Go Your Own Way with Oris

Having spent most of my twenties not wearing a watch, or really even caring that much about the time in general (oh, sweet youth…) I have certainly upped my wrist game since hitting 30. Telling the time, and most importantly, being on time, aside, a great watch can really set the tone for your whole look, acting as both a style and personal character statement. 

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As we tend to wear watches more frequently than any other accessory, investing in a time piece you really love feels pretty justifiable, given the eventual ‘cost per wear’ (a little formula not taught at school, but one I use far more regularly than the Pythagorean theorem…) and amidst an influx of smart watches and new technology flooding the market, I am even more appreciative of traditional, beautifully crafted and charismatic watches which can be passed down from generation to generation. 

This summer I discovered Oris, the luxury Swiss watch brand renowned for their distinctive, 100% mechanical designs. Founded in Holstein, Switzerland, in 1904, the independent company launched a standalone concept store on London’s fashionable South Molton Street (above, open until the end of August) which gives British customers a chance to explore the brand, its rich watchmaking heritage and ultimately to ‘Go Your Own Way,’ by finding your perfect watch. 

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One of the highlights at the pop-up, for this history geek at least, is the Oris mini museum, featuring classic pieces from throughout the brand’s 114 years.  The latest collections are also on display, and of course available to buy or pre-order, and my eyes definitely fell upon the Artelier Grand Lune Date Diamond Automatic Watch (now, try saying THAT several times in a row…)

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To me, this watch is both classic but also wonderfully modern, and although embellished with beautiful diamonds and sapphire crystal, in keeping with my day-to-day style and work, it doesn’t feel too ostentatious or feminine, due to the bigger dial size and deep, midnight blue sustainable leather strap.

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The distinctive and decorative large moon and series of twinkling, reflective stars add a really special and almost poetic touch to the watch and one that truly had me at hello (or should I say, grüezi…) 

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Passionate about our earth and wildlife, what was of obvious interest to me, is the brand’s #ChangeForTheBetter campaign, and their continuous, and active support of non-profit organisations that protect endangered species and conserve threatened habitats. This year Oris started using sustainably sourced and produced leather straps, which appeared in the company’s classic collection of Artelier watches, such as the one I chose to wear.  Knowing that the watch I chose to wear has been so ethically created makes this particular collection even more charming and covetable, and although also available in stainless steel, I can imagine the leather strap will age really beautifully over time, telling unique stories from each owner’s wear, and I find that really enchanting. 

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‘This is both an elegant, feminine piece of watch design, and a wonderful example of Oris’s watchmaking abilities,’ said Oris Chairman Ulrich W. Herzog. ‘The new Oris-developed Calibre 763 is the latest in a long line of Oris innovations and brings the traditional ‘grande lune’ complication into orbit for stylish women who are looking for an attractively priced Swiss Made watch.’ 

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In collaboration with Oris
Photography: Frances Davison
Hair: Taylor Taylor London
Nails: Sophie Gass

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FitFlop x Habitat for Humanity

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I moved to my flat in Notting Hill three years ago, after a short but tumultuous period of bouncing around from house to flat, and at one point, hotel room to friend’s sofas. Although still an ongoing process, slowly making this little one-bedroom flat, with its creaky black floor boards and New York loft style exposed brick and sky lights, my own, has been a total joy. Saving up for things has taken time, and in some cases, some extreme willpower (fixing windows over buying new shoes, for instance, takes the strength of an ox…!) and the arrival of my long-lusted after jade velvet sofa of dreeeeeams this month, just in time for my impending hibernation, has been a triumph.

My bathroom is covered in Matthew Williamson for Osborne and Little butterfly wallpaper, my wardrobe, in House of Hackney colobus monkeys, and Jo Malone candles and photographs of my beloved niece Safari Willow and nephew Zac cover most of the surfaces. Monkey book ends, giant coral prints, a Rosanna Lonsdale zebra lamp, and my framed Guy Malin leopard balloon photograph all remind me of where I’m from in Africa.  Stepping into my flat after a crazy day whizzing around London, throwing off my boots, popping on my slippers and attacking some Jaffa Cakes, makes me feel calm, cosy, and safe…

Basically, I feel at home. 

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I know, the word LUCKY springs to mind. Especially when one in five people across the world are living in slums or substandard housing, propelling them into a grinding cycle of poverty. When someone lacks a home, their health, well-being, educational prospects and ability to earn a living all become affected. 

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With this in mind, FitFlop are supporting Habitat for Humanity this year, a global non-profit organisation which helps build homes for families in need around the world, offering them strength, stability and self-reliance through much-needed shelter. 20% from each purchase of a pair of FitFlop House Slippers, in all their cloud-like double shearling and fluffy pom pom glory, is made to Habitat for Humanity

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Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has worked tirelessly to provide access to decent housing for families in over 70 countries. From building homes and providing villages with clean drinking water, to natural disaster relief and micro-finance, this organisation have amazingly helped over 10 million people worldwide.

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The FitFlop House Slippers are available in two different colour ways, and I was immediately drawn to the charcoal grey pair with midnight blue pom poms. Not only have I practically not taken them off, but several of my friends have already gone and bought themselves a pair after seeing mine. With Christmas fast approaching, these make the perfect ‘Buy to Give’ present… Even if that present miiiight be to yourself… Hey, no one’s judging here! 

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Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, this pair of beyond comfortable, limited edition LOVE Slippers also see 20% from each sale go to support Habitat for Humanity’s life-changing work. What’s not to LOOOOOOVE, huh?!

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 “At FitFlop, people put their hearts and souls into making the world’s best ergonomic footwear, because they believe that if you want to live an inspired life, you’ve got to start with a great foundation.  And while a great pair of shoes will improve your life, a safe decent home is the ultimate foundation.” 

Marcia Kilgore, Founder of FitFlop.

 

“We’re really excited to be partnering with FitFlop on this venture. Both of our organisations are passionate about making a sustainable difference and FitFlop’s vision for solid foundations aligns perfectly with ours.”

Naomi Rothwell, Habitat for Humanity GB Corporate Partnerships Manager

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In collaboration with FitFlop

Photography: Francis Davison

Hair and Makeup: Secret Spa

#FITFLOPxHABITATFORHUMANITY 

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

Tried and Tested: Over-The-Knee Boots with Selfridges (Ad)

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I must admit, rightly or wrongly, I have always associated wearing over-the-knee boots with being overtly sexual and Cabaret’esq, so have steered away from them, given ‘sexy’ is not really my go-to style.  In fact, I’d always rather a compliment over some eclectic ensemble I was wearing from a stylish woman than a wolf whistle or a manly leer, any day.  An ex (clearly!) boyfriend once told me my look was ‘moooore demure than sexy,’ and despite the intentions of his remark, I was incredibly appreciative!!  Give me Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Portman or even bloomin’Jane Austen over a Kardashian any day!  HOWEVER, my head was turned last Winter when I saw a few bloggers I know, and supermodels I don’t, wearing over-the-knee boots with dark jeans and it looked… well, kinda chic!  SO… Never one to not try something new, I decided to grab a pair from Selfridges and give them a wee whirl, making sure to adapt them to my own style, and not the other way around.  I, yes I, was going to wear these boots, they were not going wear me!

Let’s do this...

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Firstly, I decided to pair some suede Carvela Sammy over-the-knee boots with some skinny, dark Diesel jeans and an oversize woolly jumper from Alexa by Alexa Chung (a beloved ambassador of the all things anti-sexy, in her ruffles and glittery flats!) and a Manu Atelier suede bag.  By pairing the boots with these winter textures, they instantly became softened and far more appropriate for daytime.  In fact, with the addition of my sharp Jess Collett Milliner fedora, the overall look felt pretty kick ass!  Yup, I definitely could hear some Beyonce playing in my head with each step (*finger snap, hair swish…)

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For my second outfit, I paired the Carvela over-the-knee boots with a zippered Kitri shirt dress and the dinkiest of current It Bags, a Simon Miller Bonsai Bag.  I definitely think this is the kind of a look I would wear to Fashion Week, and although with certain wider strides, there were some good old fashioned thighs on display, the long sleeves, and length of dress counteracted any unwarranted incitement on the streets!

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In summation, I still think these over-the-knee boots are pretty sexy, but not in the original, possibly negative way I had first imagined.  With the right, balanced outfit, these boots actually make you feel pretty damn empowered too.  Demurely sexy, some might say...! 

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In collaboration with Selfridges

Photography: Francis Davison

Hair:  Taylor Taylor London

Nails:  Sophie Gass

#OOTD: 21.07.17

Just as florals are synonymous with Spring (yes, we know, ground-breaking…), fruit goes hand in hand with the summer. The minute the sunshine puts his hat on, and the rosé has been lined up, we all seem to reach for our most zesty ensembles and juicy accessories.

Pineapples are usually our first fashion go-to, with lemons not far behind (so very D&G), and then there are cherries. Ripe and ruby red, there will always be something a little bit more sexy and a little bit more playful about this fruity print, and my faves Chinti and Parker have provided this one of our fashion five a day in droves this season.

I’m a massive fan of Chinti and Parker’s whimsical cashmere designs, and recently I was treated to the most GAWGEOUS Ivory Cherry Silk Shirt (RRP. £275.00) which has fast become one of the most useful items in my wardrobe; Cool when its hot, warm when it cool - but always lots of fun!  The shirt also has matching pyjama style trousers if you’re feeling that extra bit fruity.

 

I recently wore the shirt whilst on a #TLCVacation in Nice, staying at Les Roches Rouges. I paired the shirt with my red ASOS skirt, Dolce & Gabanna retro cat eye sunnies and my new favourite shoes; my Drilles.

These unisex, handmade leather espadrilles, created by British fashion journalist Amy Williams, are available in a plethora of chic colours (my favourites being Rio Red and Portobello Pink) are set to be THE shoe of the summer. Get ‘em while you can from Barr and Bass (RRP. £155.00).

Shop TLC's Look...

 

Photographs:  Francis Davison

Nails:  Sophie Gass 

Jewellery:  Auree Jewellery