Category Archive: My Style

Feb 19 2015

Donna Ida: The Ultimate Denim Boutique

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I’m a denim lover, I think my husband might say addict, and up until a few years ago I found it one of the most stressful shopping experiences, well until I discovered Donna Ida.

There is something about a wall of denim that excites me, the choices, the styles, the various hues of blue, but with all that excitement comes stress at all the options, and that is why shopping at Donna Ida really is a treat, the stress really is taken out of the equation. All the staff are so informed on all the different brands and styles, they can advise on what you would look good in, what’s on-trend, and they even encourage you to try something out of your comfort zone, which you will probably end up loving.

The best bit though, there is no judgement on size, I have come to understand by shopping at Donna Ida that you have to try on every pair of jeans, you won’t be the same size in every brand, it doesn’t mean you have put on weight if you find you are a size bigger, but I have to be honest it does feel good when you drop a few sizes. 

Donna-Ida-Chelsea-12I’ve already gushed about how much I love Donna Ida’s own line, IDA, I basically live in them, especially in my Foggy London Rizzo, which are just the most comfortable pair of skinny jeans I own, I am a big fan of high-waisted. But as well as her own incredible line, the boutique also stocks great jeans by J Brand, James Jeans, Frame Denim, and Paige, all favourites of mine. 

Donna Ida isn’t just about denim, the store is basically a one-stop-shop of things to wear with your jeans, think statement tees, slogan sweatshirts, and cute blouses from the likes of Blackscore, Wildfox, Bella Freud and Joie, as well as arm candy from MeMe London, and sunglasses by Linda Farrow and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Oh, and there is also a little sweetie shop, it is one of my favourite bits of my visit picking out my favourite sweets. 

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This week I went in to check out the new IDA spring/summer 2015 collection, which FYI is as dreamy as always. You have new colours, including a moss green ‘Mash’ hue **the ones I am wearing above with the most amazing Blackscore sweater** in my favourite style, Rizzo, as well as a cool black pair, and there is a new grey shade ‘Greystone’ for the Ivy.

There a few new styles as well including the relaxed ‘Downtown Dazzler’, a slim boyfriend style skinny denim in a distressed white or a vintage blue wash, this is pure California dreaming. Other notable additions include the ankle swinging ‘Kitty’ that has been influenced by the 70s and the ‘Adelaide’, a high-rise and super wide leg design that I can’t wait to come in so I can try them on as I love a good flare.

As well as all the high-rise, I am so on #TeamHigh, Ida has introduced low and mid-rise jeans to the range, with Honor, a low rise skinny with a 7” rise nearly making me want to switch sides, these are perfect as they are cut slightly higher in the back for a comfortable fit and they come in the most gorgeous blue and just the right about of rips and abrasions. 

Are you a fan of Donna Ida?

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So which team are you? #TeamHigh or #TeamLow?

Well Donna Ida wants to know, running alongside the General Election is the Donna Ida Denim Election where you can vote for your favourite! The final results will be announced on May 7, 2015 with one lucky voter winning a £1,000 IDA wardrobe.

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Donna Ida Chelsea, 106 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, London SW3 3AE

Feb 11 2015

My Style: Shades Of Grey

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I’ve spoken about my hunt for the perfect grey winter coat previously, as this year I’m trying to just invest in classic pieces rather than trends, I had all but given up hope when I spied this beauty in the Gap sale, only one left, in my size, was down from £99.99 to £39.99 with another 40 percent off, so for £23.99 I picked up the best bargain I have found in a while, and I’m in love with it. 

It ticks a lot of the boxes I had listed for this coat, it is the perfect shade of grey, not too dark, not too light – I am very picky, it has subtle buttons, not over the top shiny ones, it has large pockets to slouch into, oh and carry my phone around, it has a strong collar, and most importantly it falls around knee-length. I have to be honest, listing out all the points it ticks makes me even more surprised that I found it, more so because it was less than £25, it just shows that you can still find a good deal out there. 

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I promise I won’t only wear this with grey, but I thought it made a fun statement to show off the beauty of the coat, plus it was freezing on our weekend winter walk around Anglesey Abbey that I needed this cosy cable tabbard jumper with roll-neck from Oasis **which FYI is in the sale**, which I love layered over a long sleeve tee or as in this case wearing over a thin black roll-neck for extra warmth. If you are going to work a roll-neck you have to do it twice right?

Finishing up my look is my carry everywhere, bottomless pit of a tote that I picked up from Zara, the best bit about this bag has to be the fact you can reverse it for a contrasting colour, so I have the red showing but could have gone for black. I also have this beauty in the blue and mustard colour, which doesn’t seem to be available anymore. It really is the perfect travel companion, or winter walk buddy to carry my camera, instant camera, mini picnic, and basically my life around with me. Best bit, well other than the price it is only £29.99, has to be the inner zipped pocket, which attaches to the handle to keep it secure, plus you can remove if you like and use in any bag you want. 

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Sunday walks are becoming a bit of thing in our household, as we are trying to take time away from our busy schedules, enjoy life and being with each other, and help me especially step away from the computer for at least one day a week. Getting outside is one of my favourite things, I really do think when it is so gloomy that you have to take all the good weather days and enjoy them to the max. Plus what’s not to love about walking around a beautiful place hand-in-hand with the one you love. We are lucky as we live in a village in the countryside, just outside Cambridge, so we get town and country, but when we lived in London we used to wander around one of the parks, or stroll down the River Thames, just somewhere that’s pretty and relaxing. 

I probably go to Anglesey Abbey just outside Cambridge about four or five times a year, it is such a lovely relaxing place, and I just adore the wandering walk through the gardens, alongside the river and through the woods, plus it changes beautifully with the seasons there is always something new to admire. In February, it is all about the snowdrops, one of my favourite flowers – well they do herald the arrival of spring, plus they are just so elegant and pretty, and Anglesey Abbey has more than 270 species of snowdrops dotted around the place. I know who knew there were so many different kinds. 

I also used the occasion to test out my Lomo’Instant, the instant camera from Lomography that we got as our Christmas present from my Mum, as I have wanted an polaroid-style camera for a while. I love digital and snapping away on my phone, I even love the art of editing my images, but there is something fun and more memorable about capturing that moment on instant film and waiting for it to develop. I will be bringing you a more detailed review on the camera soon, which I am loving to capture our first year in marriage memories. 

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My Style: Grey jeans, Ida by Donna Ida (c/o) // Black rollneck, Primark // Grey cable tabbard jumper, Oasis *similar* // Grey coat, Gap *similar* // Tote, Zara // Boots, Quiz Clothing (c/o) // Glasses, Glasses Direct (c/o) // Lomo’Instant, Lomography // 

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Jan 28 2015

My Style: Styling A Blanket Scarf & Long Cardigan

My-style-asos-cardigan-2January is nearly done with and it took over 20 days to carve out some time with my husband, which in case you haven’t noticed isn’t getting old, I love saying it. With work, unexpected trips up North to see family, and general life we haven’t had much time for just the two of us, or to just have fun, so it was important on a rare free weekend to do something other than chores, cleaning, or sitting on the sofa catching up with TV.

We like doing cultural things whether it’s visiting grand historical estates, art galleries or museums, it is one of the things I love about living in the UK there are so many, and lots are free to visit, and even though we have been living in the Cambridge area for around 8 years we’ve never been to the Fitzwilliam Museum. I was trying to think why, after we had been and enjoyed it so much, and I think it has something to do with the fact for the past few years it has mainly been covered in scaffolding while it was renovated on the outside.

The museum has a great collection, from gorgeous pottery to Egyptian artefacts, and an impressive art portfolio including Monet, Renoir, and Degas, all favourites of mine, and I really could have sat there all afternoon taking in the masterpieces.

Fitzwilliam is more than just its collection, the building itself is a work of art with its Corinthian-style columns, ornate detailing, and the light coming from the exquisite skylights, it really is one of those places that you can’t help but get lost in the beauty. I think I could come here every day and find new corners to admire and fall in love with, I think I might have found my new writing spot for when I am feeling less inspired.

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I can also recommend the little cafe situated in the middle of the museum, not only does it look so pretty drench in sunlight from the large skylights, but it also brews a perfect pot of fresh leaf tea and sells the most delicious cakes. I was all adventurous, well it was a date, and tried my first ever Duke of Cambridge Tart, something I had never heard of with a raisin and cherry filing on a chewy, toffee-like base. I’ve added it to my recipe search as I think I am going to have to try and bake a batch up.

It is always harder I think deciding what to wear at the weekend, I find it hard to not just opt for jeans and a jumper, but I am having a new love affair with cardigans, short, tight, oversized, and this long beauty from Asos is a current favourite, and it is in the sale. There is something about wrapping up, without looking too bulky, while still be warm that totally appeals to me and this oversized cardigan, which I would recommend getting in a size down unless you want it really baggy is perfect as you can see fit a regular jumper underneath and I think it works perfectly with my blanket scarf.

I along with everyone else in the fashion world is obsessed with Burberry’s monogrammed ponchos, if only I was a runway model or won the lottery, I have a larger blanket wrap that I generally utilise when in the car or running through an airport, but this cute blue and red patterned scarf is perfect I have found to layer over my cardigan and looks good with a belt to cinch in my waist, which really does help to not look too bulky, well I hope so.

Have you tried out the blanket scarf and long cardigan trend yet? I think the trick is if you are wearing lots of layers on top, I have one t-shirt, one jumper, one cardigan and then a scarf on here, to go skinny on the bottom half to balance it out, so these skinny jeans made the perfect addition to finish off this casual look.

My-style-asos-cardigan-7My-style-asos-cardigan-6Shop My Look: Long oversize navy cardigan, Asos // Jeans, Saltspin London (c/o) // Stripe jumper, Asos // Blanket scarf, New Look // Boots, Quiz Clothing (c/o) (similar) // Clutch, Knomo (c/o) // Sunglasses, Jil Sander at Glasses Direct (c/o) // Belt, New Look // Monogram luggage tags, Kate Spade Saturday //

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Shop My Look:

 

Jan 19 2015

My Style: Winter Up North – Giant Coat Needed!!!

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I ventured home, up North for the first time in more than a year, I know I am a bad daughter but with the wedding everyone for once just seemed to come to me, so it was nice at the weekend to relax, chat with my mum, and take in the sights of Morecambe during my whirlwind visit.

It was one of those laid back weekends that was just fun, the weather however was not so fun, it was downright annoying, I literally took these pictures in between torrential rain, sleet and gorgeous blue skies, to say that you can’t predict the weather in Morecambe is a little of an understatement, but I think that just adds to the charm of the Northern seaside town.

There is something about Morecambe that calms me, maybe it is the sea, which I generally find is more out than in, but I kind of like that as I love seeing the boats looking like they have been abandoned by the gods. But I also love the Art Deco history in its buildings, like the Midland Hotel, its super long promenade that is perfect for walking all your worries away, and the fact it holds lots of memories of when I was a kid and we came to Frontierland, a theme park, which I am still sad when I see it looking all derelict.

I would normally take style posts without my coat, unless I truly loved the coat or styled the outfit around the coat, but I have to be honest it was so bitterly cold that I only managed a few without, but to be honest I really like the contrast of this functional Bench coat paired with a leather pencil skirt and this cute cross body Knomo Elektronista clutch, which I will be talking about more in a separate post as it is actually not just a clutch, it is an organiser for all your digital devices, this is wearable tech you will actually want to buy!

This Bench coat is amazing, perfect for a chilly winter as it is two coats in one, which was definitely needed against the bitter wind coming in across the bay, plus with its slim cut and adjustable waist I find that is also super flattering for a giant winter coat.

I know, my outfit was probably inappropriate for a sleety, snow kind of day, but I did have sensible shoes on as they have a hiking boot-style tread, but I do find that when it is cold I generally go for jeans and a chunky jumper and I am trying to mix it up and still wear the things I love, just with a few more layers, and if that means I have to wear a practical coat then so be it.

How is your wardrobe coping with the winter chill?

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My Style: Bench ‘Kufen’ coat, Bench (c/o) // Green leather skirt, Next (c/o) (similar one) // Black and white jumper, New Look // Black shirt, Primark // Watch, Shore Projects (c/o) // Bracelet, Links of London & Monica Vinader // Glasses, Glasses Direct (c/o) // Elekronista Digital Clutch, Knomo (c/o) // Boots, Quiz Clothing (c/o) (similar) //

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Dec 16 2014

My Style: Finding The Perfect Leather Dress

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I have a list of wardrobe essentials that I am constantly trying to perfect, whether it is finding that white shirt that fits perfectly, or the softest cashmere jumper, or even that hero pair of skinny jeans that never loses its shape. One thing on that list that I haven’t got close to finding, well until I spotted this Iris & Ink beauty on The Outnet, had to be a leather dress.

I am pretty fussy, it had to be nearer to knee-length than mini-skirt, it had to be roomy enough that I could wear all day and still eat, it had to be quality, and most importantly it had to be more tailored than rock-chick and I definitely feel that the Aria Iris & Ink belted suede and leather dress ticks all those boxes.

I love that the combination of leather and suede really does make this a more contemporary take on the leather dress, it makes it a lot more comfortable to wear and I adore that you can nip in the waist with the belt, which I switched up for a skinny leather number as the dress was a little big the suede belt it came with wasn’t working for me.

The Iris & Ink collection at The Outnet has long been a favourite of mine, it is basically filled with timeless, quality wardrobe essentials and I love that I was able to style up this beauty for my blog. One of the areas that has been expanding for the label has to be the accessories, first it was oversized pouches to style up as a cool clutch and this season they have added some gorgeous leather pieces, my favourite being the ‘Camden’ Iris & Ink leather backpack, which you can wear as a backpack or as a bucket handbag, dependant on how you feel and what you are wearing.

There is a lot of love at the moment for bucket bags, they are everywhere, and what I love about this one is its versatility and how it works two trends – backpack and bucket bag, plus it is made from the dreamiest of leathers. It is also super roomy, I do love a bag that can carry all my stuff plus my big SLR. After test driving this beauty I don’t think any other bucket bag will quite cut it, I love that when it is super heavy that you can just change it up and wear it as a backpack. I think this beauty is a fashion week must.

Are you on the hunt for something off your wardrobe essentials list?

My-Style-Outnet-1My-Style-Outnet-4My-Style-Outnet-3My Style: Aria’ Iris & Ink belted suede and leather dress, The Outnet (borrowed) // ‘Camden’ Iris & Ink leather backpack, The Outnet (borrowed) // Boots, Quiz Clothing (c/o) //

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Dec 09 2014

My Wedding: My Purely Diamonds Wedding Ring

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I didn’t know how important my wedding ring would mean to me until the love of my life placed it on my finger during out vows, it was at that moment I was so pleased that I didn’t go with a plain band and added some sparkle as it really represents what a beautiful moment we both shared.

I love jewellery especially bracelets and necklaces but rings I find hard to choose, I am not sure why, but the wedding band worried me a lot. My worries tripled after visiting numerous high street jewellers and trying on lots of bling rings that I just felt weren’t right for me and didn’t complement my engagement ring. I was so please when Purely Diamonds got in touch about their bespoke design service as it really did make the wedding ring search so easy.

My-wedding-IHNY-26What I loved most about Purely Diamonds was that they really understood that I was looking for a ring that didn’t overpower engagement ring, they took my concerns, my dreams and wishes, and truly designed a gorgeous ring that thankfully didn’t have any round or square diamonds, which was a big thing for me as I wanted emerald cut just like my engagement ring.

During the process I don’t think I was much help, all I knew was the shape of diamond, the colour – it had to be platinum, and it had to be a similar band size to my engagement ring. I think they would have loved for me to say what carat weight and clarity but I have no clue on that sort of thing, but lucky for me the team really know there stuff and were super patient with me and I loved that they even photoshopped the ring design next to my engagement ring so I could really see that it complemented it impeccably.

I love that it adds to the beauty of my engagement ring that Paulie designed with a subtle-yet-beautiful line of diamonds, which really do twinkle perfectly when the light catches them. Separately my rings are beautiful, together though they really are divine and Purely Diamonds really did capture our love perfectly.

Using an online jeweller might worry some people, but once you scroll through their rings, be warned there are a lot, you will see the quality and beauty of their designs, and don’t worry if you don’t see something that isn’t quite right, trust me they will be able to design it for you.

Did you struggle to find your perfect wedding ring?

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Want to see more from my New York wedding? Well check out my becoming a Mrs post, a close up look at my gorgeous vintage wedding gown, and the Priv team behind my stunning hair and make-up.

[Pics: IHNY Photos]

 

 

Dec 08 2014

My Wedding: A Priv Makeover

My-wedding-IHNY-12One of the main stresses about getting married in New York, after figuring out how I was going to pack my amazing wedding dress into a tiny carry-on case, had to be who was going to do my hair and make-up. Unlike my search here in the UK, I didn’t have friends in New York who do hair and make-up, I didn’t have anyone to recommend wedding make-up artists, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a trial, so it would have to be do-or-die on my actual wedding day.

I was freaking about it until at least a week before I flew out until I got an invite to the launch of PRIV, an incredible beauty and wellness service at the top of an app, which was launching in London but was already huge in New York. PRIV literally offers everything from haircuts, blow drys, make-up, manicures, massages and even personal trainer sessions. Oh and did I mention it isn’t crazy expensive, we are talking £38 for a blow dry and style or a manicure with nail art, and their stylists will come to you. Super easy and I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I was lucky, the PR pulled a few strings and got me the full monty nails, make-up and an up-do, basically a wedding makeover, and I was treated to the best that PRIV has to offer, and I was truly looked after – thank god they launched in London and came on my radar.

I had my nails done the night before, the lovely India came to my hotel suite, dealt with the moody Soho Grand lighting like a pro, and worked my vision of having blush, pink nails with a glittery silver tip with ease. I wanted something fun that would compliment my vintage wedding gown and its heavy beading, while still being girlie and romantic. I was so pleased with the result, the colour was perfect and the silver had just enough sparkle.

My-Wedding-PRIV-nailsMy-Wedding-PRIV-hairWhen it came to my hair, I had a vision, I knew I wanted my fringe down, apparently this isn’t a popular wedding option, I wanted a braid, I am a little obsessed – see my Pinterest, and I wanted a chic ponytail, but I have to be honest I was worried that my look wouldn’t be bridal enough for my gown, and if I had anyone other than Michael I am not sure it would have turned out as gorgeous as it did.

I loved the contrast between the drama in the side braid, which worked perfectly with the pearl pins I picked up on eBay, and the modern-chic vibe of the ponytail. I just felt it was perfect for a fun, elopement in New York City. My worry when looking at wedding hair inspiration was that I would look old, stuffy and not myself, and I was so pleased that Michael worked his magic with my very untraditional bridal vision and produced a truly unique look.

What also made this look perfect was the fact it lasted all day, honestly there wasn’t a hair out of place when we got back after a great day, and it lasted through hours of shooting our wedding photos, most of which were outside and it lasted for champagne shenanigans and dinner. I was seriously impressed.

My-Wedding-PRIV-makeup-For my make-up the only thing I had shared with Mariana before she arrived was that I wanted bold eyes, as when you wear glasses you need to go bolder for it to stand-out and be noticed. Mariana did a wonderful job, she didn’t make my foundation too heavy, while still making me feel gorgeous and covered, she didn’t go crazy with the blusher, one of my biggest worries when getting my make-up done, and she made my eyes really pop.

I love that she came prepared with options, not that she needed them that she thought about adding individual lashes to work with my glasses, and that she prepped my skin to perfection so that my wedding look stayed put all-day long.

My transformation didn’t take long, the PRIV glamsquad are masters of their trade and I was super impressed with their skill, their personalities, we really did have a giggle, as well as everyone understanding what a big day it was for me, I felt like they went above and beyond what they needed to do and they certainly made me feel and look fantastic, as well as create looks that matched my vintage wedding gown.

PRIV has just launched in London, in selected areas for now but I am sure it will grow in the coming months, so why not download the app on Apple and Android, it is free, and treat yourself – why not just before a big date for a work event, or just because – trust me you will feel a million dollars afterwards.

I am really pleased with my wedding looks – do you think my vision worked with my New York wedding?

My-wedding-IHNY-23 My-wedding-IHNY-22[Pics: IHNY, Fashionista Barbie, @nycbraun@marianabull74]
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