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Sunday, 21 August 2016

16 going on 17; a summer garden party

Dress: here. Hat: alternative here

Earlier this week we celebrated a family birthday with a garden party at Charlcote Park, a beautiful 16th century stately home set within its own deer park. The stunning Elizabethan style building which is still home to the Lucy family, once played host to Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare himself is said to have frequently visited to hunt within the grounds.

My extended family rented the right wing of the top floor of the house for the week in celebration of my Auntie Gill's birthday, which meant that when all the visitors left at 5pm we were left alone in the grounds. The family who still live in the house were away for the summer, so it was incredible to be able to wander the grounds alone (many 'welcome to my humble abode' jokes were made...)

It was a scorching hot day, and during the party, my mum and I couldn't resist excusing ourselves to explore the grounds. As we were admiring some towering cedar trees, we realised it would be a beautiful and unique location for an improptu photo shoot. I'd already commented on how this pale pink dress makes me feel like Liesl Von Trapp when she sings 16 Going on 17 (then I had an internal weep over the fact that I am now 24 going on 25 and that doesn't have quite the same ring to it...) so, when we spotted a pair of stone benches, we saw visions of Liesl leaping around the garden room and decided to have a little fun with it. 

The dress, which I paired with a vintage straw hat in an attempt to make it a little more casual, has fast become one of my favourites. It's delicate layers of fabric flow beautifully and the perfectly ruffled bardot neckline and hem are lined with wire to preserve and hold the incredible ruffled effect. Don't tell anyone, but I ADORED this dress so much, I also bought it in a mint green... 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Perfect Highlight for Pale Skin

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator  in Devotion - a cool, pearly pink.
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I have difficulty with highlighters. I'm pale - deceptively so, and often even the lightest toned highlighter ends up looking like a smear of shiny bronzer on my pasty cheekbones. I've experimented a lot, and about 18 months ago Laura Mercier's Baked Highlight in 01 found itself sitting happily in my make up collection's top highlighter spot and remains there today. It's a soft champagne highlight with a beautiful texture, great staying power and a 'behold my fabulous god-given cheekbones' finish rather than the 'shield your eyes from my laminated face' effect. 

So, when I saw that Laura Mercier had released a new collection of 'Face Illuminators' I was immediately interested. It's a brand that suits me and a brand I trust - particularly in the highlight department. The product comes in Laura Mercier's classic deep brown packaging and is baked into a swirling wave-like pattern. 

The new collection has four shades; Addiction, a gold, Seduction, a soft bronze, Indiscretion, a warm rose gold and Devotion, a cool pink. The product is described as a multi-use, buildable highlighting powder that'll bring light to your eyes, face and d├ęcolletage without shifting during the day. 

Devotion, the cool toned pearly pink immediately caught my eye and it was love at first swatch. I prefer pearly highlights on pale skin - in my experience, they really lift the complexion and Devotion doesn't disappoint.  It's an ethereal, icy pink and the pigmentation is magnificent. It's soft, creamy, applies well and has the same finely milled texture as my current everyday Laura Mercier highlight. Applied with a light or heavy hand, it gives a beautiful pearlised shimmer across the cheekbones and even though it's a summertime release, it's a product that I can really see myself using throughout the year. I guess you could say I am now devoted to Devotion...... *insert canned laughter* 

So, Laura Mercier have continued to impress me and I'd recommend this 100% -particularly if you're a fellow fair skinned individual or someone who prefers a pearly highlight. 

Below you'll find my everyday favourite highlight and The Face Illuminator in Devotion, the product we're talking about here. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Red Dress

Dress - here. (alternatives below!) Shoes: sold out - alternative here. Bag: here.
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Have you ever seen an item and just thought 'I HAVE TO HAVE YOU' - even if, when you're honest with yourself, you don't really know where you'd wear it, or if you'd even have the confidence to wear it. That was what happened with this dress. I saw it's fluted sleeves and frilled neckline and instantly knew it'd end up in my wardrobe. The only aspects of it I wasn't convinced by didn't seem to matter when I tried it on in my bedroom, but when the prospect of leaving the house in it became real, it suddenly seemed daunting; it's quite figure hugging on top - will people stare? It's a bit short - my Granny won't approve... (and going up the tube escalators would be a dangerous game indeed...) So, over the course of about a month, I tried it on again and again, liked it, but never actually braved the outside world. Red is such a 'LOOK AT ME' colour, and although this might be contrary to your opinion seeing as I put a lot of myself online, I'm not one of life's natural born performers. I don't really enjoy attention. Don't get me wrong - if one of my instagram photos gets over a thousand likes I'll print it out, frame it and bask in the glory of internet validation, BUT, that's not real life attention. If those thousand people were stood in front of me...looking at me... I would slowly edge backwards into the nearest hedge. Quite like that gif of Homer Simpson.

So, the dress hung in my wardrobe, unworn and unloved, until my friend Paige encouraged me to be brave. For the first portion of our day out I did feel quite uncomfortable, I felt like a lot of people were looking at me. I think a lot of people can relate to this when I say that I'm very good at giving advice, but not so good at taking my own. I do think it's important to remember that just because someone is looking at you, doesn't mean they're thinking something bad. More importantly - even if they WERE saying something bad, who cares. A stranger's opinion, especially about something as trivial as a dress of a pair of shoes, doesn't matter. 

What do you think? Do you have anything in your wardrobe that you're too scared to wear?

Photos by Paige Joanna.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Does Your Style Mature with You?

 Top: here (£19 in the sale!) Trousers: here. Shoes: (£21 in the sale!) here. Bag: here.
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Oh, wow, look at that. A bow blouse. How very original and experimental of me.

Clearly I'm kidding, but my current taste is nothing if not consistent. 

Following on from my last outfit post where things got very colourful and daring, I wanted to even things out a bit by featuring one of my failsafe, go-to outfits; tailored trousers, some form of interesting blouse, pointed shoes. When I think about it, I definitely used to be a bit more wild with my fashion choices when I was younger. Over the last few years, I've found myself gradually pulling back on the things that made my style a little bit more... eccentric, shall we say? I certainly wouldn't say my dress sense is boring, but I might say it's become slightly more 'mature' - whatever that even means. For example, my vast collection of huge, eye-catching statement necklaces and Pat Butcher earrings now sit unworn, replaced with simple pearls and studs. Sometimes I wonder why that is. Your style definitely changes with time, but does it specifically change with age? Have I simply grown out of them or has my style evolved as I've gotten older? 

What do you think? Has your style changed with time/age?

Photos by Paige Joanna.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

New Beauty Launch - Mastering a Bold Lip On The Go with The Chanel Stylo

Take a look at the Chanel Stylo here.
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Today, I'm going to quickly talk you through a new beauty launch from Chanel; the Stylo. (Pronounced steelo - like the word for pen in French.) 

The Chanel Stylo is more than meets the eye. Touted as a product perfect for travel, not just because of its sleek, handbag friendly design, but also due to its easy application. It's highly pigmented but without need for too much precision when applied. Ideal for mastering the bold lip look whilst on the go! The hybrid formula, contained in the elongated lipstick bullet, is said to be as intense in pigment as a lipstick, as shiny as a gloss and as comfortable to wear as balm. 
The packaging is classic and simple. It's very 'Chanel' albeit slightly less glamorous than the brand's standard gold-accented packaging. To use the product, you simply turn the base, much like a lipstick - but there's a twist (...that wasn't meant to be a pun I promise) when the base is turned, you'll hear a click. This click signals that the perfect amount of product has been pushed up and out of the plastic tube. Not only that, I've found it's also retractable. Meaning less wastage and no awkward squishing the lid onto the lipstick after an over enthusiastic twist. Win win!

After a couple of weeks of use, I've become really fond of it. Often, a bright lip seems like quite a commitment - as well as being time consuming when you're in a rush. I don't usually give myself enough time to get ready in the morning and when I've been short on time but feeling in the mood for a bold lip, this has been my go-to product. 

Have you tried the Chanel Stylo?
If you'd like to hear me talk a little more about it, you can watch this video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvt5W99wWpw

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Dressing Up with Mary Katrantzou, Linda Farrow and Feathers Boutique

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I like to think that most of us who inhabit the blogging world, writers and readers alike, all have something in common. We share a passion; style, and in this one way, we're all the same. Often, the other thing that goes hand in hand with this is shopping. To us, it's a beautiful mission, an EVENT. Window shopping, browsing, scouting for ideas or blowing your entire month's paycheque. Whatever it is, it's something we all appreciate in a similar way.  

The other week, Feathers, a little designer boutique just across from Harrods, invited me to explore their store. Essentially, I was invited to go and play dress up in all of their beautiful clothes. Did I accept this offer? OF COURSE. ARE YOU NEW HERE? 

The boutique is a heavenly selection of slightly more unusual designers, bold prints and brilliant colours. My initial thought was truly 'this is where the cool people buy their clothes'. As you can see from my rather snap-happy photographic results, every corner, surface and cabinet was covered in quirky but stylish accessories, shoes and clothes. The general style of the store is definitely bold, so I let that encourage me to step slightly out of my comfort zone. I think as adults, most of us have a tendency to try choose the clothes we find most 'practical'. By practical, I don't mean a nice wooly jumper - I mean:

 'How many of my clothes will it go with?'
 'How much use will I get out of it?' 
'Where can I wear it?'

That little voice in our head is just trying to be sensible. However, as I was just playing dress up for the day, I decided to completely strangle that practical voice and go wild.

I was helped by a very sweet lady named Alice, who gave me a tour of the shop and happily explained all about the various designers. After much deliberation, I finalised two outfits. The first, you'll see above. Having been a fan of her designs for many years, I was immediately drawn to the Mary Katrantzou rail and picked out this flowing, pleated top; a perfect example of her incredible, colourful prints. With it I paired some rose gold Linda Farrow Sunglasses and a wildly extravagant bag from Gedebe. 

For the second outfit (below) I stuck with the main body of my own outfit and added an unbelievable, embroidered, embellished, moss green jacket from Etro and a pretty little bag from Maison Marginal. Both of these outfits were definitely out of my usual zone of familiarity but I loved them both. It was such fun to experiment and dress up in a way that I might be too unsure to do. 

What do you think? Do you ever wish you could play dress up?

All of these pieces can be found at Feathers Boutique or on Farfetch.

Jacket: Etro c/o Feathers Boutique. Bag: Maison Marginal c/o Feathers Boutique - out of stock online, similar here. Top: H&M.