Summer Sale Dresses

There are some very tempting sales on at the moment. Below, I’ve gathered together some of my favourite picks, with suggestions for appropriate occasions. Happy shopping!

1. Saturday Markets

weekend chic

This dress and bag are perfect for wandering around Broadway Market over the weekend, and perhaps popping in for a cup of tea and slice of delicious lemon cake at Loafing.

2. Bride Side

wedding wear

I adore this dress and think it would be perfect for attending a summer wedding (although any occasion would do!).

3. Date Night.

dress to impress

This figure hugging, but elegant dress is sure to be a winner.

4. Picnic in the Park

picnic dressThis polka dot halter neck dress is perfect for picnicking on Hampstead Heath.

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Fresh Florals

IMG_2197Top, Uniqlo; leggings, Uniglo (now on sale); espadrilles, TOAST (a brilliant £5 buy in their most recent archive sale); earrings and necklace, Alex Monroe for Evans; watch, Swatch; ring, charity shop find; nail polish, Essie Boat House

This year, I discovered what a fantastic deal Uniqlo clothes are. When I’m looking for simple, stylish, inexpensive clothes then I head straight to their website. I love easy to wear leggings and tops in bright prints for a relaxed weekend look as I potter about in the patio garden.

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IMG_2221Uniqlo often have extremely successful collaborations with top designers; in the past I’ve snapped up pieces from their Orla Kiely, Lulu Guinness, Celia Birtwell and Laduree collections. I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for forthcoming collaborations as pieces tend to sell out very quickly.

Summer Party

IMG_2334Dress, Avoca; jacket, Sandro; bag, vintage Chanel; shoes – I can’t even remember! earrings, vintage; ring, Otazu; bracelet, gift; nail polish, Chanel Mimosa.

It’s the time of year where your diary starts to fill up with dinners, barbecues, birthday drinks and engagement parties. This outfit I find ideal for long summer evenings on the terrace, preferably with a cocktail in hand! Pair a pretty floral dress with chunky jewelry, a tuxedo jacket and a tousled side braid for a fun, but polished look.

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One of my very favourite places to sit out and enjoy the sunshine and a glass of wine in London is the rooftop terrace at Orrery. Bliss!

London Summer

IMG_2250Dress, Toast (archive sale purchase; similar here); belt, Sandro; handbag, Tamara Fogle; beach bag, Tarango (a fair trade company, with products handmade in Bangladesh); shoes, Chanel; watch, Swatch; necklace Baccarat; earrings, Lindex (similar here); sunglasses, Anthropologie; nail polish, Essie Boat House

Over the bank holiday weekend, I decided to take some time simply to enjoy the sunshine and explore the delights of my neighbourhood. I moved to Kingston at the end of August last year, but have been so busy since that I’ve barely had any time for exploration. With London looking so beautiful in the sunshine, I decided it was about time I pulled on a summer dress and took a walk through the wisteria scented streets of Kingston and Richmond.

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IMG_2253Warm, sunny days in London are rather rare, but when they do happen, they more than make up for all the rain!

My Rachel Riley Summer

All dresses and boleros shown in this post are Rachel Riley.

I think that whenever I look back on the summer of 2012 I’ll have a big smile on my face. After a busy few months full of end-of-term chaos, back injury, an exam and endless paper work to surmount, I was very ready for a break by the end of July. So far, the summer has been a perfect mix of rest and activity.

I’ve very much enjoyed having the time to read (this book is wonderful), go to the cinema, make new friends and catch up with old, attend a meeting of my craft club, drink Pimms, see a great exhibition and play, eat a cheese platter at La Fromagerie, walk along the beach at Canford Cliffs in Dorset, discover new areas of London, picnic in Kensington Gardens, become a little yoga obsessed (this website is *amazing*), paint my nails silly colours and – most excitingly – flat hunt.

I’m not the only one in a good mood. Everyone in London is full of Olympic fervour and – unusually – national pride. Public transport is (for the most part) running like a breeze, and even at large stations like Waterloo, far from dodging manic pedestrian hordes, I’m only trying to avoid the bucket loads of free ice-lollies that are constantly handed out.

I must admit though, that the Olympics have rather faded into the background for me as I am caught up in my own private adventure this summer. The next couple of months are going to see a great deal of change, and I have to keep reminding myself not to wish the next few weeks away, but to live in the moment and to savour the last of my time in Hampstead.

When I look back on this summer, though, I am not sure I will think of it as ‘the summer I moved,’ or the ‘London Olympics,’ as much as ‘my Rachel Riley summer.’ Rachel Riley has been one of my most exciting recent discoveries, and I must admit I went a little mad in the fantastic summer sale. The dresses I bought (pictured above) have provided a wonderful uniform for the hotter months: simple, beautifully made cotton dresses with a vintage feel and unusual prints. I love the Rachel Riley shop on Marylebone highstreet and can’t recommend a trip there highly enough. Most of the clothes are made for children, but a wide selection is also available for women at the back of the shop. Also, do have a very good rummage in the sample sale boxes, which is where I found one of my very favourite purchases – the navy dress with the polka dot bow. I know I am going to be wearing these dresses for years to come, but they’ll also always remind me of my lovely summer in 2012.

Neon and Lace

Look fresh and chic this season by incorporating some of the coolest Spring/Summer trends into your wardrobe: neon and lace.

1. A little white dress is essential for summer parties (Paul and Joe Sister). 2. Spice up your look with a neon tank and white blazer (Sandro). 3. A great transitional bag (Anne Fontaine). 4. This nail polish is beach perfect (Chanel). Background: beautiful fabric from SCION.

Easter Pinks

Anna Sui dress; Tocca coat; M&S tights; Nicole Farhi shoes; Scapa bag; Swarovski earrings; vintage bracelet; Essie ‘Splash of Grenadine’ nail polish.

I’ve had a lovely Easter Sunday and am currently curled up in a chair, rendered immoveable by the vast quantity of food and chocolate I’ve managed to consume. The Easter Bunny certainly stopped by my flat this morning; besides lots of delicious chocolate, there was a small package containing the gorgeous vintage pearl and imitation sapphire bracelet I’m wearing in these photos. I have quite small wrists and have a very hard time finding bracelets that fit. My Mum in fact got this one made specially to fit me so it is already a cherished possession.

I enjoyed Easter lunch out with my Mum at my favourite pub in Hampstead, The Old White Bear.

It was quite the feast: roast chicken followed by orange cheesecake for me.

After lunch, we thought a stroll around Hampstead would aid our digestion so set off for Fenton House, a small National Trust property with beautiful grounds, boasting an orchard and rose garden. I volunteered at the house last summer so have got to know it pretty well and still love to pay it a visit.

I had in fact planned quite a different outfit for today (a primrose yellow satin dress without sleeves), but it was so cold and dark when I woke up this morning that I had to rethink my choice. Anna Sui is one of my very favourite designers, and a couple of dresses I have of hers are very rare non-sale purchases of mine. I love this dress with the mix of velvet and silk and beautiful buttons.

The coat, however, was a sale bargain purchased about 10 years ago. I think it still looks brand new and pulled it out of my wardrobe again when excitedly I noticed that one of my  TV heroines – Rory Gilmore – wears the exact same coat in later series of the Gilmore Girls.

Hmm, and now I have to decide whether I’m going to be lazy and watch an episode of a new favourite tv series or be good and workout. As there is still plenty of chocolate to get through, I’d better do something active!

How to Combat a Cold Spring Day:

Chanel coat and necklace; Anne Fontaine blouse; Cacharel shorts; Swarovski earrings; Swarovski and Waterford rings; Wolford tights; Repetto Shoes; Italian linen scarf; Louison bag; Essie ‘Bermuda Shorts’ nail polish with Chanel ‘Diamond’ as a top coat.

1. Even though the weather is grey, you don’t have to dress accordingly! On chilly Spring days, choose a coat that isn’t a dark, winterish colour.

2. Get out your hot pink / red nail polish.

3. Choose some favourite jewellery.

4. Team your outfit with eye-catching, brightly coloured accessories.

5. Set off for a favourite art gallery (in my case, the Royal Academy of Arts).

6. If you’re lucky enough to live in London and haven’t yet seen it, do try to catch the David Hockney exhibition (now in its last week). The vibrant colours and beautiful landscapes are bound to put a smile on your face, and the paintings are drawn with such immediacy that you can almost feel the sunshine leaping off the canvas.

David Hockney, The Road Across the Wolds, 1997

7. Stop for a bite to eat and a coffee at a cosy cafe (Rose Bakery, Dover Street Market), where you can peruse their copies of Bazaar magazine as well as your exhibition catalogue.

8. Stroll around a pretty corner of London (Berkeley Square) and rest weary legs at the utterly charming Miller Harris tearoom. Delicious tea and mini Violet cupcakes will put the spring back into your step in no time.