2019: Let's Do This...

A little late to the 2019 party, but wishing you all one healthy and happy New Year. In all honestly, behind all of the fun and the filters, this last year has been a bit of a whoop-ass struggle, and all things considered, I found it quite hard to pick an authentic array of annual ‘highlights’ to see out 2018...

Instead, as I sit reflecting on the last year, I see lots of faces. The faces of people who showed up, checked in, called and cared - my true, real highlights.

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If I’ve learned anything recently, it’s that you are never too old to open yourself up and make new, brilliant friends. Some of the faces I’m the most grateful to over 2018 belong to people I might not have imagined being there a year or so ago, and that’s pretty wonderful in itself. I also learnt to not beat myself up too much for politely opting out of things when it all feels like too much, when you need to disconnect, and when you need to put yourself (and perhaps Netflix) first.

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Lastly, I recently read that even if you feel like the least intelligent, beautiful or talented person in the room, you can always be brave and you can always be kind. And that’s how I’ll be walking into 2019; Brave and kind... Lets Do This 2019!

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Dress and Lipstick by Rouje

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#OOTD: 28.11.18

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I fell for East London based brand Mother of Pearl hard over Fashion Week this season, not only because of their renown sustainable credentials, but also because this pyjama/jogger trouser/pearl lined shirt combo struck the perfect balance between casual and luxury – my sartorial happy place!

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“I have a vision to make products that travel the minimum amount of miles, using the minimum amount of chemicals possible, and are socially responsible and organic,” says Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl’s creative director. Using only cotton and wool from ethical production methods (including minimised water consumption and zero toxins) Mother of Pearl’s feminine ruffles, use of faux pearl detailing and cooler than cool masculine silhouettes are well worth having on your radar (and in your wardrobe.)

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#OOTD: 17.10.18 (With Marks and Spencer)

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Who doesn’t have a lil’soft spot for Marks & Spencer? Traditionally my go-to, one-stop-shop for underwear, roses, smoked salmon, commemorative tins of biscuits (don’t judge me) and Percy Pigs, it is now also the location I’ve found some of my favourite staple Autumn/Winter’18 wardrobe additions.

Over the years I’ve found some real little winners to wear from M&S (I think I bought the entire Alexa Chung collection, and the washable cashmere is always an ‘Add To Basket’ investment) but I’ve never seen the amount of wearable, on-trend (and affordable) fashion as I have found online and in-store this season.

As we’ve now officially come to the end of the longest summer EVER (the heating is on as I write…) I decided to style together some of my favourite new-season M&S separates, which each also tick many of the Fall’18 trends; Animal print, corduroy, berry tones and winter whites.

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What I love most about this outfit (aside from the clear 1960’s Mary Quant, Chelsea vibes!) is that each one of my chosen pieces can be so easily integrated into my existing wardrobe, giving the items I already own the perfect refresh they need.

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TLC Loves… M&S

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In collaboration with Marks and Spencer
Photography: Frances Davison
Hair: Taylor Taylor London
Nails: Sophie Gass

Moon Hair Clip: Estee Rose

With thanks to Enrique the pug.

Credit Buy: The Dolly Knit

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Today I will be mainly transporting myself back to Bank Holiday Monday morning, lying peacefully on an Isle of Wight cliff top covered in heather... Opposed to dealing with having just found my home completely splattered in Carnival paint.  All together now; "Ommmmmmmmm...!!"

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In celebration of Dolly Alderton’s witty memoir, ‘Everything I Know About Love,’ British knitwear brand Hades has created a lambswool ‘Dolly Knit’ inspired by the brainy Bardot’esq babe herself (RRP. 160.00).  

Available in Powder Pink and Blood Red, these sweaters both have ‘Know Thyself’ embroidered onto the inner sleeve of the left arm, which is perhaps wiser than the usual heart we’ve been known to leave there...!

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Trend: Trench Coats

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After the most SCORCHIO of British Summers that I can remember, I can’t say I’m not a little relieved to hanging up my slightly weathered rosé hat. During this sweet spot between balmy and baltic, it was with total Autumnal anticipation I reached for my favourite trench.

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I think we all can agree that the timeless trench coat is one of those key inter-seasonal layers that everyone needs.  Possessing all the Audrey vibes one could hope for in a trench, this wee Marks and Spencer's number I got last season is set to work just as hard this year, as it did the last…  And that’s the thing with trenches, they just never go out of style.

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Although this balloon-sleeved beauty is sadly no longer in stock, Marks and Spencer have just launched their new style, an affordable Trench Coat made from sustainably sourced materials, which uses clever clogs Stormwear™ technology, increasing your protection against wind and rain (remember those ol'things?!)  Chic AND practical - WE LIKE! 

Another goodie I've spotted which won't be hanging around on their digital shelves for long is Rejina Pyo's love-and-wear-forever Double Breasted Belted Trench Coat from her second collaboration with Label/Mix. Rising fashion-star Rejina Pyo's show during London Fashion Week has become one I really look forward to, and being able to purchase some of her striking designs with their signature sculptural buttons, more affordably than her mainline layers, gives me such a sweet fashwunnnn high. 

Lastly, the other trench that understandably caught my eye was Gabriella Hearst's statement Armonia Coat that debuted on her Fall '18 runway.  With its wool and cashmere-blend, this style is considerably more expensive, but as they say, a trench is for life, not just this Autumn.  Ok, 'they' don't say this - but I just did, and I feel it works, so let's go with it...

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Photography: Joseph Galvin

OOTD: 30.04.18

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I read in the paper yesterday that this week our capital looks set to be ‘battered by torrential rain and gales,’ with warnings of potential flooding. Sooooo, that’s a pretty big ‘no’ to Spring then, right?!  At a time where I should be perusing the pastels in my wardrobe, I’m leaning heavily back towards the cashmere. 

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One colour I particularly feel weathers (for want of a better word) this unpredictable time of year well, is olive.  Olive is one of the most versatile colours you can wear, being both cool and casual, whilst also being a while lot more forgiving than the predictable summer khaki options that are currently available en masse on every one of our high streets.

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This show stopper of a trench coat is by the wonderfully talented Huishan Zhang, who I have long been a huge fan of.  Combining both his Eastern heritage and Western design skills, the coat’s olive scallops are both powerful, yet pretty.

Worn with my high-waisted/wide-legged H&M black trousers, stripey Day Birger turtle neck (yup, back to those… Brrrrr…), my Jerome Dreyfuss circular bag, my Swedish Hasbeen’s clogs and my And Other Stories Sunglasses (a girl can hope…!) I am feeling as Springy as I possibly can right now!  Even if I’m not loving this weather, this coat?! Olive you longtime…

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Photography:  Joseph Galvin

Hair:  Taylor Taylor London

Nails:  Sophie Gass

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

The Watamu Turtle Pouch Launch and Competition

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Last week, Elizabeth Scarlett founder Elizabeth Elsey and I celebrated the launch of our ‘Watamu Turtle Pouch’ at an intimate breakfast in the festively decorated private dining room at Balthazar London in the heart of Covent Garden. 

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100% of the profit from our limited edition, intricately embroidered cotton, teal pouches (RRP. £25.00) go directly to the Local Ocean Conservation, a non profit organisation based in my home village of Watamu, back in Kenya.

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Local Ocean are committed to the protection of critically endangered and threatened sea turtles and the preservation of Watamu’s spectacular Marine Park and Reserve. Having been lucky enough to help with several of their turtle releases, I can tell you first hand, nothing brings more joy than watching these beautiful beings healthily return back into the wild.

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It was so great to see so many of my friends there to support my second ‘Buy To Give’ collaboration, and they all received their own ‘Watamu Turtle Pouch,’ which were filled with some of my other favourite ‘travel essentials,’ spoiling gifts from Jo Malone, Caudalie, Charlotte Tilbury, Spacemasks, ASOS Africa, and Sisley Paris.

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Above (L-R):  With Venetia Falconer, Niomi Smart, Rosanna Falconer and Liv Purvis.

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Above (L-R):  Nutritionist Zoe Stirling, Make-up artist Charlotte Cowen, presenter Venetia Falconer, and Matthew Williamson's Business Director, Rosanna Falconer.

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Above (L-R):  With documentary photographer Freya Dowson, and wellness guru Jasmine Hemsley

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Watch More Here... 

Watch out for the #TLCComp in the above vlog, for your chance to win your own Watamu Turtle Pouch filled with all my travel favourites (below).

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Photographs: Moeez Ali

With Thanks to Balthazar London

A Boots Story with TOMS

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It is no secret that I am a huge fan of TOMS, a really unique brand that has inspired much of my own ‘fashion for good’ conservation work over the years. With giving at its core, TOMS fantastically matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of shoes for someone in need.  To date, this brilliant ‘One for One’ mission has seen over 75 million new pairs of shoes given to those in need around the world, with over 1/3rd of those shoes being produced in the regions where they are distributed, including back in Kenya.

This season, TOMS has introduced a selection of boots, ones that not only look great (with, as I found out, EVERYTHING you pair them with), but like all other TOMS products, they also give back; It’s a win, win!

TOMS asked me to style up some of their Ella and Alpine Boots in celebration of their launch, and I found that not only were both pairs extremely comfortable and versatile, but also really stylish, which is of course, just as important…

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The Ella Booties...

Instead of going dark, like the rest of my usual winter boots, I chose to wear the Ella Booties in Desert Taupe Suede Metallic (RRP. £89.00). A favourite of Queen Victoria, the timeless Chelsea Boot style, characterised by it’s high-top, slip-on design, and inherent simplicity, are the easiest of silhouettes to wear. The light colour of these boots makes them really inter-seasonal, and the inclusion of the metallic, makes the feel both modern and fresh. These boots conveniently work with every outfit I throw together and look set to be pretty hardworking additions to my wardrobe!

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Not all heroes wear capes. But some do. In their TOMS. I’m never usually too far from some leopard print, and in this case Britney and Justin, I will take your Double Denim and I will RAISE YA! Yup, I went Double Leopard, all black everything else, with my Ella Booties balancing the outfit. Gloves, socks and a beanie will be merry additions as it gets colder.

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I love winter whites on a bright, cold day, and the combination of my Liz Hurley’s (a.k.a. my white jeans) and sandy Ella Boots, mixed with some textured tweed and a darker polo neck led to one of my favourite looks of the day which I will certainly be replicating.

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I mean, just when you thought I couldn’t possibly throw any more leopard your way… A statement coat like this can always do the talking, so I just had to rely on my neutral Ella’s to do all the walking.  And in case you were wondering, no, that teeny bag doesn’t fit a thing… But that’s not really the point now, is it?! #Fashion.

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The Alpine Boots...

I also chose a pair of Toffee Suede Alpine Boots (RRP. £84.99) which literally put the fun into functional. The boots are everything you crucially need for a bitter winter, without having to sacrifice your style in exchange for keeping warm. Despite being water resistant, and promising to keep those tootsies snug-as-a-bug, the bold pattern they feature is sprightly.  These will be exactly what I need to keep myself distractedly cheerful, whilst tackling the impending street slush in the next few, darker months!

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Having the sweetest tooth known to man, the whole toffee’ness of this outfit appeals hugely. Not only do the Alpine Boots stop my jacket from feeling too Frank Butcher, I love how my (*epic) bag highlights their coloured details.  This look is definitely one I’ll be enjoying during The Big Chill.

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All the layers of this outfit, along with the wool of the Alpine Boots poking out, immediately makes me feel cosy and peaceful. I just need to accessorise with a hot chocolate (or mulled wine… what time is it?!) pronto.  

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And there it is. The beanie. The beanie which will be attached to my head for the foreseeable future (I’ve even been known to sleep in them… Don’t judge me, I’m from Africa and I’ve never grown used to these winters!)  A coat that could double as a dressing gown, and the feet cuddles the Alpine Boots are giving me, makes the whole getting out of bed in the morning and leaving the house whilst its still pitch dark thing, a whole lot easier.

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I loved styling up my new TOMS boots, but best of all, I love knowing that by wearing them, someone else less fortunate than me in the world is also now walking around in a pair of shoes that they so desperately needed. It is that thought really does put a spring in my step.

Click to see about TOM's Boot's Story...

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In collaboration with TOMS.

Photography: Francis Davison

Hair: Taylor Taylor London

Nails: Sophie Gass

#OneForOne