Stepping On Kate’s Toes: Adidas Pure Boost X Review

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If there’s one thing I love doing, it’s buying workout clothes. There are so many gorgeous outfits and beautiful trainers that whenever I feel like my motivation to work out is waning, I can be sure to revitalise it with a new T-shirt or even a pair of trainers. So when the Duchess of Cambridge appeared in Portsmouth wearing a new pair of Adidas Pure Boost Xs, I knew it was time to make a purchase. I’ve never bought a pair of Kate’s trainers before (although I do have a pair of New Balance x Heidi Klum trainers that Pippa Middleton later wore!) so that helped tip them into my basket – and the fact that I could nab them from Next helped too!

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When they arrived, the first thing I noticed was their rather eccentric construction. The shoe is only attached to the sole at the toes and heel, and the arch of the foot is suspended above the base. This is probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a running shoe, although it does provide better ventilation for your foot. As I often run on trails, this rang alarm bells immediately, as this shoe is certainly not suitable for running on mud or through puddles. (Can you imagine getting a twig or a stone caught under your arch and on the top of the sole? Ouch!)

The technical term for this construction, according to Adidas, is a floating arch. The idea is that this creates more support by encasing your arch (I called it a foot hammock and I stick by the description), but personally I didn’t feel like this actually worked for my foot in the short time I’ve been wearing it.

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The other thing I noticed was how cool these look in person. It doesn’t really come across in the pictures (and I have to admit, the first pics I saw of Kate wearing made me think this was a pretty boring shoe), but these have some serious style. It was the second batch of pictures released of Kate in her black Ralph Lauren jumper and skinny jeans that made me rethink them as a serious purchase. They’re just so sleek!

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Anyway, after I’d finished mucking around and sticking my hand through the bottom of them, I decided to take them on a run to put them through their paces. I already suspected they wouldn’t be great on trails so I decided to put that to the test and do a normal circuit through the woods. First, though, I tried them out on the pavements – and as  I thought, they’re a decent road runner, nice and light on my feet.

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On my usual, stony, woodland trails, the shoes do fairly well. There’s very little in the way of grip on the sole, but the stones in the soil here help the shoe to stick. Even at this stage, it was becoming apparent that the Pure Boost’s strength was running on concrete, though…

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Things started to get a little bit worse on the narrower, rooty pathways – not having the arch of the foot attached to the sole really started to ache my arches after a while, and if there’s any movement on impact when you put your foot down on something (large stone, tree root, whatever), there’s a lot of sliding inside the shoe as your foot isn’t supported all the way across.

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Here’s a prime example of a situation where the Pure Boosts are completely out of their element. No, I wasn’t drunk when I took this pic – the ground really is that slanted in places. When you’re running on a surface like this your foot will naturally slant to the side, but when wearing the Pure Boosts, the lack of attachment allows the foot to slide inside the shoe quite a lot. At one point, because my foot wasn’t anchored in the centre of the shoe, the toes and heel went sideways with the ground while my arch when downwards with the force of my stride. A little difficult to explain, but suffice to say there was a bit of mid-run foot-in-shoe adjustments going on after this section. I would not run in these shoes on a trail like this again! It also worried me to think of road running in an actual race with these on – if you found yourself running on a street with a steep camber this would be very uncomfortable after a while.

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With all the negatives out of the way, I have to say I’m still glad I bought these. Any runner who goes on a variety of different surfaces will tell you there’s no such thing as an all-purpose shoe. The all in one base on the shoe means there are fewer spots to rub and cause chafing and blisters. You can theoretically wear these without socks, although as you can see I chickened out and wore mine! The shoe does fit quite snugly and all the recommendations I’ve seen are to take a half size up from your normal size (I can’t be the only one who finds this infuriating, can I? Why don’t they just label them a half size differently if that’s the case?). Personally, I would recommend these for short bouts of road running, casual wear, gym wear or doing sports like sailing! (I have no idea on the last front, but Kate seemed to think they were suitable!)

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Reading reviews of the shoe online shows me that I’m not alone in thinking these aren’t the best for running, despite them being advertised by Adidas for that purpose. Most of the feedback recommends these for short runs or gym visits, and I’d agree. If you’re going further than five miles and you’re going off the pavement at any point, this is probably not the shoe to wear. But if you’re looking for a lifestyle/casual pair of trainers that you can also wear for the odd treadmill run or fitness class, this is a great choice.

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The Adidas Pure Boost X is available direct from Adidas, or via Next. This model is the  Pure Boost X Shoes Core Black AQ6681, and they’re priced at £90.(The Pure Boost X also comes in a large range of other gorgeous colourways!)

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Kate’s New BFF: Nina vs Natalie in the Battle of the Clutches

Move over, Natalie. There’s a new girl in town. Her name is Nina, and she comes in trench…

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The Duchess of Cambridge recently debuted a new L.K. Bennett clutch during her royal tour of India, and it sparked a bit of a buzz, not least because it wasn’t even available to the public yet. Teamed with matching high heels (in two heel heights, no less), the Nina in trench looked to be Kate’s new favourite clutch. L.K. Bennett released the item for sale yesterday, and as I find myself with nothing else better to do on a Friday afternoon, I thought I’d take time out to compare it to an old favourite, the Natalie clutch in straw.

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Now, I have a massive soft spot for the Natalie, because during the summer months it really feels like it goes with everything. Kate most often wore it with her trusty L.K. Bennett sledges in taupe, but it also went with the Minx Wedges from Stuart Weitzman, her L.K. Bennett sliver sandals (still only seen once on Kate!), also in taupe, and arguments could be made for it matching any number of her other wedges and espadrilles. However, since Kate’s recently switched from the Sledge to the Fern / Floret in trench, she seems to have ditched the Natalie as her working horse summer clutch in favour of the new Nina.

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Size-wise, there’s not much in the way of difference between the two. The Nina is slightly longer and wider, but the Natalie is fatter. Style wise, the Natalie’s puffy stuffed exterior gives it a pleasantly plump hand-feel, whereas the Nina is much less forgiving and easily marked (mine arrived with a dent in it!). I can imagine the leather becoming damaged from a sweaty palm print or a snagged fingernail very easily, whereas the Natalie really feels fairly indestructible. Natalie has a chic dark taupe satin trim around the edges, like a ribbon, and the Nina is the same trench-coloured leather all around. Finally, while the Natalie has the brand name embossed on the latch, the Nina latch is bare.

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In terms of internal chain, the Nina beats Natalie hands down. I never was too happy with Natalie’s puny, silver-esque chain, but Nina’s is long and elegant, and a pretty pale gold shade. It’s far easier to sling it across your shoulder, and the slightly longer look gives it a sleek mini shoulder bag feel. Despite having several bags with this feature (off the top of my head, the Mulberry Bayswaters, the Jaegar Kates, and the Oroton Odeion snake clutch), Kate never seems to use the chains on her clutches, and in fact rarely appears with a shoulder bag at all.

Inside

Inside, the bag is very similar to the Natalie – lined with a satin type fabric that has an internal pocket for credit cards, with the metal L.K. Bennett plaque attached.

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In the original, the plaque is attached with fabric, but the Nina has its plaque glued on. I also found it really difficult to fit my cards in the pocket, whereas the Natalie’s pocket was easy to get in and out of. Finally, perhaps a fault with my Nina, but the fabric was not glued rigidly to the corners of the bag, rather it had a smoothed effect where it felt like the fabric wasn’t reaching the edges, making the internal space a lot smaller than it should have been.

Fit inside

That said, what can you fit inside? Pretty much the same as the Natalie, to be honest – except the Nina is slightly better suited to the slimmer, longer phones of the current gen Samsungs and iPhones. You’ll be able to fit a phone, some credit cards, a lipstick and some change, but not a whole lot more.

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Overall, my impression of the Nina is that it’s an expensive bag considering it’s not as versatile as the Natalie – and considering the Natalie originally retailed at £140 (then £160) and the Nina starts at £185, the price per wear is going to be pretty high for me… Of course, the Nina is going to be a year-round clutch, whereas Natalie’s straw effect means it’s best used in spring and summer. And finally, the big question is going to be, does this new season trench match the old season’s taupe? The answer… No.

Trench vs Taupe

Trench is a much pinker-based nude than taupe’s yellow-based one. You can probably wear both together as they’re a close enough match, but they’re certainly not the same colour when you look closely. If you’ve purchased a pair of shoes from L.K. Bennett in trench, the Nina is probably going to be your best bet to match the colour!

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The Nina clutch is available here from L.K. Bennett for £185.

What do you think? Are you going to purchase one? Wait for a sale? Or skip this one all together? I’m still wondering whether or not to return mine…

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What To Wear With A Tan Bag: Ilex London Harriet

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Ilex London were kind enough to send me a bag from their new range recently, and after a lot of umming and ahhing, I went with this gorgeous Harriet Shoulder bag in Wood. For some reason, I have very few tan bags, so when this arrived I immediately went into panic mode about which shoes to wear with it. Silly me – in fact, tan seems to go with everything!

Pictured above, I paired them with Russell & Bromley’s Coco Pop espadrilles, which were worn by Pippa Middleton a few years ago and are still part of the brand’s line. With the toe-cap detailing and the straw wedges, they’re a classic that never goes out of style, and match this Harriet perfectly!

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One of my favourite purchases from Russell & Bromley are the Stuart Weitzman Corkswoons, or as they’re called in the UK, the SW Cocos. Dark blue suede contrasts beautifully with the tan bag, and I can imagine this in an outfit with a navy skirt paired with a white blouse – effortless summer chic! This is another item from the Middleton wardrobe, this time made famous by Kate. It seems like you either loves these wedges, or you hate them – I love them, and judging from the offerings from other shoe brands, this combo of navy suede and cork heels is still firmly in style.

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Moving into more recent offerings from Russell & Bromley, these Xpresso Crossover Flats make a lovely pairing with the tan bag – taming the boyish feel of the brown and giving it a softer, even feminine feel. Pair this with a tulle skirt and a blouse tied at the waist for the ultimate in girly summer chic. You’ll feel like a ballerina, but the chunky, solid Harriet bag will prevent your outfit from turning into a costume, giving a cool juxtaposition and providing you ample space to store your stuff on the run. And, of course, wear these with pride knowing they’ve been royally approved – Kate wore these on the recent Indian Royal Tour!

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Finally, white shoes haven’t been on the fashion forefront since the ’80s, it feels like, but I couldn’t resist these Rockstud Valentinos, and they go awesomely with the Ilex – the gold detailing picks out the logo perfectly! (Check out Dune’s Heti in white for a decent alternative at £70.)

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So, enough about the shoes, what about the bag? I love this sturdy little trooper – it’s perfect for work (or play!) as it has a central, easily accesible section with a zippered pocket, plus two additional zipped compartments either side, very much like the Modalu Pippa bag. It has two straps to carry over the shoulder, or an attachment to convert it to a shoulder bag. Priced at £205, it’s an investment bag, but one which will carry you through the seasons. It can fit a heck of a lot inside – the only limit is going to be how much you can physically lift… It fits an iPad easily, and you can just about squeeze an A4 mag or paper inside the middle part.

So far I’ve taken it on weekends away (perfect for stowing makeup and jewellery), work events (to hide notebooks and my camera) and to the cinema (of course, I would never smuggle Coke Zero and a packet of chilli crackers into a movie). It’s even been carried along the ramparts of Warwick Castle and over the London Bridge! I am really looking forward to wearing it in autumn and winter, too, as the new seasons open up a whole new range of styling possibilities!

Check out the Harriet here, and the whole range from Ilex London here.Which bag would you pick from the range?

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Channeling Kate’s Style: India Tour Version

Who didn’t love the recent Royal Tour in India? Kate brought some fabulous style to the table, including some really interesting boho chic looks, as well as some amazing casual outfits too. I loved her hiking outfit and had to snap up her Jaeger linen blouse (still available from John Lewis here) – and I accessorised it with a replikate of her Pickett London scarf, this coral John Lewis wrap. Much cheaper, but still a really pretty and soft piece for summer nights!

But this wasn’t the only tour purchase I made! As soon as I saw Kate’s beautiful Paul & Joe cape I had to snap it up…

But there’s an epic story here in how I managed to track it down… I saw the update about her outfit about an hour after the ID was made (darn those time zone differences) and missed out on ordering it from Net A Porter. So I set myself up on the waiting list (surely hopeless!) and then moped over the listing on the US site (where it was still available). I phoned them up to see if they could sell it to me through their UK site – not a chance of that, I’d have to order it from the US. So with $55 delivery fee plus customs I was wondering whether I really wanted to pay £200 more for this thing to get it sent from America… (The answer is no, I’m not that crazy yet.)

Then I emailed Paul & Joe’s website to ask if they were getting any more in stock and they basically said they might do… (Very vague! And on their Instagram page they’re still giving out an email address for enquiries which makes me wonder if they will re-release it…)

In desperation, at lunchtime I phoned up Paul & Joe’s flagship store in London to see if they had any. Well, they had ONE LEFT! I immediately asked if I could buy it over the phone and they said I could! So out came my card right away… It arrived the next day and I love it!

Look at the gorgeous stitching and beautiful colours – the fabric itself is very thin even though it’s made of wool, making it a great choice for spring and summer evenings. Although I enjoyed Kate’s styling with this, I’m going to wear it very simply with jeans and white shirts – perhaps even the white Reiss Vinnie blouse Kate wore recently?

On the tour, there were also plenty of lovely new accessories, including the Monsoon taupe wedges and Accessorize filigree earrings, which I coupled with a really old Accessorize clutch I bought for Ascot. This is an easy combo for summer – and Kate’s already shown the versatility of these wedges by wearing them with a pair of jeans and a Breton top from J.Crew recently! (One note – to me these seem to be very tight in my usual size, and they’re also not real suede… A bit pricey considering, really!)


Apart from the gorgeous Brora gold earrings (which haven’t arrived yet) I also picked up the Zara biker trousers! Kate’s colour was khaki marl, and Zara recently released the same style in a different colour… Or did they?!

On the bottom you can see the originals and the new ones are on the top. Apart from the difference in the ribbing, there are also differences on the back, an extra zip on the originals and zipped ankles on the new ones! So, when you purchase, if you’re after Kate’s version, double check you’re buying the khaki marl version here.

Did you make any Royal Tour purchases? Let me know in the comments below!

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Bayswater Clutch: A Classic Wardrobe Staple

If there’s one thing that every fashion expert will tell you, it’s that you should invest in classic pieces – those fashion staples you can use year on year…

After seeing how versatile my Valentine’s Bayswater clutch is – and how often Kate Middleton uses hers in black suede – I couldn’t resist picking up a black leather version!

This is the glossy goat leather – Mulberry have just changed to a different leather called small classic grain, which has a slightly different finish. Getting hold of this clutch was a mission in itself, but I tracked down one of the last four in the country in Birmingham’s branch of Harvey Nichols!

The great thing about this clutch is that it’s just about big enough to use as a bag if you’re only carrying a few cards, your phone and a lippy – but it’s also stylish and small enough to use as an evening bag. The chain is detachable but I like to use it as a shoulder bag, because the chain is just beautiful!

Check out the clutch online in a variety of colours here: http://www.mulberry.com/shop/women/bags/shoulder-bags/bayswater-clutch-wallet-black-small-classic-grain. (And, if you hurry, there are still some colours on sale including peony pink, poppy red and mandarin!)

Friday Lust List: SW Corkswoon Wedges in Bisque

Any self-respecting Duchess of Cambridge fan like myself should have a clear opinion on two of her most divisive shoe choices: the ubiquitous nude L.K. Bennett Sledges, and the blue suede Corkswoons from Stuart Weitzman. Personally, I love (and own!) both pairs, so when I was idly browsing Stuart Weitzman’s EU site and saw that there were a bisque pair on sale, I jumped at the chance to nab them!

Stuart Weitzman Wedges

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Breton Stripes: A Forever Classic

If you describe your style as classic or preppy, you should have at least one Breton style top in your wardrobe! The Breton top is a classic and has been popular with the fashion set for nearly a century, after Coco Chanel introduced the top to her fashion collection in 1917.

The original, classic Breton top was worn by sailors in the French navy, was introduced in 1858, and was supposed to feature 21 stripes for Napoleon’s 21 victories. The lore surrounding the Breton top also states that the stripes were selected so that a sailor would stand out in the sea if he fell overboard! Breton tops are most classically defined as navy and white, although red and white is fairly usual alternative. These tops have been worn by Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, and Alexa Chung, to name but a few. Taking stock of my wardrobe recently, I realised that Breton stripes had become something of an obsession, so I decided to do a post featuring a few of my current favourites!

Breton Style

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