Monday, 27 June 2011

Stuff your Suitcase with Style!

With excess baggage charges at a premium and many travellers preferring to take just "carry on" luggage, it is finally time to lose the "everything for every eventuality" mentality, because it just ain't gonna happen! Nobody needs a sweater in Egypt in July, so concentrate on getting the 12 basics right and work on the theory of 3-4 tops and bottoms for a one week break.

Marks & Spencer Per Una Lily Pond Kaftan £95. Current Elliott Denim Shorts £66. Antik Batik Embellished Sandals Was £155 now £93.

Kaftans can be worn out in the evening before you wear them over your swimsuit and denim shorts can be worn on sightseeing trips or dressed up for a night out with a pretty top and heels. Flat embellished sandals work for both day and evening if you want to give your feet a rest!

Helene Berman Trilby £35. Splendid Tank £40. Anya Hindmarch Beach Bag £85.

Wear your Trilby when travelling or fill with underwear to keep its shape if you prefer to pack it.
A white vest is essential and can easily be dressed up for evening with the use of costume jewellery, just team with a silk skirt or shorts.
Use your beachbag for the journey, it will be large enough to hold all your essential carry on supplies, such as water, magazines, make-up etc

Gold Haviana flip flops £19.99. Diane Von Furstenberg oversized Sunglasses was £115 now £80. Warehouse maxi dress was £100 now £70.

Havianas are the perfect poolside accompliment and will last you for years.  Go for a metallic or neutral colour that will match all your kaftans or swimsuits.
If you only take one pair of sunglasses make them a classic Jackie O style for optimim eye protection.  A maxi dress is this years holiday must have and works with both flat sandals and heels perfectly.

By Malene Birger Bikini was £85 now £42.50. Isabella Oliver Summer Dress was £109 now £76.30. DVF wedges were £260 now £130.

If you buy a patterned bikini like the stripe one pictured, then pick up either a cheap plain navy or white bikini, or both, and mix and match! 3 bikinis would give you at least a weeks worth of different looks!
As with the white vest, a simple white dress is just as easy to dress up or down.
A pair of wedges are the easy option to take simple daytime outfits into evening glam.

What do you consider to be your essential holiday pieces?

LUXE City Guides


Friday, 24 June 2011

Something for the Weekend - the online sales edit - Part One

Whether you want to shop the seasons trends, need an outfit for a summer wedding, buy now and wear later, get some last minute holiday essentials or even indulge in some serious investment dressing, now is the time you can spend your hard earned cash and fulfil any shopaholic tendencies with my  hot picks from the High Street and High End online retailers.  I've got for the best bargains with nothing in this post with less than a 50% reduction, I get so annoyed by £20 off a £90 item!
I've simplified the edit by retailer, to bring you the best bargains, with no need to even leave the house with the promise of a rise in temperatures this weekend, you can lay in the sun all day and shop from your armchair at night!

Whether you have a holiday or festival looming, or just wish to invest in the perfect summer staple, you can't go wrong with a pair of denim shorts that you will be wearing year after year. Was £75 now £35!
Simple summer style is easily achieved with a classic shirt dress that is a guaranteed investment purchase which looks just as good with flats or heels  Originally £175 now £85!
If you don't feel brave enough to colour block with brights then the look is easily achieved with this understated skirt in a more neutral colour palette. Was £105 now £50!

Just as the Little Black Dress is a year round wardrobe staple, the Little White Dress is fast becoming a summer essential, so easy to dress up or down! Halston Heritage Dress. Was £214 now £107.
Up the Holiday "ante" in this D&G keyhole swimsuit for poolside perfection.  Was £120 now £60.
This Fishermans Knit Sweater by Maison Martin Margiela will make the perfect partner for this seasons coloured denim or team with a maxi skirt or denim shorts for instant boho chic.  Was £310 now £155.

A classic tailored peg trouser works perfectly for the office with a smart black or navy blazer but works just as well with a vest top and gladiator sandals for weekend cool.  Was £40 now £20.
Take the effort out of summer dressing with this bandeau midi dress. Wear out for holiday evenings or summer BBQ's with metallic flats or heels. Was £50 now £20.
Nothing shouts "poolside glam" like an Animal Print Bikini - grrrr... Was £30 now £15.

Weddings, Holidays or Cocktails, this Whistles halter neck dress will be your fail safe special occasion option. Was £195 now £95
This black jersey one shouldered jumpsuit by French Connection will became as invaluable as your LBD.  Wear with a chunky gold cuff  and huge cocktail ring. Was £97 now £38.
Wear this silk strappy maxi dress all summer long.  Slip on a denim jacket for cooler days. Was £165 now £65.

Your perfect "go to Black shoe", wear with everything from Dresses to Chino's. Was £85 now £39.
Rock the 70's vibe with these Nine West wedges. Wear with flared jeans and Maxi Dresses. Was £90 now £35.
A flat gold sandal is a summer must have, to show off a great tan and these are super cute with the ankle bow! Was £120 now £45.
Take Colour Blocking to a whole new level with these purple multi strap shoes with pink platform.  Perfect for weddings. Was £140 now £69.

What have you been buying in the Sales?

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mulberry Arm Candy

The release of the "Taylor" for summer 2011 came as a bit of a surprise initially.  Early in 2010 just in time for Fashion Week, the Alexa caused such a stir among fashionista's that high end etailers such as net-a-porter and mywardrobe were sold out within days of each new drop and at the same time in 2011, the Tillie was launched, another satchel shaped hybrid which shot to fame after being seen on the arm of Olivia Palermo.
In light of recent once a year launches, I really wasn't expecting anything new from Mulberry until early 2012, but the "Taylor" its newest edition, is a masterpiece.  There is something about it so sophisticated and luxe looking that it leaves the previous Satchel shaped handbags in the shade and gives the more mature fashionista a bag that is not only roomy and functional (with a long across body strap as well as the hand held options) but beautiful too.  The leather is both soft and sumptious and it is without a doubt a bag that will look better with age. The Taylor is truly a modern classic that will be the star of the show when sitting alongside the brands classic heritage range of bags.

Our first meeting in Bluewater. I die, this bag is "beyond"!

Black oversized Taylor, £950 from net-a-porter

The Taylor comes in three sizes and in four colours with the oversized Taylor available in green matte leather, which Mulberry call Bright Cabbage, Brown and Grey Soft Matte leather, and black smooth leather.
With their across body straps or hand held options this versatile bag is brought bang up to date with an emerald hue, a great way to wear this seasons brights. £950 at net-a-porter.

The standard sized bag is available in Deer Brown, Dove Grey and soft matte leather and black smooth leather.
The black standard Taylor £850 from Selfridges.

Soft Matte Leather in Deer Brown (my favourite) £850 from Selfridges. Also in Mole Grey....

Black Mini Taylor £525 from Harrods.

What do you think of the Taylor? Are you as tempted as me?


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Faking it - A professionals guide to using Fake Tan at home and a guide to what to expect from a Salon Fake Tan

This post was first published in June 2010 and the funny thing is, when you read it, the weather appears to have been the same this time last year!
I have decided to share this advice again with so many new followers who may need advice on fake tanning at home.

Its been positively freezing in my little corner of the South East today and with the sun only peeping out to say hello, by the time I have put my sunglasses on it has bloody disappeared again! So with not much sunshine in sight, who can believe we are now in the middle of June? I thought I would share with you my tips on fake tanning, it may give you something to do this weekend if you are sick of looking pasty and fancy a golden glow and also because I think a lot of people are afraid to do it at home and as not everyone can afford to go for a salon tan, here are my personal tips as a Fake Bake trained professional, I hope that the advice I give, will give you the confidence to try a bit of DIY - remember the only safe tan is a fake tan!

I did my first fake tan of the summer last Friday night, as the few times I have managed to grab half an hour in the garden on hot sunny days has had no impact on my legs whatsoever, as they still resemble a 6 pint carton of skimmed milk, although my arms have a light golden hue, why does this happen when you get old, I used to tan so evenly when I was young....
Anyway as most of my readers will know by now, I am a fan of Fake Bake tanning products for many reasons but mainly due to the fact the product is completely organic, is paraben free and I don't like to cover my skin, which is a living breathing organ, in something that contains chemicals and aluminium, I smoke and eat a load of shit, so I don't know why I take care of myself in some aspects and not others, oh well I've always been a complicated character!

Before you think about tanning at home, make sure you have not used any gradual tanning products like Dove or Johnsons, one week prior to application as this can affect the outcome and not by making you look browner, patchy more like as these products sit on top of the skin.

The most important thing when doing your own fake tan is to ensure the skin is properly prepared and by this I mean exfoliated. Remember that any range of products are designed to work together so the exfoliator I use in the winter, Orgins Ginger, is not the one I use in the summer when I start to use fake tan as it is very oily and products like this will react with the tan and could mean that the final result is not as good as it should be. Therefore you should always use the Fake Bake passion fruit body polish which is very effective and smells gorgeous and you can use this all year round even if you don't use fake tan.
I put a scoop in my hand and then add a bit of water before applying to the skin. Work the exfoliator over the body in small circular motions, but pay particular attention to elbows, hands, knees and feet as these are the driest areas and can go darker than the rest of your body if not prepared properly.

Never exfoliate your boobs, the skin is more tender. I have noticed that as soon as I hit 40, my skin started to dry out, especially my feet and not just the heel areas but now the tops of my feet and even around the toes are very dry so whereas a young person with supple skin can be carefree with their exfoliation process, us older ladies will have to be a little more vigilant with this process.
If you were at a salon having a Fake Bake, the exfoliator would be removed with a cloth and a bowl of water, but at home it is easier to rinse off in the shower.
After exfoliation the next step is to apply the tanning lotion. Before starting ensure that all traces of deodorant are removed as even if you have some on from the morning and are tanning at night, the lotion will go green when it hits it. You should also be free of make-up, perfume etc.

The Fake Bake tanning procedure is a three step one, which involves the passion fruit body polish I have just talked about, the tanning lotion and the Smoothie Oil which acts as a moisturiser and emulsifier to the dry problem areas. So if tanning at home, begin by putting a large dark coloured towel on the floor and stand in front of a full lengh mirror if you have one. I always begin at the feet and work upwards, so put on the gloves that come with the tan, and put a blob about the size of a 10p at the top of your foot where it joins the leg, next, spray your foot with the moisturising spray and then begin to rub the lotion in by sweeping down the front of the foot and around the ankles, apply more spray if required, and work the lotion into the foot thinking about how your feet tan if you go on holiday, i.e. sweep down towards your soles and avoid the back of the heel area as these never go brown on holiday. Make sure that you blend in between the toes using more spray if necessary.

You can buy all three items together in a starter kit and when you think what a salon tan will cost, it is worth it, as the body polish & oil will last ages and you can just replenish the Tanning Lotion as required. £48 from John Lewis

2. Apply lotion to the lower legs, the upper legs (spraying the knees with the smoothie oil) and when that is done, do your torso, boobs, chest and back, enlisting the help of a friend if you need to. The lotion is dark but has no bearing on the outcome, so don't panic if you are not used to using tanning products. You will most probably find that you go even darker during the development time as the tan develops beneath the colour guide.
3. Next, do your arms, from armpit to wrist, inside and out, spray each elbow with the dry oil as you get to it.
4. With your hair up and away from your face and neck, do these areas. Go right up to the hairline and don't forget behind the ears especially if you intend to wear your hair up! I always go over the earlobes as ears can look stupid if they are white and the rest of your face is brown.
5. Finally the hands. I apply a blob about the size of a 5p to the wrist area, spray my hand with the oil and sweep down over the back of your hand, fingers and thumb. If you are doing this alone, to make hand application easier, use a cosmetic sponge for this part as you don't want lotion on your palms.

When the lotion is applied, some people find they look as though they have been in a mud bath, whereas others could happily go out with it on, it looks different on everyone at this stage. The colour that you see on your body now is known as the "colour guide" and is not your tan, this needs to be washed off after the development time. Now all you need to do is sit back or go to bed while the tan takes its six to eight hours to develop. Put on loose dark clothing or pyjamas. If you are applying before bedtime and sleeping in it, I usually recommend that they put a spare pillowcase on and sleep in an old sheet incase any excess product comes off as it often can, especially on hot, sweaty summer nights, but this has no bearing on the outcome, and don't worry, it washes out of everything even white bedding but don't leave washing with tanning lotion on at the bottom of the laundry basket for weeks, do wash asap.
At the development stage the only thing that can interfere and ruin the procedure is water. If having the tan done at a salon, ensure you have an umbrella with you if rain is forecast. At home avoid washing up, bathing children etc

Questions and Trouble Shooting

Q. Why is it better to have a Tan using hand applied lotion at a salon rather than a spray tan?

A. Personally for me, I am not a fan of spray tans as the client is told to exfoliate themselves beforehand. This is rarely done properly,if at all, or with an exfoliator which works with the tanning product, therefore it can result in an uneven and patchy tan. Also I had a client the other week who came to me for lashes and had previously had a spray tan at another salon. The palms of her hands were completely dark brown as she had fainted whilst having it done and put her hands in the lotion on the floor of the the booth. Spray tanning is quite quick but usually costs the same, so the therapist can actually make more money by spray tanning, but a hand applied lotion tan with exfoliation feels more like a pampering treatment, most clients love the fact that they lay there and get exfoliated.

Q. If I leave my tan on for 10 hours will I go browner?
A. No, the lotion stops developing at a certain stage.

Q. I am not as brown as I thought I would be, what can I do?
A. Do a second application a couple of days later without exfoliation.

Q. How often should I be exfoliating my skin?
A. Once a week at all times, not just when tanning.

Q. Do I use soap to wash off the colour guide?
A. Fake Bake do say it is OK to use a mild soap or shower gel, but I don't. I always just use the water and when the water is running clear, I then wash my bits and pieces with soap or shower gel.

Q. I don't have a shower, can I wash it off in the bath?
A. You can although it is more difficult. I suggest filling the bath with a few inches of water, wash all over the body once with a flannel or soft sponge, get out and refill with another couple of inches of water and repeat procedure until water is clear.

Q. Is it OK to wash my hair in the shower when I wash the colour guide off?
A. Yes it is, but do it after you have removed the colour guide.

Q. I have washed off the colour guide but my tan looks streaky?
A. Jump in the shower again and ensure you have washed it off properly using a flannel or sponge as this should never be the case if removed properly, Fake Bake never goes streaky or patchy if applied and washed off correctly.

Q. I am getting married on Saturday, when should I have my tan done?
A. Thursday. Normally I always suggest having your tan the day or evening before an event, but if you are the bride it should be 2 days before for a couple of reasons, one being that you don't want any residue on the inside of your dress and brides look best when not overly tanned. If you have had a tan before and are normally very pale skinned, think about having one a week before as well, to achieve a darker colour.

Q. How long will my tan last?
A. We would usually say up to seven days but everybody is different so use the first time as a trial to see. Under normal circumstances the tan will just fade gradually but I have known a few people who have come to me a few weeks later and need exfoliating, my husband and one of my friends seem to really keep hold of it and after about three weeks go a bit patchy usually only around the inside of the elbow and at the backs of the knees, this is quite rare but removes well with the Fake Bake exfoliator.

Q. I want a tan before my holiday, will it fade quicker if I am abroad?
A. Yes it will, due to lots of reasons, going in and out of the water, the application of sun lotions and sweat, but will fade gradually as your own tan develops. The beauty of having a tan before your holiday is that you won't be lily white round the pool when you arrive!

Q. Will I still need to use Sun Tan Lotion if I have a tan before my holiday?
A. Yes you should as the Tanning Lotion contains no sunscreen.

Q. How does Fake Bake actually work and how do I know how brown I will go?
A. Fake Bake works with your own melanin levels which means that if you have ginger hair, freckles and very pale skin you may just end up with a golden glow after your first application, whereas someone who tans easily and has higher melanin levels in their skin, will go browner.

Q. I am pregnant, is it OK to have a tan?
A. Fake Bake is completely organic and therefore safe to use on pregnant women. Due to hormone levels changing at the time of pregnancy, I would advise a patch test if you have any concerns.

Q. I am breastfeeding, can I still have a tan?
A. You can but I would avoid applying lotion to the boobs or the surrounding area and I would suggest laying a sheet over the rest of the body as you hold the baby during the tan development stage, as you need to remember the lotion is on your hands and arms and you don't want to get any on the baby. Express the milk if you can so that someone else can feed the baby but even then you may still have to pick the baby up to comfort it, so bear that in mind.

Q. Is it OK to apply the tan after hair removal?
A. All types of hair removal whether with a razor or waxing should be done 24 hours before the tanning procedure. This is because the pores are open and you can end up with little red dots on your legs, bikini area or underarms, which although will be OK by the next morning, it can be a concern to a client, so is best avoided at all costs.

Q. My daughter is only 10 but has a dancing competition, can she have a tan?
A. Personally I have tanned children for this reason as young as 7 years old. Fake Bakes advice is not to use on children under the age of 13, but it usually only ever gets asked for by dancers. When tanning anyone under the age of 16, a parent should be present. I always cover myself by making the parent stand up and watch over me as I apply the lotion to the area surrounding the childs underwear, always remember there are weirdos out there and I like to keep myself covered! A hand applied lotion tan is different from a spray tan where the client is not touched. If you are a parent of a child under 16 and don't forget some girls having proms are under this age, please ensure you stay in the room with the child and that your child feels at ease.

Q. Is there anything I can do to help prolong my tan?
A.Yes there is. Fake Bake offers a range of products that you can use in conjunction with your tan and are designed to be used alongside it. The Moisturiser and the Tan Enhancing Lotion are both very effective and the Tan Enhancing Lotion can also be used to maintain and enhance a natural tan. Your normal moisturiser may react with your tan as the Alkalines in them can strip colour, possibly leaving your skin patchy.

£12.50 from John Lewis

Tan Enhancing Lotion £12.50 House of Fraser

A salon Fake Bake Tan is always done with the client laying on the couch, covered with towels and should always include the exfoliation process, this is how Fake Bake train their Tanning Technicians to do it. Some Salons don't bother with the exfoliation but charge the same, so if you have never booked one before, please ask and ensure that this will be done, at the time of booking. Also make sure that the Tanning Technician is using the "Original" lotion on you, Fake Bake do a darker lotion but this is for die hard fake tanners, or those with darker skin. Upon booking, make sure you know if you are being offered a spray tan or a hand applied lotion one.

Original Lotion £24.95 John Lewis

The Treatment usually costs from £25- £35 depending on the area you live in and should take roughly 45 minutes. Sometimes having your first tan done at a salon will give you the confidence to try it at home where you can build on the colour from the first treatment and look beautifully tanned all summer.When I had my first Fake Bake at a salon, long before I trained in it, I wasn't exfoliated and still got charged the same and was only told to wash it off, but not how to, or what to use to do it with, so if you go to a Salon ensure that you are given all the correct information and don't be afraid to ask questions. The Therapist should always fill out a client card for you, where she should ask if you are on certain medications, pregnant etc before she commences the treatment. If you arrive at a Salon wearing make-up, perfume etc, the Therapist should give you something to remove it, although it is usually OK to keep mascara on.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Its a Beauty Haul

Although I do consider myself to be somewhat of a product junkie, I actually hate having to spend money on make-up and skincare, no matter how much I love them!  I always think that I could be spending the cash on clothes instead!  However needs must and I was in desperate need of a new mascara which got the "ball rolling" and saw me spend half of my sales clothes shopping budget at the beauty counters in Bluewater last week, when eldest daughter and I spent the day together for her 22nd Birthday (I can hardly believe its been a year since her 21st and our delicious Claridges champagne afternoon tea experience).

Mascara and me are SO not a good combination.  I don't know why because I don't seem to have watery eyes but my mascaras always smudge, even though I don't ever apply it to my lower lashes.  This means that I tend to stick to tried and trusted brands for fear of wasting money.  Lancome always works for me, no matter which one I use, but the YSL which I love, smudges beneath my eyes within an hour of application, which is such a shame as it does a great job on creating volume and length on my sparse and stumping lashes.  Its a complete pain in the arse being a trained Hollywood Lashes Technician because I can't apply them to myself (you need to keep your eyes shut) and I spend so many hours each week applying the individual extensions to customers, when I look like I hardly have anything in the lash department!  What I wouldn't give for a little lash enhancement of say 10mm, but my new mascara is helping!

Regulars YSL and Lancome Hypnose.

I picked up a freebie tester Chanel Mascara recently and was really impressed....

Chanel Iminitable Intense Macara £22.50 - a definite thumbs up for curl, volume and separation!

so I knew I had to get this little black beauty the next time I was out shopping!

but obviously when a girl is at the Chanel counter, one purchase with their slick black packaging is never enough, so I also invested in the Orange Fizz nail colour after wanting a new Coral colour for summer for a while.  I also tried on Miami Peach which has a bit of a glisten to it but it was a tad paler and I opted for the darker solid colour.  I also managed to score some freebie samples consisting of day cream, night cream and an anti-wrinkle eye cream, so the Eve Lom moisturiser is on hold for a few days whilst I wallow in the luxuriousness of gorgeously smelling skincare!

Just when I thought I was done, Eldest Daughter decided she wanted a new Juicy Tube so we headed over to the Lancome counter where they had a great freebie gift if you bought three products.  You can guess what happened next and yes I paid for her poxy Juicy Tube as well!

I haven't used a tinted moisturiser for ages, my last one was Chanel, so I thought I would give it a go and had one matched up to my skintone.  I did explain to the girl that I would rather buy one a shade darker than I needed now as I would no doubt get a light tan through the Factor 50 at some point this summer but I am not sure I won't have to invest in something else come August, although I am perfectly happy with my purchase for now and it does seem to be the darkest shade they do.

For a radiant and even looking complexion!

and to complete our three items to get a gift with purchase, I chose one of their new lipstick range which I had seen in this months Harpers.....

I had a few different shades applied by the Lancome Consultant but opted for this one although it looked more Coral in the Store.... but is actually called Beige Peche, number 201.

Quite a sheer lipstick perfect for someone like me who doesn't like to look "over done" when it comes to make-up but I swear its pinky coloured!

The gift with purchase came with an Alice Temperley bag always useful for holidays.  I fill them up for the girls (yes I always do their packing) one for hair accessories, one for toiletries, you get my drift...

but the real beauty of samples and gifts with purchase, are the fact that they make the most perfect holiday companions! 
The Lancome gift contains cleanser, toner, serum, mascara and a mini juicy tube, all of which will be accompanying me on my travels as they will easily last a week, if not longer.

 So ladies, never buy anything from a Department Store beauty counter without asking for some freebies and if they won't give you any, move on to the next one!

Get your free Lancome gift at Boots here.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Style Stalking a certain Cos Dress

Most of us think nothing of copying the style of a celebrity or falling in love with a single item they may be wearing in the Press and rushing out to buy it.  Most of us think nothing of taking the advice of stylists and falling in love with their "hot picks" in the Glossies, but when it comes to blogs, do you feel comfortable copying the style of a fellow blogger, especially if it is someone that you know quite well?

I was recently faced with a "Style Stalking" dilemma when I fell in love with a certain Cos dress as seen on Amanda over at The Online Stylist.  It was no surprise that the dress rocketed straight to the top of my wish list being as I am a huge fan of this seasons colour blocking trend, aswell as with the colour, Coral, it is so perfect for summer!

I toyed with the idea of catching a train to London and hot footing it over to Regent Street but common sense prevailed and I enlisted the help of another blogger Teawithonesugarplease who luckily for me not only works close by in Oxford Street, but loves a bit of lunchtime retail therapy, even if not for herself!

The funniest part of the story was that I was put on a shopping embargo by OH so pretended that I got sent it to review - how funny.  Not funny if he reads this as my life will be hell.  He may even actually kill me, I couldn't blame him, but men should know by now, that when it comes to retail therapy, most of us women should be on the panel of BBC1's "Would I lie to you" and answering "Yes I bloody well would"!

Anyway the dress got its first evening out last night, for an Indian Meal for a friends birthday.  I decided not to belt it in (it looks quite good both ways as you can see in Amanda's post) as I had anticipated making the most of a Sunday night, 4 course, £10.95 per head, Buffet.  Why would anybody go out for a meal on a Sunday night unless it was "cheap" night?

The now famous Cos Dress

My Steve Madden wedges are literally the most comfortable high shoes that I own.  I nabbed them from Amazon about 3 years ago after "style stalking" Alex Gerrard who had them on in a magazine! Click on the link, they still have them!

The impromptu gift from OH, my Michael Kors rose gold watch rarely gets an outing and he is always moaning about it, so I was pleased I actually remembered to put it on for once!  This also comes in a slightly smaller version.

I love this Accessorize cream flower ring and it is now available in a crystal version!

and my new Chanel Orange Fizz matches the dress perfectly!

Have you "Style Stalked" anyone lately, or taken inspiration from bloggers outfit posts?

Our International end of season sale is now on -- shop now

Sunday, 19 June 2011

net a porter wish list!

I have to be totally honest, I feel the sales have been a bit of a wash out for me this year.  I have had many good buys but for the girls, little man and OH, and I had envisaged so many "hot picks" Sales posts for the blog but it just hasn't happened, so I await the net-a-porter sale with great excitement and have had things in my NAP wish list for many months, some have already sold out in my size but there are a few things left and I live in hope of making a cut price purchase!

A pair of gold wedges have been on my summer wish list for ages so the Burberry ones will be perfect and will go with any outfit.  An easy to wear summer dress that will work for day but that could be dressed up for holiday evenings with gold accessories is an absolute must for me this year as is an evening bag.  I don't go out often, but when I do I hate having to carry either a normal sized handbag or a clutch from the High Street. My wardrobe is crying out for a designer evening bag that will go with everything and this Jimmy Choo one fits all my fashion bills!

Burberry Gold Wedges Splendid DressJimmy Choo Gold Clutch Bag

I have wanted a bright and colourful top for ages and one I had my eye on by Paul and Joe at, sold out ages ago and I can't really find anything outstanding but the one I have chose by Diane Von Furstenberg will go nicely with my Current Elliott Captains trousers and the Pucci bikini is a must have sale purchase, no holiday is complete if you are not strutting around the pool in either Missoni or Pucci swimwear.
I adore cocktail rings but the only high end one I have is by Louis Vuitton and I want something gold and glam so my top pick is by YSL, it will look fab with a tan and coral nail polish.

Silk Blouse Diane Von Furstenburg. Pucci Bikini.   Yves Saint Laurent Cocktail Ring.

Are you willing to share whats on your NAP wish list?

Net-a-porter (UK)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Saturday night Style - the French Connection Sale Edit

How exciting to get a phone call earlier from my darling God Daughter in need of style inspiration for a girls night out this Saturday! 

With lots of Sales having started today, there has never been a better time to grab a last minute outfit at a bargain price and with a brief that says "a bit bored of dresses, want something smart casual" and with my previous knowledge that this is a young lady who would be more than grateful for pieces that work together but that can also be mix and matched, I jumped at the chance to get a really good look at the French Connection sale and slip in a cute chiffon pleated skirt. 

Pleated skirts first hit our High Street fashion radar when Whistles launched the "Carrie" which sold out in a matter of hours and has been in huge demand ever since.  My cute little black choice will look great for nights out but will work for day with a vest top and flat sandals.  I have chosen to team it with a cute little cream lace top as lace continues to be huge not only this summer but it also features heavily in the autumn winter collections.
The fabric and shape of the top will be perfect for both daytime and evening style, to slip on with jeans or skinny cargo pants and ballet pumps for day or team with heels for evening drinks.

I always try to find complete outfits from one retailer to save on postage costs so couldn't resist but team it with a fab shoe option and clutch also from FC. 

French Connection Perfect Pleat Skirt was £62 now £30Annabelle Clutch was £42 now £25. French Connection Cream Lace Top £49. Platform Sandal was £130 now £78.

Have you snapped up any bargains in the Summer Sales yet?

French Connection Sale

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The importance of Skintone coloured underwear

According to my husband, women should only wear underwear that is either black, white or red.
For the bedroom maybe, but he is obviously not a man who appreciates the versatility of skintone or nude coloured underwear and actually thinks that the colour (well its not really a colour at all, according to him) is decidedly gross!

If only I could make him understand that if you have a capsule collection of skintone underwear you never have any underwear disasters?  I have long been a convert of such a colour for my undergarments and my admiration for it grew as far back as my clubbing days, when I can't tell you the amount of times my friends and I giggled as white underwear shone as bright as a full moon through some poor unsuspecting girls black dress under disco lighting, or even white, as although it may be hard to believe, white actually really shows up under white clothing and not just under strobe lighting! We've all seen the Mum at the school gate in her white linen trousers where either a white thong or much larger Bridget Jones style pants, are visible for all the world to see,  but put nude underwear under your flimsy white summer dress and hey presto, your underwear will no longer be drawing wolf whistles from workmen resurfacing the local high street!

When it comes to underwear, a capsule collection is just as important as it is with your outerwear.  Build up a collection of Bra's, knickers and Shapewear in a skintone colourway and keep all the pretty lacy fuschia pink sets for special occasions.  I have friends who have confessed to wearing the underwear of a slut on a daily basis, which is fine if you want to mince around looking like you have a cheese wire up the crack of your arse, pretty it may be, but comfortable it ain't!

I'm not saying ditch the vampy gear, just keep it for when its called for and leave your skintone capsule collection for daytime comfort and evening underwear confidence!  It is also fab for holidays and takes the strain out of packing and more decision making, which underwear for each outfit? Just throw your capsule collection in your case and you can rest assured you have left your underwear disasters at home.

On a day to day basis you need a small selection of bra's that will sit comfortably under a multitude of outfits, maybe a t-shirt bra, a balcony style and a push up.  Ladies with larger busts can buy according to their size, a full cup with wide straps may be more appropriate but steer clear of too much lace on the cup as this can show through under flimsy blouses and pale coloured t-shirts. This post isn't about telling you what styles best suit you, its designed purely to show you that if you can only afford one decent bra, then make it a skintone one!

I can not stress the importance of a well fitting bra and how it important it is to get properly measured, the problem here is the difference of opinion over where you get the job done.  I have had women say that M&S measuring service is rubbish but others say its good.  I recently took one of my daughters to get measured in La Senza and then was told by a friend that they always make you bigger than you actually are, so its not easy deciding where to get this done.  I think for anybody who is anywhere a Rigby and Peller, having supplied the Queen with her undies for many years, that this would be considered a safe bet for an accurate measuring service and if you don't wish to go instore and prefer to buy online then check out this guide to measuring yourself correctly from the John Lewis website.

Although their will be women out there who may only wear thongs, or who only wear full briefs, again I prefer a selection of styles which suit the clothes I happen to be wearing for that particular day and my underwear drawer consists of thongs, brazilian style knickers and full briefs but all my daytime pant options are made up of no VPL (visible panty line) styles as nothing looks worse than being able to see the cut of a full brief through your skin tight leggings or flimsy transparent palazzo pants!  Most women spend all their time investing in clothes and give little thought to what goes underneath, but having a selection of neutral coloured, well fitting basics means that you are less likely to show the world what you have on underneath your garments and well fitting underwear can only serve to make your outfits look and fit better

Most women I know own a piece of shape wear with even some very young women, whom I consider to have great figures, not dreaming of going out for the evening without it!  Shapewear doesn't come cheap but is a worthwhile investment for the confidence it can bring and is available in many styles designed to target specific areas from thigh and hip slimming to tummy flattening.  When it comes to investing in such under garments, with most of us pinching the pennies, it makes sense if you can only afford one piece, to make it skintone so that it works under black, white and any colour in between.  View Shapewear here.

So if you are balking at the idea of my underwear colour suggestion, always bear in mind that it is a prerequisite for models to wear a nude coloured thong for castings and whilst on jobs, the reasons for which are obvious, so next time you are in the department store sighing over the lovely lace and satin underwear options, just bear in mind that once you have your capsule collection of versatile undies, you can hot foot it to Ann Summers anytime you like!

The skintone coloured range of "Dream" underwear by Maidenform has a selection of three different style bras along with briefs and boyshorts and would be the perfect place to start your underwear capsule collection, then add different pieces in similar colours to compliment the basics (see suggestions below). Prices start at £9, view the complete collection here.

This natural microfibre thong from J by Jasper Conran is part of a collection at Debenhams with prices starting at £6.50.  View the full collection here.

This playtex bra offers great comfort and support whilst remaining invisible underneath clothing. £22.50.

Whoever said "nude" coloured underwear wasn't sexy obviously hadn't see the underwear by French Lingerie brand Huit at John Lewis.

One of my favourites, the "no vpl" range at M&S whose 5 pack sets also include black and white briefs and come in various styles for £12 per pack. View full collection here.

Do you have a selection of nude coloured underwear basics?

What have your bra measuring experiences been like?