A Sunday in the Country

Lindex blazer; Sportmax dress (found for £6 in a charity shop); Longchamp bag; Waterford necklace and earrings; vintage Trifari brooch; vintage hair clip; I can’t remember where the shoes are from – I’ve had them for years!

This blazer is another Lindex purchase I made (fortunately before they all sold out). A cotton navy blazer is such a versatile staple for spring that I was thrilled to get one so stylish and so reasonably priced. I like to pair mine with jeans and a t-shirt or dress it up with a pretty floral dress.

I threw this outfit together for a lunch out deep in the beautiful Dorset countryside. The dress is proof that charity shops do still have some gems. It was far too big when I bought it, but it was easy to get it altered and (even factoring in the alteration cost) was a real bargain.

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Printemps Preppy

Lindex chinos, t-shirt, sweater, scarf and shoes; Burberry coat; Tamara Fogle bag; Waterford earrings; the rings were passed down to me from my Mum and the necklace charm was a gift from my Grandmother (it’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s a Florentine coin, picked up on a trip to Florence.).

It’s always so exciting to make a wonderful new fashion discovery. I’ve been on the lookout for inexpensive, but stylish clothes that are suitable for work (I work with children so wanted clothes that would wash and wear well and that could get covered in glue and paint without making me hyperventilate). I was feeling very uninspired by what Zara and H&M had to offer, so was truly delighted to stumble upon the Swedish brand Lindex. Lindex has been getting a lot of publicity lately as Gwyneth Paltrow is the face for their new ‘Modern Preppy’ Spring 2012 collection.

As soon as I saw the clothes, I knew I’d made a great discovery. I’m rather a preppy girl myself and love stripes, blazers and chinos that can be mixed and matched. The bright, popping colours are so on-trend this season, but all the pieces are real classics with a modern twist to give that fun bit of edge.

I ordered a few items (which you can see in these pictures, as well as others that I’ll show in future posts) and have been very impressed by their quality, especially considering the  price tag. I’ve also noticed that Lindex regularly features some great offers: I took advantage of their 3-for-2 offer on basics to pick up some  stripey t-shirts and tank tops.

I spent the weekend in Dorset visiting my Mum and Great Uncle. It was lots of fun to go for pretty walks in the countryside and relax. I’d been quite ill for the past three weeks so was definitely in need of some R&R.

Plenty of Dorset apple cake and cream seemed to work wonders, and now I’m all set to enjoy the Easter holidays!

Shades of Green

Chanel top, skirt and jacket (ok, so I know I said that I hoped to inspire with outfits that don’t cost a small – or large – fortune, and now here I am in Chanel. I, however, am very lucky to have a Great Uncle who used to work for Chanel, and over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a few items passed on to me and purchased at employee-only sales. I would also say that it’s always worth checking out secondhand designer and charity shops  – there are some great ones in Hampstead and West Hampstead); Tamara Fogle bag; Wolford tights (another Harrods summer sale purchase);  Otazu earrings; I can’t remember where the shoes came from (and the make has worn off) – I think I picked them up years ago on sale in a shop in Dorset.

It’s back to reality and grey skies today, but goodness, we really did have blissful weather in London on Sunday. See that pic above? Bare arms!! I spent a perfect afternoon in Hampstead: lobster for lunch at one of my favourite local pubs, The Horseshoe, followed by a stroll around and a trip to the best shop in Hampstead (which happens to sell Tamara Fogle bags, and I must admit I couldn’t refrain from spending some of my hard-earned cash on the gorgeous apple green bag new in stock). Like I said, a perfect afternoon!

A Bacaro in Soho

Nolita jacket; Sandro top; Acne jeans; Marc Jacobs shoes; Tamara Fogle bag; Chanel scarf; Jennifer Behr headband; Swarovski earrings (all items either sale purchases or gifts)

Yet more lovely weather! The clear skies are getting me smiling all the time, and this weekend I’m enjoying celebrating some good news I got earlier in the week, so all in all I’m feeling pretty sunshiny myself at the moment.

My Mum took me out for a meal to celebrate at one of my favourite London restaurants: Polpo in Soho. The atmosphere and food are styled on an Italian baraco and delicious tapas dishes and carafes of wine are served. We tucked into an incredible meal of: potato & parmesan crocchetta; arancini; moscardini; fritto misto; steak; tirimisu; flourless orange cake and wine. Yum!

Holding out for Spring

Brora dress (from last year’s archive sale, reduced to £29 from almost £200); Toast cardigan (and yes, you’ve guessed it, another archive sale purchase); Wolford tights (bought in the Harrod’s Summer Sale a few years ago); Repetto shoes; Chemin Blancs coat (now 12 years old!); Reiss hat; Alex Monroe necklace.

I’ve been loving the warmer weather London has been getting lately. Last weekend I took advantage of the sunny skies to pull on a spring-like dress (albeit with a Shetland wool cardigan!) and wander around Soho and Covent Garden. Tea, conversation and cinnamon rolls were had with friends from New York at one of my favourite haunts, The Nordic Bakery in Golden Square, followed by a gloriously colourful amble round Neal’s Yard. Spring is definitely in the air!

LBD

Toast dress (bought in archive sale); Otazu necklace (gifted); Gilbert Albert ring (gifted); Swarovski earrings

I went to a flat-warming party over the weekend and decided to go for the classic little black dress. It’s always so great to have a dress in your wardrobe that can be thrown on quickly and yet look sleek and elegant. This dress was another brilliant Toast archive sale purchase (£50 reduced from £185 – yes please!). I instantly spotted it as a useful wardrobe staple that could be dressed up or down. This time, I decided to glam up a bit so tied on a big flashy necklace.

Oh those grey rainy days

Jacket: Weekend Max Mara (8-9 years old); Top: Toast (bought for £15 in their archive sale); Jeans: Acne (bought on sale 3 years ago); Bag: Tamara Fogle (gifted); Boots: Chanel (bought in an employee only sale 4 years ago); Scarf: made by me using Liberty fabric; Ring and Earrings: gifted; Umbrella: Morris & Co; Nail varnish: Chanel, Image Rose (gifted)

I’ve been feeling a little stuck in a rut in terms of fashion lately. I adore clothes, but I’ve become a bit lazy in what I choose to wear everyday. During the week I’m generally in jeans and a stripey top, which is practical for work, but I’ve noticed that all too often I’m throwing on the same outfits (or lounging around in my sweats) on the weekend. In an attempt to get back to my more fashion conscious self, I’m planning a lot more ‘outfit’ posts on this blog. I hope these posts may provide some inspiration for my readers too: I’m not very focused on the latest ‘it’ item or fashion label; instead I’m interested in putting outfits together using classic pieces.

I’m very against the modern trend in buying quantity over quality. Much of my wardrobe is made up of clothes I have had for years and years and that still look brand new.  Also, I’m never a snob over sales: I buy almost everything on sale, preferably at least 50% off! I hope to show that it is possible to find beautiful clothes that will last for years at not ridiculous prices.

I’m a bit of a bore on the subject of scarfs, but I do love them. I think they’re the perfect way to transform any outfit. Even better, they’re so easy to make! My heart sinks at the prices whenever I walk into the Liberty scarf hall (a wonderful source of inspiration, at least), but at the fraction of the price I can make my own wonderfully unique Liberty scarf.

Perfect for brightening up a rainy day in Hampstead!

Petit Bateau and Garance Doré

Snow is lying inches deep outside, but I’m snuggled up in my flat dreaming of spring and sunshine.

Petit Bateau’s new collection, in partnership with the brilliant Garance Doré, has reminded me that, despite the weather, warmer days are on the way. I adore these simple, charming jumpers that look so fresh and relaxed. The only problem is deciding which colour! I do like the bright pink and blue:

The little video promoting the collection made me smile:

In the meantime, I’m consoling myself over the freezing weather with a cup of hot chocolate, casting on for a new cowl and an afternoon catching up the brilliant Borgen.

Top Christmas Gifts

I must have been pretty good in 2011, because Santa certainly followed through. Here are some of the highlights that were left under the (virtual) tree.

Clarisonic Mia

I’ve been reading fantastic reviews of the Sonic skin cleansing systems for a while and was absolutely thrilled to get the Clarisonic Mia in purple.  As a bit of a skincare obsessive, I love the sound of something that cleanses much more deeply and effectively then manual cleaning, reduces the size of pores , diminishes fine lines and leaves your skin super smooth and glowing. I’ve been using it the past couple days and already love it.

I also got a few crafty books which I enjoyed flicking through on Boxing Day:

Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu-to-Seikatsusha

These patterns look easy to follow and adapt – perfect for a sewing newbie like me! I admire the simplicity of the Japanese style and can see myself wearing everything, especially the sweet little cotton tops.

The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick

This sewing book looks like a lot of fun, and I’m reassured by the very detailed instructions provided throughout the guide. A lot of the patterns seem vintage inspired with a modern twist. I would love to be able to whip up some of these gorgeous dresses:

Here’s hoping! For other sewing enthusiasts, the Coletterie is definitely worth a look….

Finally, I was absolutely over the moon to get this beautiful Tamara Fogle bag. It’s made from a vintage Kilim and is just stunning – the perfect bag for carrying phone, keys and cash when I’m out and about in Hampstead.

Tamara Fogle bag

I look forward to all these presents getting a lot of use in the new year!