Whiteley Hats

My visit to Ascot Ladies’ Day has renewed my love of hats – even though, quite blasphemously, I wasn’t wearing one on the day! (It was actually a floral headpiece, so there!). So when I spied a bunch of Whiteley hats on sale at John Lewis, I of course had to model a few in the interests of science. Whiteley has been made famous by the Duchess of Cambridge, of course, she of the many hats, and I have to say some of my favourite items of hers are either by Whiteley or Lock & Lock. Sadly, the latter is somewhat out of my price range – but trying on hats is free no matter where they’re from, right?

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This looks to be a pink version of Kate’s famous swirl hat, which she has in brown, although this one is actually a slightly different shape. I LOVED this hat, and I plan to get the brown version as soon as it’s available (stalking it here).

A lot of people (including myself) get nervous about wearing hats with elastic, but if you match the elastic to your hair colour, it’s perfectly acceptable to have the band showing:

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Or, if you want to wear your hair down, you can still do so with these hats – what I did was just put my hair up, place the hat, and then remove the band from my ponytail:

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This side-view shows what’s happening with the band:

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This hat I thought was rather unsuccessful…:

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This one is very good for those that want to wear something a bit more subtle:

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It’s a pretty versatile shape and colour, and I think was only about £40-45. Also, it sits on a comb, which some people are more comfortable with, although I really prefer headbands for my hats!

However, this one was my out-and-out favourite:

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It looks very similar to the black one the Duchess of Cambridge has worn on a few occasions, but has a rounded top rather than a straight edge like hers (but I fully intend to make that one mine as well, so of course it wouldn’t do to have two the same style, would it?!).

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As the hat was £42 in the sale (reduced from £85), I decided it would be rude not to buy it, and so I now have yet another hat to add to my collection of hats I have nowhere to wear. I am thinking of starting a hat club just to give people a reason to wear them… Who is in?!

Whiteley hats available in store and online from John Lewis and other retailers: see http://www.whiteley-hat.co.uk/ for more.

William Chambers for Coast

You know I love hats! So when I got a newsletter from Coast about their new collaboration with milliner William Chambers, I had to head on over to check out the collection right away…

William Chambers Coast double disc floral hat 160This is probably the most impressive offering, a delicate cascade of feathers balanced against a woven base – called the double disc floral hat, this retails for £160.

William Chambers Coast floral veiled hat 130

In a similar colour is the floral veiled hat, for £130.
William Chambers Coast buntal teardrop hat 100

A bit edgier, the buntal teardrop hat retails for £100, and features an animal print pattern, great with a black or white dress.

William Chambers Coast ostrich pom hat pink 150

Providing a pop of colour is the ostrich pom hat in pink, for £150. This is the only offering in the collection that doesn’t feature a neutral palette, although it’s also available in black.

William Chambers Coast ostrich pom hat black 150

By far my favourite, though, is this gorgeous side bow hat, in black!

William Chambers Coast side bow hat 100

This structured, straw hat is priced £100 and has a very Kate Middleton vibe to it…

At the moment, you have to either order these from a store, or reserve and collect them in person. Which one is your favourite?

My picks from the Hush Winter Sale!

The much anticipated Hush sale went online last night at midnight, and there were loads of bargains on offer! I thought I’d share my picks for the best items on the site…

Hush harem trousers

Here are those ever-controversial harem trousers, now reduced from £49.50 to £25! I now own a pair of Hush harem trousers in the same style (charcoal colour) and they truly are the comfiest things I own. Forget jogging bottoms, leggings and yoga pants. These are the bomb. The charcoal colour is really best suited to lounging around at home in, because the grey is very casual, so I can’t wait to see whether these burgundy ones will look stylish enough to be worn out and about.

Hush Big Sloppy Jumper

Reduced by £25 down to £40, this is a great price for this lovely, comfy jumper – a mix of cotton, silk and cashmere. Although it does crease when you’re sitting down for a long time, it’s great to slob around in. If you get a cold throat like me, you’ll need a scarf to keep yourself covered, though, because the v-neck is pretty low. And, it’s supposedly hand wash only – I’ve not had the guts to try it in a washing machine yet! However, £40 is definitely a bargain – and the red is beautiful. It also comes in grey marl, charcoal marl and dark navy. (Read my review here.)

Cardigown from Hush

On my wist-list before Christmas was the amazing cardigown, so when I saw it was reduced to £50, I snapped one up. Can’t wait to try it out!

Cable Knit Cardi Coat from Hush

One thing I didn’t get which I would have loved was the Cable Knit Cardi Coat, which is £70 off at £100. Even with the reduction, it’s still a little pricey for me, but it looks amazing and I’ve heard very good things about it!

Cashmere Madeleine Jumper from Hush

If you’re looking to seriously treat yourself, though, it surely has to be with something from Hush’s amazing cashmere range. I’ve picked out the cashmere Madeleine jumper, which is on sale for £80 (reduced from £150), but there are so many styles to choose from it’ll be hard to narrow it down!

Goldie Snood from Hush

One of the items that really stuck in my mind when I first stumbled across Hush was the gorgeous Goldie snood, which is now on sale for £25 (reduced from £45). I bought a similar item from Oasis but was never really happy with it, so I’ll be very excited to get this through. There are a range of snoods available in the sale here.

There were a couple of things that I was after that haven’t been reduced (namely the felted wool dress and the Charlene dress), so I’ll be stalking those to see if they get added. But, there are loads of amazing bargains available at the moment, so head to www.hush-uk.com while the sale is still on to bag yours!

Vintage Clothing at Green’s Home Interiors

Just up the road from my in-laws’ place is a great little antiques warehouse called Green’s Home Interiors, which is full of furniture, books, homewares, and a great vintage clothing section with jewellery, dresses, jackets and accessories. I decided to pop in and have a post-Christmas mooch around!

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There were some truly amazing vintage jewellery sets there – check out these beauties!

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I loved those giant golden bubble earrings from the ’80s at the front!

And check out this awesome red anchor necklace from the ’40s in this photo – it’s enormous!

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They also have racks of real fur shrugs, jackets and stoles on display as well. My sister in law picked up a faux fur piece here once, but all of the older items seem to be real.

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They also have a giant rack full of sequinned tops and jackets – very Dynasty! Or, Rita from Corrie…

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Most of them were from the ’80s, but I found this amazing full length white dress from the ’50s – what a show-stopper!

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I also found a really great ’70s cape and evening dress set – I actually loved this, which is weird, because I don’t usually go much for ’70s clothes, but this is just so unashamedly of its time that I couldn’t help admire it!

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I loved this fur-collared jacket – stupidly forgot to check the price and details, but I thought I’d share the photo anyway.

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I’ll leave you with some more photos of some amazing accessories – if you’re in the area, make sure you stop by to check it out!

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You can find the site here, or find them on Rugby Road, Binley Woods, CV3 2AX.

Christmas office party outfit

Bit late with this one, but I thought I’d post it, if only to show off my new Miss L Fire Monaco shoes! Although, it’s a bit hard to show them when the cat keeps wandering into the shot…

LK Bennett Mimi Dress 3 with Saffy

We went to the Coriander Lounge in Southampton, which is a great Indian restaurant (so great that Matt Le Tissier was there at the same time as us) that does amazing buffets. It wasn’t my office party (I work from home and the company is based in Dorset), it was actually for my husband’s work, but I know a lot of his colleagues fairly well and get on really well with them so I always look forward to it. And, I don’t have many reasons to dress up, so I have to take my chances when I can!

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I wore an L.K. Bennett Mimi Dress that I bought from eBay that has a shortened skirt (great LBD), Whistles Black Spot Tights (as worn by Kate Middleton – what do you think?), a red skinny waist belt from ASOS and a gold pendant from Peacocks. Oh, and those amazing Monaco shoes from Miss L Fire!

Miss L Fire Havana Shoes

I seriously don’t think I’ve loved a pair of shoes this much in years. They are AMAZING, and another leopard print item for me! They’re black suede though, so I’ve been too scared to wear them out most of the time, thanks to the disgustingly rainy weather we’ve been having. I love rain, but not on my shoes…

I also wore the eyeshadow from my Clarins Odyssey set, which I’ve been using pretty much every day during the holidays – the gold colour is amazing, and you can layer up as much as you like – either a really heavy coating, or a light sparkle all over the lids.

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Not pictured is a Christmas pudding hair clip I bought from Sainsbury’s that my husband requested I wear at the last minute – which everyone loved! Sadly, my shoes were under the table most of the evening, but I knew they were amazing, so that was enough for me…

Christmas party daytime look: Nordic print T-shirt and ballet skirt combo

I can’t be the only girl who secretly wants to wear ballet skirts all the time, can I? There’s just something so beautiful and elegant about the soft layers of netting that will make anyone, even a heffalump like me who only barely knows what a pirouette is, feel like a prima ballerina! So I took the plunge and ordered a cheap skirt from eBay, figuring that even if it didn’t suit me, at least it wouldn’t break the bank in the process…

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I have to say, I think it looks pretty good, even with my pear shape – the length is long enough to make it tolerable for winter, too!

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I paired it with my new Brat & Suzie Loose Fit Nordic Stag T-Shirt from ASOS (here), which I love, because it’s very festive and comfortable. AND, it’s not another Christmas jumper, but it’s still very seasonal. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas jumpers. But, as we all know, most of the time, the heating on in people’s houses means it’s actually too hot for a lovely thick jumper, and then what are you supposed to do? My answer: rock a festive T-shirt!

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Check out the adorable detailing, with the Rudolph-lookalike, and the Fair Isle style patterns. Love it! The colour is bang on trend, too.

I had to break out my latest favourite shoes, which I’ve been coveting for months now – these beautiful leopard print, pony skin* India flats from French Sole! (* Just so you know, pony skin is not actually made of ponies!)

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If you had told me last year I’d be buying a pair of animal print shoes, I would have thought you were mad, but somehow the trend has really grown on me – I think it’s all the vintage fashion I’ve been looking at recently! And the red trim is amazing, too!

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Of course, you know I love me some French Sole, right?! There’s just something about these shoes which are really Christmassy and festive – I guess it’s the implied warmth of the animal print, and the red trim which just screams FESTIVE TIMES ARE HERE!

This kind of look is the sort of thing I think would work really well for an informal, daytime Christmas party – it’s not too dressy, but it is playful and festive. And, you won’t be panting like a dog in your thick knit jumper when someone whacks the heating up!

Hush Big Sloppy Jumper Review

I’ve waited patiently since last month for my Big Sloppy Jumper to arrive from Hush – but it finally got here on Monday!

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It’s super comfy, with lovely fabric, and is pretty flattering, and in a great, on-trend colour.

Sloppy Jumper from Hush

The down side is that you have to hand wash it, and it’s fairly pricey (£65, more than I’d usually pay for a jumper). However, I decided that it’s time to start investing in basics properly instead of dropping wads of cash on things I’ll only ever wear once or twice! It makes more sense to buy something comfy that I can lounge around in, considering I spend most of my time in my home working, rather than strutting around in fancy frocks! This definitely fits the bill, and the fabrics used (80% cotton, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) somewhat justify the tag. Hopefully I’ll be wearing this for years to come.

The Big Sloppy Jumper is available in bordeaux (pictured), grey marl, charcoal and navy, at Hush, for £65.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

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On Saturday (1 December), my husband and I popped into Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, so I could get my hair did for our big night out (more on that later)! I managed to restrain myself from spending big, although I’m now kicking myself because my parents have planned a roaring ’20s Agatha Christie murder mystery night for New Year’s Eve (okay, I sorta suggested it… and already had the kit… shush). If I had known then what I know now, and all that – although I have to admit, I’m more of a ’50s-era fan! (Despite the victory rolls!) There’s been some fierce, flapper-related eBaying since then, but we’ll get to that later – onto the fair!

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The fair definitely lived up to its reputation as being affordable, and there were plenty of goodies on offer. I love vintage accessories, and although I don’t own any vintage clothing, that’s just a matter of time… I did try on a lovely long-sleeved white lace dress, but in the end I couldn’t get on over my hair – how about that for ironic?

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One of my favourite things about vintage fairs is how beautifully all the products are displayed. I spent most of my time taking pictures of everything rather than looking properly, in the end!

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I love vintage homewares, and I even spotted some Babycham glasses just like my nan used to break out at New Year’s!
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That brought back some memories, I can tell you! I also coveted these gorgeous phones, and there was plenty of pretty crockery to be had.Vintage Fair 6 Vintage Fair 2

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I think for sure the highlights of the show for me were these pair of frankly amazing hats…

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I especially had my eye on the bottom one – I don’t even know what this style of hat is called, but it’s lovely. I think the price was £50 – sadly too much to spend on something I know for a fact I’ll never really wear (as opposed to things I know I probably won’t wear but take a punt on anyway in case one day I wake up thinner, more daring, and more likely to be invited to lounge around a casino in Monte Carlo or something…)

These babies, however, were in my price range, and something I know I would wear…

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So I bought the lovely silver one on the right – £6! Bargain!

Did anyone else visit the fair at the weekend? Or any other vintage fair recently? Let me know what you bought! And if you know what that style of hat is (and where I can get one, just for future reference, y’know), leave a comment – I’d be everso grateful!

Water Off A Duck’s Back

At the SkyRide I was excited to come across a British company selling some seriously stylish (and by all accounts, very waterproof) cycling jackets. Now, I already have a couple of waterproof jackets – one is for walking, and one is a cycling jacket – but both of them are fairly short and neither of them are particularly fashionable. Once you see the beautiful macs from Water Off a Duck’s Back, I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘fashionable’ is definitely the right word to describe them…

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In fact, looking at them, you probably wouldn’t even realise that they’re cycling coats at all…

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But, there are loads of really nifty touches to these that make them perfect for cycling – such as reflective bands on the wrists, back of the waist tie, and the collar.

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The sleeves are extra long so that they can cope with the extension of your arms when you’re reaching for the handlebars. There’s even a special clip at the base of the coat that keeps it from flapping open as you cycle. And, there’s a detachable hood as well.

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You can probably make out the gorgeous purple lining in the hood too – beautiful! You can even tuck your coat neatly into the hood to make it more portable. Best of all, the coats are waterproof – not just, as the site points out, showerproof.

The coat comes in black or stone (love it, but I’m totally scared of getting it dirty!) for £130 – not cheap, admittedly. In fact, probably more than I’d pay for any coat, but let’s just say the sun was shining, my credit card was calling me, and Antonia was offering a special discount at the event which shaved off a few pounds…

Check back later for a real review of the coat in action – I’m pleased to say I’ve not had to use it yet, but my favourite season is approaching and I’m sure there will be plenty of showers!

Sea View Ride

Another weekend, and another great Sky Ride Local! This time we cycled a sort of familiar route, although we started in a new place for me – still within cycling distance though (although we took the car as we had no idea where we were going!). This time the ride took us through Victoria Country Park and up to Hamble – we did a similar thing on our led ride from Weston Shore during the Big Bike Celebration in June.

It chucked it down for our trip to Itchen Valley Country Park, but the weather was glorious at the weekend – and even though I slathered myself in lotion, I still caught the sun a little bit. I decided to wear my ASOS cycling shorts with a skirt over the top – I love wearing skirts, but I always feel self-conscious about them being short, so whenever I cycle I get to wear cycling shorts underneath! This actually means I’m getting to wear my skirts way more than I did before, which is great news for me – shallow, I know! I also refound one of my favourite T-shirts that I bought from GAP years ago – it’s so thin and comfy, great for cycling in the sun.

I also discovered Heidi plaits are great for cycling (thanks, Minx Girl!) as they keep the hair off the back of your neck in a sweaty clump – they also look good with a helmet too.

Wearing my lovely Sawako Furuno helmet again – I wondered if the smaller ventilation holes would give me a hot head, but I’m pleased to report even in the sunshine I was fine! It’s definitely not as cool as a normal aerodynamic helmet, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

Unlike the previous two times I’ve been to a Sky Ride, I actually arrived early this time, and so I was able to laze about and watch everyone else hurriedly pull their bikes off their racks for a change!

The ride was a good mix of trails and roads – I’m still completely terrified of getting a puncture on gravel, but once I actually get one I think I’ll be fine. I really want to be able to take some kind of course in bike maintenance, but I can’t find anything nearby, which is pretty frustrating…

Anyway, I like having a mix of track and road, and the Allant manages to handle both decently. I think my favourite part is cycling down a long residential road, though, with everyone else stretched out in front. Somehow, as we all serenely glide along, it reminds me of clouds, just peacefully moving through the air.

Something about it just feels so effortless and peaceful. Until, of course, you get Omar, flipping me the bird over his shoulder.

He thought taking photos as I was cycling was hilarious. I have to admit, it’s not the safest thing you can do on a bicycle, but I wouldn’t dream of doing it if it was actually dangerous (or there was traffic on the road!). I’d love to get a camera mount for my handlebars, but I think that a set of lights is more pressing than that!

Here’s Rachel and Omar at Victoria Country Park – we stopped to watch a yacht race, but we were more interested in discussing their recent holiday to Cornwall. They got to go to the Eden Project, and a cycle ride that ended with Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop, so I’m insanely jealous!

The brief stop was great, though, and it wasn’t long before we were back on our bikes to head to the final point, which was Hamble.

There was a big group, and the leaders did a great job keeping everyone happy. Once we got to Hamble, we headed back again – it was about 75 mins of cycling all together, with about 30 mins of breaks added in.

We’ll definitely be trying out some of these routes ourselves when the Sky Rides end in August!