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29.07.2014- Day Tripping: Hampton Court Flower Show

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A few weekends ago, I popped along to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, taking place just a stone's throw away from the imposing Tudor Palace on the banks of the River Thames. With my new found penchant for gardening, I eagerly booked some tickets to take advantage of the countless stalls and demonstrations on offer, and needless to say I came away with my arms full of new plants and plenty of inspiration for improving my outdoor space. It was lovely to take in such a diverse range of gardens, and encounter lots of new plants which provided such beautiful surroundings on a fantastically sunny day: 


First up- the conceptual gardens. Located a short walk away from the main entrance, this series of spaces was themed around each of the seven deadly sins. The oversized, pop art inspired gluttony garden really caught my eye with an array of interesting planting, and it was really intriguing to see how each concept had been interpreted by the individual designers. Following through from this were show gardens, offering a more sedate and traditional approach. Amongst my favourites here were the Macmillan Garden and the NSPCC space- designs which were very personal, emotive and really served as a reminder of the power of the garden as a place of sanctuary. 


Next up, the Rose Tent. At first a pretty overwhelming prospect, this area was a wonderful riot of colour, with plenty of eye catching displays all inspired by the circus theme. Not only was it lovely to take in this space as a whole, but it was great to walk around from stall to stall, picking up a few new favourites and discovering some beautifully unusual blooms. The 2015 Rose of the Year was also on display here, carpeting the tent in an ombre sea of pale pink, pastel peach and sherbert lemon- 'For Your Eyes Only' will be available to purchase next year, and I'm already plotting where to pot mine!


After a pit-stop for lunch, it was time to brave the tent which was home to the plant sellers- something which sounds easy enough but which proved pretty tough going on what (then!) was the hottest day of the year so far. I was overwhelmed by orchids, besotted with begonias and transported to hydrangea heaven, and had to exercise some serious spending restraint when faced with such a stunning selection of pieces for sale. Next time I'm bringing a trolly with me! See you in 2015 Hampton Court!

Have you ever been to a flower show?

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

27.07.2014- Casual Cool

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Although styling outfits and getting dressed up is without a doubt one of my favourite pastimes, sometimes it's true that all you want to do is cosy up in some casual basics. With the weather still on the rather warm side, recently I've found myself wearing a fairly steady rotation of old favourites (there's even a little part of me which has secretly loved not having to wear jeans for the last three weeks!), which has made me- a) realise how few summer appropriate, non beach clothes I own and b) come to the conclusion that my wardrobe is seriously tacking in casual clobber which is actually still smart enough to leave the house in. To try and rectify this rather shocking (not to mention highly impractical!) state of affairs, over the last few weeks I've had my eye on a handful of day to day basics which are real staples in the making:
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French Navy Dress, £29.95/Blush Crew Neck Cable Knit Jumper, £59.95/Creme Striped Jersey Top, £24.95/Tan Leather Bag, £99.95/Ditsy iPad Mini Cover, £34.95/Navy Hare Jumper, £39.95/Tortoiseshell Brighton Sunglasses, £59.95/Tan Brogues, £99, all Joules.

It's still pretty humid out and about, but the with the Great British weather being truly unpredictable, I've no doubt that there are downpours aplenty just around the corner, which is why I'm kicking myself that I've only just come across this floral tunic dress now. It's a really effortless piece, and a dream to style, as well as being perfect for summers at home or away. Definitely one which I'm thinking about picking up for next year! Speaking of unpredictable weather, I've already noticed some autumn essentials popping up in the shops, and although I hate to wish time away, I'm sure that the remainder of the year will fly past just as speedily as the first half- so it's sensible to invest in your winter woollies early. This blush pink knit is exactly the sort of piece which I've had my eye on over the last few weeks, and the vibrant pop of colour makes it an ideal transitional piece too. 

There are few wardrobe basics which are more classic than the humble Breton top, and I've been meaning to stock up on some new ones for a little while now. With practicality in mind, this long sleeved style is something which would prove ideal for the chiller weather, and is perfect for layering too. Another style staple is undoubtedly the satchel, and this tan cross-body design is a real investment piece- and a lovely, more relaxed alternatives to some of the more structured pieces which make up my handbag collection. 

I'm still on the lookout for a jazzy cover for my iPad, and this floral design has shot to the top of my wishlist- particularly as the vibrant pattern means I'd never have to worry about losing it in the depths of my bag! With new season knitwear on the brain, I'm already on the lookout for pieces which are a little bit different and break up a lot of the block colours which are already in my wardrobe. This hare motif design is full of character and a piece which I think would prove to be a really versatile, well worn purchase- particularly if you, like me, tend to live in the same woollies during the chillier months.

In terms of essential accessories, we're all well aware by now that I'm something of a sunglasses obsessive, and this tortoiseshell pair are ideal for styling with lots of different favourites. And, although we're all living in sandals at the moment, getting caught in a downpour in some my summer shoes at the end of last week made me think about stocking up on some seriously practical footwear before the arrival of autumn. These gorgeous tan brogues are real essentials in waiting, particularly if you can't quite bring yourself to entertain the idea of digging out your winter boots just yet.

What are your casual essentials?

*This post has been sponsored by Joules

(Image credit: Joules.)

26.07.2014- MARA Jewellery

Saturday, 26 July 2014

I've mentioned in a few previous posts that I'm something of a self confessed jewellery junkie, and over the years I've amassed quite a collection (three jewellery boxes, four ring holders and two necklace racks!) of pretty pieces which I wear on a pretty steady rotation. Having said that, I'm always on the lookout for new pieces to add to my collection, so when the lovely Miranda got in touch to introduce MARA Jewellery, I hastily headed to the website- and was really impressed by what I found:

Everybody Out & Sky's The Limit Bracelets, c/o MARA Jewellery

Believe it or not, bracelets are somewhat lacking from my jewellery selection, so when Miranda kindly offered to send me a few pieces, I made an instant beeline for the bangles. Taking inspiration from the markets of Thailand where the label started life, each piece of jewellery is handmade and incorporates handpicked elements such as semi-precious stones. These two pretty pieces caught my eye as they're really unusual and unlike so much of the jewellery which I tend to see in the shops, and needless to say that they've scarcely left my wrist since they arrived. Just dainty enough to work well alongside everyday staples like my watch, yet making enough of a statement so as not to get too overwhelmed by my other accessories, this duo has really been brightening up my outfits of late, and is a cute combination which I'm sure will become a mainstay of my jewellery collection,

A big thank you to Miranda for the pieces!

Have you discovered any new favourite jewellery recently?

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

24.07.2014- What I Wore Today #196

Thursday, 24 July 2014

When it comes to summer staples, the printed trouser is probably one of my most reached-for pieces. Over the last couple of years I've amassed quite a collection, and now I've got so many favourites which I tend to reach for instinctively when the weather gets warmer. From season to season I'm always on the lookout for new styles, and certainly over the last year or so my collection has grown as I've steadily shopped around. With the heatwave sticking around (literally!) for a little while yet, I've more of less been living in some of my favourites of late:

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Blouse- Whistles 
Trousers- F&F 
Shoes- Birkenstock (via ASOS) 
Bag- Zara 
Sunglasses- Vintage 

How snazzy are these floral trousers from F&F? I picked these up when I went dotty over my polka dot pair, and am wearing them as I type now. They are ultra comfortable and ideal for this hot and humid weather. The pattern also seemed perfect for an outing for Hampton Court Flower Show a few weekends ago, where these snaps were taken (contrary to my wishful thinking, this is not my back garden!) I'm putting a full length post about my trip together as we speak so keep your eyes peeled for it hitting these pages soon! Keeping things simple, here I reached for a basic blouse from Whistles (a sale steal from a few seasons ago), and a couple of new purchases in the shape of this bargain £20 bag from Zara, as well as my new Birkenstocks. They've had a couple of outings so far- and although I almost immediately broke out in blisters (!!!) when I first wore them, I'm confident that once I've broken them in they're going to become real summer staples. 

Have you picked up any summery prints recently?

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

22.07.2014- Summer Holiday Style: Beach Break

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

After the heatwave which we had at the end of last week, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was longing to escape to the seaside, if only to cool down! With the summer holidays just creeping over the horizon, my thoughts are already turning to the prospect of the beach, although the closest I'll probably get to the sea is a trip down to Brighton (not that I'm complaining!) However, if you've got a more exotic break on the cards, I've rounded up some of my beach break must haves:
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Navy Scalloped Swimsuit, £36, Topshop/Red Basic Longline Bikini, £25, Topshop/Whistles Seam Back T-Shirt, £35, John Lewis/Layla Printed Beach Trousers, £35, Accessorize/Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas, £30, Selfridges/Slouchy Vegan Tote, £58, Free People/Leather Flat Sandals, £25, ASOS/Samsung NX Mini Compact System, £349.95, John Lewis/Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF 30, £8, Boots/Ombre Crown Weave Floppy Hat, £22, Accessorize/Pink Flower Trim Retro Sunglasses, £13, River Island.

You might remember from my holiday posts a few years ago that I'm a huge fan of retro inspired swimwear. There's something about the humble high waist which is super-flattering, and I'm always on the lookout for new pieces to add to my collection. This season, Topshop's swimwear has really caught my eye, and I love the illusion which this two tone scalloped swimsuit creates- it's a real classic in the making. If you're more of a bikini buyer, then look no further than this vibrant red two piece- pretty purse friendly too, don't you think? 

Whenever I go away on holiday, one of the first pieces to find a way into my suitcase is the humble white t-shirt. This classic from Whistles is a real essential, and something which you know will stand up really well to sunscreen and sand! Printed trousers are another warm weather favourite of mine, and I'm well and truly head over heels in love with this pair from Monsoon, especially as the bold contrasting pattern is ideal for statement summer dressing. I've mentioned in a few previous posts that I tend to pack minimal makeup when I go away, and of there's one product which is perfect for a trip away (or even if you're staying at home!), it's Charlotte Tilbury's Beach Stick. After reading lots about them online, a few weeks ago I finally spied them in Selfridges, and needless to say my face rapidly resembled that emoji which has hearts for eyes. Promising to give you a sunkissed, holiday complexion, this is ultra handy, and something which I'm confident I'll be investing in before too long!

Another essential for any beach break is a good, sturdy bag, large enough to accommodate all of your essentials. This design from Free People is perfect- with a pouch attached for all of your valuables. It would also make a really lovely day bag too- so definitely a worthwhile investment. These pastel pink sandals from ASOS caught my eye during a recent browse, and again they'd be the perfect versatile addition to any capsule holiday wardrobe. Clothes aside, there are few things more important to pack for a trip away than a camera, and this Samsung NX Mini model from John Lewis ticks all the right boxes. Not only is the sorbet shade perfect for the summer, but the spec is amazing- next time I go away I'm seriously considering investing in one of these more compact designs rather than worrying about finding room in my bag for my DSLR. 

Although it seems like a given, sunscreen is another vital addition to your holiday wardrobe- particularly if you're prone to burning as quickly as I am! Hand in hand with this sits the oversized hat (how amazing is this one from Accessorize?!), and some sunglasses- and I've got a feeling that this pair from River Island will be making their way into my collection sooner rather than later!

Are you heading to the beach this summer?

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