Thursday, 29 March 2012

Travel in Style!

Hello! Spring has sprung and the sun is out in force (well it is here in London anyway!) and many of us are now thinking about holidays, whether here in the UK or further afield to even sunnier climes abroad.

Whether you're going on a city break, beach holiday, activity holiday or staycation, it's still exciting to be on holiday and to have some time away, so I thought I'd put together a travel in style post with some tips to ensure you arrive relaxed and of course in style!


First of all think about where you're going and for how long as this will determine your holiday wardrobe.  Do some research ahead of time to find out what the weather will be like whilst you're there and from there you can put together a capsule wardrobe.  What is a capsule wardrobe I hear you ask! Well, both the phrase and concept was invented by someone called Susie Faux back in the 70s. The owner of a London boutique owner Wardrobe, she's a great believer that women require less quantity, more quality.  This philosophy is ideal for holiday packing, as ultimately you want to pack as little as possible but get the most wear out of what you have packed, meaning you have to get creative and pack items that work well in numerous different outfit combinations!

Don't try to squish your whole wardrobe into your bag, instead pick some core outfits that can be dressed up or down using accessories - it's all about how you wear it!  Also, shoes take up space, so as a rule of thumb, I normally go for three or four pairs - killer wedges (perfect for evenings), some flat metallic leather sandals (work for days and nights), ballerinas (comfy, for during the day) and flip flops (always useful!).  You also want to leave room for picking up those bits from unique shops and markets whilst on holiday!

When it comes to packing, it pays to get organised and make a list so you don't forget any of the essentials.  I consider the 'Pack this!' notepad a real lifesaver when planning my packing essentials (also I'm a sucker for organising stationery!).  Also, take a look at fellow blogger Laura Fantacci's (of my fave fab blog Wearing it Today) blog post on packing.  I've actually cut it out and kept it on my pinboard as a reference guide - and it really works!

Notepad by Knock Knock, £7.50 from Anthropologie
Read more after the jump!


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

My French Pharmacy Favourites!

My favourite make-up maestro Lisa Eldridge recently posted a video about her her favourite French pharmacy skincare favourites, which inspired me to post about my own.  Though my job is nowhere near as glamorous as Lisa's (nor am I nowhere near as talented in the make-up application department), I completely comprehend and share her love for French pharmacy skincare brands. For me and my sensitive skin, they are the best thing to keep me soothed and soft!

I'm not lucky enough to be dashing off to Paris now and again in order to stock up on my French pharmacy faves, but luckily enough for me, the brands have slowly been making their way over the channel to Blighty. 

My favourite ranges are La Roche Posay, Avene, Vichy, Caudalie, Klorane and Bioderma.  So far, the first five brands have been readily available from larger Boots stores, John Lewis, other department stores and smaller 'boutiquey' pharmacies that have popped up in London in recent years.  With Bioderma, I mostly order online, or occasionally pick up in speciality make up supply shops if I am in the area.

My top places to buy French pharmacy brands:

1. Garden Pharmacy, 119 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9PB.  Love this pharmacy in Covent Garden, which stocks numerous beauty and perfume brands!  It also has a great loyalty card scheme.  If you're not in London, you can buy online at: Garden Pharmacy
2. Le Guide Sante - - an online emporium where you can all those hard to track down brands!  The amount of brands they stock is amazing!
3. Escentual - - another online favourite which stocks numerous beauty and perfume brands
4. Guru Makeup Emporium, Studio 4 Filmer Mews, 75 Filmer Road, Fulham, London SW6 7JF.  This shop is great for speciality makeup and beauty supplies.  Again if you're not in London, buy online at Guru

My French Pharmacy Favourites!

My top buys from my favourite brands are:

1. Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation Stick - for those days when you need more coverage than usual, but don't want to appear caked in make-up!  This is really kind to skin and I also use it as a concealer. £12.70, from Garden Pharmacy (Garden have a 1/3 off sale on all Vichy products till 31 March) also available from larger Boots stores, or online at Lloyds Pharmacy.

2. La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution - a lovely gentle cleansing water, ideal for my sensitive skin!  Shifts all make-up without being harsh.  A close contender to the Bioderma Crealine H20 cleanser.  It's £7.70 at the moment at Garden Pharmacy, normally £11.50. Also available from Boots online, and Escentual (who are also running a 1/3 off sale on French pharmacy brands till 31 March).

3. La Roche Posay Physiological Soothing Toner - I use this alongside the cleansing water - a lovely, soothing toner that just feels kind to the skin.  It's £7.70 at the moment at Garden Pharmacy, normally £11.50. Also available from Boots online, and Escentual

4. La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche - when your skin is feeling parched and thirty, replenish with this moisturiser, which contains soothing, anti-irritant water from the La Roche-Posay hydrotherapy spa as well as both squalane and glycerin to moisturise and protect. It's also enriched with 7% shea butter.  I've used this throughout the winter months when central heating and the changing weather was playing havoc on my skin!  It's £9.70 at the moment at Garden Pharmacy, normally £14.00.  Also available from Boots online, and Escentual

5. Avene Skin Recovery Cream - an ultra gentle cream, Avene Skin Recovery Cream is specifically designed to restore comfort to troublesome skin, helping to calm irritation and rebuild the hydrolipidic film.  Has saved me on more than one occasion!  £8.33 at the moment at Escentual, normally £12.50.  Also available at Garden Pharmacy, larger Boots stores and online.

6. Klorane Oatmilk Shampoo - a very gentle shampoo, which cleans the hair and the scalp, made from oat milk, one of my favourites! It's £4.00 at the moment from Escentual, normally around £6.50.  Also available from John Lewis, Garden Pharmacy.

7. Klorane Oatmilk Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray - a dry shampoo version of the above, ultra gentle, with no overpowering fragrance! Works like magic to revive hair in between washes, but with your hair remaining soft and natural!  It's £5.00 at the moment from Escentual, normally £7.50 (for 150 ml).  Also available from John Lewis, Garden Pharmacy.

8. Bioderma Crealine H20 Make Up Remover - one of the most gentle and soothing cleansing waters available and a dream for my sensitive skin!  I think it is the best in the cleansing water/micellar solution categories.  Available from Guru Makeup Emporium or Leguidesante, prices vary, around £15.50.

9. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correcting - a gentle, milky serum that I use morning and evening before moisturiser for added radiance.  I find it's perfect for the transition from winter skin to spring, when skin is lacking that sparkle! Available from stockists including John Lewis, Space NK, but I buy it from Leguidesante, for a lot less!

10. Caudalie Beauty Elixir - a favourite of the fashion and beauty pack and with good reason! This is a lovely soothing and smoothing multitasking product.  It tones, freshens, revives... the list is endless! You can use it under makeup or over makeup throughout the day to freshen yourself up.  You can even keep it in the fridge for a cool boost on hot days. Available from stockists including John Lewis, Space NK, but I buy it from Leguidesante, for a lot less!

What are your favourite French pharmacy brands and products?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Lifehouse Spa

Last week, my friend Jemini and I took our stressed selves off to Lifehouse, a contemporary spa retreat in Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex.  Leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life in London behind, we jumped on a train at Liverpool Street and arrived at Thorpe-le-Soken station, a mere 80 minutes later, to be greeted by Brian, a lovely porter from Lifehouse in his burgundy uniform, who swiftly grabbed our luggage and settled us into the Lifehouse taxi.

En route to the short drive to Lifehouse, Brian told us that Lifehouse is set within 130 acres of beautiful grounds which include 12 acres of historic, listed gardens, which were much improved in the 1920s and '30s by Lady Byng, the one time mistress of Thorpe Hall and wife of Lord Byng, a personal envoy to George V.  In fact, much of the land we passed on the way to the station belonged to Lifehouse - acres and acres in every direction!  It really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere, at one with nature in the chicest way possible!


After a speedy check in, we were whisked off to our room before our first treatments.  The spacious room was lovely, with plush beds, garden view, proper dressing table, huge bathroom with a ma-hoo-ssive walk in shower and a tea tray with an actual teapot!  We quickly got into our fluffy, extra soft robes and slippers and headed over to The Hub, where we checked in for our treatments...

Read more after the jump!


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Neon Daze

With the kind of mild March sunny day we had today in London, it was impossible not to have a spring in your step and a smile on your face.  It's amazing how, just with the sun making an appearance and providing everyone with a much needed dose of Vitamin D, you can feel so much happier!

I spent the day in a much lighter stance than the rest of the week, roaming carefree, sans coat in a whirlwind of (the good) coffee, an apple danish, a slice of  delicious Ferrero Rocher cheesecake (I know, I know, double Zumba for me this week!), new sunglasses and the hopeful feeling that Spring is finally a-coming!

Delicious... Ferrero Rocher cheesecake!

With Spring making its long awaited appearance, what better way to celebrate than to embrace colour and get stuck into the neon trend?  Take things nice and easy and channel neon with an accessory to begin with.  I couldn't resist rounding up some of my favourite neon accessories right now...

My top neon accessories round-up

1. Norma Kamali 'Walter Mio' ruched bandeau swimsuit, £210, Browns Fashion
2. Fluro patent skinny belt, £6, ASOS 
3. Pink fluro satchel, £105, The Cambridge Satchel Company
4. Green fluro satchel, £105, The Cambridge Satchel Company
5. Neon cut-out cuff, £7.99, New Look
6. Tan strappy sandals with neon piping, £28, Topshop
7. Grey neon twist lock satchel, £35, River Island
8. Canvas & patent-leather Anen neon bag, Theyskens Theory, £275, Net-a-porter
9. Neon pink wallet, McQ Alexander McQueen, £160, Net-a-porter
10. Raw Nevis tri colour bag, Anya Hindmarch, £295, Matches Fashion
11. Beige neon trim binocular bag, £35, River Island

What are your favourite neon accessories? Did you all have a lovely Spring-like day today?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Marni for H&M Zoo

Today, the much awaited Marni for H&M collection hit stores, and whilst the queues were conducted in an orderly and polite fashion, there was a squealing, zoo like scene inside!

Shoppers were limited to ten minute shopping slots and only one size per style, which at least kept things pretty fair.  I thought this was one of H&M's better designer collaborations, with lots of wearable options that showcased the best of Marni's appeal.

I decided not to brave the queues for fear of going crazy and overspending, as I am saving up for quite a few other things!  However, if I had been there, I would have made a beeline for the accessories!

My top picks are below.  What about you guys - who was lucky enough to be there and what did you buy?  Tweet @bowstreetblog or leave me a comment and share your buys/pics of you modelling your new purchases!

Marni for H&M - My top picks


What Shall I Wear?

"What shall I wear?" (WSIW) - The age old question that we face each and every day!  It seems we have wardrobes full of clothes and yet at times it seems we have nothing to wear.  We may be in a recession and yet still shopping up a storm (if the constantly crazed scenes at London Westfield, Westfield Stratford City and Oxford Street are anything to go by!), yet on some mornings the dreaded WSIW is enough to send us into a blind state of panic or at least desperately wishing for Cher's infamous computerised closet from Clueless to solve our sartorial woes!

It's not so much that we don't have the right clothes, shoes or accessories or that we're not channelling spring's neon trend - we do and we are, we just seem to get muddled in the execution - in editing our looks for the stresses of everyday life!  Or sometimes it's as simple as we are bored and need a jolt of inspiration!

So, my solution is to get creative.  Firstly, as a lover and avid reader of fashion magazines and blogs, I say use them to your advantage!  They are not just there to dictate trends and to tell you to go buy a new Burberry trench - pay attention to the details and see how they can impact on the all important WSIW conundrum!  Here are some of my tips...

1. Tear out outfits from magazine fashion shoots, fashion adverts, fashion product pages, etc and keep them as a reference point - but remember to make a note of what it is that you found inspiring - for e.g. 'this outfit reminds me of my breton tee and chinos and I have a necklace like that'

I keep cuttings in a nice pretty box, £7.00 from Paperchase

2. You could even make a scrapbook or cuttings file for easy flicking inspiration in times of fashion meltdown!  Remember to include the notes...

I keep outfits I like in a scrapbook and label why I like them
3. You can go one step further and be ultra organised by planning out your outfits using the latest in fashion stationery...
What to Wear pad, £8.95 and Style Journal, £16.99, both from Liberty
4. The Blogosphere! There are so many blogs out there all documenting what people wear - from normal everyday people to those in the fashion industry.  Check them out to see the finer details - how they've styled a leather jacket, are they wearing a necklace as a bracelet, wearing socks with sandals, bright colours on someone with a similar colouring to you... the list is endless!  Here are just a couple of my favourite what I'm wearing blogs...

Laura Fantacci of Wearing It Today
The Grazia Girls - What We're Wearing
Vogue's Today I'm Wearing, starring a different celebrity every month - Editor in chief Lorraine Candy has just returned from maternity leave and is blogging her outfits everyday!
5. Last but not least...look around, be observant and just watch people on the street, your friends and family or people you work with, snap a photo and add it to your inspiration bank!

Armed with all this inspiration, I hope it helps to solve the daily WSIW challenge!

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I started blogging on Tumblr - at and whilst it works really well for sharing media like videos and photos, I didn't feel it was working for the main written posts or for interacting with any readers I might have out there!  So, I decided to move to Blogger as it's a really easy interface and also because so many of the blogs I love use it too.  So here I am and hope you enjoy reading!
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