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Monday, 31 August 2015

English Pear & Freesia - My First Foray into Jo Malone Fragrances

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia

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About 6 weeks ago I made my first foray into the world of Jo Malone fragrances - technically referred to as unisex colognes. I'd seen the 'Peony & Blush Suede' scent floating around in numerous instagram flatlays and found myself having two main thoughts; 1) I love peonies, I'm sure I'll love that one! and 2) ...what on earth does 'Blush Suede' smell of?! I decided that frankly, even after much research - ordering online would be too much of a risk when one of the main, advertised components of the scent was something I didn't know of or recognise. 

So, I headed into the Covent Garden store - which was very pretty indeed, as are all Jo Malone shops,  and what I can only describe as a sniffing session. I had a system, similar I'm sure to most peoples; spray the scents onto the little pieces of cardboard and place them in front of their matching bottles so as not to get confused. Despite this, I still got confused. There was a lot of 'wait.. which one did I pick up with my left hand again?' However, I'd like to enthusiastically point out that this was no fault of the store or the arrangement of the fragrances themselves, which are all very, very organised. It's just my brain that isn't very organised.

After said sniffing session, I came to the conclusion that although I did like the much-talked-about Peony & Blush Suede - but I felt it was more the buzzword 'peony' and it's established popularity that was attracting me to it, rather than it actually being my favourite scent. I settled on (or rather, my nose settled on) English Pear & Freesia, described on the Jo Malone website as 'the essence of autumn'. 

Jo Malone says...

'The essence of autumn. The sensuous freshness of just-ripe pears is wrapped in a bouquet of white freesias, and mellowed by amber, patchouli and woods. Luscious and golden.'

Top Note: King William Pears
Heart Note: Freesia
Base Note: Patchouli
(Yes, like me I imagine you're asking yourself 'what's Patchouli?' Well, apparently it's a 'sensuously deep, woody note that enhances the longevity of the fragrance' - well, there we have it.)

I say...

I wanted to use this fragrance for a reasonable length of time before sharing my thoughts on it, as we all know that in the first week or so of using a new fragrance, it's much more noticeable as our noses aren't familiar with it. However, even now, after using the scent 2/3 times a week for 6 weeks or so, I still notice pleasant little wafts of it all throughout the day. So, in terms of lasting power - I'd give it a very high rating. It certainly doesn't wear off, and speaking for my nose personally - it hasn't become overfamiliar and boring. I also really like the simplistic, elegant bottle. The smaller bottle in particular (the one I purchased) is perfectly sized for popping in even a small handbag. 

Overall, I'm impressed with the product. Jo Malone is a brand I really like - I already own a couple of their candles, which impressed me equally in terms of how far the scent travelled through my house and then lingered afterwards. So, the 'colognes' certainly haven't disappointed me. 

If you're thinking of picking a fragrance up for yourself, I'd really recommend you go and have  a sniffing session of your own and pick your favourite!



Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Day at Downton Abbey


Dress: The Jetset Diaries via ASOS (currently sold out, similar-ish here). Bag: c/o Radley. Shoes: Kurt Geiger. Earrings: Dior.

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I've recently come to the conclusion that my mother and I are actually a pair of 70 year old, National Trust property loving pensioners. There's nothing we like more than exploring a grand Stately Home and its gardens, identifying the flowers in the borders as we go, and if there's an afternoon tea on offer - we'll be on that like a seagull on a chip. I remember being embarrassed by my love of National Trust properties when I was in my teens - it's not really considered to be the 'coolest' of interests. But now, as an adult - naturally I've grown in confidence and don't care so much what others think -  I'm letting my love run wild and my mother and I are working our way through a list of properties to visit.

If you're a fan, or even vaguely familiar with the TV programme Downton Abbey, you'll probably recognise this location (it's not actually a National Trust property - it's privately owned). It is in fact, Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon, and a Jacobethan style Grade 1 listed Stately Home surrounded by 5,000 acres of land. It's beautifully gothic and unlike any other building I've ever seen, and as mega fans of Downton Abbey, my mother and I had this outing (complete with afternoon tea) booked since February. We were that keen. My expectations were exceeded in the beauty of the property, both inside and out. However I was a little disappointed that photography is not permitted inside the building itself - although I understand why, it is someone's actual home of course - in some of the bedrooms you could even see half-drunk glasses of water sitting on the bedside tables!

In regards to my outfit, it was a warm but dull day, so I opted for this rather nautical number by The Jetset Diaries. I love how flouncy the ruffle is, but also the fact that it's made out of a very casual, thin material which makes it feel more daytime appropriate. It also has a very unique little cut-out in the back which I forgot to photograph in my excitement. I paired the blue striped dress with my Hepburn bag from Radley, which is inspired by the lady herself; Audrey Hepburn. The bag was created to emulate her iconic elegance - polished, simplistic and stylish. 

Do you like a good stately home? I'd love to hear any recommendations! 


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Pastels, Lace & #DoorAppreciation (feat. me!)

Bag: c/o Radley. (now in the sale in lots of colour variations!) Top: ASOS. Trousers: Topshop. Shoes: Kurt Geiger. Hat: H&M.

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Good evening!

Now, prepare for a rather obnoxious amount of pink.

After discovering this sweet little location whilst scouting for my #doorappreciation 'series' on Instagram a couple of months ago (yes, I scout doors. I am not ashamed) I thought it'd be the perfect pastel location to shoot a summery look. So, when this adorable little pastel yellow Radley number arrived, I couldn't think of a better location! Granted, black lace isn't the most summery of choices... but I reasoned that the colour of the bag evened things out in the multi-colour V. monochrome stakes. 
I can be very lazy when it comes to mixing up bags, and more often than not I just want to throw in that day's lipstick choice and get out of the house. However, I was really surprised at how deep and spacious the bag's main compartment is - I felt strangely liberated all day. I didn't ask myself the usual  'can I tetris-style stuff my make up bag, sunglasses, keys and wallet into this tiny space?' question. It all fit in perfectly, and I think I've found my new favourite summer bag.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Ruffles, Strawberry Tarts & Audrey Hepburn

Top: Zara (sold out, similar here). Skirt: Zara (sold out, similar here). Sunglasses: Miu Miu. Shoes: c/o Topshop.

A super quick outfit post today; I was recently invited to The National Portrait Gallery for a private blogger viewing of the new Audrey Hepburn 'Portraits of an Icon' exhibition, followed by an obligatory trip to Laduree for sweet treats and one of their perfectly-sized cappuccinos (I then went for afternoon tea with Radley to celebrate the release of their 'Hepburn' bag collection - very fitting, but more on that in a later post!) If you're someone who's interested in fashion, film or of course just the lady herself, I'd absolutely urge you to go and take a look. Many of the photographs were sourced directly from Audrey's family and have never before been seen by the public or used in the media, and range from behind the scenes shots of her acting, images of her early training as a ballerina (her size 7 ballet shoes are displayed in a case!) and even her later charity work. I'm aware it sounds rather silly, but I sort of forget that she had long and rich life either side of the iconic Audrey that we all see in our minds when we think of her. I've never before imagined her as a child or a mature woman, and it was truly fascinating to see. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

A Green Theme at Blenheim Palace



Jacket: ZARA (sold out - similar here, in the sale) Dress: ASOS. Shoes: c/o UGG Australia. Earrings: Dior (similar here). Sunglasses: Miu Miu.
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We all know that summer is the season of outdoor events, and whether it be a graduation, a garden party or a barbecue - if you're like me, you'll want to dress up a little. I think that most of us girls enjoy wearing heels to a special occasion, not only for the extra height, but the added elegance (and if we're being honest, the level of 'sassiness' that comes along with a  good pair of heels). However, when it comes to summertime events, there's the tricky business of heels v. grass. How many of us have attempted to 'walk' across grass in heels by putting all of our weight into the front of our feet in a kind of giraffe-like totter. I like giraffes as much as the next person but unless it's animal-themed fancy dress, I don't particularly want to resemble one.

So, when UGG Australia contacted me, asking if I'd like to pick something out from their website, I was surprised to find that they offer a lot more than their famous boot - which, being honest, hasn't ever really tickled my pointy shoe loving fancy. I had my eye on a patent pair of pointed black flats until I saw these leather, wood-look wedges. 'Wedges!' I thought, the perfect answer to the heel v. grass dilemma of the summer! Having made up my mind, I decided to take them for a spin around the grounds of Blenheim Palace; home of grass. Lots of grass. And gravel. And obviously a beautiful palace. 

I wanted to go for a particular colour scheme, and as the entire purpose of this mission was to defeat the arch nemesis of the heel; 'grass' - I thought I'd go the whole hog and wear green too. A green theme! It's fair to say that I gave them a thorough test-run on all sorts of terrain; grass, gravel, cobbled paths (saying 'terrain' makes it sound like I was testing a quad bike, but I like it) and it felt so strange to be able to walk around the grounds so freely, not sinking into the grass. I did get a few funny looks walking around in heels on a casual day out (as expected) but they just didn't understand that I was conducting highly important shoe-testing business, and I am happy to report that they were incredibly comfortable, the leather was super soft and they didn't feel clompy at all. The added platform also erased a problem I'd never really thought of - the raised sole means that you don't get gravel trying to hitch a ride in your sandals. I'm definitely planning on wearing them to my next outdoor event!

I've been officially turned to the way of the wedge.
*This post is sponsored by UGG Australia. If you'd like to read more about my views on sponsored posts, please take a look at my 'About' tab!*