Dreams of dresses

We all have that detailed plan in the back of our minds for when (not if) we win the lottery, don't we? Ok, possibly just me then. Call me a dreamer, but mine is so precise that I could tell you exactly where each pound would go.

The first thing on my mental shopping list is a dress-spree. Give me a million and the first few thousand would go on dresses of all shapes and styles, evening ones, day ones, designer ones, vintage ones. Imagine having enough money to buy all the dresses you ever dreamed of? Matches would be one of my first stops- their sale at the moment is incredible but I still can't afford anything- and looking at the ones I picked out online, it looks like most of the dresses I would buy would be ultra-girly. 

I mean, I know I'm a girly girl but theres nothing that makes it so obvious as to pick out my favourite high-end dresses. There's no edgy, fashion-forward leanings here. I like layers of lace and tulle and chiffon, floral prints and a-line shapes, scalloped edges and delicate trimmings. Actually, just every past, current and future Erdem collection please. Do you think you'd be the same? The only other piece of clothing I'd want to buy is the perfect leather jacket, so maybe I know I need something tough to balance out the froth. Oh, and of course I'd need a new country pile to house my new collection.

  • Lingerie

    A killer outfit starts with great lingerie. From designer brands to shapewear for a smooth silhouette, we’ve got all you need.
  • Accessories

    From vintage leather to the best designer brands, John Lewis belts make great gifts – or the perfect little treat for yourself.
  • Perfume

    From light and flowery to musky and sensual, we can help find the scent that matches your fragrance personality.
  • Make-up

    Whether you’re after a barely-there or party-perfect look, you’ll find all the make-up, foundation & mascara you need at John Lewis.
  • Bags and Purses

    Need to get her a gift? Handbags are always top of the wishlist. Buy one with a matching designer purse and you’re onto a sure-fire winner.

Oh Lola

Dress: Bimba & Lola
Shoes: Moheda at Ellos
Bag: New Look

Another set of outfit shots from one night in Cyprus. This is one of my new favourite dresses! you might remember my post about workwear and buying some smarter pieces, well here's one of them. I never buy white or cream clothing because I'm such a clumsy, messy person but I thought I'd take a chance and give this dress it's first outing on holiday.

It's from a shop called Bimba & Lola in Westfield White City, which I believe is their UK flagship store. They're a Spanish brand, but I really hope they catch on over here. They make the most beautiful clothing and leather bags and shoes and their customer service is incredible. The lovely shop assistant helped me find dresses that I liked in a whole rainbow of colours. I usually hate enthusiastic shop assistants but she was so genuine and kind and even though she had a host of other customers to serve, she didn't let me feel rushed. The clothes aren't cheap cheap, but they had an amazing sale on with nearly everything at 40% off. This bag is currently on my wish list, in the soft sky-blue suede.

The Moheda sandals are also a new favourite of mine, they got a lot of wear on holiday but now I'm back in the London I'm scared the weather just won't be good enough for them! They are from Ellos here, a sister site of La Redoute who I'd never heard of until I saw that they were offering 30% off orders. They were originally £49 but I got them for just over £30 I believe. A bargain for some very comfy Hasbeen-dupes!

Also you might notice (or not!) that I'm looking slightly more tan than usual. My friend Natalie and I had our first ever spray tans the day before we went away this is the result. We had an amazing lady from Tan Fairy come round and pop up her tent in my flat and spray us all over. It lasted well for 5 days or so and then I think the chlorine in the pool took its toll and it started to fade. I loved it whilst I had it though, I felt healthy and not too orange. I never thought I'd be saying this as a previous tan virgin, but I think I might get a little addicted if I could afford it regularly!

Nuxe Crème Merveillance: Luxe of the Month

Every couple of years the press have a ‘moment’ about French pharmacy brands, astounded that chemists abroad sell more than just painkillers and panty-liners. They seem to have forgotten that, historically, it was the apothecary who sold ointments for beauty as well as health- the two were and still are intrinsically linked. 

I try my hardest not to fall for the latest faddy beauty products, but Nuxe is a brand I’d happily allow to monopolise my skincare regime. My mum used to stock up on Nuxe when we went to the south of France for our Eurocamp holidays and I always remember her having a constant supply of Evian Brumisateur spray to keep us cool in the long car journeys. I think this is why I keep these brands close, like the smell of Yardley’s perfume conjures thoughts of grandmothers, these brands remind me of my family.

As my old x-branded products run out, I’m slowly replacing them with pharmacy brands. The newest to my collection is Nuxe’s Crème Merveillance, Visible Expression Lines Cream for normal to dry skin which was a present from my mum when she visited Space NK in Brighton last week. 

I was just running out of Clinique Moisture Surge (which was much too light for me) and this seems like a fantastic replacement. It’s quite a rich cream, so wouldn't recommend for anyone with oily skin. I put it on after using my Avene cream cleanser and it takes about 10 minutes to soak in. 
It makes quite a noticeable difference to my skin, the small lines around my eyes and my laughter lines, whilst not disappearing, are quite reduced. 
If I'm honest, I’m not looking for anti-aging effects just yet (I am only 25 after all!) but the moisturising capabilities are second-to-none and there are some great reviews for the cream for extra-dry skin here in case you don’t believe me!

My other two favourites by Nuxe are the Huile Prodigieuse Or (a golden edition of their famous dry oil with a subtle shimmer) and my lip miracle product Reve de Miel lip balm, a thick, amazingly scented balm with zero mineral oil. 

Have you ever tried any products by Nuxe? Were you suitably impressed? Or do you think French pharmacy brands are just another flash-in-the-pan trend?

Treating 'im indoors: a double outfit post

Ah, that familiar bump back to earth after a blissful week in the sun, what a hideous feeling you are. Coming back from a week in Cyprus to be greeted with a 400-strong security queue and a rainstorm isn't going to fill anyone with joy! We had a fantastic time though, one of those holidays where all day is spent by the pool and all night is spent eating and drinking. 

Along with my best friend and her boyfriend, we rented a large villa with a pool realised it's such a cheap way to holiday. There are so many villas to choose from online and you can really get a bargain- we could have easily fit another four people in ours and it would have cost just under £80 each for a week! We ate lunch there every day, played lots of cards and watched the local swallows doing their best pool-diving at sunset.

I bought a few new bits to take away with me including this polkadot blouse from Very and the maxi skirt from Primark, along with a vintage tooled belt and my shell locket from Cornwall- just a simple, cool outfit for the 28 degree evening heat. But this post isn't just about my my outfit!

A representative from John Lewis got in contact a few weeks ago asking who took the outfit shots for my blog. I'm not a tripod fan so I confessed it was Edward, my almost-husband and that it was a chore he had always despised. I had no idea why they wanted to know but it turns out they had chosen five bloggers to 'treat their blogging other halves'- be it a best friend who helps take photos or a boyfriend who edits them- they wanted to reward the people who help make blogs what they are. 

It was such a fantastic idea and I love treating Ed, so I couldn't say no. He was sent some John Lewis vouchers and I was sent a brief to pick out an outfit for him. Mwahaha! This was perfect. I've been dying to get my hands on Ed's wardrobe for years but let's just say he's somewhat picky (band t-shirt and jeans is his daily uniform). I love the Fred Perry range for blokes, so picked a cotton checked shirt which I reckon should last for years and can be dressed up and down, along with a pair of Fred Perry canvas shoes. The shorts were harder to choose, I wanted to get something he could wear on holiday but something that was a little smarter than standard jeans so I went for some Ben Sherman chino shorts in navy to match the shirt. 

Overall, choosing the outfit was easy. The hard part was getting him to pose without showcasing his 'blue steel' in every photo. Finally I salvaged two good shots, but gave in and allowed him to do his best Zoolander impression. Thank you John Lewis for allowing me to treat Ed to some blogging goodies, he was suitably impressed with the outfit I chose for him and it might now be slightly easier for me to persuade him to take 'just one more' outfit photo for me!

The Zeitgeist Show at Brighton Fashion Week

Isolated Heroes

Roadkill Couture

Lesley De Freitas

Kristabel and Jen looking gorgeous waiting for the show to start.

Incredible gem-like shoes at So Yeon Park

Paula Alicia Studeli  

Some very stylish f-rowers.

K and K London presented by Union Jewellery

As I mentioned in my post last week, iCrossing were lovely enough to have me at Brighton Fashion Week for The Zeitgeist Show- a collection of new and established designers, all very varied and very wonderful.

The show was at All Saints Church in Hove, a huge, intimidating gothic building with intricate stained windows and enough architectural drama to lend some to the catwalk. We were led to our front row seats- somewhere I've never sat before!- which was an amazing surprise and sipped G&Ts whilst being a bit overwhelmed by our surroundings. A church really is the most unexpectedly perfect place for a catwalk.

One of my favourite collections from the night was Isolated Heroes, a ready-to-wear label from Samantha McEwen which screamed with acid colour, bold print and nineties styling- I need the sequinned eyeball mesh dress in my life!

The second favourite was Roadkill Couture- a highly conceptual, part-art/part-fashion project from Jess Eaton. Created only from the feathers, pelts and bones of animals who have died of natural causes, been accidentally killed on the roads or as a byproduct of the food industry, the pieces are really quite striking. The lady-like, 50's styling for the spread-winged hats was incredible, as was the fantastical pigeon-wing piece which made the model look as if she were about to take off. Not for the squeamish or  faint-hearted but I've never been one of those girls anyway.

Thanks again to iCrossing for a brilliant and fascinating trip!

Vintage Fakery

Jacket: Thrifted H&M
Jersey dress: H&M
Peter Pan collar: Salvaged from a vintage dress
Shoes: Thrifted

The other day, when I was five minutes away from work with coffee in hand, I had a call from Ed urgently asking me to come home because he'd locked himself out of the flat whilst taking the bin out. Luckily he'd remembered to dress himself before doing so, but nevertheless, two black cabs and £27 in fares later, I was half an hour late to work and seething. To make it up to me, he promised dinner out on Saturday night and I held him to his (very apologetic) word. We ate steaks at Cote Brasserie and this is what I wore. A pretty standard, go-to, all-black outfit.

But the bag, well the bag is what this post is all about. I bought it from a countryside junk shop nearly five years ago for about £20. I'm sure some of you may have already spotted it, but yes, this bag is a fake. Or, I should say, I'm 90% sure it is. It's definitely pretty old, nearly 20-30 years I would think. Does that make a difference? 

I can say with some certainty that I wouldn't buy such a blatant fake if it was new but the fact that this wasn't being sold at a street market or on the side of the road made it easier for me to decide whether or not to buy it. It didn't feel dirty or morally wrong, it just gave me the same giddy feeling I get when I find something amazing whilst thrifting. There is also the slim chance that it's genuine, which, in the back of mind, justifies my twenty bob note. 

But what do you think? If it's a vintage fake does that make it ok? Or am I just a huge hypocrite with a penchant for trashy eighties Chanel fakery? Do let me know what you think!

Dreamy homeware & £10 voucher

There's a huge plethora of flash-sale websites gaining popularity on the interwebs at the minute, but I've not seen one quite like Bamarang. The main reason for this? Because, shock of all shocks, they actually sell things I want to buy instead of products that brands are just desperate to shift. Their sales focus on homeware, lifestyle brands and quirky, original jewellery and accessory designers, all with a good percentage off. Here are my picks from their current sales (or skip to the end if you just want your £10 off!)

I’ve been a huge Rob Ryan fan for years and when he brought out a range of home-wares, they were at the top of my shopping list. These Bells of Us plates are all beautifully illustrated and, if you don’t fancy using them to eat off, would look fantastic hung on the wall. There are also cushion covers, vases and mugs available at a discounted price.

This Orelia Boutique tulle pom-pom alice band is perfect for summer weddings and festivals alike. I’d wear my hair in loose curls, pinned just right to hide the band, with a fitted pastel lace dress. Orelia have some very pretty accessories available in the sale with bows, feathers and flowers galore.

Fancy a game of Scrabble? I’m obsessed with these alphabetical tile cushions from Wild & Wolf. At £13 each they’re affordable enough to buy your initials, or even stretch to your favourite word. Sadly, my sofa just isn’t big enough for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. 

Speaking from experience, buying a vintage rotary telephone can be expensive and tricky as they often need rewiring. Wild & Wolf have a very authentic range of classic phones in a rainbow of colours from £25. Anyone remember how, pre-mobiles and post-Clarissa Explains it All, the only thing a girl wanted was a phone in their bedroom? This is what that phone would have looked like! 
This set of Melamine bowls, along with all the other picnic gear from RICE Homewares, would look great in a simply decorated kitchen to brighten up even the gloomiest of corners. I personally don’t think you can ever own too much kitchenalia or bakeware, but if you have to be selective, make sure to choose colour over convention.

Anything catch your eye? 

There's an awful lot more on the site itself and the guys at Bamarang have alerted me to the fact that if you sign up now, you'll get a code for £10 off your first order over £20! Just click here to sign up and collect your voucher.

Those Rob Ryan plates could be yours for little more than some very basic, boring white ones. What's your opinion of flash-sale websites? Have you bought anything from them or been tempted to before? 

Brighton, Hove, Albion

Last week, I was invited along to spend a day and a night in Brighton at the wonderful Hotel du Vin to discuss blogging, watch the Zeitgeist show at Brighton Fashion Week and drink cocktails, all organised by iCrossing

The Hotel du Vin is in a fantastic location, right on the sea front and only a hop and a jump away from the famous shopping Laines. The decor is stunning, the bar well stocked (I can personally vouch for the mysterious Life's a Gamble cocktail) and their full-english was delicious. My room came with a huge roll-top bath, a Nespresso machine and sweet Miller Harris minis- when you're more used to certain Inns and Lodges like I am, this is total luxury.

I got to spend time with two of my favourite ladies: Kristabel and Jen. We hung out in the alternative Laines (Kensington Gardens), rummaged in the junk haven that is Snooper's Paradise and, like typical bloggers, took lots and lots of photos!

I'll be doing another post on the fashion show itself but I just wanted to say thank you to iCrossing for an amazing night. We helped them put together a video on bloggers which I'm looking forward to seeing when it's finished and which, if it's not too cringey, I'll be sharing here.

DIY: Simple Jubilee Paper Crowns

Jubilee-fever has reached it's pitch. The brands and PR's are out in force with everything from Jubilee-themed knickers to moisturiser and every other word on TV is about the Queen or the Olympics. If you're not UK based, it's a bit how I imagine the Fourth of July must be in the US- the amount of bunting and Union Jacks I've seen is incredible. Red, white and blue emblazoned houses, shops, offices and even blogs have popped up all over the country.

I'm not a staunch royalist but I do have a soft spot for dear old Queen Elizabeth due to a strong resemblance to my long-departed Nan. Plus I do love a good street party so I've decided to embrace this long-weekend of celebrations with a silly and simple DIY.

It's a DIY that's great to do with children this weekend but equally something that would be a lovely addition for a hen party or birthday and could be customised with names or a colour theme.

I didn't buy anything new to make these, instead using things I've collected over the years but as a basic list, you will need:
  • Card (I used silver and gold craft card, but plain white card would work)
  • A glue pen (for the glitter, they are easy and precise to use)
  • Clear-drying strong glue (I used Uhu as it's what I already had, but it works well with metal)
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape
  • A tape measure
  • Old broken jewellery (you could also use sequins, beads etc)
  • Ribbons/pom pom fringing (to edge the crowns)

The rest is very simple: 

  • Measure your head and add an extra inch for overlap at the end. Mark this out along one edge of your card. You can make the crown as deep as you like and I made a small zig-zag template so that all of my jagged edges were the same depth. Cut this out.
  • I added glitter edging using the glue pen, sprinkled on glitter (making sure to have some underneath newspaper etc), gently tapping the glitter into place, leaving to set and then using an old blusher brush to carefully remove the excess glitter.
  • Next, I added the broken jewellery findings. Try not to use anything too heavy as it won't stay in place very well. I used Uhu and added a small dot of glue to the back of the findings, leaving them to become slightly tacky and then affixing them carefully onto the card.
  • The ribbon is done very similarly- add the glue, allow to become tacky and then, inch by inch, stick it to the bottom edge of the crown. 
  • After letting everything dry, I used a small piece of tape to secure the crown into a circle.

Et voila! Your very own sparkling diadem to wear with pride this weekend. I'll be wearing mine with a fine party dress whilst raising a large glass of G&T to Her Madge. What about you? Any special plans? I can't be alone in loving all of the celebrations happening this week, can I?