Get Into The Knit: Favourites This Week

Since a new Next store opened up the road from me, I’ve spent many a happy evening browsing the racks to bulk out my wardrobe – and my kitchen! Next have some great on trend knits this year – I especially love these three! And who could resist a cute doggo?!

I am loving all the Boston terrier / pug merchandise around at the moment (pro-tip, upwards ears are usually Boston terriers or French Bulldogs, downwards ears are pugs. I would like a French Bulldog please, Santa!). I *had* to snap up this adorable J. Crew x Net-A-Porter Breton top in the Regent Street store when I saw it!

Check out those sequins!

I’ve found myself in London a lot recently for work, and luckily I’ve had plenty of time to window shop, too. My favourite place is rapidly becoming Regent Street, followed by a detour for Fortnums and a dash up to Bond Street.

Shopping in designer stores is very much a case of look and don’t touch for me – which makes things pretty easy on the wallet. Still, I’m not quite sure how I managed to walk away from an embroidered kitten with a levitating crown…

I’ve also resoled two of my favourite pairs of shoes – my kitty flats from Charlotte Olympia and my rose gold Ferragamo flats. If you take your shoes into most designers they’ll send them off to be repaired for you – I prefer to go through the brands I purchased from to make sure everything goes smoothly, but it can be a huge hassle to get back into London to pick them up again!

Charlotte Olympia is fairly reasonable (£25) and quick – and they will even pop your shoes in a canvas tote bag as well! Plus, you get to look at their gorgeous shoes while you’re there… try to resist if you can! (But how can you?!)

Meanwhile, Ferragamo is far more expensive (£45 for a resole of my admittedly abused flats!) and takes a lot longer, because apparently they ship them all to Italy to have them repaired by one woman… (The sales assistant could have course been a bit off the mark here…)

I’m hoping that the new soles last me a loooong while – but to be honest, I’ve worn these non-stop for months, so it’s worth it. (A note, though – I had my patent flats soled as soon as I purchased them and it was just £25. Maybe cheaper as they hadn’t been worn yet – and rubber soles are much more durable than leather. If you’re going to wear your flats daily I’d always recommend getting them soled right away!)

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to pick up new decorations every year, especially ones that have a meaning or mark an occasion. My husband and I picked these up from Liberty’s Christmas floor when we visited during my birthday weekend – I love the fact that they accidentally matched even though we bought them separately!

Of course, while you’re in Liberty’s, you’re obliged to look at their gorgeous fabrics – and if you’re me, curse yourself for never really learning how to sew properly! I’d love to whip these up into something amazing, but sadly I have no talent in that department!

Another place I love to visit in London is Abeno Too, just by Leicester Square. It’s a tiny Japanese restaurant with tabletop cooking as a speciality. Okonomiyaki is the main dish, but you can get noodles and pancakes and even seasonal dishes like this gorgeous aubergine starter. If you’ve never tried okonomiyaki you have to go – it’s one of my favourite Japanese dishes and it’s so delicious! It’s a savoury batter heavy with cabbage and topped with a sauce that tastes a little bit like HP (but not exactly – I hate HP Sauce but I love this! It’s quite similar to tonkatsu sauce if you’ve tried that before), plus Japanese mayonnaise and seaweed and bonito flakes. It’s cooked in front of you on the hotplate, and it’s a fun and enjoyable meal out!

And, finally, these are the accessories I’ve been wearing non-stop! My Canadian tartan scarf from eBay, my past season Givenchy SVG 773 sunglasses, my Monica Vinader siren earrings that I got for this birthday just gone, my vintage Japanese pearl necklace my parents got me for my 30th birthday, and my beloved Hermès enamel bracelet. Believe it not, this is rapidly becoming one of my best value items if you break it down to cost per wear – it’s been on my wrist non-stop since I got it!

Halloween Style 2016

The run-up to Halloween is in full swing, and if there’s one place you need to go for cute yet sophisticated Halloween goodies, it’s Fortnum and Mason. Every year they produce a range of fearsome snacks, sweets and treats, and even if you’re not buying, heading for a browse is a must-do in October. (And please, don’t forget to visit for Christmas too!)

You can also check out their range online here. I think I’d die and go to heaven if I ever got my hands on one of their incredible Halloween hampers, especially this nifty black and orange version!

Closer to home, the great pumpkin purchasing has begun – I always buy way too many pumpkins, because I love making displays of them, cooking with them, and carving them! Locally, the best place to go for pumpkins is either the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, or Pickwell Farm.

I went with my parents earlier in the month and managed to spend £27 on pumpkins… Yes, I bought A LOT of them.

But, how could you resist when they’re so cute and adorable? I picked up a dozen mini orange ones, and a dozen more white ones, which will be perfect to mark place settings on my table at Thanksgiving too!

When it comes to edible pumpkins, you have to try Crown Prince. In my opinion, this is the absolute finest culinary pumpkin, pictured above – and what’s better, it’s easy to spot! It has a beautiful duck-egg blue skin, so you’ll always be able to find it without confusing it with other types. And, if you see the Gem squash on sale, nab some of those, too. Cut off the tops, and fill them with cream, cheese, garlic and a sprig of thyme. Bake in the oven and serve for a hearty lunch or starter. These are a speciality of my mum’s and everyone loves them!

London’s bakeries are getting into the spirit of Halloween with loads of wicked treats! You can make a similar biscuit at home with your favourite sugar cookie or shortbread dough – just form them into fingers and add a blanched almond ‘fingernail’ at the top, and smear liberally with jam!

If you want some more Halloween inspiration, make sure you check out my post about Lancaster London’s Halloween ARTea experience – it was amazing, and the food was utterly, utterly divine. (Still thinking about those chorizo tarts!)

Charlotte Olympia’s window is looking very on trend right now with its spider web logo – and I have to say, I love wearing my kitty flats this time of year because not only are they utterly gorgeous, but they’re also very Halloween-ish!

I also really, really wish I could get a pair of their cool spider web logo earrings, here, but I’m trying very hard to be good with my spending at the moment… Hmm.

Another great Halloween idea for biscuits – ice dark chocolate gingerbread men to look like skeletons! Don’t you just love their cute little skulls?!

So, there’s my round up of some cool Halloween style I’ve spotted recently – how are you going to celebrate this year?! Share your tips in the comments!

Camping and the Art of Hygge: Favourites This Week

Hygge is the buzz word of 2016 – or at least, it is in my house. I say it all the time, at any opportunity, because I have no real idea how to pronounce it and it’s funny to say it out loud. Hygge basically means a sense of cosiness and happiness, a state of mind conjured up by warm socks, hot cocoa, and a wood fire.

So, when my friends invited me on a camping trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a post about hygge, and how you can invoke its spirit in the great outdoors!

First of all, you will need a tent. I had some great advice picking a tent, and found a cheap two-man one for £45 (the item is the Eurohike Tay Deluxe Two Man Tent). The best tents have an interior sleeping area that’s seperate from the rest, which reduces the amount of condensation inside. They also have a small porch area to store your items – and believe me, you need a stupid amount of stuff to go camping, even by my standards.

If you’re going with experienced campers, you probably won’t need a lot of other stuff, but if you’re camping alone, or for any length of time, you’ll probably want to invest in a tent you can stand up inside, because if the weather is bad you’ll be hunched inside your tent like Gollum otherwise…

The best part about camping, of course, is the nighttime firepit. We had a portable Weber and coals, but if the camp site lets you, you’ll want to break out the log-fuelled fire for sure. Sticks and marshmallows are a must, and copious amounts of cider is optional, but recommended.

Lighting is really difficult at night in a campsite. You’ll want to bring as many lanterns, fairy lights and head torches as you can find. Fairy lights with battery packs are so awesome for brightening up a camp site – and as an added bonus, you can use it to find your way back to your tent after a midnight toilet break!

Trust me to claim that a pair of Charlotte Olympias are essential campsite necessities, but bringing flip-flops is the best tip I got. You’ll be showering in a central block, and drying yourself and walking back and forward from your tent is so much easier with flip-flops!

You’ll probably notice in my tent picture at the top that I have a lot of blankets and throws. This is my best hygge tip, after ‘bring fairy lights’. I’ve got a blanket scarf from Joules (the Heyford, check them out here) which was a perfect dual purpose item – worn around the neck or over the knees, it was a great way to keep toasty! I also had some red checkered throws from Next, as well as a tartan picnic blanket, which makes a perfect carpet for the foyer of the tent. These small touches go a long way to making the experience as cosy as possible!

We went camping in the New Forest, one of my favourite places, and somewhere I wish I could spend a lot more time. On the Saturday, we went to the Otter and Owl Sanctuary, which was huge, full of awesome animals, and even had a giant adventure playground that adults were allowed in! (Seriously, it was probably the part I enjoyed the most!)

The campsite we ended up at was Ashurst. I definitely recommend it for some amazing views like this one! It’s pretty central in the New Forest, making it handy for loads of great days out.

And if you’re in the New Forest, I definitely recommend you visit Burley. It’s got a great history of witches and magical activity, and a couple of lovely themed magical gift shops. It’s also got a New Forest Cider shop, where they produce their own cider, as well as sell a variety of great local products, and there’s even a cafe!

So, are you going to bring a bit of hygge into your next camping trip? Don’t forget your flip-flops and blanket scarves!



Let’s play Halloween dress-up: high/low fashion picks

October is my favourite month of the year – the start of autumn, time for cosy coats, toffee apples, crunchy leaves, Halloween, and, of course, my birthday! This year, I’ve been looking at loads of cool items on the market for celebrating Halloween (as it’s on a Saturday again, whoooooo). I found two gorgeous pairs of spider-inspired shoes – can you guess which ones cost £575 and which cost £45?