19.08.2014- Day Tripping: Royal Childhood at Buckingham Palace

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A few weeks ago, along with Sarah, I was lucky enough to pay a visit to Buckingham Palace for a very special preview of the latest exhibition to take up residence in The State Rooms. You might remember that last year, I got a chance to have a glimpse of The Queen's Coronation installation before it opened to the general public, so I was only too eager to return ahead of the crowds and have another look around one of the most opulent locations I've ever had the pleasure of exploring. This year's exhibition, entitled Royal Childhood, focuses on life as a young royal and growing up at Buckingham Palace, incorporating an array of objects, photographs and film footage, as well as personal toys and trinkets from the Royal Family's private archives.

As well as a series of more opulent objects, including Princess Alice's beautiful gilt cradle and the official City of London Congratulatory Resolution marking Prince George's birth, the exhibition also incorporates a series of lovely personal touches which really evoke a sense of the normality of (Royal) family life. From the character adorned chairs used by Prince William, Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice to the door from the nursery at Royal Lodge (c.1930), marking the heights of each of the royal children and anchoring the horseshoes of Princess Elizabeth's first ponies, each carefully selected object here connotes the routine nature of family life, and the traditional hallmarks of growing up which we can all relate to.

The display of clothes which takes centre stage throughout Royal Childhood also contrasts the ceremonial, traditional elements of growing up as part of the Royal Family against the necessity for practical, comfortable daywear. Items of ceremonial dress on display here include a blue velvet walking suit with lace applique worn by a young George V (c. 1868) and the bridesmaid dress worn by Zara Phillips to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York (c.1986). More instantly recognisable outfits include the childhood clothes of Princes William and Harry, and the co-ordinated pale pink jackets worn by the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret from the 1930s. As well as the more formal items, this display also incorporated a few fun elements, most notably the fairy costume worn by Princess Anne- definitely an outfit I'm sure most little girls (and some grown up ones!) can appreciate!

Perhaps my favourite part of the exhibition was having the chance to explore the Royal toy box and indulge my inner child! One of the most impressive pieces on display here is Y Bwthyn Blach (The Little House), which was made for Princess Elizabeth in 1932. A gift from the people of Wales for her sixth birthday, this house in miniature incorporates a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, equipped with all the mod-cons needed for indulging in some serious fun. Juxtaposed alongside the more traditional learning toys from the Royal Nursery, here we also find a wooden roller coaster, an abundance of rocking horses and enough toy cars to warrant opening a small garage- Prince Andrew's mini Aston Martin DB5 is definitely a highlight worth looking out for here. 

Also worth noting is the beautiful film footage which punctuates the exhibition- never before seen, it offers an unparalleled, intimate glimpse at the private moments of Royal Childhood, and really serves to demonstrate the shared rituals of growing up which are so important to all of us. 

A big thank you to Buckingham Palace and to Hanae for inviting me along. 

Royal Childhood runs at Buckingham Palace until Sunday 28th September.

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

17.08.2014- Beauty Buys: Benefit They're Real! Push Up Liner

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Like most people in life, there are some things which I like to think I'm pretty good at (eating biscuits, making tea and being able to endlessly quote Game of Thrones being my top three talents at the moment), but at the grand old age of twenty four, I've resigned myself to the fact that there are some skills which I'll just never be able to master. I know that I'll never have the patience for knitting. I doubt if I'll ever possess anything more than a basic (primary school) understanding of Maths. And it's pretty much a given that my artistic talents will never stretch beyond the bounds of the humble stick man. Until recently, I'd also completely given up hope of being able to 'do' eyeliner- more specifically the sort of feline flick synonymous with 60s style and recently brought into our collective consciousness again by a certain Miss Chung. Whenever I'd tried to conquer the cat eye in the past, things had tended to go horrendously wrong, with my lack of hand-eye co-ordination resulting in some seriously panda-esque peepers. I'd firmly resigned myself to the fact that I'd never be able to master elegant eyeliner, as no matter how many products I tried, I'd constantly end up with the same shoddy results. However, after reading a whole host of glowing reviews of Benefit's latest eye offering, I threw caution to the wind and took the plunge, treating myself to it after a rather momentous Monday (more on that soon, I'm sure!): 

They're Real! Push Up Liner, £18.50, Benefit

This little product has been the toast of a lot of my favourite beauty blogs over the last month or so, and it definitely lives up to the hype. I'm someone who (still) can't keep in between the lines in a colouring book, so the idea of having to create two almost identical slicks of eyeliner across each of my eyelids is one which filled me with fear- until discovering this. The applicator is slanted, so most of the hard work in terms of angling and positioning has been done for you, and the pen-like design makes it ultra-easy to hold. Less is definitely more with this too, particularly in terms of making sure you've got just the perfect amount of gel product ready at the top of the pen, and also when applying it's worth noting that a little goes a really long way. I've mainly been using this toward the outer edge of my eyelid just to create a little flick, but it's dynamic enough to build across the lash line should you be that way inclined too. The fact that I've been using it pretty solidly since I picked it up is testament enough to how good it is- especially as every time I've tried liners in the past I've given up and thrown them in the bin!

Have you tried the They're Real Push Up Liner?

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

11.08.2014- What I Wore Today #198

Monday, 11 August 2014

Although florals tend to be my summer staple of choice, it's always nice to mix things up a little bit in the print stakes, particularly at this time of the year when a bold pattern won't look at all out of place amid a sea of Hawaiian inspired designs and vibrant colours. With the heat still making things rather sticky and uncomfortable here in London town, I've also been paring down a lot of my outfits of late, reaching for simpler, fuss-free pieces which are easy to throw on before heading out of the door. As I mentioned in my last outfit post, being comfortable is concern numero uno at the moment, and one of my more recent purchases ticks all of the 'keeping cool in hot weather' boxes:

27thjuly1 27thjuly2
Dress- Peter Jensen via Coggles 
Shoes- Converse
Bag- Zara
Ear Cuff- Zara
Sunglasses- Vintage

You know those pieces in your wardrobe which just make you smile the minute you look at them? For me, this is one of those! I'd had my beady eye trained on this amazing printed Peter Jensen dress since it landed on ASOS, but when it was discounted during their sale, my size was sold out. Thankfully, Coggles came to the rescue- and with £30 extra off of the price, it was definitely something which was worth biding my time for! The lips print is just so fun, and it's a real statement too- ideal for teaming with minimal accessories for a slice of simple chic. The loose fitting smock style is also perfect for this weather, whether pairing it with casual shoes as I did here, or teaming with sandals for a smarter look. Keeping things co-ordinated, I reached for my structured Zara bag, beloved vintage sunglasses and a new addition to my jewellery collection in the shape of this ear cuff, again from Zara- another statement piece which I just can't get enough of at the moment. 

Have you picked up any statement pieces recently?

(Image credit: Elodie Russo, please do not reproduce without permission.)

07.08.2014- Beauty Buys: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

Thursday, 7 August 2014

When it comes to skincare, recently I've been waxing lyrical about some of my favourite day to day products, as well as a tidy little collection of classics, and, over the last few weeks, I've discovered a new daily staple. Long time readers will be well aware that I'm a bit of a long standing Laura Mercier lover, after my first foray into foundations came with my purchase of their amazing tinted moisturiser, so it will probably come as no surprise that one of my new favourite things is also from them. Their foundation primer was something of a stealth purchase as it was included in the Selfridges Beauty Project Box which I picked up a few months ago, and it's become a real firm favourite- and something of a warm weather essential:

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, 30ml.

As a relative newbie to all things foundation focused, I have to confess, I was a little confused as to what a primer was actually for. When does it go on? What does it do? Will I remember to use it every day? Having experimented with it pretty steadily over the last couple of months, I've found that it's very much been a case of trial and error. I tend to pop in on post moisturising and before I reach for my tinted moisturiser so it acts as the perfect base and prepares my skin for the day to day products which feature in my getting ready routine, but the great thing about this pocket sized purchase is that it's pretty flexible so can factor in to your making up at pretty much any stage. It's also a product which is a real hot weather hero too, and over the last few weeks has definitely held up to the challenges of the tropical temperatures in London- keeping my face in place even on the most stifling of days!

Have you tried the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer?

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

05.08.2014- My Month in Pictures: July

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Another month has whizzed by and once again I find myself completely befuddled about how quickly time has been passing. To me August has always felt like the end of summer in earnest- and it's probably quite bad that I'm already counting down the days until the start of September- if only so that my trains to and from work will be a tad more empty (such a summer holiday grouch!) Anyway, without wishing to will the rest of the year away, here's a little look back at what I got up to in July:

Paying a visit to Olly's House/Spending a lovely day in Arundel/Soaking up the sun at Hampton Court/Being introduced to Angel Candy by Thierry Mugler/Catching up with Elodie over tea and a Bill's lunch!/Great Britain at The National Theatre- hilarious stuff/Spending the day exploring Buckingham Palace- post coming soon!/Julius Caesar at The Globe/Sweetpeas from the garden/Richard III at Trafalgar Studios/Swooning over the displays in Kate Spade/Soaking up the sunshine on the way home from work/Running!/The Crucible at The Old Vic- one of the best pieces of theatre I've ever seen/Gardening!

This month was one which was full of lots of lovely things- including my first visit to Hampton Court for the Flower Show, a trip down to Arundel and lots of trips to the theatre. In fact, I'm thinking of putting together a little review round up if that's something which you'd be interested in seeing? Let me know with a comment!

What did you get up to in July? 

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