27.08.2014- Next Christmas 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Towards the end of last month, Sarah and I popped along to a very special festive preview hosted by Next against the backdrop of the always spectacular One Marylebone. After a stonking catwalk show last year, I was ultra-eager to see what they had on the cards for the coming months, and once again I wasn't at all disappointed. Another awesome catwalk show (complete with a stellar cast of models) saw pieces for the new season brought to vivid life, and styled with effortless ease. With the last days of summer seemingly well and truly upon us, I'm already anticipating snapping up some new autumnal wardrobe additions:

As well as an amazing array of eveningwear and accessories, the practical Penelope in me was completely won over by the winter woollies on display here, particularly the chunkier knits and Aran inspired detailing. I also adored the bold colours which punctuated the catwalk show, proving that winter doesn't always have to be about neutral hues and darker tones (I am so tempted to recreate the tangerine look!) With some 60s inspired styling and contrasting textures taking centre stage here too, it looks like the coming season is all about statement dressing with an understated, everyday sensibility- and the pairing of Nike trainers with skirts and dresses is one which I am definitely going to be following in the footsteps of!

Have you got your eye on any autumnal purchases?

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

25.08.2014- Beauty Buys: Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Argan Oil

Monday, 25 August 2014

One of the things which I enjoyed the most about my trip to Morocco in February was paying a visit to an amazing Argan Oil co-operative. You might remember from my travel diary that I loved finding out about the process of extracting and making Argan Oil products, as well as meeting the lovely women who worked at the co-operative. Since arriving home, I've been using the products which I picked up there rather religiously- and as a result my stash has been completed depleted! A few weekends ago, I used up the last of the small supply which I had left, and I've since been eagerly searching for something to replenish my stocks. Thankfully, Neal's Yard came to the rescue- and after raving about their Coconut Oil a few months ago, I wasted no time in snapping up a rather magical little blue bottle: 

Whilst the price tag of this Neal's Yard offering doesn't quite match up to the ultra affordable Argan Oil which is so bountiful in Morocco, this is definitely a fallback failsafe until I can book myself on to another flight! Before visiting Essaouira, I'd heard about the wonders of Argan Oil as a multi-purpose beauty product, but had never really gotten around to seeing what all of the hype was about for myself. However, when I saw that finding out more about it was on the itinerary of our Moroccan adventure, I was really excited to discover more, and, after snapping up some brilliant products from the co-operative to bring home with me, I think it's safe to say that I'm a real convert. It's one of those amazing multipurpose products which ticks so many different boxes, whether it's pepping up your skin or keeping frizzy hair at bay. I tend to run it through the ends of my hair and leave for about ten minutes before washing, and it's also a great alternative to moisturiser if your skin is feeling a little tired. In this undiluted form it stretches pretty far too, so definitely a product to use sparingly!

Have you tried Argan Oil as part of your beauty routine? What did you think?

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

24.08.2014- What I Wore Today #199

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Remember that spell of sweltering heat which we had about three weeks or so ago? I know, I know, it seems like a distant memory amid a distinctly chilly end to August (winter is coming!), and I'm sure at the time I would have been grumbling about how impossible public transport is during a heatwave, but the fact that I'm now walking around the house in a woolly jumper makes me long for just a tiny bit more warmth! You might remember that in my last outfit post I focused on a loose-fitting, statement piece, and back when the weather was a touch more tropical, I found myself reaching for lots of easy-to-wear favourites, all with a distinctly flowy feel:

Top- Whistles (c/o Westfield London) 
Skirt- Whistles 
Shoes- Birkenstock (via ASOS) 
Bag- Vintage 
Sunglasses- Vintage

I have to confess that when I was putting this outfit together, I didn't actually realise that the main ingredients all originated from Whistles! You might remember this tee was a cheeky spur of the moment purchase from Westfield at the start of the year, and I'm sure the skirt will look familiar as I've had it for a good couple of years now.  These ultra-comfortable basics have definitely been a core part of my wardrobe routine of late, particularly on warmer days when the last thing you want is to feel constricted (I'm looking at you, Mr. Denim!) Accessorized with some co-ordinating finishing touches in the shape of my Birkenstocks and favourite vintage finds, this was an ideal outfit for exploring Borough Market with Lily before heading to The Globe to catch Julius Caesar.

What are your warm weather essentials? 

(Image credit: Lily Safavi, please do not reproduce without permission.)

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.)
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