Summer Party Family Style

As my family lives far and wide across the U.K. it’s not often that we all manage to get together in the same place. But with my great Uncle’s 70th looming, him and my Aunt decided to celebrate with a big blow out to make the most of the sun with good food and good company, and boy they didn’t let us down.

We arrived and walked round the corner of the house into what must be as close as England is going to get to being a tropical paradise!

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While the children made the most of the pool the rest of us relaxed in the sun and had a good old fashioned catch up.

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For once in my life I forgot to photograph the food which should tell you just how good it was! They had laid on enough for a small army with everything from hams, salads, fresh bread, salmon, and anything else that you could possibly want.

But a special mention has to go to the wine which I did manage to photograph, which had been flown in all the way from the Alps! Crisp, fresh and fruity it was a perfect accompaniment to the delicious feast.

DSC03278DSC03281  DSC03286  After all that feasting we decided to wander around the tropical paradise (and take a few photos as well).  DSC03311 DSC03312

Hidden behind these Hydrangea’s which had me swooning they were so beautiful, I discovered a little hideaway from all the craziness, squirreled away in the tropical forest.
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What I wouldn’t give for one of these in my back garden as my own little office/ reading nook.

Swooning over, I couldn’t help but strike a pose against the beautiful flowers.DSC03361Dress: Zara (Similar here, here and here), Denim Jacket: Topshop (similar here), Bag: Kate Spade (similar here), Sunglasses: ASOS, Pumps: Topshop.

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Usually I am the type of person who dreads these sorts of ‘smart/casual’ occasions as I often end up either too smart or too casual, but this recent Zara purchase has saved me. The more eagle eyed of you will recognise this as the dress I graduated in which emphasises just how versatile it is, not to mention how obsessed I am with it! Paired with my favourite Topshop denim jacket and pumps and my Kate Spade Saturday bag which I picked up in New York shortly before they closed, I think I’ve finally nailed the smart casual brief.
DSC03408DSC03398 DSC03412  After all that ‘hard work’ there was nothing left to do but enjoy the rest of the day, which is already one of the highlights of my Summer. I’d love to know if any of you have any tips of how you strike the balance of that dreaded smart/casual dress code and your favourite ways to have fun with your family this summer!

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Coachella Fashion Dreams

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With the festival season almost upon us the shops have become inundated with millions of beautiful things that make me want to spend way too much money and unleash my inner hippy. Now while I may not be lucky enough to be going to Coachella this year (damn you university exams), I thought I’d share with you all the items I’m currently coveting and my festival must-haves. There’s a bit of a mix that will ensure come rain or shine you’ll be prepared for whatever festival weather throws at you. I am a big wellie and shorts fan and prefer to chose one stand out print piece and team it with simple accessories to make sure I’m not left in the morning spending too long deciding what to wear. Plus as a seasoned festival goer I always have a couple of top options to layer in case it gets cold/wet, and a change of shoes just in case! These are just my favourite pieces but I’d love to know what you guys are lusting after, and what festivals you’re heading to this summer.

  1. Hunter Short Fringe Wellington
  2. Miss Selfridge white frill bardot top
  3. Miss Selfridge floral trousers
  4. Ray-Ban Erika sunglasses
  5. Topshop paisley bardot top
  6. Topshop ripped hem denim shorts
  7. Topshop floral plastic mac
  8. Boohoo dungarees
  9. Zara brown suede tassel bag
  10. River Island cat eye sunglasses
  11. Zara sequinned top
  12. Accessorize tile print playsuit
  13. Miss Selfridge striped dress
  14. Accessorize white bumbag
  15. H&M cuff
  16. Topshop floral shorts 
  17. River Island purple bralet
  18. Miss Selfridge bead and tassel bracelet (from a selection)
  19. ASOS cut-out fedora
  20. Miss Selfridge patchwork maxi dress

Stocking Fillers Under £10 for Guys

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For the thinker: Who’d have thought the rock and roll, Katy Perry marrying comedian Russel Brand would be the next controversial celebrity political activist to grace our screens (and pages)? Having read snippets of his previous autobiographies I have to give it to him he’s certainly got a great vocabulary, and having seen snippets of his protests on his “The Trews,” channel, I can’t help but be intrigued by his ‘revolution‘. As well as it having received rave reviews from two of my male flatmates, I think it’s the perfect alternative to the usual autobiographical offerings at Christmas for those that fancy a bit of a change.

For the Big Kid: There’s always that moment as an adult where one of the children in your family gets an amazing toy that you secretly spend the rest of the day trying to steal. Well this nerf gun is the perfect alternative for the big kid in your life, although I can’t be blamed if you end up spending the rest of Christmas day as a moving target!

For the TV junkie: Who hasn’t spent the majority of this year mourning the end of Breaking Bad? I know I most certainly have, and I think this figurine provides a awesome alternative to the standard DVD boxset gift, not to mention these POP figurines come in pretty much every theme possible from Buffy to Star Wars, to Halo, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for each person in your life.

For the man who steals your beauty products: We all know the guy, he professes to not being interested in beauty products and yet when you go to use your expensive moisturiser or shower gel, you find there’s just a little bit less than there used to be. Well this Molton Brown bauble provides the perfect replacement, with a glorious frankincense and all-spice smell and this beautiful seasonal packaging is a great classy stocking stuffer at a fraction of the usual price.

For the lounge lizard: Christmas is the perfect time to curl up and get cosy by the fire, (or TV if you’re like me) and these slippers mean your loved one can look delightfully festive while they do so. They’re perfect for making sure you’re keeping warm and comfortable all Christmas.

For pretty much everyone: I know it’s not actually for everyone, but is it just me or does pretty much every guy love Nandos? There’s something about it that appeals to pretty much everyone and this gift means that you can have it just as good at home too. Quite literally the gift that keeps on giving.

For the fan of the novelty tie: I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of convention or group for dads, uncles and teachers who love a good novelty tie and this is one of the best of the bunch. Not to mention it provides a great alternative for those who aren’t a fan of the Christmas jumper.

For the mechanic: This is the perfect adult version of those who were  a fan of k’nex  or mechanix as a child, as well as a gift for the motorhead in your life. With no need of glue or scissors it’s even great as a stocking stuffer for the slightly older kids in your life, not to mention it’s so cute and will give you a great procrastinating desk toy at the end all for £5!

For the gent who likes to take care of himself: This is the perfect gift for the gentleman in your life you likes to take care of himself, as well as those who are constantly on the go. With the four mini sachets ranging from a hair mask, cleanser, foot cream and eye pads it’s the perfect thing for the guy in your life who always like to look his best. And did I mention the packaging is some of the smartest I’ve seen!

For the tech savy: Gloves are a staple part of any winter wardrobe but one of the giant problems is the inability to do anything whilst wearing them! But with these bad boys the man in your life will be able to use any tech product thanks to their special finger pads which work on the screens.

For the chef: There’s something about people who cook in that they are always on the look out for the next new book or product to add to their collection and these are perfect. I am a massive fan of Jamie Oliver’s product as they’re always reasonable priced (this set comes in at £10). really good quality and these oils are no exception. There’s one which is rosemary, one extra virgin and the other is chilli, great for those who cook regularly and even for those who don’t but fancy a change.

For the teenager: This hat is perfect in terms of I think it is the great combination of being cool  as well as classic enough to put a smile on any teenagers face. Not to mention it’ll save any moaning from parents during the colder winter months that they’re not keeping warm enough!

For the football fan: As an alternative to the usual shirt or football I think this is a cute choice, especially great for those who don’t have the space for a full sized table. It’s a great desk addition as well as a form of entertainment to get the family together on Christmas day itself!

For the party animals: Another alternative to the usual Christmas book gift this is perfect for those who love to party as well as the fans of the comedy gift. This is perfect as it pinpoints the type of hangover you have and recommends the perfect recipe cure for it which is the age old struggle. Not to mention it’ll be even more appreciated the morning after when nursing the Christmas hangover!

For the well dress man: This is the perfect classy, staple present for the well-dressed man in your life. The traditional white and black pattern means it goes with pretty much everything and the classic look means it’s one of the most multi-appealing gifts of the lot!

For the musician: The majority of us at one point or another in our lives have dreamed about being a rock star. While that’s an impossible reality for most of us, you can still carry on living the dream with these awesome drum stick pencils which will also provide the perfect distraction at work or school for the procrastinators among us.

Stocking Fillers

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Christmas is my ultimate holiday and there’s nothing I love more than going Christmas shopping. But for those of us that can think of nothing worse than scouring the shops for the perfect present, I’ve compiled my picks for the best Secret Santa or low cost stocking filler presents. This edition is a combination with a couple of things for the younger and older ladies in your life, with my male edition coming next week!

For The Beauty Guru: This Cowshed Cracker is the perfect mini luxe Christmas gift with a hand cream and lip balm duo to protect against the harsh Winter weather and comes in perfectly at £10!

For the makeup lovers: This novelty lip balm to me is the epitome of a perfect stocking filler as it’s cheap and cheerful and will keep you feeling Christmassy every time you go to put it on. Not to mention that at £3 you can afford to get the mince pie and gingerbread versions too!

For the stationary hoarders: These highlighters are the perfect combination of being adorably kitsch while being incredibly useful. For those heading into the heavily workloads of Christmas or the impending January exam and essay deadlines, anything that can make it easier is that much more aprreciated and for £3, who could resist these cuties?!

For those who like to be organised: We all know them, those who are constantly late or forgetting things and then those who like me are avid list makers. This gift is perfect for both as it can be used for everything from organising school lunches, homework, to day to day tasks, and in classic Emma Bridgewater style it’s incredibly cute and great value at £7.

For the one who’s constantly on the go: I swear not a day goes past that I don’t walk past Cath Kidston and fall in love with one of their latest offerings. This adorable London printed travel mug is perfect for those early starts and to keep you looking cute while you travel. Not to mention the £8 will save you money in the long run compared to all those daily Starbucks runs.

For the cutie who deserves a break: These stress marshmallows from ASOS are the perfect relievers to get you through the stressful Winter months, and are a super cute edition to any desk at a bargain£7.

For those who aren’t a fan of the Christmas jumper: There’s nothing better than a beautiful manicure to make you feel great during the Christmas season, but for those of us like me whose manicures usually leave more nail varnish on our fingers than actual nails these are a great alternative. Not to mention they’re perfect for those who love to add a festive feel to their look at a price that’s a lot cheaper than a manicure or jumper, £8.99!

For the jewellery maven: There’s something about stags that are really Christmassy to me and this ring holder provides an great useful gift while looking incredibly stylish, and way more expensive than its £4.50 price tag.

For pretty much everyone: Okay so I know this isn’t for literally everyone, but doesn’t everyone love a candle at Christmas time and where better to look than the old favourite Yankee. My personal favourite is this Christmas Cookie smell but with Yankee providing 10 Christmassy scents, there’s something for everyone at £7.99 for a small jar or £1.80 for a selection of votives.

For The Wannabe Chef: We all know that one person who is a devotee of fast food and ready meals and who, try as they might just can’t cook. Well give them this and they’ll be creating good food in no time, and the best part is that all they’ll need is a microwave and a mug and all for £7.99.

For those who need to relax: Lush is a shining beacon to those of us obsessed with bath goodies especially at Christmas, where they have a range of gorgeous seasonal soaps, bath bombs and shower gels to leave you feeling festive and smelling good. My personal favourite is this Father Christmas one which creates a fantastic red and green bath with the gorgeous Snow Fairy scent, and £3.50 is a cheap price to pay to provide some relaxation for the ones you care about this holiday.

For the all seasons bronze goddess: You know the one, the girl who enviably spends the whole year looking as though she’s just gotten off a plane from St. Tropez.  This set is perfect for the Christmas season where you want to look your best, and as a massive upside this is one of the few tans I’ve found works well on pale skin as well, and at only £9 it’s much cheaper than a holiday.

For those who feel the cold: Who doesn’t love a novelty gift at Christmas, m,        nmnm especially if it’s covered in Christmas trees! I might be a weirdo but I love to match my socks with the season as I think it’s a great and cheap (£3.50) way to get into the swing of things, plus who doesn’t love some thick cosy socks to keep them warm during Winter.

For the Chocoholic: It’s universally known that Christmas is the time of year we stuff ourselves with  goodies and these Prestat truffles are the most gorgeous high quality gift. Not to mention they come in a cute little stocking which is great for those of us that are wrapping present inept at £6.95.

For the pop culture obsessive: This is my favourite of the bunch as I love these POP! figurines and with them featuring characters from pretty much every show or film from Kill Bill to Game of Thrones to The Big Bang Theory, there is quite literally one for everyone in your life. The Frozen characters are one of the latest editions and this Sven one is too cute to resist at £8.99.

For every cat person everywhere: There has to be a reason the internet is obsessed with cats and what better addition to the cat lover in your life than this hilarious mug, because come on, if it’s good enough for Taylor Swift, £9.

So that’s it for my first Christmas gift guide! I hope you guys like it and I’d love to know what ideas you guys have for your Christmas presents.

Winter Haul

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So am I the only one that thinks that as soon as the calenders turned to October it suddenly became winter? I decided that with a change in weather comes a change in wardrobe, so with my student card in tow I hit up my top 5 stores and prepped myself for the onslaught of rain and cold in the best way possible.

So first things first, jumpers. Topshop is my ultimate one stop shop for these as they always have a massive variety of colours, sizes and patterns so I went for these two adorable ones; one that gives a pop of colour and whimsy that Winter most definitely need, and this because it was SO SOFT!

Next to stock up on was the winter warmer accessories so I went with a black beanie, wide brim hat to take care of those bad hair days and these boots to provide protection against puddles.

Zara is another great place for Winter staples and I picked up this adorable top which combines my three loves; collars, stripes and statement jewellery. It’s the perfect mix for casual cute daytime looks or an evening date, which definitely helped justify this purchase.

Also am I the only one who’s found that the yearly long hard slog for a new winter coat has been made extra hard this season, considering everything seems to be a parka or a super long? Well fear no more as when I came across this miracle of black wool gorgeousness it was a match made in heaven. It sits just above the knee, and is the perfect mix of fitted while loose enough to fit a jumper underneath, so yep, perfect.

Miss Selfridge is not a usual haunt but recently has been winning me over especially with this cute 90’s crop top, which may not be the most sensible winter option but it was just too damn cute to say no. And by wearing it with these high waisted black jeans makes it the most uber flattering, day to night outfit for even the most low key of girls.

To finish up my wardrobe reformation I picked up from ASOS this adorable heart necklace, which will add a perfect glam update to any winter jumper, and this statement necklace from Zara for a fancier look. Finished with this perfect winter nail from Essie and my ultimate berry lip from Nars, and come rain or shine you’re ready to look your best no matter what!