nails on a busy, jittering bus without a problem
  • Ciate Brocade Parade and Rimmel Pillow Talk You may have seen on my Instagram that I've been wearing these two together a lot recently - my new found faves.
  • Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation I don't wear a lot of make up, but this is a must. Just one pump of it a day keeps my skin looking fresh, and rinses off easily in the evenings too. Stocked at Space NK
  • Yes To Cucumbers Moisturiser Loving this at the moment. Not too greasy and your skin just feels so clean afterwards. Marvellous product, and am convinced it counts as one of your five a day, right?
  • Mary Kay Mascara - Sworn by this for a long time, every girl should have one.
  • Original Minerals Atomic Thickening Spritz I use this several times a day to give my hair a bit of beach-like texture. I used to swear by salt spray but it made my hair so dry and brittle in the heat, this is a real improvement

Other bits you might notice are my jewellery, this time by Monica Vinader and J Crew (I was taught by my Grannie to always keep something in your bag in case you need to quickly look a little more glam, she also told me to always keep Wine Gums too in case you needed to break the ice in a conversation and offer someone one, cute).  My inhalers are never more than a foot away from me (in case you didn't know already, I'm a chronic asthmatic...), and lastly my aviators are always close by.

I hope you enjoyed that little insight into my daily world!  I really would recommend giving a rucksack a go if you're anything like me and always on the go.  As someone who tries to stick by shopping practically, the Sophia is a fantastic option. Find it at LK Bennett here.

This post was written in collaboration with LK Bennett. Photos by Michelle Bobb Parris


[Trend] A Lot Of Culottes

similar printed pairs: here + here

Wow, where has this week gone? Suddenly it's Friday and I have no idea where it went.  Excitingly, the week kicked off with an exciting project for Pitch & Post, my creative collaboration agency for brands and bloggers.  I'm so proud of how it's shaping up and can't wait to share the results with you. For the meantime, I'd love it if you could show a little love and follow us on Twitter here.

similar white pair: here / similar black pair: here

I really haven't had much time to think let alone blog (excusing the new season additions I've added to my boutique) but today I was walking in Soho to meet Reward Style and spotted tens of girls wearing culottes. It's taken me a while to get used to these as being on trend. I wore them at school to stop the boys being able to lift your skirt up in the playground (North London for you): they were armoury not fashion. But I'm coming around to the idea, particularly as I'll take any excuse to wear anything cropped at the moment and they look fab with little vests and shirts.

This red pair were the first to catch my eye having spotted them on the Topshop website earlier in the week.  I love the statement they give if you paired them up with neutral vests or tees (this would look awesome with it). More on the casual side of things, I'm a wee bit obsessed with these denim ones - I mean imagine them thrown on with a pair of sandals and a khaki shirt, fresh off the beach = yes please. On the other end of the scale, Whistles just kicked the ball out of the park with this leather pair.  I mean... YES.  Paired with my new Peridot cropped shirt (best purchase ever, fabric is so good you don't even need to iron it...) and some coloured heels (this pair, need I say more?) and you've got my demi-corporate style nailed.

similar white pairs: here + here

I guess what I've worked out if they're not just for skinny, tall people - short, round (i.e.: moi) people can wear them too.  I've fallen head over heels with each of these looks, thinking the leather pair might just trump the other two though - what do you think?  Have a fab weekend guys and dolls, enjoy the SUN.

*all photos via Pinterest, for additional credits contact via email


[Food] Dinner Party with Fortnum & Mason

A few nights ago I had a little dinner party with my girl friends, and being the typically disorganised person I am it had got to about 4pm on the day itself and I had still failed to do any organising. It's a well known joke amongst my friends that I am not the best cook (I have made all of the classic errors, including cooking spaghetti bolognese for my vegetarian mate) so I needed a quick solution.  So I did what girls of the modern age do and took to Twitter to help me out (tweet here)...

With minutes Fortnum & Mason piped up saying they did same day delivery services.  My instinct went "gah, sounds expensive," but I was given a call by their chef (Julian, who was fantastic) who went through a (dare I say it) kick-ass menu including duck, smoked salmon, Dublin prawns, burrata, smoked hams... I could go on, but just look at the pictures - for about £20 per person. Not bad, look at it!?

Fortnum and Mason 2012 Chardonnay and 2011 Pinot Noir

Not forgetting wine and pudding obviously.  F&M popped in a bottle of red and white to compliment the food (the Chardonnay in particular was incredible), and puddings were a selection of cakes and creams from their patisserie.  It took us approximately 1 minutes and 25 seconds to inhale them, and I was left with 7 very full ladies (and very satisfied dog who had strategically placed himself next to the girl most likely to crack and give him leftovers).  

Thank you very much Fortnum & Mason - my friends were very impressed, if not a little confused how I'd managed to pull it off (even if there were a couple of comments about me being slightly Carrie Bradshaw and getting it all out of boxes... but when the boxes are that nice... who cares!).


[Feature] Net A Sporter launches

Just when I'm looking for new inspiration to keep fit, the clever team at Net A Porter launches their new (play on words) website, Net A Sporter.  I mean, as if anything more than a store dedicated to looking good to encourage you get off your bottom and do something about your ever increasing thighs... (or so be it in my case). So many people have told me to invest in good workout gear in order to inspire me to enjoy sports again, but the issue for me up until this point as been where can I do this?

Net A Sporter solves that very problem for me.  Hundreds of curated items, most of which I'd happily wear (not quite at the Zimmermann bikini stage, and don't worry I won't be subjecting you to a lycra fuelled outfit post anytime soon)... Whats great about the site is the buy, their team have clearly put so much thought and energy into the selection of items available. I know no idea that brands like LemLem existed (I mean these shorts are just so nice), and would never have found them beforehand. It also solves problems like where to find a bikini thats nice enough to be seen in, but sporty enough to workout in - laterz Speedo, hello Lisa Marie FernandezAnd how times have changed - gone are the days you and your mum have to wonder into a strange, old school style shop to buy your ballet shoes. Nope, kids of this generation can buy them on a fashion website. Amazing.

On top of that long standing Net A Porter brands like Zoe Karssen and Splendid who are included in the Sporter section, get a new lease of life - or at least perspective, I would never have considered buying these to work out in for example. In the same vein, did you know sock brand Falke did sports jerseys for a very reasonable £45? Current Elliott do sweat pants? Nope me neither.  Well done NAP people, you've nailed it again - whats next: Net A Bebe? Maison? Vacances? Whatever it is, I'm in.


[Craving] Breton Striped Midi Skirt

You won't have to have popped on to my blog many times to know about my crazed obsession with breton stripes.  Hell, google it and I (proudly) come up as pretty much 80% of the image sources.  But one thing I've never really done is combined my love for a midi skirt with my stripy addiction.  I was shopping for a wedding outfit (absolute nightmare, occasion-wear is not my forte and goes against every aspect of my fashion mantra, more on this to come) when I spotted this skirt from Whistles.

It was love. Instantly. A little part of me cried when I left the store without it. I promptly got home and added it to the wish list. A few moments of worthwhile procrastination later and I found the same skirt on Mollie King.  But it wasn't - it was a dead ringer for £70 less! I haven't shopped in Oasis for quite a while, it's a store that goes a little bit over my head, buy having spotted Mollie in this piece I decided to have a scout around their offering and it's really very good at the moment - check out their full selection of midi skirts, they have some beauties.

Back to the midis - I really have to own one of them.  Logic would say the Oasis one, but yet I know Whistles clothing is such good quality. And something like this I'll be wearing long after stripes go completely out of trend... What do you think?  I've pieced together what I'd pair them with above - cropped shirts, tops, jumpers, heels for night, flats for day (or, specifically this little beaut from Topshop, wow). The list is endless. Let me know what you think!


[Essential] Denim Cut Off Shorts

It's been a while since I have done an essentials post, which is a shame as it's probably what has led to me going slightly off piste recently.  Ben and I have pretty limited storage space in our current flat and what with his new season starting and me starting some cool project, we both know our wardrobes are going to be getting a little cramped in the next few weeks.  So, we've been having a clear out and whilst doing so I realised I'd acquired quite a lot (read: loads) in the last couple of months - since my last clear out. 

It was when I got to the jeans that I struggle. I love them. Adore them. Cannot have enough of them.  As an example, Paige jeans kindly sent me this pair last week (after a very public search for them on Twitter) I've been like a teenager with a new boyfriend. Told everyone, stayed with them constantly, given them pride of place in my bedroom (the latter of course never happened really, Mum).  I digress... I had a couple of pairs of ones where the relationship had gone sour and decided to make them into shorts instead...

Denim shorts, the unspoken "must have" of summer for the last 10 years.  You never hear of a friend buying them, they just suddenly acquire them.  Magazines rarely promote them as a trend, yet everyone on the street style circuit has them.  But where do they all come from?

Well two ways... You can DIY a pair of jeans into them (if you want to do this, follow my friend G's  failsafe guide here), the advantages being that you can cut them the exactly right shape for yourself, and you know the jeans are the right size... as they're already your jeans.  The disadvantage is that by the time you've lost the love for whatever pair of jeans you are cutting to make the into shorts, they may well have lost their colour and shape, and also just won't last as long - as you've already had them a while (one tip, if the denim is really weak, roll the ends up rather than letting them hang, like in some of these pictures).

If you need further convincing have a look at my Pinterest board here where I've been harvesting pictures like all the ones here for a good 2 years (yup, I need a new hobby).   I've found so many good pairs it was impossible to talk about them all, so have a look at my edit below, including what to wear with them... (however, for a budget pair you really cannot go wrong with ASOS, this lot are fab, and for a more expensive option always look at Paige Jeans), enjoy!



[Outfit] The Anti Glastonbury Look

So July has begun! Gosh, where has the year gone?! It seems only a minute ago that Ben and I were on our journey home from South Africa, ready to face 2014. Suddenly we've finished half of the year and the summer is half over... A few days ago I went to Shoreditch with the lovely Michelle, who I managed to wangle into taking a few pictures of me in between a mammoth catch up.

handbag, Christophe Sauvat at my-wardrobe / bracelets, Monica Vinader + Owen and Savary / shorts, Gap / pumps, Superga / denim shirt, Eileen Fisher / sunglasses, Jimmy Choo x Carrera / watch, Shore Projects 

Ask any fashion blogger and they'll tell you their inbox was bombarded with "get the Glasto look" and "be festival ready" emails. No judgment to any of you who do enjoy using a portaloo and baby wipes for 4 days in the name of music, but they really are wasted on someone like me. The idea of it makes me ill, although not as ill as some of you Glasto-goers are this morning if Facebook is anything to go by. So, here is my as-close-to-boho-as-youll-ever-see-me look...

handbag, Christophe Sauvat at my-wardrobe / bracelets, Monica Vinader + Owen and Savary / shorts, Gap / pumps, Superga / denim shirt, Eileen Fisher / sunglasses, Jimmy Choo x Carrera / watch, Shore Projects 

It starts with the new love in my life, my Christophe Sauvat bag from my-wardrobe (I met with the online retailer a few weeks ago and am very excited for whats coming up for them in the next few months.  They have tonnes of new brands and exclusives with my favourite names).  The bag itself is the perfect size for me getting around town.  Big enough for an iPad, and small enough to not get in the way.  The colours are fab and I've been pairing it with smart dresses and bright heels as well as daytime outfits like this.

handbag, Christophe Sauvat at my-wardrobe / bracelets, Monica Vinader + Owen and Savary / shorts, Gap / pumps, Superga / denim shirt, Eileen Fisher / sunglasses, Jimmy Choo x Carrera / watch, Shore Projects 

The other accessories are my summer staples, old and new.  The sunglasses are from Jimmy Choo's collaboration with Carrera last year, and are pretty much glued to my face as soon as the sun comes out.  The watch is from Shore Projects, a recent addition.  Set up by two surf-nuts, the watches are water proof (unless you plan to go deep sea diving in them) and come in lots of different coloured strap options which are changeable - I have this green and a sky blue. The other bracelets are from a dear friend Kira, who runs Owen and Savary and a present from the team at Monica Vinader.

handbag, Christophe Sauvat at my-wardrobe / bracelets, Monica Vinader + Owen and Savary / shorts, Gap / pumps, Superga / denim shirt, Eileen Fisher / sunglasses, Jimmy Choo x Carrera / watch, Shore Projects 

The shorts were a steal from the Gap sale, and my trusty pumps are Superga.  I forgot I had them and found them in my shoe cave (we have a little basement which I have taken over, Ben is allowed one small space to house his coats, the rest is all mine) and have been wearing them every day since. They're very, very comfortable and the colour goes with everything (I feel very French in them when I'm wearing my default-Breton stripes).  The shirt is from Eileen Fisher, my first piece from the brand - and definitely not my last.  It's become somewhat of a staple ever since it arrived in my wardrobe a month or so ago... Happy July people have a good week!
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