Friday, 17 October 2014

Longchamp Le Pliage turns 20!

It's hard to believe that the infamous Longchamp Le Pliage bag is celebrating its 20th birthday! Last night, I popped down to the celebratory soiree (in association with Vogue) at the newly refurbished New Bond Street boutique to toast this milestone in style.


Amid cocktails (Elderflower cordials for me!), canapes and macarons, we listened to some of the history and heritage surrounding this iconic bag design.


A Voguette addresses the audience


Le Pliage - designed by Longchamp founder Jean Cassegrain's son Philippe - was orginally constructed in military-grade nylon fabric, and was inspired by the Japanese art form of Origami. The bag's design is constructed architecturally rather than just being manufactured in a simple manner.  During its inception, Longchamp's craftsmen needed to master the construction of Le Pliage - a process involving fifty different steps, whereas to achieve the bag's clever transformation - there are only four steps involved. The bag's changing shape and expandable volume are design features that bring to mind the iconic Akari Lamp, created by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi in the early 1950s. Constructed of paper and bamboo, the lamp unfolds into a variety of geometric shapes.

The same is true of Le Pliage - which was initially offered as a tote bag in a variety of sizes to be used as shopping or travel bags.  Over the years however, the style has morphed into new incarnations, enabling Longchamp to create backpacks, handbags, briefcases and pouches.  Despite starting life constructed of durable nylon, Le Pliage has also been created in other materials and styles. In 2012, Longchamp launched a version in soft leather. When it launched, Le Pliage was offered in ten colourways - quite a coup for that time.  Nowadays, Longchamp offers semiannual collections - echoing the fashion world, in twelve hues - and to date, Le Pliage has been made in more than 150 colours! Also, since 2004, Longchamp has collaborated with artists and designers such as Tracey Emin, Jeremy Scott, Sarah Morris, Mary Katrantzou, Charles Anastase and Robert Wagt, to name just a few. Each of these creatives have  treated Le Pliage like a blank canvas - and made it a place for their unique self expression, always with unique results.

You and me, the customer and the fan, can also get artistic by personalising your own Le Pliage from start to finish, including the addition of a monogram, on the Longchamp website.

New for AW14: Longchamp Le Pliage Heritage
The latest reinvention of Le Pliage for AW14 is Le Pliage Heritage - a simple bag in the same trapezoid shape, but not meant to be folded. Last night's party gave all guests the opportunity to model their favourite bag from the AW14 Collection at the pop-up photobooth!

Le Pliage Photobooth

Me...nine months pregnant and modelling the limited edition Pliage Heritage Luxe in rose pattern
All in all a fun and informative evening celebrating the iconic Le Pliage bag! I am definitely a fan (or should that be addict?!) with a variety of different sized Le Pliage bags in several hues!

My Latest Le Pliage: Luggage sized in Shocking Pink - my hospital bag!
Are you a fan and customer of Le Pliage bags? Which are your favourite?

Source: Le Pliage by Longchamp Paris, Laure Verchere, Assouline 2014



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Friday, 10 October 2014

Bathroom Beauties

I recently underwent a HUGE bathroom overhaul (post coming soon!), taking my bathroom from somewhere to get in and out of as quickly as possible to somewhere in the leagues of hotel luxury - somewhere I can quite happily while away hours spent pampering and preening (there probably won't be much time for that once the baby comes along!).

To celebrate the new bathroom I've been on the lookout for new bath and shower products and have discovered the most gorgeous smelling cleansing and moisturising duo from one of my favourite stores & Other Stories. It's the Moroccan Tea Body Wash and Body Lotion. 

Bathroom Beauties: Moroccan Tea Shower Gel & Body Lotion

About the scent, they say:
"Crisp spearmint and lemon with a hint of cardamom and orange flower are combined with clean notes of cedarwood and skin musks topped with a pinch of brown sugar."
I just think it's a really clean, fresh, musky smell that works all year round - and it's perfect for both sexes. The body wash (£5) is energising and perfect to wake you up during your morning shower, plus it comes in a simple, unfussy pump bottle and top it off is paraben free. The matching body lotion (£7) is lightweight yet extremely hydrating, and will help this elegant scent to linger long after your shower routine!

Also in the Moroccan Tea scent family you can get Body Scrub (£7), Body Souffle (£10), Hand Soap (£4), Mini Hand Cream (£4), Body Mist (£12) and Classic Soap (£4).

I urge you to pop into the store if you're in the Oxford Circus area of London to check out all the other fab bath, body and beauty products on offer at & Other Stories - they have many other scent families if Moroccan Tea doesn't sound like your cuppa tea! A close second favourite for me is Fig Fiction. Plus, if you keep your empty packaging and take into store, you'll get 10% off your next beauty purchase!

If you can't get to a store, have a browse online at & Other Stories, you can also order free samples of some of the bath products alongside your other shopping!
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Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Day in the Life of... Alex Stedman, Stylist & Blogger

Welcome to my new series, celebrating talented women I know and taking a behind-the-scenes peek at their careers, through spending a day in their shoes.

We start with Alexandra Stedman, Fashion Stylist and Blogger/Founder of The Frugality (one of my all time favourite blogs - bookmark it immediately!). Formerly Style Editor at Red magazine, Alex recently went freelance, as well as starting up a seriously cool video production company Lucky Number Thirteen with her other half. I'm loving the 'Postcard from...' series of travel videos (YouTube them now!).

So last month I asked Alex to capture an average day in her week, illustrated with some Instagram worthy moments. Let's take a step into her world...

7:30am | Wake up and shower. I don't usually get up too early as I am usually up till late working on the blog, so I let myself at least have a lie-in! I always have a coffee at home so as not to waste (too much) money in Pret, but I don't eat breakfast.

8:30am | Leave my house. I'm a 40 minute journey door-to-door on the sweltering hot tube at the moment, so I usually dress for that! I often try and Instagram a 'FWIS' pic on the walk to work...

9:30am | Start work. I have been working in a few different offices lately; Conde Nast Traveller was very calm and quiet, whereas Red is very chatty. At Conde Nast Traveller, I was working on a supplement so the majority of my day was spent calling PR's for images, chasing prices and laying out pages to be photographed.

Moments from my day (CW): #FWIS Photo of my outfit, my alarm clock, my desk at CN Traveller and a Chanel tennis racquet shot for the supplement



11:00am | I have a meeting to show my Editor and Fashion Director my pages. Every magazine is different, but here at Conde Nast Traveller I don't have to worry about the price points so much, so Louis Vuitton luggage, Chanel ski goggles and Hermes snow suits all make it into the pages! All of these brands advertise with the title, so I also need to make sure they are featured enough. The Editor loves a few mad accessories, so Pom Pom bracelets, Mr Kate fake gold tattoos and Leica underwater cameras are in the edit. Our favourite piece though is the Ashish sequin 'USA' t-shirt for one of the pages I'm doing on slogans.

Our favourite piece - the Ashish USA sequin tee

An amazing Dolce dress

Dior sunglasses in the fashion cupboard
12noon | Once everything is approved, I speak to the Art Director about how everything needs to be shot. Everywhere is different, and we decided it was all to be shot front on and quite graphic.

12:30pm | I start taking the products to be shot down to the studio. Conde Nast have their own in-house photographer who is great!

Carrying products to the photographer to be shot

The rail of clothes in the shoot

1.00pm | I usually always make my lunch everyday but today I have a meeting with Oasis about an exciting blog collaboration. They're relaunching their blog in September and I will be involved in a few of the posts. We go to Nopi and share some small dishes (the pork belly and scallops was delicious!).

Lunch at Nopi with the Oasis team - yummy!

2.00pm | I pop back to the studio to see photographer and pick up anything he has finished with. I have a girl to help me do my returns only once a week, so I am keen to return as much back to the PRs when she is in! (We never keep samples).

3.00pm | I frantically chase all the prices for 20 pages - this is not as easy as it sounds as I only have 2 days to finish the project and PR's are often very hard to get hold of!

4.00pm | I have a chat with the 'Word of mouth' editor about getting celebs to provide a few 'insider tips' on the destinations in the supplement - we've got some exciting names!

A Tory Burch bag, a Dolce shoe (and my Carven shoes) whilst editing in the office
5:30pm | I'm supposed to go home but I often like to stay later to miss rush hour on the tube, and I always have admin to do.

7:30pm | I usually get home and make dinner and lunch for the next day. In our house, whoever gets in first cooks.

At the moment, it's a very busy time so I never sit and relax on the sofa... Tonight I have a blogpost to finish with Atterley Road - I sit and pick my top sales picks from the site and edit the photos my husband took of me earlier in the week as the post needs to go live tomorrow morning. I also have to plan social media to go with the post in case I get too busy tomorrow.

My Atterley Road outfit post

I go to bed around midnight and do it all again the next day!

**********

Thanks Alex! I already feel more glamorous after sampling a day in your working life!

Let me know what you think of this new series, this post and any ideas of the type of people and careers you'd like to see covered in 'A Day in the Life Of...'

Photographs taken and supplied by © 2014 Alexandra Stedman. All rights reserved.
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Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Heatwave Edit: How to Stay Cool

Here in London we've been enjoying a heatwave for at least the last week, and whilst I am definitely not complaining about the glorious sun, the accompanying humidity is definitely a little hard to bear whilst you're out and about trying to go about your day, whilst still looking chic.

Pregnancy and sticky humidity definitely do not mix so I have a vested interest in trying to stay cool, calm and collected! As I've been searching for ways to stay chilled, I thought I might share some tips with you too...

1. Stay Hydrated
First things first, make sure you are hydrated from the inside out. I know it's an obvious one but good old H20 will do the trick nicely. If you find regular water boring, make it more summery by adding cucumber, mint leaves, lemons, limes or orange slices, for a refreshing twist.

Healthy, flavoured water - image from Healthy Food Place
2. Spritz Yourself
If I'm out and about in the sun, I really start to feel the heat affecting my face and head, perhaps turning an unattractive shade of red, developing a heat headache or just generally feeling hot and bothered. A good way to cool down I've discovered is to to keep a facial spritz handy. The one I've been reaching for is Caudalie's Beauty Elixir, which, as well as cooling you down smoothes features, tightens pores and gives the complexion a burst of radiance! For a simpler, budget option, try La Roche Posay's thermal spring water spray.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, £9.95, 30ml
La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray, £4.00

3. Stay Protected
SPF - three very important letters to remember in order to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays and to avoid premature ageing. For your face, moisturise with at least SPF15 or higher, and if bits of your body are going to be exposed, slather on some SPF all over, not forgetting your hands. I'd go for at least SPF 30 for body usage, but upping the factors if you have sun sensitive skin on both your body and face. I'm loving Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF30 (£8.00) for body, and La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV Intense Light (£16.50) for face. Don't forget to coat your lips in a lip balm containing SPF, as burnt lips are the most painful!

Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF30
La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV Intense Light
4. Keep your feet cool
Just as your face and head get hot, your feet will no doubt feel hot and bothered and might even swell up. Make sure you're wearing shoes or sandals, with enough room to breathe. At the end of the day, shower your feet with cold water or spritz with a cooling foot spray. I've been loving Liz Earle's Foot Spritzer, featuring nine essential oils and the perfect way to cool down my burning feet!

Liz Earle Foot Spritzer, £7.75
5. Switch to Shorts for zzz's
Instead of baking at night in your normal PJ's, opt for a pair of shorts ones in breathable cotton. Forget getting into bed, sleep on top of your duvet and cover yourself in a cotton sheet if you get a bit chilly. You might even want to invest in a fan, if you're not getting enough air from opening windows.

There are lots of cute shorts PJ's in Tesco right now - pick up a pair next time you do your weekly shop! Here are the PJ's keeping me cool at night:

Run Away With Me Shorts PJ's, £5.00 for set, Tesco
When you're out and about, switch from your normal winter leathers to a printed tote or straw basket and remember to always carry a bottle of water, your facial spritz, your sunglasses and perhaps even a straw trilby.

Happy Summer!


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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Insta-Diary

It's been a very busy month hence the hiatus! Here's what I've been upto in pictures:


1. Travelling... At the beginning of June I headed over to San Sebastián for one my closest friends' civilised hen holiday. This stunning Spanish city is deep in the Basque region of Spain, very close to the French border, and has it all - beautful beaches, a gorgeous old town full of beautiful architecture and delicious food (or pintxos - the Basque region's version of tapas).
2.  Eating and drinking... (& 5) Coffee art and brunch at Granger & Co, at the newly opened Clerkenwell branch. Yum-to-the-my! Famed for his easy going approach to food and christened the 'egg master' by The New York Times, this is Aussie restauranteur Bill Granger's latest opening in London. I went for the Aussie Breakfast (minus the meat) and my tummy and I left suitably satisfied!
3. Buying... I am currently pregnant with my first child and have decided to go heel free, so I'm exploring all exciting flat shoe avenues! I love these bow sandals by Michael Kors, picked up in the My Wardrobe sale.
4. Buying... I've been getting into my make up palettes recently and this is one of my latest additions - The Narsissist Palette from Nars.  I'm a bit late to the uptake on this one but that's because it was out of stock for ages! It features 15 iconic Nars eyeshadows - a mix of matte and shimmery, easy-to-blend shades in some gorgeous hues!
6. Eating... You may have guessed by now that brunch is one of my all time favourite activities! Brunch coupled with pancakes is a match made in heaven! I wolfed these pancakes down in a flash at Chuck's in Hatch End, the perfect low-key brunch and burger eatery in North West London.
7. Sorting... My extensive jewellery collection into organised harmony! The Muji perspex jewellery organisers have been a godsend! I've arranged statement necklaces into the jewellery drawer chest, and earrings and smaller bits into the square compartments. Colourful trays and small trinket boxes hold bangles, watches and (a tiny part of my collection of) rings respectively.
8. Buying... This isn't my usual style, but for summer I just fell in love with this neon, tasselled, sequin cross body bag from Accessorize! I'd spied it a while ago and then spotted it on the ever-so-stylish Laura Fantacci of Wearing it Today, and decided it had to be mine!
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Friday, 9 May 2014

The Travel Edit: Holiday Wardrobe

I love that exciting time when you are about to jet off for a holiday in sunnier climes - especially when the weather is as miserable as it is here in London!  Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to be flying off to Santorini in a few days for some much needed R & R with a big dose of sunshine!

I've been planning my vacation look - based on the fact that we will mostly be pool-hanging, enjoying the views and indulging in summery dinners out - and have rounded up my edit of holiday essentials.  But first here's my inspiration for my holiday look:

Holiday look inspiration - images from Pinterest
Bow Street's edit of holiday essentials

1. Sunglasses - love this classic 'wayfarer' style from & Other Stories, £39
2. Sunhat - This straw number will keep you looking chic in the heat, a bargain at £6.99 from H&M!
3. One piece swimsuit - Forget about the bikini, this summer is all about the one-piece swimsuit, love this aqua snakeskin print from M&S, £35
4. Classic black leather sandals - look great with bright coloured tootsies and a tan - love these Hawaii sandals from Office, £28
5. Beach bag - sling your sunbed and beach-side essentials into this beach scene tote from Seafolly, from ASOS, £30
6. Monochrome beach shift dress - for daytime, wear over your swimwear, for night, remove swimwear and add heels and jewellery. Topshop, £32
7. Pool-side necklace - slip this bronze necklace on alongside a bandeau swimsuit - kaftan optional - for pool-side glamour in a flash, from H&M, £7.99
8. Espadrille - casual shoe of the summer - when pottering about in town after beach time, slip on these leopard print espadrilles ( I haven't embraced pool slides so these are my show of the summer). Kurt Geiger, £40
9. The essential and classic white shirt cover up - there's nothing more chic as a swimwear or beach cover up than an oversized white shirt - love this version from Topshop, £28

Evening Extras

When you get your tan on and want to enjoy the night life at your chosen destination, why not pick up a flowing maxi dress in a colourful hue paired with some chic evening sandals. My picks below:

Black & gold sandals, £19.99, Zara

Coral cross back maxi dress,£45, Topshop
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Friday, 25 April 2014

The Travel Edit: Packing Essentials

It's that exciting time of year - perhaps you've got a holiday coming up or have a few city break weekends booked in. Either way it'll soon be time to pack up your things and start enjoying yourself, whether you'll be flying off somewhere exotic, somewhere closer to home or even 'staycationing'.

With that in mind, this week I'm looking at packing - and how to make an easier, more organised job of it, so you can arrive at your destination stress and crease free without having packed everything you own and the kitchen sink! I've covered this before in my Travel in Style post, so I can't stress how important this subject is to me!  I'm not one of those people who packs by throwing open their suitcase at the last possible minute (often with the cab waiting outside), and chucking in whatever comes to hand.  

So here are my top packing tips:

1. Get organised with a list
Have a think about the kind of trip you're going on, as well as the duration, to help you determine what to take with you.  For example, if you're going on a seven day beach holiday, you know you'll mostly be wearing swim and beach wear, with an outfit for every evening at the bar!  Try and break down each day - you don't need to pre-plan what to wear on each day, but it does help to envisage how many bikinis, tops, dresses, shorts or pairs of heels you'll need.  You can then make a list, or use a packing list to help you.  You can download packing lists and allsorts of tips from travel experts Eagle Creek:

From Mongolia to Manhattan, download packing lists from Eagle Creek
I love using this pre-printed list, £5.99, Amazon

2. Pick a sturdy, space maximising bag
Whether you're just taking a cabin bag, or you're in it for the long haul, pick a strong, sturdy bag that maximises space, is easy on the eye and will last you a good few years. I'm a fan of Samsonite, Muji and Tripp luggage, all great quality luggage that will last few a good few trips.  At the moment, I have my eye on a hard case hand luggage trolley (33L), as it features compartments that really maximise the interior space.

Muji Hand Luggage Hard Case Trolley 33L, £129
Interior compartments in Muji's case
3. Divide and conquer
Instead of chucking everything into the bag willy nilly, how about categorising your contents by using packing cubes and garment bags, that way you can easily find everything at the other end too, and you can also use them to bring back dirty laundry, whilst keeping things separate from you new holiday purchases!  Both Muji and Eagle Creek (available in the UK via Cotswold Outdoor), have packing cubes, garment cases and garment folders - the latter will keep delicate clothing crease free.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Clean Dirty Cube, £21
Muji Garment Case, from £4.95

4. Decant, go miniature or go light
Unless you're going away for a few weeks or longer, there's no need to lug around full size toiletries or heavy cosmetics.  This is even more valid if you're hoping to go the hand luggage only route. There are now myriad miniature beauty choices from most brands that you can pick up from Boots, Superdrug, and even more luxe brands at Space NK.  Alternatively, now's the time to use up all those samples you got from Birchbox or Glossybox.  If you just can't bear to be without your usual skin, hair and body products when you go away, then get decanting. Once again, Muji comes to the rescue with bottles and jars in all shapes and sizes, or for a budget option, Primark does a set of mini bottles in a clear case with labels for £1!

Get decanting with Muji's selection of travel bottles

5. Keep toiletries, cosmetics and jewellery separate
When it comes to packing your decanted and miniature toiletries, keep them separate in a wipe clean washbag, clear plastic toiletries case (so you can see everything you have with you), or treat yourself to some cases from the Anya Hindmarch labelled collection - which will effortlessly house everything from your makeup, suncreams, jewellery and everything in between with it's corresponding labelled case!


Clockwise from top left:
Hello World Hanging Washbag with clear detachable PVC compartments, £12, Boots
Neon yellow clear make up bag, £10, ASOS
3 Piece Clear Cosmetic Bag Set, £6, M&S
Inflight - Takeoff/Landing Clear Case, £150, Anya Hindmarch
Make up labelled case, £195, Anya Hindmarch (keep an eye out for these on sale at The Outnet!)

Coming soon... The Travel Edit: Hand Luggage Essentials


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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring Home Refresh

The sun is shining, daffodils are in bloom and spring has finally sprung! It's the perfect time to give your home a spring refresh by adding small, colourful touches to your space without breaking the bank, and without too much hard work!

Here's my edit!


From left to right, from the top:

1. Multi-coloured wool blanket with fringing, £69.99, Zara Home
Get cosy with colour when there's a spring chill in the air! Perfect for Sunday afternoon movie nights or just sprucing a dark sofa.
2. Glass vase, £7.99, H&M Home
Bright spring flowers always brighten a space, and this text printed vase is the perfect vessel for a few blooms!
3. Orange jacquard-weave cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
Printed cushion covers in bright hues are an easy way to get a dose of colour into your space, whether for your sofa or bed!
4. Wooden herb and flower trugs, £30 each, House Envy
Love these retro looking wooden storage boxes featuring retro font. You can use these in the kitchen to store sauces, or even on your desk to store stationery essentials - you could store anything in them!
5. Rewined candle in Mimosa, £21.50, House Envy
My newest candle brand discovery - these smell truly amazing.  The motto behind Rewined candles in 'repurpose, reuse, reycycle', and each one is a deliciously fragranced 100% soy wax candle, poured into an expertly cut, repurposed wine bottle. The Mimosa candle is the perfect spring scent - champagne with a squeeze of fresh zesty orange juice!
6. Floral blanket, £9.99, H&M Home
This soft and fleecy yet bold floral blanket will keep you snuggled as well as providing a spring revamp to a boring backdrop!
7. India cushion, £34.99, House Envy
Love the pastel hues and detail of the trio of shutters on this cushion - giving a sense of an overseas adventure whilst simultaneously brightening a space.
8. Floral cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
Part of H&M's Conscious Collection, this graphic floral cushion cover is made from sustainable materials as well as being a perfect spring addition to your home!
9. Grey diamond cushion with pink piping, £9.99, Tesco Direct 
Love this circus-esque cushion with a subtle hit of colour, also comes in a gorgeous mint colour!
10. Grey glass vase, £7.99, H&M Home
Referring to point no.2, and spring buds and blooms - love this vase so much I included it twice! This time in the darker due, which will really complement a vibrant, almost gothic bouquet of florals. Failing that, use it as a pitcher for cocktails!
11. Grey check cushion cover, £7.99, H&M Home
I know I have a slight obsession with the colour grey, but this gentle hued cushion cover is perfect paired with the brighter ones!
12. IKEA PS 2014 Multicolour rug, £120, IKEA
Inject some colour onto your floor with this graphic patterned rug from IKEA's newest PS 2014 Collection.

What's your favourite way to bring spring into your home?
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Stationery Edit

National Stationery Week started at the beginning of the week and ends on Sunday 6th April - what better time to put pen to paper and celebrate your love of stationery?!

I will openly admit it - I'm a stationery fiend - I love notebooks, pens, writing paper, coloured washi tape, notecards... You name it, I have it somewhere at home in a drawer or cupboard.  But before you start calling me a hoarder, let me just say that I use all my stationery! I'm quite old-fashioned like that - I love sending (and of course receiving!) letters, cards and more and I also love taking the time and effort to wrap and decorate my gift packages for others! I must have at least ten unused, pristine notebooks but I will find a day to use them all - with each page featuring ultra neat, tippex free prose...that novel awaits!

I love the fact that beyond sharing a love of stationery, National Stationery Week is all about getting more people back into writing by hand, especially children, not to mention teaching people to correctly spell 'stationery' (with an 'e' not an 'a' people!)

So this week, forget about whatsapping, facebooking, texting and tweeting - send someone you care a handwritten letter or note!

I've rounded up my edit of favourite stationery of the moment to help you get inspired!


Top row L-R: 
Anchors Ahoy Nautical Foil Cards, £8.50 for 10, Paperchase; Make it Happen Panama Leather Notebook, £45, Smythson; Stripe Cut Out Writing Set, £5.00, Paperchase; Rifle Paper Co Vintage Blossoms Notebook Set, £13.95 for two, Papermash
Middle row L-R:
Best Day Ever Date Stamp, £4.50, Papermash; Vintage Style Paris Postcards (with envelopes), £8.50, Papermash
Bottom row L-R:
Historisk Pink Notebook, £3.00, IKEA; Kate Spade 'How The Devil Are You Notecards', £17.50 for ten, Quill London; Rose Mechanical Pen, £2.50, Paperchase

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Monday, 31 March 2014

New & Old Beauty Favourites


I've been quite ill in the last six weeks unfortunately and now that I'm on the road to recovery I thought I'd share the beauty essentials that have got me back to health. Some are old favourites, some are new favourites and some are old favourites rediscovered!

1. Tangle Teezer, £7.80 (with free delivery), Beauty Bay - Old Favourite
My hair cannot survive a day without this genius, magic, de-tangling brush, whether used wet or dry it banishes knots (and tears!) in seconds. When you're ill and have fragile hair, the last thing you want to be doing is having a fight with your barnet! I'm trying to convert my whole family to using this...
2. Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado, £20 for 14g, Space NK - New Favourite
Whilst I was ill, the skin under my eyes became very dry and irritated, and applying concealer there was a just a no-go, but a few weeks of using this thick and creamy (yet easily absorbed) avocado cream has helped restore the levels of moisture.
3. Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Transparent, £3.99, Boots - Old Favourite Rediscovered
This is a real budget friendly option that does the job well - sets makeup, combats shine and looks natural without looking cakey, all with change from a fiver!
4. Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation in BD50, £30.50, Feel Unique - Old Favourite Rediscovered
My daily staple Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua wasn't cutting in to deal with the aforementioned dry 'ill' face (yuck), so I rediscovered this bottle of glowy stuff! It's lightweight, really illuminating and because no doesn't contain any opaque powders, it avoids that mask like look, instead giving a lovely dewy finish.
5. La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense, £16.50, The Garden Pharmacy - Old Favourite
Love this thoroughly soothing and moisturising emulsion with the added bonus of UV protection. It soaks in like a dream and makes the best base for make up. Has been very helpful in getting rid of 'ill face'!
6. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £14.75, Liz Earle - Old Favourite Rediscovered
I stopped using this only because I got taken in by all those miscellar water cleansers (damn you Bioderma!) but I really missed the ritual of properly cleaning my mug and exfoliating it lightly at the same time. Takes your gunk off in a flash and feels so nice to boot!
7. L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick, in Nude Ballet, Molto Mauve & Fuchsia Drama, £8.99 each, Boots - New Favourite
I hadn't tried any liquid lipsticks before these - I've heard a lot about the Rimmel and the YSL ones but I hadn't gone for it. I really like the formulation of these - non sticky, non gloopy, pretty pigmented and easy to apply, plus pretty damn moisturising to boot! The shade 'Nude Ballet' is the best nude I have come across, and really give you that 'my lips but better' groomed look!
8. Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm, £19, Net-a-porter - New Favourite
I'm addicted to this hand balm which smells reassuringly herby and expensive (that'll be the notes of mandarin orange, lavender and rosemary leaf then!) it has softened my dry mitts without being overly greasy. Plus I love the apothecary style packaging!
9. Homeoplasmine Ointment, £8.49, Bliss Pharmacy - Old Favourite Rediscovered
This is essentially the French pharmacy version Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Cream, and it's been the only magical tube to sort out my horrible, flaky, chapped lips. I first discovered it years ago when I picked up a tube in Paris, and come back to it every time.  Trust me I have been through a LOT of lip balms to get to where I am today lol. Seriously this is kick-ass.

So there you have it my little beauty arsenal of sorts... What are your favourite beauty saviours for getting you back to being you?
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Monday, 17 March 2014

The Search For The Perfect Black Leather Tote

There's something about so chic, minimalist and pulled together about a black leather tote bag, also known as a shopper.  Usually rectangular or bucket shaped and made of soft buttery leather, it's unstructured shape is perfect for slinging all your belongings into and finishing off your look, whether for work, post work or weekend, without looking like you're hoarding a big bulky bag. I always seem to be attracted to black leather totes - on the street, in shops, on Pinterest, everywhere! 

Of course, this isn't an accessory that's on trend right now - it's a classic, wear forever piece, that will work anytime.  Lots of designers do these lovely leather totes, as do the high street. Try COS, & Other Stories, Jaeger and Zara. Personally I'm a fan of the ultra simple, no label black leather tote variety. The key things to look out for are: a good quality soft yet durable buttery leather; a good sized bag that will fit all your belongings and still look chic; thick, strong handles with a good amount of shoulder drop - properly fastened handles that will stay attached; and inner pockets.  The number of bags I have rejected because they just looked like a big black leather bucket with handles and no inner pockets! 





Black Leather Tote Inspiration - all photos from Pinterest

I happened to be in H&M this weekend and came across their new Premium Quality Collection - which features shoes, boots, accessories, bags and clothing in supposedly better quality fabrics and leathers.  Of course I was captivated by the black leather leather tote bag in the collection -  it's bucket shaped, made of a soft textured leather, has thick handles, features an inner pocket and extra outer pocket, plus has a lovely contrast gold lining.  Priced at £69.99, I thought - not a bad price, pricey but you have to pay for good quality! I decided to go for it - the search for the perfect black leather tote was over! The deal was sweetened further when I got 25% off by using the Glamour discount card - free with the April 2014 issue of Glamour (UK edition), currently on newsstands and also features a free Model Co beauty gift. 

H&M Premium Quality Leather Tote Bag, £69.99
H&M Premium Quality Leather Tote Bag - Gold Interior
Are you a fan of the classic perfect black leather tote bag?

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Friday, 7 February 2014

Chic & Cheap Stationery

Who can resist a hit of new stationery?!

Walking through the stationery aisle of the Tesco extra nearest to my office, I almost did a double take in the stationery aisle. There, amongst the usual Black and Red notebooks, Sharpie markers and sale diaries was an explosion of new: bright, bold, block colours and tons of inspiration via print and pattern.

Chic & cheap stationery - new at Tesco!
Gorgeous bold colours and prints
I'm assuming these are all new lines for Tesco as I haven't seen them before, but well, well, well, me likey a lot! I was happy to discover notebooks, pens, folders and storage boxes of all shapes and sizes, and some exciting new brands.

For one, there is some gorgeous stationery from Sanderson, a contemporary and graphic collection inspired by Sanderson's popular Fifi, Dandelion Clocks, Atomic and Festival Series of fabrics and wallpapers.

Sanderson stationery collection at Tesco
Love this Sanderson Set of 3 Notebooks £8, featuring
Multi-coloured patterns, Dandelions and Dancing Ladies
I'm also a sucker for anything travel (and vintagey) themed, so loved these travel air mail map notebooks from Robert Frederik. Check out more from the rest of his collection here.

Maps A6 Notebook, £4
Love the pages inside!
Also couldn't resist some of the lovely stuff from designer Lisa Stickley - in particular this lovely lime green Lisa London notebook with pockets.

Lisa Stickley London A5 Notebook with pockets, £8
I'm suitably impressed and have been stocking up my trolley!  I urge you to have a good look next time you're doing your food shop in Tesco...
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