Friday, 31 August 2012

Much anticipated knitwear

With last night being the coldest in August since records began, my mind has turned to one of my favourite types of clothing: knitwear. I've always loved shopping for knitwear, and my friend Bob would have to drag me away from the knitwear section whenever we went shopping. This jumper from J.Crew was sold out by the time I found it - but I've lusted after it ever since. I hate to say it gang, but the autumn's rolling in and this jumper would be the wear-with-everything answer for those chilly moments. It's still available in a blue-green-navy colour combo in the J.Crew sale.

{cashmere waffle colorblock sweater, $150.54 J.Crew}

But I've since found this version from GAP, which is 100% merino wool and is a nice equivalent. The radish colour-way is also rather fetching, and features burgundy, which is one of the big colours of autumn/winter 2012. And all their knitwear is on 25% off until Sunday. Roll on winter.

{merino colorblock boatneck sweater, £44.95 GAP}

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Come up trumps

If you're going on holiday, you need to be prepared for travel delays - I was given these by a friend and they are proving to be the ultimate time-killing accessory. Educational and informative too - that's win win. You'll know your Marc Jacobs from your Balenciaga in no time. I've always loved Top Trumps, and they're on a roll at the moment with their recent editions including Bond Girls, London 2012 Legends and the Royal Wedding. Top Trumps come second only to my all time favourite card game: UNO, especially when accompanied by a few gin & tonics in the sunshine. The perfect bon voyage gift for anyone going off on their travels.

{Fashion Face Off, available from Amazon}

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Printed pencil skirts

I blame Mary Katrantzou for our on-going fascination with all things patterned. The printed pencil skirt has been with us for a while now, and seems to be maintaining its grip on the fashion circle into autumn and winter. That's good news for us, as these skirts work well with bare legs or tights, when the colder weather settles in. One of the major champions of this look is Carine Roitfeld, who shows us that it's look for all ages.

I have to admit that I was beaten by the polyester issue with this post, and could only find a couple of skirts which weren't made out of it - notably the M&S skirt and the striped ASOS number (my favourite). It seems that print and poly are committed bed-fellows. Shame. The number one accessory to go with these skirts? Heels. It's a brave girl who wears one of these bad boys with a flattie. A simple block colour vest or t-shirt will complete your look.

Top row, left to right:
Black Paisley tube skirt, £28 Topshop; Tropical print skirt, £10 House of Fraser; Chain print pencil skirt, £18 ASOS; Printed pencil skirt, £51 House of Fraser; Coast Cheyne duchess satin skirt, £85 House of Fraser.

Bottom row, left to right:
Scarf print slip skirt, £40 Topshop; Autograph floral frame pencil skirt, £49.50 M&S; Caravaggio skirt, £129 Hobbs; Stripe pencil skirt, £18 ASOS; Peacock mirror skirt, £40 Oasis.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Museum shopping

I do enjoy the odd museum visit, but must admit that my favourite part of my trip is going round the museum shop, and having a cup of tea in the cafe. A disappointing shop and cafe is a huge anti-climax, even if the exhibition is top notch. I went to the London Transport Museum for a meeting last week, and found some time to kill in the shop. My my, London Transport Museum – you really did excel yourself.

Here are some of my favourite finds:

{Travel card wallet by Justin Oh, £13.50}
{Napkins, £2.99 & cake cases, £1.99}
{Moquette luggage tag, £9.99}
{New Leaf travel cosmetics clutch, £38}

I spent ages in the poster section, and eventually bought two Olympics posters – Rachel Whiteread’s design is the one I chose for myself, and Rod Hodgkin’s Swimming I bought for my brother who’s moving into a new place. I also bought one of the Poems On The Underground posters, for a bargain price of £2.95.  And my new favourite method of choice for hanging posters and prints is using bull dog clips – it’s a look which is a little bit utility chic, and a lot kinder on the pocket than getting anything framed.

{Poster by Howard Hodgkin, £6.99}
{Poster by Rachel Whiteread, £6.99}

And if you’re a fan of museum shops then you may already use the website CultureLabel. If you’re someone who struggles to buy presents for people, then this website is a joy . You’ll find all manner of gifts for all manner of people, with a selection of items in all prices ranges. And there’s lots of present ideas which are a little bit more unusual than your normal high street fare. It’s a real lifesaver come Christmas time.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Buy British, get bargains

Continuing my Buy British theme which started the other day with Margaret Howell, it's time to share with you my edit of the Jaeger sale. Established in 1884, Jaeger is a stalwart of the British high street. Its name has always been synonymous with quality, and the focus from the very start has been on fabric, with a preference for using luxurious cloths such as merino wool, alpaca, camel hair and cashmere. Swoon! And they have adopted a signature colour palate, becoming known for their designs in hues of ivory, navy and black. Classic and quality - Jaeger we salute you.

So high quality can often bring high prices, especially when coupled with great design, but Jaeger has always remained at the more affordable end of designer fashion. And their sale is something to hold on for - there are now four days to go and prices are looking lovely. And their Autumn / Winter 2012 collection draws inspiration from Parisienne style icons, so keep your eyes peeled for more good things to come.

Their 125 year old archive means that vintage Jaeger pieces are often great finds, and is a label I see time after time in the chazzies - I've got three or four Jaeger dresses I've found in the charity shops, so it's always worth a rummage for a glimpse of that Jaeger label.

Here's what's on my wish list.

Clockwise from top left:
Mouline jumper, £99; Tweed pleated dress, £99; Olivia jersey dress, £60; Nina button back Breton, £75; Contrast and bow detail dress, £75; Lucy stripe midi skirt, £45; Small quilted bag, £60;  Honeycomb cardigan, £99; Beaded bib necklace, £45; Fulham skirt, £60.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

I heart these

If you like the current trend for neon (and I do. I like.) then you might just be in rapture over these earrings, as I am. Also available in yellow, they are leather studs, edged in diamante, and perfect for adding just a flash of colour to any outfit, without over-egging the pudding. Although if you're a fan of egg, then pile these on top of all your other neon-brights, in a "the more's the merrier" approach. The choice is yours. If you're not familiar with jewellery shop econe, then you should have a little browse of their website. But be warned: you'll like what you see.

Pink Neon Casino Stud Earrings
{pink neon casino stud earrings, £36 econe}

Monday, 20 August 2012

Outfit inspiration: Poppy Delevingne

I've been getting so much wear out of my new black dress, as it bridges the office to evening gap with very little effort. My favourite footwear to wear with the dress has been my leopard print slippers, but when I saw this picture below of Poppy Delevingne, I realised that this dress with my trusty grey Converse baseball boots would be a whole new way to go.So now my black dress looks weekend worthy, and I don't feel too dressed up for a mooch around the charity shops or a flea market. 

{Poppy Delvigne: black dress with leather panels & studded baseball boots}

Here are some high-street options for an all-occasions black dress - machine washable is essential for a versatile easy to wear dress like this. 

Left to right:
Midi dress with long sleeve, £28 ASOS; military button detail dress, £38 Warehouse; swing dress with long sleeves, £25 ASOS; pleated knit dress, £89 Cos.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Buy British

I've always been a fan of Margaret Howell. She has long stood for the aesthetics of quality and endurance, sticking to the path of style rather than fashion.

She believes in using craftsmanship and traditional skills in her work, and has also taken these principles and applied them to a range of homeware. A hugely successful collaboration with Ercol, one of my British furniture heroes, has catapulted her to the position of chief supporter of British manufacturing in all that she designs.

Her clothes, whilst reasonably priced when given their quality and longevity, have only been in my price-range at sale time, so I was chuffed to find this shirt in the charity shop for £5 today - continuing my current spotty obsession. It's 100% cotton and made in the UK - pleased as punch.

{I'll wear it with my Schiap Nars lipstick and gold jewellery, to keep it looking modern}

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Outfit inspiration: Emma Stone & Michelle Dockery

Burberry have been championing a great look lately - namely the "fancy t-shirt with pencil skirt" look. And two girls who have got this combination down pat are Michelle Dockery (who hasn't put a foot wrong since winning us all over in Downton) and Emma Stone.

The main two ingredients are an interesting t-shirt - something with a pattern, some texture or detail, and a pencil skirt. Then add a pair of high heeled court shoes or ankle boots, and maybe a statement necklace, and you're done.

Boost the glamour stakes in the evening by adding a little more interest to your pencil skirt, by wearing one in a velvet or brocade fabric, or one with a peplum.

{Michelle Dockery at Burberry Prosum's 2013 men's show}

{Emma Stone in Burberry Prosum on Spiderman promotional tour}

Top row, left to right:
Circle print panel tee, £34 Topshop; hyacinth floral tunic tee, £36 Topshop; ditsy moonlight top, £56 French Connection; button back blouson, £9.99 Mango

Bottom row, left to right:
Pencil skirt with frill at waist, £39.99 Zara; loose fit striped t-shirt, £8.99 Mango; sheath skirt, £25.99 Zara; striped silky top, £59 Cos; Penelope skirt, £45 Monsoon.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


I'm in love with my newest, most favourite lipstick - Nars' Schiap. It earns its name from Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (who had the nickname Schiap), whose signature colour was a bright, shocking pink.

{favourite green jacket}

{earrings from Anthroplogie}

I'd first noticed the colour on Kate Bosworth, who is a great exponent of the full on lips, little other make-up look. And Emily Blunt shows brunettes how to carry of the colour, and also how to incorporate it into a red carpet look.

{Emily Blunt}

{Kate Bosworth}

I think the bright pink and green look sported here by Emily is really fresh, and I've adopted this look as my own, wearing thelipstick with my favourite green jacket, and other times with a cream blouse and these green earrings. It also goes brilliantly with anything gold - a particularly good summer evening look.

If you don't want to spend the money on Nars' Schiap, then this Topshop equivalent below is a dead ringer. I'd steer clear of any gloss versions if I were you - they're a bit too much like raspberry jam to look chic.

{lipstick in Brighton Rock,  £8 Topshop}

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Yellow necklace

Yellow and navy has always been a pleasing colour combination to me. Maybe it's because of the Swedish flag - I love all things Swedish, from the food, to the countryside to the furniture. I've had some great holidays there, and even got engaged there. But really its appeal is that it's just a great colour match - especially for a summer which isn't all that summery. And a good alternative to the much favoured navy and white. I found this vintage bead necklace in a charity shop a couple of weeks go, and have been mainly wearing this with my Jigsaw jumper, or with a white t-shirt and navy blazer.

{vintage yellow bead necklace}

Here are some other pictures for inspiration - Taylor Swift's addition of bold red lipstick is one I'll be trying soon. A scarf, bag or jewellery item is the easiest way to update an existing navy outfit. Cos had a great selection of yellow bags and scarves.

{Anna Akhmatova by Nathan Altman

Clockwise from top left:
Leather bucket tote, £75 ASOS; limited edition grid triangle earrings, £6 ASOS; mesh and bead necklace, £25 Cos; leather bucket tote, £75 ASOS.

Monday, 13 August 2012


I've been using Aveeno products for a while now, and realised I've never blogged about them, which is a little rude of me, keeping these little gems to myself.

If you've got dry skin, irritated skin or eczema, then chances are you might already know the range, as it's such a good, non-irritant moisturiser that even doctors will give it to you on prescription, to alleviate a huge range of dry skin conditions.

{oats are the essential ingredient - they soothe and moisturise}

They have been expanding their range from the tried and tested Daily Moisturising Lotion.  I've loved the Moisturising Creamy Oil for a while now. It's very runny and wet, and a little goes a long way - you'll just be at the point of thinking that it's too wet, and is never going to sink into your skin when just like that it disappears, leaving a wonderfully moisturised limb. It's almond scented, and has a light, sweet marzipan smell, which practically disappears after it has been absorbed.

And the Hand Cream is the best, cheapest cream on the market, in my book. It's unscented and deeply moisturising without being one but greasy. It even claims to be able to withstand washing your hands. Tough stuff.

Lastly, the Bath and Shower Oil will leave your skin incredibly soft after a shower, and this product has the advantage of being both a showel gel and a bath oil. The texture is like a thick jelly-ish oil, and you can either apply it directly onto the skin in the shower, or add it to a bath. The only problem I had with it was the smell - an overly sweet scent which seemed to be masking a stale dog-biscuit type smell underneath. Strange. And you have to keep smelling it because it's both puzzling and intriguing at the same time. But at least it doesn't linger on the skin.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Show & tell

There are a few finds of late which I haven't got round to sharing with you yet, so here's a little show & tell to bring you all up to date.

I found this dress for £4 in a charity shop - it's a great day to night dress, to wear with ballet pumps or slipper style shoes in the office, swapping them for heels in the evening. And I love the label - "It's a honey it's a Hilton". The sleeve length is perfect and the fabric is a light wool crepe, which hangs really well. It's fitted all the way down to the hips, and the skirt flares out into a proper circle - good for those dancefloor spins.

{black wool crepe dress}

{circle skirt}

{the label's John J Hilton}

This tan leather bag by Suzy Smith was another charity shop find - it's a versatile across the body or on the shoulder bag. And is a good size for fitting in an all-day outing's worth of paraphernalia without being too heavy to carry around for hours on end.

{tan leather bag}

{found this picture at a flea market}

{tea cups from Terse Verse}

Cir are a candle-making company based in Paris, where they've been operating since the 1643. As well as making their own brand candles, they produce candles for the likes of Christian Dior, Miller Harris and Gucci. This one's one of the nicest candles I've found - the fragrance really carries - I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more of these at TK Maxx.

{rose candle made by Cir, from TK Maxx}

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Broad beans

Our allotment is giving us broad beans, shallots and garlic by the bucket-load. So I've found a recipe which uses all three, which is Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's Garlicky Broad Bean Dip. You can make it with broad beans or peas, and using frozen is fine. Serve hot as an accompaniment to roast or barbecued meat, or cold as a hummus-style dip.

{home-grown shallots}

{shelled broad-beans}

{home-grown garlic}

{gently fry the onion and garlic}

{blend into a coarse puree}

{peeling, chopping, grating}

{cook the broad beans}

{assemble the ingredients in a large bowl}

Monday, 6 August 2012

Let your lobes do the talking

So it's time for the statement necklace to step aside, and for the statement earring to take its place. It's been a long time coming, as the statement necklace has held its position at the number one spot for years now. It seems a long time ago, way back in the early noughties, since the statement earring has received so much attention, but now they're back they mean business. I like to think of it as a sort of homage to Pat Butcher's demise on Eastenders earlier this year.

{my new chandeliers}

{£5.99 from H&M}

Anyway, whatever the reason, this is a great way to bring your outfit bang up to date with a small investment. There are some fine and fabulous specimens out there - I stopped at H&M yesterday and picked up this silver pair, and was also sorely tempted by the neons too. Keep a pair in your handbag to put in after work, to take your outfit from call-centre to cocktails.

Top row, left to right:
Fluorescent yellow deco flower drop earrings, £7.50 Matthew Williamson for Debenhams; Darling bug drop earrings, £20 ASOS; Stone cascade earrings, £12 Oasis; Irregular stone drop earrings, £15 ASOS.

Middle row, left to right:
Gold chandelier tassel earrings, £24 Jenny Packham for Debenhams; Earrings £5.99 H&M; Neon pink earrings, £5.99 H&M; Light blue crystal dangle earrings, £15 River Island.

Bottom row, left to right:
Pearl filigree drop earrings, £22.50 House of Fraser; Silver tone and pink dangle earrings, £10 River Island; Silver tone crystal tear drop earrings, £10 River Island; Flower and jewel drop earrings, £15 ASOS.