29.10.2014- Spooky Style

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

With Halloween just around the corner, I'm sure I'm not the only one with spooky style on the brain. Although I'm unlikely to be able to hop onto the train on Friday morning in full on White Walker mode (as much as I'd love to!), you might remember that last year I came to a pretty cracking compromise thanks to my amazing Christopher Kane Frankenstein tee. If you want to embrace the dark side this weekend but aren't overly fond of false fangs and ghoulish get ups, here's a little look at some of the more subtly spooky pieces in the shops at the moment, sure to have you looking fangtastic (sorry!) whatever your Halloween plans are:
Speak of the Devil Tee, Kate Spade/Ava Padded Neck Tunic Dress, £135, Whistles/Felt Fedora Hat, £60, Whistles/Cross-Back Jumpsuit, £30, Topshop/Cat Waist Belt, £12, ASOS/Combined Lace Top, £25.99, Zara/Woodland Rectangular Watch, £75, Olivia Burton/Lip Polish in Twin, £8, Topshop/Spider Pouch, £325, Charlotte Olympia. 

I love this tee from Kate Spade as it's super simple but still makes a bold statement, like so many of their standout pieces. It's also something which is simultaneously brilliant for Halloween and which you could also easily incorporate into your day to day wardrobe too. If you're planning on heading out trick or treating or are welcoming in the start of the winter with some fireworks, then wrapping up warm is a must. Whilst I'm still to properly unravel my knitwear collection, I'm already thinking about getting properly prepared for the chilly weather, and this jumper dress from Whistles ticks all of the right boxes. As well as being super practical, it's also seriously versatile and the sort of staple which you could happily come back to season after season. Speaking of Whistles, this hat from their AW14 drop is well and truly at the top of my wishlist, and is another true classic which would give you a guaranteed return on your investment. 

Tapping in to this season's penchant for all things gothic, this blouse from Zara is a lovely, subtle Halloween alternative. The lace detailing adds a really sophisticated feel, and again it's another ultra versatile purchase which lends itself just as well to dressing up as dressing down. Speaking of dressing up, if you've got a spooky party in the calendar, then this jumpsuit from Topshop is definitely one to add to the shopping list. It won't break the bank and channels casual cool as well as having plenty of potential for being dressed up around a theme. If you're feeling feline, then look no further than this amazing waist belt from ASOS- so cute that I'm tempted to wear it all year round! 

With accessories in mind, this Olivia Burton watch offers a sophisticated take on spooky, and is another sound investment piece thanks to the simple, versatile design. If you're avoiding face paint in favour of more understated maquillage, then Topshop's vivid lip stains are perfect for creating a statement without looking like you're a long lost member of the Addams Family. Finally, for the perfect finishing touch, look no further than the queen of Halloween- Charlotte Olympia- and her incredible spider clutch.

Do you have any exciting plans for Halloween?

(Image credit: Kate Spade, Whistles, Zara, Topshop, ASOS, Olivia Burton and Charlotte Olympia.)

26.10.14- Nailing It

Sunday, 26 October 2014

As far as day to day beauty goes, I think I've mentioned more than a few times in the past that less tends to be more where I'm concerned. I'll happily sacrifice popping on some eyeshadow for an extra few minutes in bed, and am always in favour of scoffing breakfast over trying to master winged eyeliner at half past six in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily while away hours (when I have them!) getting ready, but as my time in the mornings is very much of the essence nowadays, non essentials tend to fall by the wayside. Painting my nails is also something which I never seem to have much time for these days, but after having a little sort out of my make up drawer and rediscovering a rather substantial selection of polishes, I'm determined to indulge in treating my talons to a splash of colour more often. With effective time management in mind, I've curated a little capsule collection of go-to failsafe favourites:

Clockwise from left: Essie Take It Outside, Chanel Delight, Essie Cocktail Bling, Kure Bazaar Stiletto

Although I've never considered myself to be that much of a nail varnish person, I seem to have amassed quite a collection over the last eighteen months or so (which may or may not have a direct correlation to Essie launching in the UK!!!) This pretty little lot tend to be the ones which I find myself reaching for most often, and although I'm still to discover the perfect long-wearing, chip free top coat, when I do get the chance to embrace my inner artiste and paint away I always feel a little bit perkier. Simple things, eh?!

Essie's Take It Outside is a fairly recent acquisition, and is a new release from their Fall 2014 collection. It's a gorgeous neutral taupe, with a little hint of lilac adding a cool tone. Whilst Chanel's nail polishes don't have the best reputation in terms of durability, the colours are amazing, and the sleek bottle design alone is a serious selling point. I picked up Delight as a birthday present to myself a little while back, and this iridescent gold is a really classy number- as well as being perfect for the festive season. Another Essie purchase comes in the shape of Cocktail Bling, one of my most worn favourites from their spring drop earlier this year. The blue-grey hue is a real staple, and a true trans-seasonal treasure. Finally, no nail varnish collection is complete without the traditional, ultra sophisticated red polish- and this one from Kure Bazaar is one of the best I've found to date- I'm definitely going to pick up a few more of their shades as the formulation promises up to 85% natural ingredients- winner!

What are your nail polish preferences?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

20.10.2014- Day Tripping: Arundel Castle

Monday, 20 October 2014

I know that summer seems like a long distant memory now, but back in July I spent a lovely few days away from work, catching up with friends exploring some holiday-at-home favourites. When the weather co-operates, there are some amazing stay at home destinations to explore, particularly if you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city like London and aren't jetting off on holiday. Finding ourselves at a bit of a loose end, my lovely friend Kate and I jumped on the train down to Sussex, heading for one of my favourite places (and something of a spiritual home!)- Arundel Castle:

I think I've mentioned a few times that my grandparents used to live in Arundel- so any visit back to a place which holds such lovely childhood memories (including horses turning up in the back garden!) is always a welcome one. Truth be told, I hadn't realised how much I'd missed making regular trips down, and it's been lovely to rediscover such a gorgeous, tranquil corner of the world with a better appreciation of it as a (sort of!) adult. Shamefully, up until last year I'd only ever explored a tiny section of the castle, so getting to know it and the beautiful gardens properly has been fantastic.

The original castle motte dates back to the 11th century, and was built during the reign of William the Conqueror, sustaining an important defensive position on the banks of the River Arun. Exploring the oldest parts of the castle, particularly the keep, you get a real sense of how vast the surrounding area is, and how strategically important the castle would have been to protect the south coast from invasion. From the date of the original construction until today, the castle has been the hereditary seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, passing successively through the generations in the face of executions, civil war and sieges. Although on occasion badly damaged, the castle has been carefully restored, and the sense of living history which welcomes you as you explore is second to none- needless to say that my not-so-secret inner Game of Thrones fan was in her element! 

As well as the sense of history which permeates the castle, the gardens are also beautiful- and perhaps my favourite part of Arundel to explore. The space has changed hugely since I was little (or perhaps I've just got bigger!), and it's amazing to see how perfectly and painstakingly maintained each area is- standouts for me include the Cut Flower garden and the Organic Kitchen garden. The whole area is the perfect tranquil escape, particularly as the gardens sit in the shadow of Arundel Cathedral (where my parents got married!), and is just around the corner from where my grandparents lived when my grandad used to work for the Norfolk estate. It goes without saying that Arundel has a hugely special place in my heart, and I'm so so glad that I've been able to rediscover and appreciate it now as an adult- and I'm sure that another return visit won't be too far away. 

Have you visited anywhere special recently?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

13.10.2014- What I Wore Today #205

Monday, 13 October 2014

Now that there's a distinct autumnal chill in the air, my day to day wardrobe is tending to consist of ultra practical pieces which are easy to layer up against the weather. Whilst it's quite sad to admit that I've already been wearing my winter coat (which makes for a rather interesting, if somewhat sweaty picture when I'm power walking to the train station of a morning!), in terms of practicality it's been a must- particularly for pretending it's a portable duvet when I've seriously struggled with my alarm clock! However, on the odd occasion where the sun has been peaking through the clouds before I head for the front door, I've been reaching for a seriously versatile wardrobe staple- the duster jacket: 

Jacket- c/o Warehouse 
Blouse- Zara 
Jeans- Noisy May (via ASOS) 
Bag- Warehouse 
Shoes- Adidas c/o JD Sports 

When the lovely people from Warehouse dropped me a line to introduce their autumn collection, this jacket proved to be a real standout. Not only is it the perfect bridge between the smart and casual pieces in my wardrobe, but it's also a lovely, ultra wearable alternative to some of my heavier coats, so is proving ideal for the changeable days which we seem to be having at the moment. I'm finding that the slouchier fit makes it ideal for the weekends as well as my work wardrobe, and here I paired it with some Saturday staples in the shape of my Noisy May jeans, a basic blouse from Zara and my much worn Adidas kicks. Speaking of Warehouse, you might remember this backpack from my transitional treasures post last month, and, after spotting that it had been reduced in the sale, I couldn't resist adding it to my collection- further proof that these pages are more of a 'list of things to buy' diary than anything else! 

Are you a fan of Warehouse's latest collection? 

(Image credit: Hannah Hobson, please do not reproduce without permission.)

10.10.2014- Bookmark: The New York Times- 36 Hours, 125 Weekends in Europe

Friday, 10 October 2014

I don't know whether it's just that time of the year, but as winter descends I'm always filled with a serious sense of wanderlust and get really eager to book a holiday. Apart from my amazing trip to Morocco back in February, I haven't been able to get away anywhere else (first world problems, I know!), and the closest I've come to visiting anywhere exotic has been watching Simon Reeve's back catalogue on the TV. My last 'proper' holiday was back in 2012, so I'm determined that next year is going to be as travel orientated as possible, particularly as I'm drawing up a serious bucket list of dream destinations. With a serious case of itchy feet, I took the plunge and ordered a super special travel guide to help me plan away:

The New York Times- 36 Hours, 125 Weekends in Europe by Barbara Ireland

You might remember this book from a holiday style post which I put together back at the start of the summer, and not long after I featured it, it was safely ensconced within my excited (if somewhat Vitamin D deficient) palms. Jam packed with hundreds (if not thousands) of recommendations of the best places to visit in Europe, if you've got itchy feet but limited time then this is a definite must buy. The mini break was a phenomena which I hadn't fully bought into until I experienced it for myself, and if you're looking for the best tool to help you organise your time effectively, then this is perfect. Barbara Ireland's recommendations offer the perfect balance of must-visit tourist favourites and off the beaten track discoveries, and the guidebook is also ultra easy to navigate thanks to the handy maps and geographical sub divisions. So far my shortlist consists of Dubrovnik, Copenhagen, Barcelona and Dublin...but I'm sure there will be plenty of additions to come! 

Are you a guide book fan? Where have you visited recently? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)
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