My Favourite S/S17 Handbag Trends

I have to admit that I am not really that brave when it comes to fashion but I do really love accessories and have been known to don a jaunty fedora and take my Radley handbag out on the town. There are so many exciting trends for Spring and I particularly love some of the handbags which were seen on the S/S 17 catwalks. Here is a round up of my favourite handbag trends to watch out for this season.

Trippy Prints

If you’re a girl who loves to make a massive statement when she walks into a room then the crazy collision of colours seen from Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Versace would be perfect for you. Reminiscent of an LSD trip these bags challenge the eye with designs including ‘60s style paisley prints, floaty eyes, spaceships, and stars, in really bright, clashing primary and secondary colours. If you want to challenge the status quo this season and get your hands on one of these trippy bags this season try Yoox.

Chain Straps

Chain straps were spotted on the catwalks in a range of materials including brass and gunmetal contrasting with the luxurious leather and suede bags, such as those from Valentino. I really love the mix of styles from the industrial metal and more sumptuous fabrics. John Galliano went for more of an over the top punk style with multiple chains featuring whereas other fashion houses like Bottega Veneta incorporating less industrial, classier chains which complimented the handbags rather than producing a contrast.

Reusable Totes

I am a big fan of reusable shopping bags so I was super excited to see totes were a big summer 2017 bag trend! Bring on the stylish reusable grocery bags! Celine showcased a large but classy crisp-white tote bag which would easily make you look stylish whilst carrying your weekly grocery shop. For a bit of colour, Sonia Rykiel and Sacai featured crisp, fresh shades alongside white totes with black accents. If you really want to retain your elegance while out shopping then the solid black Armani complete with orange leather handle would be perfect.

Super small purses

Sometimes making a statement doesn’t have to be big, sometimes it can be an elegant compact bag like those seen on the catwalks for this season. You don’t really need much more than a lipstick and a credit card when hitting the town right? From leather matchbox purses at Hermes to the tiniest baby pink flower print Fendi with an adorable little metal handle. These micro-handbags certainly inspire a more minimalist lifestyle!

Roomy duffle bags

I have to admit I certainly prefer a spacious handbag over a teeny one so the trend of large duffle bags have caught my attention. As someone who likes to be prepared for anything, these big bags are more my style although perhaps not always practical! Balenciaga showcased a variety of exceptional travel bags for summer 2017 on the catwalks with bold floral prints and monocoloured beauties.

micro handbag trend

5 style tips on a shoestring budget

Looking good doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money as there are so many ways you can glam yourself and still save money. All that is required of you is to employ a bit of creativity! Check out these tips for being stylish and on budget.

1. First, importantly, take stock of what you have! It is advisable that before you go for shopping to go through your closet and know what you possess. Gauge what type, colours and styles of clothing you like to wear probably for different occasions such as work or for an evening out. Always make sure to buy the clothes you like so you actually end up wearing them and not leave them lying in wardrobe. I have to admit I have a few garments I have never worn because I am just not brave enough! This will help you to save a lot of money as there is no impulse buying.

2. Another tip is to ensure that you invest in a capsule collection of pieces which are versatile. Buy different colours and designs which work well together, so if you need to rock a particular style maybe for a special occasion, you will not have to go to buy new clothes as you can always mix and match from your wardrobe. Choose classic, classy designs that you can buy at a pocket-friendly price for your capsule wardrobe.

3. Shop online. Sometimes not only do you save time by buying online where you have your items delivered to your doorstep, but you can save a lot of money too. You can find a lot of websites where you can compare the different prices and choose the one with the best price. You can also register with shopping sites that have great discounts and voucher codes such as the Debenhams and House of Fraser where you can be able to purchase quality clothing and accessories at reasonable prices and discounts as well.

4. Avoid overspending all the time. Yes, sometimes we do like to spoil ourselves with beautiful designer clothes and accessories but this does not have to be a routine whenever you are shopping. It is important to recognise when to spend a little bit more and when it’s not worth splashing the cash. When you do what to make an investment in a piece, say a bag to serve you for a long time, it is okay to spend a little bit more on the purchase of a bag that is of high quality. Spend more on buying quality items, not popular items.

5. Shop at outlet malls and discount retailers. You can never go wrong for shopping at outlet malls as there are a lot of quality clothes that you can purchase at a low price. I regularly visit one where I can pick up my favourite brand of trainers for a budget price! Of course, always take the opportunity to shop in your favourite stores during the sales to pick up that item you’ve been lusting over!

fashion on a budget

Review: Bellabeat Urban activity health tracker

Ok, I’ll admit that for one of my New Year’s Resolutions I want to try and get healthier in 2017. Unfortunately, I have slowly put on weight for the last 8 years and I have decided that this will be the year that I finally get around to doing something about it.

I am experimenting with my diet and trying to get in more exercise and having spotted the Bellabeat activity tracker, which has specifically been designed for women, a few years ago and having lusted after one ever since I decided to treat myself to the Bellabeat Urban tracker in rose gold in an attempt to boost and motivate me.

Like most people who have tried to get active, I have tried other similar devices, a notable one being the FitBit which I really liked but found annoying having to charge it frequently as I would forget to put it back on! I also felt that although it looked smart and was practical it wasn’t something that would really inspire me. A major attraction of the Bellabeat Leaf Urban is the battery which can last for up to 6 months and is easily changed when the time comes.

The Bellabeat Urban is a health tracker which not only tracks activity but also records sleep, stress levels and your monthly menstruation cycle. The device itself doesn’t have a screen but it comes with a fully comprehensive and attractive app which syncs to the device via Bluetooth.

Made from a water-resistant certified wood composite and stainless steel the Bellabeat tracker is versatile and comfortable enough to wear all day long. Due to its elegant geometric design it is often mistaken for a nice piece of jewellery rather than an obvious activity tracker, blending into your life neatly and not attracting unwanted attention and questions!

Unlike most other activity trackers which sit on the wrist, the Bellabeat can be worn as a bracelet, a necklace or as a clip which makes it far more flexible and weighing in at only 16.5g it’s easy to wear and forget about! It is recommended that you wear the Bellabeat as a bracelet during the day and as a clip at night to get the best recordings, but it’s really up to you.

I really love how the Bellabeat Leaf Urban tracks activity in minutes, steps and calories so you can choose what goal you want to set yourself. So far I have found the tracking to be sensible and not wildly inaccurate from what I would expect. You can also set vibrating reminders to go off after a chosen time of inactivity to remind you to get up and moving when you’re sitting at your desk (or on the sofa!)

The Urban’s activity, sleep and period tracking help to detect potential high-stress days. The app comes with guided meditation exercises which will teach you how some simple breathing and relaxation techniques can lower your stress levels and improve your wellbeing. I have to admit I was a little sceptical about meditation but having done at least 10 minutes a day with the Bellabeat I have realised that practising mindfulness really does help to soothe and relax me.

I love being able to track my sleep and to understand how much deep and light sleep I get every night. I have to admit that I like at least 8 hours per night and it’s interesting to see how even 1 hour less can really affect my mood! Unlike other trackers (like the FitBit) which you tap to tell it you’re going to bed, the Bellabeat automatically decides you’re sleeping based on your movement which is handy although I do find myself having to manually tell it when I got up as it sometimes mistakes a nighttime trip to the bathroom as me getting up for the day although this doesn’t bother me.

Having gone through a period (no pun intended) of time where my cycle was a bit out of whack due to my contraceptive implant (never again), I have been using a tracking app to keep on top of my periods for the last couple of years – noting the dates and length of each one. I love that I can now combine this with my activity tracker thanks to the Bellabeat app. It’s great for predicting periods and shows you when you are most fertile. The tracker also has a pregnancy mode which helps you track milestones when you are expecting.

Bellabeat believes that technology is at its best when it’s helping people to be even better. I have really enjoyed all elements of the tracker and the app and I feel that it is really motivating me to keep on track for a healthier 2017! I award it 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any lady looking to track their health and wellbeing.

rose gold urban bellabeat activity tracker

A guide to men’s body shapes #StyleIsTimeless

Now, this may sound a bit mean, but it’s common for men to choose clothes based on what they think their shape is (or the shape they wish they had!) and this ultimately isn’t flattering or comfortable. My husband wishes he could get away with wearing ‘slim fit’ clothes but sadly has had to come to accept that he can’t; they just don’t suit his shape.

Just like women, men have different body shapes and my advice to help you look and feel better in the clothes that you buy is to get to know your body shape and learn what works with it best. Men tend to fit into one of the following geometric body shapes: Trapezoid, Inverted Triangle, Rectangle, Triangle & Oval.

Trapezoid

If you have broad shoulders and chest with a gentle taper through the waist, hips and legs then you are probably a trapezoid. Luckily for you, most fashion is designed with the trapezoid in mind and can pretty much try any and all trends out there! Show off your shape in slim-fitting tailored pieces and pair with casual knitwear for a sleek look. Emphasise your shape by taking advantage of the sports trend this year, check out sites like Chums for inspiration.

Rectangle

The rectangle shape is seen in men that are tall and thin with shoulders which are the same width as their waist and hips. Use clothes to make your shoulders appear wider and create a taper from top to bottom. It’s all about drawing the eye to your upper body to create this illusion – be bold with colour, prints (horizontal stripes work well) and embellishments, like a scarf, in the chest and shoulder area. Structured tailoring with shoulder padding and wide lapels are your friend as are layered looks with a shirt or a cardigan over a basic white t-shirt or vest.

Triangle

Triangle shapes tend to be narrow in the shoulder and larger around the waist and hips – unfortunately, this is basically exactly opposite to the proportions of most garments so it can be hard to find items that work for you, but not impossible! Draw the eye to your upper body by using structured jackets and brighter colour panels or detailing across the chest and shoulders to make them appear wider than they are. Vertical stripes will create the illusion that your shape is more streamlined and take visual focus away from more prominent areas. Avoid any garments which slenderise the neck and shoulders such as polo shirts or roll neck tops.

Inverted Triangle

If your chest and shoulders are significantly broader than your waist and hips then you are probably an inverted triangle. Perfect your shape by visually bulking up your lower body, while slimming down your upper body. Don’t be afraid of patterns on the lower body to distract the eye; horizontal stripes or checked fabric on your lower body are your friend, as are straight-leg trousers and jeans. Pair with property chosen slim-fit shirts to boost your proportions and make you feel more comfortable. Avoid drawing the eye to the upper body with shoulder embellishments, scoop necks or tailoring with shoulder padding and wide lapels.

Oval

If you have a rounded centre of the body, with slimmer shoulders and lower legs you are probably an oval. Although this shape tends to catch up with men of a certain age there’s no need to despair. Adding structure and width to shoulders and taking steps to visually slim down the body from the chest down will make you look a million bucks. Vertical stripes are your best friend, try a striped shirt or pinstripe trouser to elongate your shape. Fitted, loosely tapered trousers will flatter your lower body. It is important to make sure that your sleeves and trouser legs are the right length so your limbs do not look shortened. For a casual look try thick canvas jackets and overshirts which have the structure to hide any problem areas.

What is your body shape?

Winter Warmer Wishlist

This week has been the coldest week of the year so far and my husband and I have had to review our wardrobe choices bringing out the knitwear and winter accessories to keep us warm.

Sadly I couldn’t find my lovely gloves from last year which got me thinking about the other winter warmers I would love to have to see my husband and I through to Spring so here is our Winter Warmer Wishlist!

  • Vlad really needs a good coat to keep him warm and waterproof especially when walking our puppy during the winter months. A Parker Coat would be the perfect practical and stylish addition to his winter wardrobe.
  • Nothing says cosy comfort to me more than cashmere, so on my wishlist is one of these beautiful cashmere wraps made from recycled cashmere, so not only am I looking great and staying warm but I am giving new life to pre-loved fabric.
  • Having cold feet is just about the worst thing during the winter, whether indoors or outdoors, so stocking up on warm, woolly socks is a must! I have my eye on this 5 pack of thick crew winter socks which come in some fabulous patterns.
  • Of course, you just have to have a Christmas Jumper! I love this cute Christmas Pudding jumper which I think would suit Vlad perfectly. I prefer more traditional style, like this Fairisle Jumper which still has a festive feel but without being too silly!
  • I mentioned earlier about walking our puppy and recently the paths which are usually grassy and steadfast have become muddy and slippery and my trainers are simply not a safe option anymore. I’ve already slid over once! I love these Trespass noble track and field waterproof walking boots which are practical and pretty.

What are your must have winter warmers?

pexels-photo-38674

Autumn Wardrobe Must Haves

If you hadn’t already worked it out Autumn is my favourite time of year with the first chill inspiring me to rediscover my beloved jumpers, coats and cardigans in my wardrobe which had been dismissed in favour of more Summery garments. There are some key pieces that I believe every Autumn wardrobe should have and today I wanted to share them with you.

Outerwear

The lightweight, weather-proof trench coat is perfect for autumn and winter weather and is flexible enough to be worn with anything. For a casual weekend look team with jeans and sneakers for day, or glam it up with a dress and heels for after work drinks. Check out Isabel Marant for some great options.

A leather or bomber jacket is a key item in autumn wardrobe and adds instant edge to any outfit. Again this garment is super versatile and can be work with jeans and a tee shirt just as well as over a blouse and black trousers.

Layering Basics

Any good wardrobe needs foundation pieces and these really come into play in the colder months when you want to add extra layers to keep warm. Start with some reliable tee shirts – one white tee and one dark tee and add a few quirky styles like baseball or go for more colourful options like stripes.

A great laying tool is the cardigan, I recommend having a couple stashed in your autumn wardrobe — one neutral, one colour. A flexible option, cardigans can be worn over pretty much anything, anywhere. A neutral shade like the cardigan in the Prada collection goes with everything, and longer style that hits at the hip flatters most figures.

Knitwear

I love knitwear in all forms but when the colder weather creeps in I find the easiest way to stay warm but stylish is to don a knitted jumper dress. I recommend wearing tights or some simple black leggings for extra warmth. Jumper dresses usually come either as a fitted style or a more relaxed shape so make sure to pick the best for your figure.

When you want to stay stylish but also want to keep warm then a cashmere sweater is a great option. Perfect for layering up with a collared shirt for the office of pairing with midi skirts, printed trousers or even leather pants a cashmere jumper is easy to dress up as well as down. I love the high-low hemline jumpers from the Sass & Bide collection.

Boots

A staple for any autumn style is the perfect pair of boots. To keep extra warm and chic why not try over the knee boots? They are flexible enough to wear with jeans and a jumper for a casual daytime look or with a skirt or mini dress at night. I recommend choosing a dark colour to compliment all of your outfits or mix it up with a more stand out grey, cognac or shoot for the wow-factor check out the suede lace ups from Prada.

If knee high boots are not your style then you can’t go wrong with a reliable pair of ankle boots; stylish and versatile this shoe never seems to get old. I always splash out on a new pair of ankle boots each year because they go with everything and help protect me from slippery winter pavements. Choose a simple plain design or tszuj it up with fringing, buckles or straps.

Autumn Designer Fashion

Review: Invisibobble Hair Tie

If there’s one thing that is bound to be on my person at any time of the day or night it will be a hair tie; either in my hair or on my wrist. I have to admit that although I lust after longer hair most of the time I prefer to have it out of the way in a simple ponytail or bun.

As a long time user of basic hair bands, I am very aware of their pitfalls, namely their tendency to break (which is why I usually have a supply in my handbag), the pain of pressure headaches from having a hair band too tight and of course the struggle with not only removing the tie from my hair but taking with it a good few hairs as well. I heard about the invisibobble a little while ago and recently gave in to my curiosity by purchasing a box of three from Amazon.

So what exactly is an invisibobble? It’s an upgraded version of the hairband made from a curly telephone cable style plastic loop which is bonded together – avoiding metal connectors which can catch hair and pull it out. It is designed to wrap around hair and place uneven pressure around the ponytail which helps avoid headaches (no pressure points from hair being pulled) and hair damage such as split ends. It is advertised as being suitable for all hair types and as an attractive bracelet when worn around the wrist when not in the hair.

I have to admit that when my three invisibobble ‘hair rings’ arrived (I went for the crystal see-through option, but there are many different colours available) I was a little flummoxed as to how to use them, however, my worries were quickly forgotten when I realised you use them just like a regular hair band – just wrap around the hair a few times until it feels secure.

I was a bit concerned that the plastic would lose it’s unique shape after use as I had seen a number of negative reviews detailing this exact problem, however, having used one invisibobble for a good few days now I can tell you that although I have seen it stretch a little out of shape it does close up into its original shape and size after a few minutes. I am a firm believer that as long as you don’t go crazy and stretch the invisibobble out beyond its elasticity point you will be fine.

It felt a bit odd the first few times of using the invisibobble as it certainly feels different when putting into the hair and whilst it is in the hair because it does not pull or feel as tight as my normal basic elastic hair ties. This lead me to believe that my hair might fall out quickly or the invisibobble might slip out altogether, however, I am very happy to report that despite several tests including wearing the invisibobble all day, crazy shaking of my head with my hair up as well as sleeping with it in, the invisibobble has shown amazing staying power.

The only pitfall I have observed during my testing of the invisibobble hair tie is that it takes a bit longer to remove it from the hair than a normal hair band due to its amazing sticking power which is one of my favourite benefits! I tend to carefully unwrap the invisibobble from my hair rather than just grabbing and pulling out a regular hair band. This might frustrate some users however as I mention the staying power of the invisibobble is one its best features so I don’t mind it too much.

Overall I have found the invisibobble hair ties to be a definite upgrade from using regular elastic hair bands and would recommend them to anyone who suffers from hair damage and headaches from their usual hair ties. I award the invisibobble 5 out of 5 stars.

Crystal clear invisibobble

Crystal clear invisibobbles

5stars

Choosing the perfect men’s business suit

Who doesn’t love a man in a fantastic suit? The good news is that 2016 has seen a bit of loosening up for men’s business suits making them a little more forgiving than the slim fitting suits of recent trends. Although modern day entrepreneurs can be spotted sporting all manner of clothing in the office from hoodies and T-shirts to  sneakers and jeans a good suit is a must have .Here are some top tips for any man looking to look good in the latest trends for office wear.

Colour

When choosing a suit for work it is important to consider all elements, including colour. You might be surprised to hear that blue has been the trend for 2016, and not just navy but vibrant, exciting blues like that of the British damselfly! Franco Salhi, the founder of Vesture, recommends that every businessman have a suit of solid navy and one of charcoal for wearing to the office. Charcoal is a very flexible colour and can be dressed up or down with clever use of different coloured shirts (blue for daytime, white for night) and shoes. Of course, a black suit is always one to keep in the wardrobe, perfect for more formal occasions like parties and functions. In terms of materials wool or wool-silk blend is a safe bet for changeable British weather.

Fit

There is nothing worse than a misfitted suit. It is very important to ensure that a suit is tailored to fit your body frame so make sure that you try on a number of different styles and fits to discover your best shape. Although styles have seen a shift away from super slim-line suits this is still a key look so make sure you choose a fit which flatters and accentuates your figure. Suit shoulders have been highlighted as an important area; they should hug your own with no excess material or alternatively strained looking material. Sleeve length is also important, the cuff of the jacket should fall where the base of your thumb meets your wrist for a neat finish.

Mix it up

Once you have found your stride with the basic colours why not mix it up a bit and throw in some different materials and even patterns?  Classic plaid, houndstooth or herringbone make eye-catching additions to any business outfit and will make you stand out from the crowd. Of course, these sorts of pieces have their place, probably not in important pitches unless your quirkiness is a big selling point, but don’t always wear the same old charcoal suit, be exciting!

The personal touch

As much as fashion is about following trends don’t be afraid to throw in a bit of your unique personality in your business attire. Customise your look with some snappy cufflinks, change out your regular jacket buttons for something more eye catching like mother of pearl, jaunty striped buttons or an antique design for an easy way to add a personal touch to your suit. Accessorising is really hot right now so why not add something new to your look – tie bars, lapel pins, cuff links, pocket squares, watches and bracelets make great choices.

blue suits are trending in 2016

5 ways to revamp your trainers

Well it’s officially Autumn. Time to wave goodbye to our lovely Summer sandals and hello again to our faithful trainers which will keep our feet warm and cosy in the colder months. Of course having been on the side line for a good few weeks you might have fallen a bit out of love with your trainers, so here are some top tips for revamping your trainers for the Autumn.

Give them a good clean

Are you trainers looking a bit dirty? Of course shoes to tend to get considerably mucky with dust, mud, sweat, and grass stains a plenty especially if, like me, you wear your trainers to walk the dog in the countryside! Giving them a good clean is the first step to giving them a new lease of life. Cleaning trainers is super simple – use a soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush will do) and a mix of warm water and laundry detergent to clean away any dirt or mud from the waterproof parts of the shoe such as the sole, reflective panels or leather detailing. Leave them to dry naturally – not in a dryer which can wear out your beloved trainers.

Get some new laces

A few years ago my husband bought a pair of Solovair boots and to celebrate he spent the next few months buying all sort of different shoe laces to go with his new boots. Getting a new pair of laces for your trainers is a great way to brighten them up and try a new look. Laces come in all sorts of colours, patterns and materials so you can create a fabulous new look in minutes. I really love these rope laces which have a great chunky feel and come in a variety of eye catching patterns.

Get artistic with your sharpie

You don’t need to be a top artist to personalise your old trainers with a new look – you can add your own mark by simply doodling on canvas shoes with permanent or fabric markers like your favourite sharpies! Make sure they are clean (see above) and get sketching. Use pencil first if you’re unsure about your design skills and go over with your markers. Use a combination of colours to create a unique look, be sure to start with the lighter ones and work up to the darker shades.

Add a toe cap

If you don’t want to change all of your trainers then why not just embellish the toe area? It’s super easy. All you need is some super glue or other industrial-strength glue to attach your choice of decorations to the front part of your shoe. Some great options include pendants or brooches, material such as lace, PVC or metal and decorative pieces such as sequins, gems or beads. For something less permanent try clip-on earrings or shoe clips. Be sure that your designs match on both shoes (or if they don’t make it into a feature!)

Break out the glitter

For a really eye catching look why not ditch the dull and go with glitter! Add some sparkle to your old trainers by simply using fabric glue, coloured glitter and an acrylic sealer (or hairspray). Simply combine the glue with your choice of glitter and use a brush to coat your shoes. Be sure to seal your new sparklers once the glue is dry to prevent the glitter to fly away! Why not go for elegant silver or channel Dorothy and go for red!

red trainers white laces

Camping clothing essentials

Every year my family and I go camping, in fact I am camping right now! We spend 10 days or so in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and we have done this every year for at least 10 years if not more.

Packing to go camping is a bit different from packing to go on a normal holiday because there are additional things to consider, for example, you will need something to wear in bed which is suitable for trekking to the loo block at 3am without being too much for sleeping in.

There are a few clothing essentials I always stock up on before going camping:

A warm hoodie

As the English weather can be somewhat changeable I find it’s always best to have a warm hoodie to hand when camping. It can be worn during the day but also is great for those 3am loo runs – simply put on over your pjs and go! I recently got this zipped hoodie which is perfect for lounging or for walking the dog in as it has great kangaroo pockets which hold a lot of dog biscuits!

PJs that convert

One thing you don’t want to be doing in the middle of the night when you need to use the loo is changing out of cute pjs into an outdoor outfit which can be complicated in the dark! From my personal experience it is best to wear something which easily converts from sleep wear to outdoor wear. I suggest leggings or lounge trousers and a vest or t-shirt which you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in if another camper is popping to the loo block. Of course have your hoodie handy to wear on top!

Shower friendly shoes

Most camp sites have a loo/ shower block where you can find basic washing facilities. The camp site we visit has two blocks with toilet cubicles, sinks and showers. The showers are like wet rooms with a tiled floor and can get slippery so it’s best to wear something on your feet to keep you steady. I usually wear a pair of crocs clogs in the shower to make sure I don’t fall over.

Basic tops

We’re lucky that at our usual camp site has a laundry with a washing machine which is very handy. However, if you’re not so lucky it’s a good idea to stock up on basic tops which you don’t mind getting a bit dirty (you will be living outside!). Multipacks of tshirts or vests work well for this as they tend to be affordable and allow you to buy more than one item at a time.

Going out

Although you need to be prepared for spending time in the great outdoors and basics are a staple for this you should also be prepared for going out if you want a break from your camp kitchen. Take a couple of going out tops and at least one nice dress you can wear so you won’t feel out of place going to the local pub or restaurant. We always visit the local Harvester restaurant in Salisbury so I try to have something a bit nicer to wear for when we visit.
camping essential clothes