Digital Down Time

I think most Londoners will agree that the city can feel very small and cramped after a while. I was beginning to find myself getting sick of all of the things I usually love (paying £3 for a hipster coffees, frantically hunting down wifi and waking up with Aperol induced fuzziness, etc) so we decided to take a proper break from it all and escape to Scotland for some proper rest and relaxation.

Scotland holds some very special memories for me as my family used to go every May when I was growing up and staying on the West Coast. I hadn't been back for a long time so it felt very weird returning as an adult and being in the front seat rather than the back of the car listening to Dire Straits whilst driving very fast sensibly through the Highlands (we were trying out the BMW 1 Series, which if you haven't done so, do). This time we were travelling a little further and after a day and a night in the car, a 6 hour ferry and a drive down the beach (pretty much the only way to get to the house) we arrived at our home for the week.

breton shirt, Saint James / jeans, Topshop 

When we first got there I panicked. No phone signal, no electricity in the house and certainly no internet. Then I looked outside the little wooden windows in the house and decided I would happily trade all of those "necessities" for the view. We spent our first evening barbecuing shrimps on the beach while watching the dogs run freely across the white sand. Safe to say I felt like we were on holiday...

jumper, Barbour

Mornings are pretty special as some of the photos show. A couple of times we woke up for sunrise, curled up in bed with hot coffee and big socks waiting for the skies to turn pink, purple and then blue. Breakfasts were kippers from the fish shop, chunky toast with butter and marmalade (also in bed). By this point Lopez would be itching for a walk so we'd open the door and let him run for it. Anyone who has a dog in London - or a city - will know the joy it brings to watch your little monster run free, without a collar or lead for hours on end. It was one of the major highlights of the trip.

my coat, Barbour / my shirt, Saint James / my sunglasses, Max and Co / his coat, Barbour / his jumper, Barbour

Clothing wise, current trends go out of the window and its all about the classics. We bombed around in our Barbours (Lopez included) for most of the trip, and the rest of the time it was jeans (the same pair all week), breton tees and big, woolly jumpers (his here, mine here). I finally found use for the cashmere socks I'd had since Christmas too, they didn't really leave my feet the whole time we were there (and pretty much walked themselves to the washing machine when I got home…).

my coat, Barbour / my shirt, Saint James / my sunglasses, Max and Co / his coat, Barbour / his jumper, Barbour

Other adventures included fishing (or rather drinking whiskey watching others fish), playing darts in the  pub, completing daily crosswords and cooking up the kind of food that almost hugs you back to life.  I completely forgot about the fact I couldn't check my phone or emails, in fact I dreaded going back to the real world…

my coat, Barbour / my shirt, Saint James / my sunglasses, Max and Co / his coat, Barbour / his jumper, Barbour / Lopez' jacket, Barbour

If you're after a complete break from "reality" then this really is a special place for it… I had the best time and would trade London life for it in a heartbeat (as long as Ocado can get there…).

This content is in partnership with Barbour.



Love Her Look: Jumper Dresses

Despite my efforts to stay well away from London Fashion Week this weekend I found myself trawling through the street style snaps on ELLE et al much more than I should admit to. Street style fascinates me. I walked past Brewer St to meet Rosie on Friday and couldn't get over the number of people who "peacock" themselves into being what they deem "fashion week appropriate." If I had a pound for every blogger who was standing on a street course with a pout mouth, deliberately off the shoulder jacket and tactically looking occupied on their mobile phone I'd be writing this from my newly purchased villa in Barbados. 

dress, similar here (so cheap its ridiculous) / trainers, here / bag, Celine at Vestiaire Collective here

So it was without absolute delight that I spied this picture of Hedvig wearing a jumper dress and flats. Simples. Autumn dressing is coming and its so easy to do it hurts… I just got a similar dress in navy here from Whistles' new season collection. They're so easy to wear as Hedvig cleverly points out in this picture. My one is going to be a staple for the next 6 months - with bare legs now and over skinny jeans when it gets a bit colder. I've found a couple of other bargains here from ASOS here and here. If there is one thing you need to get right now, its one of these (two of them are £20, and you won't guess which)…



Shirting The Issue

Apologies for the lack of blogging this week, its been a little bit frantic at this end with various things (including having my wallet pinched with all contents, including passport, inside) so I haven't had as much time as usual… I was supposed to be in France for Fred's wedding this weekend, but am most likely (at time of writing) going to be here in the UK, hiding under a rock until LFW is over.

mint green blouse, here / jeans, here / silk scarf, here / black tote, here / sunglasses, here

In other news,  I've been doing a bit of a wardrobe edit recently as autumn seems to have suddenly turned up. I am 100% an autumn/winter person and much prefer clothes for this time of year. It's difficult to dress for the weather in "fall" but the things that always comes in handy are silk shirts. The two I own (more on them later) have been in my wardrobe for years and are trusty staples. They're completely worth investing in as you can wear them to work, to play, to weekend… you get the drift. So I thought I'd do an edit of the best around right now…

navy silk shirt, similar here, here and here

Doing this post is a dangerous task for me. Its caused me to find things like this black short sleeve shirt and this mint green one like Pernille's above. Shopping for silk shirts is an expensive exercise, put simply if you pay peanuts you'll get monkeys. You want an 100% silk one. They are double the price but twice the joy - you won't regret it. For general bargains try Uniqlo, Marks and Spencer and And Other Stories for cheaper versions but these are things I think it's worth spending a lil' bit on.

Olivia Palermo - grey silk shirt, here / leather shorts, here

My two are from Iris and Ink (The OutNet's own line) and Everlane. The latter company is possibly my favourite online store in, the, world, ever. Sadly it doesn't ship to the UK so you need to place orders with friends, move there or make strategic purchases to be delivered to hotels when you are on holidays. You will not be disappointed, trust me. Other stand out places include The OutNet general (have taken the liberty of setting an edited search for you here), J Crew (they have an excellent navy one in the sale here) and of course the "mother brand" for shirting, Equipment.

printed silk shirt, similar here and here

I wear mine constantly - they are the perfect "can't be bothered to make an effort" outfit. As long as they fit well (make sure they fit your shoulders, the rest can be as big and baggy as you want) they look great. I've only got plain ones as I can use them so much more, but I'm very close to buying a printed one - I love the paisley and floral printed ones, like this here (and for a non-silk version I don't think it gets better than this new season Topshop one. Enjoy!


Outfit: New Boots

I got back to London on Tuesday and went straight into the thick of meetings, work and all the things I felt a million miles away from in Scotland (more to come on that trip, choosing which of the 100,000 photos to post is proving tricky). Yesterday morning I got up bright and early to get to breakfast with the Harvey Nichols girls who were celebrating the launch of Fendi's new eyewear - an exclusive to their stores. I've become a bit of a sunglasses fiend, so was more than happy to come and have a look and choose out a pair...

I picked out a khaki and blue pair, seen properly below, within minutes. The girls did try to get to me to go for floral print ones, but I don't think I'm cool enough to pull them off… Two other notable new additions are the boots and the dress. The boots are from Ted and Muffy, who I'd heard of before but never bought anything - this will now change. A new "British boot brand with a difference" - they offer what feels like a true bespoke service with different foot and calf sizes (perfect someone like me with hooves for feet and hockey player calves). They are comfiest things in the world - check them out here.

The dress was a gift from the lovely team at Atterley. I first saw it at their relaunch earlier in the year so was thrilled when it finally arrived. I spotted it in Grazia last week too, and it seems to be one of the must have pieces of the new season… As it's completely see through I'm wearing my age-old Uniqlo dress underneath - here - as well as (just seen) my new favourite halter neck bra from Agent Provocateur - I'm the biggest prude in the world but this one fits so nicely I'd happily walk around just wearing it.

The rucksack is the same one I wore all over Paris and is from Reiss - I never thought I'd get this much wear out of it, but as my laptop fits inside it's replaced my old, crappy computer bag (something all of my friends will love as it was a little bit on the uncool side! Shop the look below and check out the blog later in the week for our gallivanting around Scotland last week…



Outfit: Hairing around Notting Hill

A couple of weeks ago I was running around Notting Hill for meetings and bumped into Anneli for a quick shoot! I've found myself spending a lot more time in the area recently (probably because I've discovered a bus that goes from my flat to Portobello in half an hour) and love finding the new places that pop up on a weekly basis. I'd just finished breakfast with Lara at Varley (amazing activewear brand) at Farm Girl which I really recommend. It's run by an Aussie couple and for anyone who has visit places like Sydney and Melbourne it completely epitomises Australian brunching. I tried porridge with avocado for the first time; sounds gross, tastes great - try it!

I've been a few times, I also recommend the buckwheat pancakes and almond milk lattes - they're really pretty special (NB they're closed on Mondays, as I discovered last week!).   You've probably seen me in most of this outfit before, apologies for that but these really are the clothes I live in. That said, the shoes are new. They're from Superga's collaboration with Liberty. When they first arrived I was unsure about the florals as its not a print I'd usually go for… When wearing them they really cheer me up and make my outfit a little bit more fun! I'm now hankering after a second pair, these.

You may have noticed my hair has gone even shorter! Since cutting it a few months ago and chickening out of going "short" I finally took the plunge and went to Nicky Clarke last week and went for the chop. His Mayfair salon is an absolute dream, I spent a whole morning there chatting to the team who worked out the perfect length for my face shape, and once that was sorted we worked on the colour. I'm a very "ready in 15 minutes" girl and don't want to be spending hours every morning sorting out my hair. Their colourist did a mix of balayage (for the down low on what that is, check out this article) and highlights so that I wouldn't get bad roots and I can get away with getting my colours done every few months rather than few weeks. I've never been happier with my hair!

As for the outfit, the bag you've seen before as I wore it in Paris in this post. It remains one of my favourite things from this year; there is something very grown up about it and everyone asks where it is from - noone believes its high street! The jacket and jeans are my favourites from Topshop and the t shirt was a present from my sister last Christmas and although you can't see in the shots puts me firmly in Team Philo (to see what I mean, have a look here).

Shop my outfit here!



Paris Part Trois

cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

This is my last Paris post, I promise. As this post goes live I'm on my way to a place that couldn't be further from the French capital - the Outer Hebrides - enjoying some true digital down time. Lopez is coming too and given how much he loves going "home" to Pembrokeshire I have a feeling Scotland is going to blow his little, fluffy mind… Any way, here is what we got up to on Sunday. It started off as a pretty miserable grey day so we had a leisurely breakfast before hitting the streets.

cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshoplace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

We wondered around the 1st arrondissement and through the infamous Lourve courtyard before heading south of the Seine to visit a little hidden gem (although have since found out it's not that hidden, but I'd never heard of it before)… Outfit wise I was plodding around town in my new Superga x Liberty trainers which went perfectly with my mac from Reiss. I'm not a floral or a print person so I was worried I looked a bit mumsy in them, but looking back on these photos it's made me want to get even more of them… And for the record you can walk for miles in them, as I did.

Over the bridge and walking through the front gardens of Hotel des Invalides, we arrived at Musee Rodin. When we got there we thought it might be a bit of a disappointment as its being refurbished and the main exhibition is closed until November, but the gardens are absolutely beautiful and the sun came out just in time!

 cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

I was pretty impressed with myself as I would consider myself at all knowledge about art and sculpture, but I instantly recognised The Thinker (Le Penseur… and the restraint required it took not to pose like every statue was immense) and the Gates of Hell and Burghers of Calais. Besides the statue, the gardens were super beautiful and a welcome calm from the hustle and bustle of central Paris. It's really cheap to go and visit, check out the website here.

Shop my outfit here

Next up we hopped in a cab back to the 1st arrondissement as I couldn't go to Paris and not have a drink in the cafe outside Palais Royale. My family absolutely love Paris and it's quiet a special city for us - we've been going to this place for decades. I'm pretty sure I ordered one of my first alcoholic drinks here… You can see from the photos below you couldn't really get a more stereotypical French place. Old ladies sit around you balancing their cigarettes against the tables whilst eating croque monsieur and drinking espressos. In a typical Parisian way, you feel slightly like you don't belong and are being stared at as a foreigner - something I love about Paris.

jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

We then walked through the Palais Royale itself which is equally special for me as the black and white columns have acted as height measurements for my sister and I as there are photos that document us here over the years getting taller and taller (watching my "little" sister gradually be able jump over higher columns than me was one of the grander frustrations of my childhood - she's 6 inches taller than me).

Finally we ended up in another place we've been going to for years. My mum desperately didn't want me to blog about it as its her "hidden gem." Walk through the backstreets from Palais Royale and then the arcades around Opera and you'll eventually get to Bouillon Chartiers. As preparation, you need to lose all sense of logic and time to enjoy this - this is so French you find yourselves giggling about it for no real reason throughout lunch.

A former soup kitchen, Chartier is over a hundred years old and serves to give the Parisian locals a decent French meal for a reasonable price. I've been coming here all my life and bar obvious technology improvements (that said, using a card machine came in 10 years later than everywhere else) nothing has changed. The menu is simple, staple French food, the waiters are fantastic, ageing, rude comedians - and the "seating plan" is in accordance to the amount of space left in the restaurant. If you are a couple you will be sat next to another one rather than the spare table behind you. It takes some getting used to.

We ate and drank to our hearts content (3 courses, aperitifs and a bottle of red for two was 60€ with service) before heading back to the hotel for a cuddle with Kleo, one of Le Bristol's famous cats (below). She wasn't as excited as I was that we matched outfits and was much more fussed about me opening the ballroom door for her (the problems of pedigree Parisian felines, eh?). After yet another Aperol Spritz in the garden, we head for Gare du Nord to get home. Neither of us really wanted to go, we had such a brilliant time - we'll be going back soon (but not too soon, as the Instagram smugness got a bit intense even for me…).

Shop my outfit here: 

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