OOTD: 21.02.18

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On rather a bleak, grey Sunday last week, I wore my Madeleine Thompson multi-coloured dream jumper (had there been a coat available, I would have been first in line) alongside some severely bright accessories, and instantly felt brighter. Now, I've never been shy of wearing colour, but there have been many studies that actually prove that a colourful wardrobe can improve one's health and boost one's mood.  Here comes the science bit… Certain colours trigger neurological responses in your brain, causing the hypothalamus gland to release HAPPY hormones.

If truth be told, I've been feeling pretty low since returning from Africa last month.  It's nothing unusual, it just always takes me a few weeks to readjust and get back in to the 'swing of things' after enjoying a lengthy time back home with friends and family in the sunshine. 

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Once upon a time, my friends and I HAD to have one of Madeleine Thompson's slouchy cashmere beanies, and now, fast-forward a few good years, we're all now hankering after her cult cashmere once more. This jumper honestly felt like a warm shield against the weather, and all my subsequent doom and gloom, especially when paired with some new slim leg Topshop dungarees, my new Big Gold Heart Blue Billie necklace, my favourite Tom Ford lipstick ('Spanish Pink'), and an afternoon of popcorn and old-school Hugh Grant in 'Notting Hill' with my buds Katherine and Haden.  

If you're resolutely attached to your neutrals and feeling a little colour-hesitant, start beating 'dem blues with some bright accessories… I can barely take a step in my new mustard Nike Air Force trainers from & Other Stories without someone asking me where they are from, and likewise, my favourite Mulberry handbag. 

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Thomas Sabo's Generation Charm Club

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From the Babylonians to Queen Victoria, the collecting and wearing of charms to commemorate milestones and honour cherished memories has been one of the most enduring of jewelry styles. When I was at school (alongside the Babylonians, it now feels!) all the coolest of cats in my class had charm bracelets dripping with trinkets; the Eiffel Tower, precious sparkly dogs reminding them of their own… Fast forward just a feeeeew years this chaaarming trend is back with a bang.

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Today, Thomas Sabo launches their Generation Charm Club, releasing an abundance of chic, beautifully detailed charms which can easily clip on to our existing Thomas Sabo necklaces and bracelets. I was amazed at the variety available and was excited to pick pieces and that were unique only to me.   

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What I really love about these charms is how easily you can switch up the combinations of what you wear, depending on how you feel.  Whether you want to wear just one, or many charms together, or in this maximalist magpie's case, layer up a few chains of differing lengths with several charms together, for a bohemian, 70's feel.  

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I was particularly drawn to the more celestial Thomas Sabo charms, immediately gravitating towards the moons, stars and zodiac charms (although, should I really be advertising that I'm a Scorpio?!)  The Vintage Moon and Star pendant, combined with the Star Mother of Pearl pendant reminded me of stargazing on my rooftop back at home in Watamu, Kenya. 

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Although I only prefer to wear mostly yellow gold, the current trend is to mix your metals, and I can really see myself embracing this idea through incorporating some silver and rose gold charms.

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I obviously had to have a charm of my initial (love me a 'K' anything!) and with a trip to Joshua Tree coming up next month, I feel I might commemorate this with a gold cactus charm... Watch this space! 

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In collaboration with Thomas Sabo
Photography: Ella Sadika
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  
Nails: Sophie Gass

Valentine's Gift List 2018 - For Her

Now, many cynics would have us believe that Valentine’s Day is just another one of those sugar-coated celebrations, designed by Hallmark in an annual bid to make young sweethearts spend their life savings… Bar-Hearts-Bug!  In fact, it is a historical celebration of Saint Valentine’s romantic martyrdom (a 3rd Century Roman priest who, after Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage, continued to unite young lovers, eventually being captured executed for doing so...)

So if you innocently, just so happen to leave this page open on your loved one's laptop, no one will judge... You're merely honouring a Saint, dear girl.

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"Without Valentine's Day, February would be... well, January."

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Above: All you need is Love (*oh, and one of Victoire & Lou’s dreamy, beautifully curated, Valentine’s Gift Boxes... #ItsNotCheesyIfItsFrench)

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Above:  Snuggle up and watch a romantic classic (think, 'When Harry Met Sally,' or 'Breakfast At Tiffany's'…) on the star-lit Berkeley rooftop, with Moncler blankets, hot water bottles, and staff serving you luxury winter canapés, chocolates, unlimited mulled wine and champagne… "I'll have what she's having!"  
 

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Above:  Chinti and Parker's latest cashmere collaboration sees 100% of its profits go towards supporting Women for Women International, helping survivors of war living in some of the world's most dangerous places to rebuild their lives. Their three-year training programme equips women to earn money, regain their confidence and actively participate in their communities. Stronger Women = Stronger Nations! 

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Above:  "And they call it, Puppy Love..."  100% of the proceeds from this jaw-droppingly beautiful bouquet (a mix of Carpe Diem roses, All for Love roses and beautiful flowering eucalyptus) will go directly to the brilliant Wild at Heart Foundation, helping animal welfare projects worldwide.

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Above:  Forget your sleeve, wear your heart on your heels this Valentine's Day with Rogue Matilda's characterful Lover's Gold metallic brogues.

Heart 'Feel Good Challenge'

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Knowing that this time of year can prove quiiiiite the struggle for many of us (I mean, January is the Monday'ist of all the months, and February is kind of, well, a bit 'meh' too) those cheery lot at Heart (my personal antidote for all dem'winter blues) has launched the #HeartFeelGoodChallenge. Here comes the science bit; Challenge yourself by trying a feel-good activity, inspired by a feel-good song you heard played on the station.  

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I always have the radio playing as I write, and last week, fresh off the boat from Kenya, wearing 84 layers of clothes and feeling ultimately sorry for myself, Heart played one of my faves, 'Say You'll Be There' by the Spice Girls, no less. This bouncy, deliriously infectious girl power anthem is ultimately all about how actions speak louder than words, which resonates slightly, given my New Year's resolution has proved, thus far, to be mostly hot air! Promising myself I would start doing some exercise in 2018 didn't quite go entirely according to plan… 

Being a life-long member of the 'Fitness Protection Programme,' I have always struggled to commit to any kind of exercise regime, let alone enjoy any classes that I've tried.  As I get older I am increasingly aware that the health benefits of exercise cannot be denied, and a little toning here and there is always a welcome perk.  'Say You'll Be There' definitely leaves you feeling pumped, ready to leap off that comfy sofa and get moving, so yes, it happened…I leapt; A Frame gym membership was sourced, and Barre classes and Reformer Pilates signed up to...

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I have to say, despite the anticipated pre-gym grumbles and subsequent aches and pains associated with squats, the endorphins have been released, and I'm really looking forward to my next class; 80's aerobics (and yes, there will be leg warmers and a scrunchie… I may not be well versed in exercising, but accessorizing? Oh, I've got that down, people!)

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I'd love to hear if you have also taken up the #HeartsFeelGoodChallenge and started any new mood-boosting activities to help you get through these grey ol'months… And please share any 'pick me up' song recommendations you've heard play on Heart which might help keep us all stay motivated...!

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In collaboration with Heart
Photography: Ella Sadika
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  

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Spring Denim at Debenhams

A good pair of jeans is the ultimate addition to anyone’s wardrobe, as regardless of the weather or the occasion, some good denim is the most reliable ‘go to’ of dressing solutions. I am the ultimate jeans girl, with a day rarely spent not wearing a pair, so I leapt at the chance to style up some of Debenhams latest spring denim designs…

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THE SKINNY JEANS

Last season we saw a real shift back to skinny denim, and it’s quite clear that this sorely missed style is here to stay.  Charcoal grey is always a great transitional colour jean, and the bold, playful Studio By Preen polka dot shirt, with its gorgeous wizard sleeves, really stands out when worn with together. After abandoning my socks (gloves, vest, and balaclava), I’ll be wearing this outfit as I merrily skip outttta Winter into Spring. 

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THE BOYFRIEND JEANS

Baggy, too-cool to care boyfriend jeans are a staple in my wardrobe, and it’s a style I usually contrast with slightly more feminine pieces.  This pair however, are uniquely adorned with striking floral embroidery, so I reached for my leather jacket, sneakers and more plain accessories to try and balance out the pretty.

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THE WHITE JEANS

It’s not just Liz Hurley who loves a good pair of white jeans… Regardless of the season, you’ll find my legs wrapped in gleaming white denim too. I wore this fitted pair with some white boots (a huge trend right now) and some pieces from Nine by Savannah Miller, who’s collections each season at Debenhams I look really forward to. FYI - her embellished khaki bag is a real keeper!

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THE BLACK JEANS

Worn from work and straight into play (do not pass go, do not collect 200…) nothing is worthier of investment than a good pair of skinny black jeans - they can literally do NO wrong!  I also really love this striped dress shirt, which I tied kimono style at the front, and with the addition of a strong red lip, your #OOTD would make the perfect #OOTN. 

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Shop my full Debenhams edit HERE

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In collaboration with Debenhams
Photography: Eva Salvi
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  
Nails: Swanky

Getting Personal with Thomas Sabo

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I have to say, when it comes to jewellery, I’ve always been on the subtle, rather than statement side of adornment. I prefer the layering up of smaller, more delicate pieces that spark conversation when close, rather than bolder pieces seen from a far.  Most of the jewellery I wear is also completely unique to me, personalised and engraved with family names and certain meaningful dates or phrases. Given that I don’t even have pierced ears, it will probably come as no huge surprise that I don’t have any tattoos either, so wearing jewellery to display my grand amour is about as bigger ‘shout out’ as someone can get!

I noticed a massive surge in all things personalised during the height of Sex and the City (didn’t we ALL want a ‘Carrie’ style necklace?!) and with Meghan Markle spotted wearing a necklace with her and her Prince’s initials on it, the trend shows no sign of remotely slowing down. 

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Once a piece of jewellery is engraved, it instantly becomes more than a gift, it becomes an heirloom and this is why I always veer towards this idea for presents. With Christmas a few days away I wanted to make sure my family had some new treasures to celebrate the birth of my nephew Zac, whilst not leaving his big sister, Miss Safari Willow, out of the proceedings (pity the fool…!)

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Thomas Sabo has some of the most layer-worthy, stylish yet amazingly affordable pieces, for which they offer complimentary engraving, so I headed straight there. They have a huge range of styles to choose from, catering for both male and female customers and their obviously differing ages and tastes. I also noticed their new Together collection of intertwined rings, and necklaces, encrusted with eye-catching diamonds, also highlighting these inseparable, bonds.

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With so much to peruse, it took a little time to decide which pieces were most suitable, but the engraving amazingly only took a few minutes. I chose letters and names, but you can also add symbols which I may include next time.  I can’t wait to give my mother, sister and my friend Abbie their personalised creations, and not wanting to be left out, I maaaaaaay have also got myself a little somethin’ somethin’ too…  

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Ok, so understandably, I couldn’t resist getting myself one of the Thomas Sabo Spinning Coin necklaces, on which I engraved a ’W’ and ‘Z’ on each side to keep both my niece and nephew close to my heart (*cue audience: “Ahhhhhhhhh…”)  Seriously though, this is such a great gift (even if just for yourself!) as it’s so versatile, can be worn from day to night and the playful spinning of the rotating coin is simply ADDICTIVE.  The necklace is also available in sterling silver (RRP. £139.00) and 18k rose gold plate (RRP. £198.00).

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My darling friend Abbie also just had her second baby, so I decided to get her this Thomas Sabo classic ’Love Bridge’ bracelet in 18K Gold plate (RRP. £119.00), made completely unique to her by adding both her son’s names on to it; ‘Rocco and Ozzie.’  This bracelet will go with everything and anything and I imagine she won’t ever want to take it off. 

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My sister has relatively ‘tom boy’ tastes when it comes to jewellery, and tends not to wear very much at all, but I know she’ll love these 18K gold plated Thomas Sabo ‘Little Secret Disc’ bracelets, on khaki, hand-knotted nylon (RRP. £49.00). Adjustable and personalised with the initials of her children, these look awesome stacked together, and not too ‘girly.’ I actually loved these worn together so much, that I decided to get my mother the same ‘Little Secret Discs’, engraved with her grandchildren’s initials, but with a ballet pink coloured cord (RRP. £49.00), as she also likes her jewellery to blend in more with her skin. I’m so excited about seeing them open these, and how special they will find the engraving.

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I couldn’t wait to wear my Spinning Coin Necklace, so I unwrapped this spoiling ‘Dear Kelly, Love Kelly’ gift a little early... I love it. Thanks Kelly. 

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I will admit, I also decided to give my sister’s Little Secret Disc bracelets a little road test (and by road, I mean café with cake test, you know the one!) to show you how great they look stacked... Let's just say, I’m going to reeeeally struggle giving them away!

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As it’s already so close to Christmas, and the last deliveries have been sent, pop inside your nearest Thomas Sabo store this weekend to find the perfect last minute gifts, made all the more perfect with complimentary engraving. These totally unique presents will be loved for a lifetime... ALLLLL of the Christmas Feels!  MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL!

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In collaboration with Thomas Sabo
Photography: Eva Salvi
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  
Nails: Swanky

Klorane: A French Pharmacy Favourite

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Jane Birkin, Jane Seberg, Caroline de Maigret, Clemence Poesy… In my mind, when it comes to effortless style and seemingly natural beauty, French women will always come up le trumps.  I say ‘seemingly,’ as that well documented, and much envied, ‘je ne sais quoi’ our trop belle neighbours possess, is as much the direct result of the ritualistic use of reliable, high quality products as it is the dose of good genes they frequently are blessed with.

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 I think this is why us Brits have always incorporated a lengthy and joyous perusal in a French Pharmacy into any travel itinerary, and why we have suddenly seen so many more French products pop up on our shelves this side of the channel in recent years.  

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Despite now being able to pop to Boots to stock up on all my French faves, there are still few places more exciting to visit than a French Pharmacy.  Case in point; Last Easter, my girlfriends and I derailed our entire ski group in Courcheval, so we could visit a French Pharmacy… A little Après Skin before our Après Ski.  One friend, Emma, was raving about Klorane, and specifically their cult product, the Oat Milk Dry Shampoo.  Watching her purchase several cans, le FOMO kicked in and I also grabbed one myself. 

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In all honesty, up until this point, I had always assumed dry shampoo was a quick fix for greasy hair, used if running late for work, or for a quick freshen up at a festival… Given I have major OCD and wash my hair most days, I just hadn’t ever imagined dry shampoo being a staple in anyone’s beauty regime, let alone my own. The reality is, French women don’t wash their hair every day, believing that frequent washing can strip the scalp of nourishing oils, so prefer to wash their hair only a couple of times a week. 

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Launched in the ‘80’s and still considered the best in its field, Klorane’s Oat Milk Dry Shampoo decreases the need to wash your hair, and what I’ve found, is that it rather helpfully extends the life of my blow-dries.  Rather than leaving your hair feeling stiff, the result of others I’ve tired, the oat milk in Klorane’s Oat Milk Dry Shampoo seems to soften and protect your hair, even giving your doo some volume within just a couple of minutes. It took a while for me to relax into not washing my hair every day, but knowing that I’m looking after my hair and scalp, whilst also rocking some serious French chic, bed head vibes, it’s been worth it. Just pass me some red lippy and a Breton, already! 

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Above: Shake Klorane's Oat Milk Dry Shampoo well before use and spray evenly 30cm away from hair roots… Leave for 2 minutes and brush out thoroughly, et voila! 

Above: Klorane’s Oat Milk Dry Shampoo is also available in a mini size for touch ups and added texture throughout the day. 

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After discovering this total hair hero, I wanted to learn more about Klorane. In 1966, Klorane has a well-documented history in pharmaceutical ethics and is dedicated to protecting both plant heritage and the environment.  We all know I love incorporating more ethical purchases into my life, and it seems Klorane is putting the care in to the hair care, by donating a portion of its sales to supporting the activities of the Klorane Botanical Foundation

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Keen to try some more of Klorane’s products, I decided to give their Mango Butter Range a go.  Having spent a chilly few months in London hiding under a beanie, and being about to head back to Africa for Christmas, I felt my hair could do with some serious nourishment. 

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The Klorane Mango Butter Shampoo, and Conditioner, contain fatty acids that really act to repair your hair and bring back its suppleness and shine. 

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Klorane's Leave in Cream serves as a protective coat, making your hair easier to style. Oh, and I should mention, the smell… Ooh La La! Heavenly. 

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I’ve really been enjoying using Klorane’s Mango Butter Range twice a week, with interim touch ups using the Klorane Oat Milk Dry Shampoo.  My scalp is definitely appreciating being left alone a little more, and my hair is super shiny thanks to the oils I’m clearly allowing to hang out a little more. 

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Being now able to stock up on these affordable Klorane products within the U.K, rendering those heavy beauty hauls back from Paris on the Eurostar less necessary, has also been massively helpful (and now there’s plenty more room to smuggle back cheese…!)

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Klorane is available at Boots, Escentual, Birchbox, Look Fantastic and independent pharmacies.

In collaboration with Klorane

Photography: Eva Salvi

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All He Wants For Christmas 2017...

If you’re struggling to find something more exciting than the annual pair of socks, here is a little giftspiration for the (sometimes) deserving men in your life…  Hover and click on the items for their direct links.

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ABOVE:  Frangipani’s brilliantly unique and colourful cotton and linen designs are perfectly suited from beach to bar (RRP. £75.00 each). 
 

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Above: Pop Ottolenghi’s Chilli and Coriander Chutney in his stocking... It's deeeelicious!

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Above:  This luxury, multi-brand Christmas Collection Box is filled with nine stylish, yet practical, pressies, including a S’well Bottle, Aspinal of London Credit Card Case and Barbour scarf.  The ultimate spoil. (RRP. £150.00... But worth £228.45).  
 

All She Wants For Christmas 2017

Jingle Kells is back here with a little annual, last min giftspiration for the lovely ladies in your life... If, like me, amidst the haze of festive celebrations and trying manically to finish sign off various bits of work, you’ve left your present buying to the very last minute, fear not! We still have some time to place orders for our loved ones online, cuppa in hand, rather than having to brave the last minute high street dash on Christmas Eve!  Oh and the Net a Porter SALE started today too, so all our disorganisation might have have paid off...

Hover and click on the items for their direct links and Merry Christmas (shopping)...

Above:  'Buy to Give' this season by spoiling your loved one with jewellery that also directly helps fight against ivory poaching.  The Tembo Collection comprises seven Masai bead inspired bracelets which I designed with Auree Jewellery, and every purchase of a Satao, Pembe or Shina (RRP. £50.00 - £140.00) 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. A real feel good pressie. 

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Above:  Pens, make up brushes, carrots… If they fit, they’re going in one of these Pentreath Hall Alphabet Pots (RRP. £42.50). How many is toooo many?! 

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Above:  A Cartwright & Butler festive hamper filled with thoroughly-British tasty treats… Let the feasting begin! (From RRP. £35.00)

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Above (L-R):  I already have a super chic, personalised Garment Bag (RRP. £175.00) from bespoke womenswear label Tephi, and now I'm after their perfect Washbag (RRP. £40.00) to match.  Edge of Ember's ethically and sustainably made personalised Love Letters (RRP.£95.00) are swoonsome and look even better when stacked together in different lengths. 

Oh, and don't forget that all important Stocking! 

 Dear Santa...!

Lighting Up Puerto Rico with Tara Summers

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Two months ago my good friend, actress Tara Summers, went to Puerto Rico to work on a film. Knowing she was about to witness much of the destruction left in Hurricane Irma and Maria's wake, Tara started a GoFundMe Page to raise money to take some $25 solar powered lamps with her, which the International Medical Corps had advised her would be really useful.

FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS (and counting!) later, the lamps, which are charged in the sunshine and last 8hrs, have made a real difference to so many, especially the elderly and the young, at this more than challenging time.  

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I met up with Tara for a cuppa whilst in New York and asked her to tell us more…

It will likely be another four months before power is fully restored across Puerto Rico, and you can help by donating HERE.

WELL DONE TARA! xx

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