#OOTD: 19.03.17

I have been an avid fan of the British cashmere label Wyse London since their launch in 2014, even featuring them in my first ever column in Hello! Fashion Monthly.  Their unique, but totally wearable, cashmere is flattering, beyond soft, pretty affordable and most importantly, C.O.L.O.U.R.F.U.L. 

We all know one of my favourite colours is rainbow (‘rainbow-leopard’ to be specific…) and it just so happens, that amongst a love for stars and neon, Wyse London also shares my penchant for a bright, joyous, multi coloured stripe. Their charcoal grey, slouchy Ines Jumper (RRP. £180.00) and Lucie Loungers (RRP. £195.00) are now my GO TO outfit for hanging at home and for strolling around Portobello, and they're sure to become like a second skin on my upcoming skiing trip.  A winning combo of comfortable yet stylish, I challenge you to find something else as effortless and relaxed, yet wholly luxurious and fun.  

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Photographer:  Ella Sadika

Hair:  Ruuby App.  Nails:  Sophie Gass

#OOTD: 17.03.17

When I broke my wrist earlier this year there were VERY few things that were capable of cheering me up. Realising that in a miserable post-Gilmore Girls world I could still watch hours of Matt Czuchry by starting seven seasons of The Good Wife was one, and this Topshop Duster Coat was the other.

I first saw this coat on some cool cat at Portobello hotspot, The Electric, one morning during a meeting. I assumed the over-sized, colour blocking coat HAD to be designer - the maximalist sizing and the colour clashing just seemed too fashwunnn to be easily (or financially) accessible – so I quickly moved my thoughts back to my pancakes.  I saw the coat a week later whilst perusing Topshop’s website, which was OBVIOUSLY a sign, right?!! I mean, I basically manifested this coat back into my world, and at a jolly decent price… It had to be mine. 

As predicted, I absolutely love it, and with Spring toying with us, seemingly unwilling to stick around and play ball, this colour block Topshop Duster Coat is warm enough for London’s current chilly situ, but not too wooly or faux furry that I feel like I’ll melt on those rare, but gloooorious, sunny days.  EVEN better, this coat is now in the sale (reduced from £129.00 to £65.00!) so move QUIIIIICK!!

Now, excuse me, must get back to Cary Agos… (*I still love you Logan Huntzberger!)

Topshop Duster Coat RRP. £65.00

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Photographer:  Ella Sadika

#TLCVacation: Antwerp's Square Mile with Boodles

I was so excited to recently visit Antwerp with leading British jewellery house, Boodles. As well as being well known for its chocolate and waffles, this ‘other’ Eurostar destination is also recognised for its share in the diamond trade… Chocolate, waffles, diamonds… How had I not visited before?!! 

Given Boodles’ reputation for both its heritage and creativity, it was no surprise that they had organised for me to stay at the beyond charismatic ‘De Witte Lelie,’ Antwerp’s most luxurious boutique hotel, dating back to the 17th Century.  Contemporary and stylish, this quirky hotel, with its leopard print sofas, bowls of Chupa Chups and individually styled bedrooms, is the perfect pied à terre and it had me at Goeiedag.

The Flemish capital sees 50% of the world’s consumption of rough, polished and industrial diamonds all pass through its cobbled Square Mile, and people flock there to buy the most precious and exclusive diamonds.  Boodles naturally only acquires the most exquisite gemstones, and as their guest I was able to visit some of the most notoriously private diamond cutters and dealers in the Diamond Quarter.

Over $16 billion in polished diamonds passes through the district’s exchanges each year, and after learning a lot about the industry, my day culminated in playing with an overwhelming £17 million of the most sparkliest jewels I ever did see!  

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I decided that this rather subtle 37 carat yellow diamond would make the most charming of pinky rings…!  Keep an eye out out for my imminent crowd funding requests...

After a wonderfully spoiling dinner with the Boodles team, wearing my competitively sparkly party shoes, I woke up to breakfast and Boodles diamonds in bed… What a way to wake up!! My delicate 18ct Blossom Mini Rose Gold Diamond Necklace is both youthful and elegant, and works just as well when worn with jeans and a white tee, as it does with a cocktail dress.

After a quick trip back to London on the Eurostar with Leo, I was invited to the Boodles flagship Bond Street store.  Spanning a whopping 2.500sq ft, the showroom houses a luxurious VIP apartment where I was able to try on some of the brand’s most exceptional ‘High Jewellery,’ one-off designs.

A diamond necklace and emerald ring were the two pieces which caught my Magpie eye in particular.  The exquisitely special platinum necklace I tried on features 55 ‘Ashoka’ cut diamonds, making it exceptionally rare, as only 2% of all diamonds mined can be cut this way. Exclusive to Boodles, the necklace weigh a total of 55.33 carats.  I also tried on the giant platinum and diamond ‘Greenfire Ring,’ which features an 18.7 carat cushion cut emerald from the Muzo Mine in Colombia.  Taking these beauties off was heart breaking! My inner Elizabeth Taylor has officially been unleashed... 

Townhouse Photography:  Ella Sadika

Tried and Tested: You Need A PA

Although Doris is currently making it slightly hard for us to believe, Spring IS actually on its way. This annual, most welcomed thaw instantly encourages me to feel lighter; lighter in my clothes (enough with the eight layers already, London…), lighter with my meals (I'm beginning to feel more like five pieces of fruit’n’veg a day, rather than five Fruit'n'Nut Chocolate bars a day…), and finally, lighter in CLUTTER!

I don’t know about you, but during the Winter months, the clutter in my flat seems to just procreate and multiply.  Although these eclectic masses and artefacts can sometimes act as great insulation during the big freeze, by the time the sun is readying his hat, their weight makes both me and my flat groan.  Living and working in the same space doesn’t help.  My sitting room at times can be filled with piles of samples, bags of returns, cupboards bursting with unattended admin... If I’m not careful my work/life balance can teeter far too much towards the work side , so my flat kind of needs to be pretty meticulously managed! 

I know I am not alone.  4.6 million Brits are now self-employed (17.3% of which are Londoners) but most of theses ‘One Women Orchestras’ and ‘One Man Bands’ cannot afford full time assistants. I have had several intern requests, but given that I never know where I will be or what I will be doing, being responsible for mentoring someone seems unrealistic and unfair.  Whilst daily zooming from one end of London to the next, having writing deadlines, evening events and conservation projects on the go, I really recently started feeling overwhelmed and in need of someone to help… That someone was Polly.

Polly Hadden-Paton (above), and her partner Vicky Silverthorn, set up ‘You Need A PA,’ a wonderful ‘Pay As You Go’ PA service, which provides you with a fully qualified, brilliantly connected and efficient PA to help you get all your tasks completed in record time.  This team is used to working with footballers, pop stars and hedge funders, but Polly has seen a recent increase in her ‘normal’ clients (working mums, the self employed, etc), who may not have the funds to employ a full time assistant, but are in dire need of some extra hands on board to make their lives easier.  

Whether you are in need of just a morning, a full day, or someone on a more regular basis, Polly and her team will work through the harrowing To-Do List you simply don’t have the time or contacts to complete yourself, either in person or remotely.  Need to move house? Need last minute, hard-to-get reservations or sold-out tickets? Need your holiday or party organised? Need some personal shopping or research done? Some property management or maintenance? Literally, WHATEVER you need, these girls have got yo'back! 

I had Polly come to my flat one morning a week for three weeks. The fourth week I was feeling utterly bereft, and missing her madly.  I had become completely reliant on this wonderful girl and far too used to her sorting out my life for me!  However embarrassed you may seem at the state of your home (mine resembled a bomb site), or lack of organisation skills, Polly has seen it all before which makes you feel instantly relaxed.  Each morning we made a list of what tasks I would be relieved to get off my shoulders, and Polly confidently ploughed her way through each and every one with total ease.  Standing orders were set up, bills were paid, tax receipts were sorted, a new printer was set up, my television tuned (I thought it was broken, my bad), bulbs replaced, files bought and then organised, plane tickets were booked, piles clothes for charities were organised and delivered, my dry cleaning was sorted and collected… All jobs which sound pretty benign for the girl who’s used to creating parties for 200 guests at a moments notice or arranging last minute transportation for clients when flight connections are missed!  You see, no job is seemingly too big or too small for Polly or her equally efficient team to tackle.

The best result from Polly’s three mornings at the illustrious TLC HQ, was that she set up the most useful office filing system in some cupboards under my television, housing all my admin, cables, stationary and printer.  The results have been game changing.  I can now happily shut away my work life in one big swoop, making my sitting room feel far more relaxing and fit for purpose.  Also, Polly’s love of admin rubbed off and inspired me to maintain these levels of efficiency (or at least attempt to!) and it feels much easier to do that now I have a cleaner slate to work with.  

These levels of acute help obviously come at a fair price, and even though I realistically can’t afford to have Polly regularly visit (*weeeeping as I write...) treating myself occasionally to one of her beyond helpful visits will be something to look forward to.

www.YouNeedAPa.com

Below:  I got these gorgeous grey canvas files and boxes (which Polly labelled with her own LABEL MAKER!) and some rose gold stationary (yes, I’m such a blogger) from Kiki K. As well as being practical, their simple, Scandi designs have made my work cupboard look so chic – another incentive to keep organised.  

#OOTD: 24.02.17 with Topshop

News that the skinny jean is ‘OVER’ is something I read year after year, yet fail to actually ever see any proof of.  As far as I can see, the looser, straighter, and flared trend-led designs are the ones which I see come and go, and despite being perhaps the least forgiving of denim fits, the faithful skinnies remain a classic, fail safe staple in all our wardrobes.  Seasonless, versatile, and undeniably cool (think Kate Moss in her rock’n’roll greys, or Olivia Palermo in her chic khakis…) the super skinnies triumph, time and time again, as the world’s favoured denim style.

Due to a broken wrist, with subsequent weeks wearing only the easiest to pull on baggy, boyfriend jeans, I was so excited, brace off and more mobile, to try on the new Topshop Jamie skinnies, one of Topshop’s latest updated Spring/Summer'17 denim styles.  Topshop has long been known for its iconic, yet brilliantly affordable array of jeans, and this season they have not let us down. 

This pair of Jamie’s ankle grazing length and light blue colour will be perfect for the sunnier months, and their slightly higher waist is super flattering and gives them a slightly vintage feel.

Currently Topshop sells a pair of jeans every 10 seconds globally, and at their flagship store on Oxford Street one pair is sold every minute!! It will not be difficult to imagine therefore, that come Springtime, Topshop’s new collection of nine jean styles, will also fly out of their stores.  Regardless of shape or occasion, and without having to spend a fortune, Topshop is THE destination for your every denim need (not to mention all the new summery tops and Spring-in-ma-step shoes you can also pair them with...)

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In Collaboration with Topshop

Photography: Ella Sadika

Hair: Ruuby App 

Nails: Sophie Gass

Yin Yoga with Nike Women

After weeks of hanging out sofa-side with my horribly sprained wrist (having two hands is now something I count among the highest of blessings) I have been feeling in desperate need of stretch! Not being able to function at my usual fast paced rate, where I usually dash all over London at all hours, has made me go out of my mind, and feel unusually frustrated.  I’ve felt soft in body predictably, but also in mind.  When Nike Women approached me and asked me to attend a private yoga class with Jessica Skye, kitted out in all their newest active wear, this wee marshmallow jumped at the chance! Now that my wrist is feeling stronger, this was exactly the push I needed to start my road back to feeling tough and sprightly again.

Nike currently have a relaxing pop-up yoga studio in the basement of FaceGym UK, on the King’s Road in Chelsea. I arrived with all the gear - and absolutely no idea!  There had been so many great Nike yoga options to choose from, but I had decided on some Nike Zonal Strength High-Rise Training Tights (I love their ombre’esq black to grey colour and the v-shaped waist band is ultra flattering), a supportive Nike Indy Cooling Sports Bra, and a super soft and loose fitting Nike Dry Training Top

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I was soon in the softly lit studio with the wonderful Jessica Skye (Yoga Guru, SLASH DJ, SLASH Nike trainer, SLASH major babe) who instantly came up with a gentle Yin Yoga routine for me to follow, which would make sure my objectives were reached; to feel a little more mentally relaxed and suitably stretched - all while keeping my wrist free from any pressure or weight.

Yin Yoga, Jessica explained, comes from the Taoist tradition and is all about finding stillness, and cooling the body.  This practice is great for those who are already active but who suffer from mental overload and “mind chatter’ (errrrrrm, hello?! Yes! Hand raised!) With one eye constantly on my phone, replying to emails and updating my social media, these slow-paced poses and bends can prove to be the perfect antidote.  

After the class I felt so relaxed, and a lot more awake and alert than I had in weeks. I was given my own monogrammed Nike sports bra and a delicious cold pressed juice before heading upstairs to try the signature FaceGym facial.  I definitely feel ready, now I have my bounce back and my wrist is feeling stronger by the day, to start getting fitter – and with all the best kit to wear, I now have no excuse!

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Some other TLC Nike Yoga faves...

In collaboration with Nike Women
Nails:  Sophie Gass.  Photography:  Maria Bazhanova

Valentine's Gift List 2017 - For Him

Let’s be honest, Valentine's Day should kinda be all about the ladies, but regardless of how much of a ‘lad’ your fella might be, there isn’t a chap in town that doesn’t appreciate a little sweet Valentine gesture.  So what to give our menfolk to show that we care too?!  Well, aside from the obvious (beer, food, socks, you...) here are a few little gift suggestions to spoil your beau.

Hover and click on the items for their direct links...

Above:  Frangipani shirts, inspired by travels around the world and ancient block printing, manage to make the boys (and the girls that go on to steal them) stand out from the crowd whilst not looking too garish. There is a pattern for everyone and an occasion for them all.  Check out their new linen designs too.

Valentine's Gift List 2017 - For Her

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I feel sorry for Valentine’s Day, a rather sweet day of the year that gets an enormous amount of flack. Each year you can see it merrily approaching, brim-full of romance and possibilities, with a kick in its heel, glistening heart emoji-eyes, and a pink, oh so very pink, trail of fairy dust (or perhaps Gwyneth’s Goop-recommended Sex Dust?) in its wake… All to be met by an anxiety-ridden, Hallmark-hating, eye-rolling audience of cynics, all heading for the hills to hide, regardless of their relationship status. 

Now, I get it, if you’re single this can be a day, frequently fuelled by a bottle of dry white Lady Petrol, where you feel continuously reminded of your current lack of love, and if you’re in a relationship you can feel immense pressure to perform like some lame love monkey whilst spending a ludicrous amount of money. 

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However, in Valentine’s defence, I think it can also be seen as a day where we all can take a little Time Out from our frequently monotonous daily routines, and pay a little extra attention to one another, or friends, and even ourselves... Sometimes we sadly do need a reason, or a day each year, to remind us to do that. 

Spending a lot of money is not mandatory, as a little imagination and thought can easily be just as spoiling; some of the most memorable moments can involve the simplest of gestures and just some designated time to hang out. I am however, always asked each year for Valentine’s gift suggestions from panic stricken men, SOOO gentlemen, here are a few ideas guaranteed to put a smile on all those pretty faces, without a naff teddy bear or flammable set of red underwear in sight (don’t worry Ladies, I got yo’backs too…) 

Hover and click on the items for their direct links...

Above:  Jo Malone’s Valentine’s Day denim designed gift box is beyond dreamy.  The sets, which contain a 100ml bottle of Jo Malone Red Roses (a scent inspired by seven of the world’s finest roses) set amongst freshly cut blooms from florist Philippa Craddock, is available from Selfridges until Feb 14th (RRP. £130.00).

"The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don't go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout."

Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash

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"I don't know how to tell you just how much I miss you. I love you till my heart could burst. All I love, all I want, all I need is you—forever. I want to be just where you are and be just what you want me to be. I know it's lousy of me to be so late so often, and I promise to try a million times harder, I promise."  

Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio

Above:  'Buy to Give' this Valentine’s Day by not only spoiling your loved one with jewellery, but also directly helping to fight against ivory poaching. Every purchase from The Tembo Collection, a collection of seven Masai bead inspired bracelets I designed with Auree Jewellery, sees 100% of the profit go to For Rangers, a campaign in conjunction with Tusk that helps the heroes on the front line of conservation in their fight against elephant poaching across Africa.  (RRP. £50.00 - £140.00)

"So My Lumps... You’re off, by God! I can barely believe it since I am so unaccustomed to anybody leaving me. But reflectively I wonder why nobody did so before. All I care about—honest to God—is that you are happy and I don’t much care who you’ll find happiness with. I mean as long as he’s a friendly bloke and treats you nice and kind. If he doesn’t I’ll come at him with a hammer and clinker. God’s eye may be on the sparrow but my eye will always be on you. Never forget your strange virtues. Never forget that underneath that veneer of raucous language is a remarkable and puritanical LADY. I am a smashing bore and why you’ve stuck by me so long is an indication of your loyalty. I shall miss you with passion and wild regret."

Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor 

"My mouth hasn’t shut up about you since you kissed it. The idea that you may kiss it again is stuck in my brain, which hasn’t stopped thinking about you since well before any kiss. And now the prospect of those kisses seems to wind me like when you slip on the stairs and one of the steps hits you in the middle of the back. The notion of them continuing for what is traditionally terrifying forever excites me to an unfamiliar degree."  

Alex Turner to Alexa Chung

ABOVE:  Treat someone special to a rooooomantic stay at the swoonsome Artist Residence in London's Pimlico. To celebrate Valentine's Day, this eclectic townhouse, my fave home away from home, is offering champagne and choccies on arrival, late checkout and a free room upgrade, all for £50 on top of their usual room rates between 10.02.17 - 05.03.17. (T&C's apply, subject to availability.)

#OOTD: 18.01.17

I do love an eclectic mix, but this particular concoction of leopard print, cashmere, pink and brocade might just be up there as one of my favourite clothing cocktails to date. 

I immediately fell in love with this woollen ASOS coat and the contrast of its powerful leopard print faux fur alongside the lady like dusky pink is elegantly eye-catching.  I have always loved Shrimps coats, and one day I willllll have one, but this one is so affordable (especially now, in the sale) and I’m mostly wearing it paired with complimentary berry colours and neutrals.  These plum coloured Donna Ida dungarees worn under an oatmeal cashmere Chinti and Parker ‘Good Girl’ jumper (now also in the sale) definitely let the leopard print details of the coat do all the talking/growling.

I’m wearing these brocade ASOS Hena Heels as much as I can, day or night, and even with some plain black socks if too chilly (which let's face it, it is!)  These have to be the most comfortable heels, and made from the most monarchical of textiles, there is something so brilliantly grand about them.  

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Photography: Ella Sadika

HAWT: Sienna Miller in Gucci

Hawt = A late 1940's and early 1950's acronym for "Having A Wonderful Time."
Now the word is used on the internet as slang for something reeeeally hot.

Last week Sienna Miller lit up the red carpet like a beautiful ray of sunshine in her fantastical Gucci Lampshade Dress.  Alessandro Michele’s oversized detailing and bold colours once again stole the show at the premiere of Sienna’s latest film, Live By Night, a prohibition era crime thriller directed by Ben Affleck, which I can't wait to see. This icy blue, layered tulle gown, very different from Sienna’s minimalist Golden Globes ensemble, was full of character, wonderfully clashing with its icicle like golden sequins and her red power pout.  This magical look gets an almighty big Red Carpet High Five from TLC; un fashion triomphe.

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Below:  'Live by Night' (out in cinemas NOW)

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