01.10.2014- What I Wore Today #203

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I don't know about you, but there's something about the prospect of special occasion dressing which has the ability to throw me into a right old panic. I've talked on these pages a few times before about the fact that my idea of an enjoyable evening is sitting down in front of a Game of Thrones marathon with an unlimited supply of tea and biscuits, and even before I veered into early Granny territory, I'd never really be one for 'going out'. Looking back, I'm pretty positive that this can be attributed to a few factors- firstly, the nightlife where I live isn't exactly thriving, and secondly, working every Saturday in retail during my time at uni meant that by the time the evening rolled around, the prospect of pyjamas and Strictly Come Dancing was infinitely preferable to the idea of painting the town red. Anyway, I digress- what I'm getting at here is the fact that my wardrobe, whilst bursting at the seams with jeans and jumpers, doesn't really stand up to the challenge of event dressing. So, when I received my first wedding invitation a few months ago, it's fair to say that I was less worried about the prospect of baking the cake than I was about what I was going to wear. After a few shocking spur of the moment purchases proved to lean more towards the 'miss' section of the spectrum, I looked to the past for some outfit inspiration instead:

Dress- Vintage  (via Beyond Retro)
Shoes- c/o F&F
Bag- Vintage
Sunglasses- Vintage
Hair Slide- Urban Outfitters

After trawling through online shop after online shop in search of something to wear, I stumbled across this gorgeous printed vintage frock from Beyond Retro after almost giving up hope of ever finding anything! The bold, bright pattern proved to be absolutely perfect for a late summer wedding, and I absolutely love the fit too- needless to say it's a piece which makes me feel instantly elegant. It was a real bargain too, coming in at just under £20, and it's a completely unique piece which I know I'll keep forever. Here I paired it with some other vintage favourites in the shape of my sunglasses and bag, and comfortable shoes from F&F were very much the order of the day too. Proof that sometimes you really can't beat a bit of vintage, eh?!

Are you a vintage fan?

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

28.09.2014- The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to swap my usual end of the week surroundings for the peace and tranquility of The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. I'd been invited along to their very special Vintage Flowers course for the day, and the prospect of spending the day surrounded by beautiful blooms was one which was simply too tempting to resist. Regular readers will know that I'm a little bit of a flower fiend, and after getting to grips with the garden and paying a visit to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show earlier in the year, my fingers have been getting gradually greener. The opportunity to learn a lot more about floristry and the process of putting together pretty, professional posies was something which also hugely welcome after a stressful few weeks- here's a little look at how I got on:

After having a lovely introduction to the Academy from owner and principal Gillian Wheeler, Madeline gave us all a demonstration of how to put together the perfect hand-tie. To begin with, we learnt all about the importance of conditioning your flowers- making sure that they're perfectly prepared to take pride of place in your bouquet. This involves stripping away a lot of the leaves, taking the thorns away from your roses, and cutting your blooms to the perfect size, whilst ensuring that they're going to last for as long as possible- thanks to the clever 'drinking straw' diagonal cut which allows them to soak up as much water as they need. From there, we moved on to arranging our hand ties, using plenty of foliage such as salal and eucalyptus to provide the basic spiral shape and structure needed for a hand tie, before adding in the beautiful flowers which we had selected from the amazing array on offer at the Academy. Keeping the vintage theme of the day in mind, I opted for plenty of roses and a pretty, pale colour palette, adding freesia and heather to incorporate different textures and a few delicate touches to my finished bouquet.

As the afternoon progressed, we were given the chance to put together a quintessentially vintage arrangement, this time using the smaller offcuts from the morning session. Making sure that nothing goes to waste, putting together lovely little arrangements like this is not only a really thrifty option but working with such small, delicate blooms is something which I found really relaxing. Using some beautiful vintage china, we created smaller scale arrangements in teacups- perfect for using as table decorations or to give as gifts. Again, I used roses, freesias and delicate little cuttings of heather and lemon balm for my arrangement- and over a week later it's still going strong!

Overall, I had such a lovely day and learnt so much about conditioning and arranging flowers. I walk past the Academy so regularly and usually admire their beautiful arrangements from afar, so the opportunity to find out more about everything which they have to offer was amazing, and it was so therapeutic to switch off from everything in the outside world and focus on all things floral for a day. A huge thank you to Gillian, Fleur and the team for hosting such a lovely day, and to Priscilla for inviting me along- I'm sure it won't be too long before I'm back again! 

Have you ever tried flower arranging?

*I was invited along to the Vintage Flowers course as a guest of The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. As always, my opinions and impressions are 100% honest- as is my new found ambition to open my own flower shop!*
(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

26.09.2014- Mini Break Make Up Marvels

Friday, 26 September 2014

At the start of the month, I made my first trip to Cambridge for my lovely friend Katy's wedding. As well as making the cake, I pitched in to help with the flowers and setting up the venue, which was all good fun- and I really loved being in the middle of the countryside too as it made a very welcome change from the hustle and bustle of London town. To my shame, I'm not particularly well travelled within the UK- apart from the odd trip to Northern Ireland and Wales to see family when I was younger and my jaunt to Edinburgh last October, I've not really seen a great deal of what brilliant Britain has to offer, so the opportunity to broaden my horizons a little bit more was a very welcome one. After my Moroccan adventure at the start of the year, I've become something of a master at minimalistic packing- although this time around the contents of my suitcase were slightly more tailored to a special occasion. For beachy breaks I never really tend to bring a great deal of make up with me, but this was an event which demanded a few more products than my usual basic tinted moisuriser and mascara combination. So, whether you're heading off to a late summer wedding or are planning a weekend away, here's a little peek inside my mini break make up bag:

Products used: Carmex Lip Balm, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy, Topshop Blusher Brush, Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadows in Initiation and Convoitise, Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick, Shu Uemura Eylash Curlers and Eyeko Black Magic Mascara. Make up bag from Alphabet Bags.

Anyone who has known me for a long time will happily tell you that when it comes to make up, I'm a firm believer in the less is more manifesto. As well as being a bit of a lazy Lucy, when I look in the mirror before leaving the house, I still like to look like me- and can think of nothing worse than having to worry about retouching eyeliner, lipstick and blusher as the day goes on. Ain't nobody got time fo' that.

Low maintenance products which can stand up to the task of staying fixed on my face are definitely my go to favourites, and for my first foray into wedding attendance, I fixed on something which I knew could stand up to laughing, crying and eating endless portions of cake. So, after prepping my face with my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser and hiding my dark circles with a generous helping of Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer, I reached for some day to day essentials in the shape of my Carmex Lip Balm and Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers (perhaps the best £20 I have ever spent!) and Bobbi Brown's Face Touch Up Stick. After a little helping of NARS blusher, I tackled an occasion eye with the help of Chanel's Illusion D'Ombre Shadow, blending Initiation and Convoitise for a little bit of subtle sparkle. Accentuating my eyes with Eyeko's Black Magic Mascara (not the best I've ever used, but by no means the worst either!), I finished things off with another Chanel staple- their Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick in Boy- the perfect smudge-proof, subtle pink with a splash of romance which seemed to be perfect for the big day.

What are your travel make up staples?

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

24.09.2014- Covetable Coats

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Now that there's a definite chill in the air of a morning, I'm sure it won't be too long before I end up reaching for some of my favourite coats, and although it's not essential to buy a new one season after season, sometimes injecting a fresh feel into your winter wardrobe is the perfect antidote to the winter blues. As well as my trusty old favourites (like my camel coat) I'm sure that before long I'll be unboxing some newer statement purchases like my pale pink and check numbers from last year. Although I promised myself that I wouldn't veer into 'not another new coat' territory again this winter, I've already spied a selection in the shops which are seriously testing my willpower:

Boucle Coat, £85, Warehouse/Ingrid Coat, £179, Boden/Light Grey Oversize Boucle Coat, £90, River Island/Wool Blend Double Breasted Coat, £120, Marks and Spencer.

This vivid red design from Warehouse has officially rocketed to the top of my shopping list. Not only is the colour instantly warming, but the relaxed, boyfriend inspired fit is perfect for finding the balance between the smart and casual pieces in your wardrobe. A real failsafe for dreary winter mornings too, don't you think? When I was lucky enough to pop along to Boden's AW14 press day back in May, their amazing array of new season coats really caught my eye, particularly as they were all so wonderfully colourful. From pastel pinks to forest greens, there was a spectrum of shades on show, and this gorgeous blue design still stands out as a favourite. The classic, vintage inspired shape wins serious style points too, and guarantees that this is one serious investment but which you'll keep coming back to year after year. 

If bold colours don't float your boat and you're after something a little more muted, then grey is set to be a real seasonal favourite this winter. There are plenty of neutral tones in the shops at the moment, and this piece from River Island is a another favourite of mine, particularly thanks to the oversized collar and boucle effect. Last year's penchant for pastels also shows no sign of abating, and pink is still a massive presence on the high street. With pale hues evoking a spring feel, they are a fabulously welcome antidote to the traditional dark shades of winter, and this lilac offering from Marks and Spencer is a lovely fresh twist on a classic shape-with a wool blend, it's also a perfectly practical purchase as the weather gets chillier. 

Have you picked up a new winter coat yet? 

(Image credit: Warehouse, Boden, River Island and Marks and Spencer.)

22.09.2014- What I Wore Today #202

Monday, 22 September 2014

Whilst I'm definitely no trendy Wendy, one of the most fun things about fashion is being able to enjoy constantly evolving styles and get a little bit experimental every now and again. In the past I've mentioned that I'm now more resolved than ever to only invest my hard earned pennies in pieces which I know will stand the test of time. So in a cautiously trend-aware way (if there even is such a thing?!), I've been mixing up some of my best loved wardrobe basics with a few new truly timeless additions to my wardrobe:

Dress (worn as Jacket)- Monsoon 
Blouse- Zara 
Jeans- Whistles 
Bag- Cambridge Satchel Company c/o
Shoes- Birkenstock (via ASOS) 

The kimono explosion is something which had completely passed me by up until now, but as the transition into autumn begins I've been keeping my eyes eagerly peeled for pieces which offer a little bit of warmth without veering in to coat territory. This is actually a dress from Monsoon's new season collection which I couldn't resist styling as a kimono-coat-jacket! On me, it works so much better like this for some reason- and I love the boho flavour which it lends to some of my favourite black basics. Also, allow me to introduce you to the latest addition to my bag collection- this gorgeous Cambridge Satchel from Not only was this piece perfect for my jaunt to Cambridge a few weeks ago (more on that coming soon!), but it's also a real classic which I know I'll get so much use out of- a definite investment for my wardrobe. 

Have you made any new season investments lately?

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