Hush Summer Sale: My Picks!

The summer sale at Hush is winding down, but you can still head on over to their site to bag yourself some bargains!

Hush shirt

Half Frame Angular Cat Eye Sunglasses, ASOS / Necklace, Accessorize / Chiffon Shirt, Hush / Jeans, Gap / Antonia Bag, Hobbs / Brown Patent Maddox Wedges, L.K. Bennett

One of my favourite items is this beautiful chiffon shirt in whale (slightly dodgy colour name…) – it’s cool, smart looking, but easy to wear, and great for the current muggy weather… And, it’s £30, reduced from £60.

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These shoes were a huge bargain that I found at the L.K. Bennett outlet store – they actually didn’t have my size in stock, but the lovely SA there tracked down the final pair and had them posted to me. I always find L.K. Bennett’s customer service is amazing. (Hobbs could learn a lot. Just saying…)

Another pic from the sale is the tangerine Michelle top, which is currently just £15!

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Kitten Eye Sunglasses, ASOS / Michelle Top, Hush / Skinny Grey Trousers, Next

It’s lovely and billowy – a great bright colour, and it’ll keep you sooo cool in the heat! Can’t you just imagine wearing this on your tropical beach getaway holiday? Or, if you’re like me, down the local seafront, fighting off seagulls?

Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace

On Saturday, the girls and I got up at stupid o’clock so we could head to London to celebrate the  Coronation in her Madge’s fine gardens at Buckingham Palace.

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The gardens are beautiful – although I obviously didn’t see them in their full glory, as they were covered in marquees full of stalls set up by Royal Warrant holders – everyone from the providers of locks and boilers, to high-end fashion designers, fabric shops and the now-famous Hunter wellies!

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This gorgeous display is from Stewart Parvin, who was the designer of my lovely lace wedding gown, so I had to snap a picture. Check out that beautiful dove grey coat!

It was blisteringly hot all day, so it was time to break out the big floppy hat!

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Bianca Hat, Hobbs Invitation / Slinky Facet Bead Drop Earrings, Accessorize / Green Gathered Dress, Zara / Gold Necklace, Peacocks / Gold Leaf Bracelet, Etsy / Barely There Non-Slip Tights, John Lewis / Patent Kate Bag, Jaeger / Maddox Wedges in Patent, L.K. Bennett

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I love the neat gathered detailing on the Zara dress!

As you can see, my shoes got very dusty from the lawn, I do hope her Madge gets the sprinklers out this week before the grass pops its clogs!

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Here’s the stand from Lock & Co Hatters, with some beautiful creations!

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Absolutely gorgeous (and incredibly expensive) fabrics from Joel & Sons.

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Beautiful blooms outside one of the eating places.

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Of course, the food tent was my favourite!

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The King’s Ginger had an amazing stand with some miniature bottles from the doll’s house at Windsor Castle. Their liqueur was absolutely top drawer too!

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This was a neat display from Gordon’s Gin.

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Ever wondered how Stinking Bishop is made? Wonder no more – this is one of the first stages, apparently.

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Check out this beautiful display of French bread from Shipton Mill – I love bread, it’s one of my major weaknesses. I’ve ordered a selection box of organic flour from this company, and I’ll be baking up a storm when it arrives!

For lunch, we treated ourselves to fish and chips – it was delicious, if a little greasy… But hey, eaten in the shade on the Queen’s lawn – I don’t think you can beat that!

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After our tour of the Warrant holders, we took a look around the gardens a bit more, and there were some lovely plants – as you would expect, of course!

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If you’d like to visit Buckingham Palace and see the gardens for yourself, check out this site for details including prices and access information!

Protecting your patent and suede accessories

We all like a little luxury in our lives, and when you have an expensive leather product with an unusual finish that you want to keep fresh, it doesn’t matter whether it cost £10 or £1000 – you still want to treat it with care! So I thought I’d put together a guide for protecting and caring for patent and suede leather shoes and bags.

First of all, the most important thing is to check with the company you purchased the product from about what they recommend. Brands like Russell & Bromley, Mulberry and L.K. Bennett all recommend specific brands or treatment for their products. In some cases, failure to use the recommended product could result in your warranty being invalid, as these higher end retailers are all happy to take in items to repair after you’ve bought them, provided you have followed the care instructions carefully. You may not always be given this information at the point of purchase, but often they will have guidance on their websites – or you can contact their customer services for more information. I haven’t experienced this personally, but I have heard, for example, that Russell & Bromley will repair shoes, but only if you haven’t taken them to your own cobbler beforehand. Always check first!

Secondly, you should note that this is advice from my own personal experience, and I can’t be responsible for any damage that could occur from following it… As with everything on the internet, do your research first, and always make sure you have tested any products you are going to use in an inconspicuous area before you begin using them.

Protecting Suede

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Suede is gorgeous. I love suede shoes and bags – but let’s face it, suede is not the most forgiving of fabrics. Before you take the plunge and purchase a suede product, just ask yourself whether you’re prepared to baby it. Suede can rub off, get wet and grow damaged as a result, and the nap is easily disrupted by simple knocks that happen during the course of everyday wear. If you’re prepared for that to happen, you’re ready to purchase suede!

Mulberry recommend just one product for suede, and that is Collonil Waterstop Spray. You can purchase it at any Mulberry store (and they’ll even give you a lovely bag, too!) for £10. You should treat your bag (or shoes) with this spray once every six months at a minimum. However, before you do so, you should use a suede brush or sponge to remove dirt and fluff to ensure that the suede is clean. I use this Woly sponge which is recommended by L.K. Bennett. I’ve cut it into halves as I have navy suede items, and black suede items, and as you can see, some of the colour does come off onto the sponge. It just takes a very light brush and your suede will look in great condition again.

To apply suede protective spray, follow the directions on the can, and spray lightly, in small bursts, and from a distance. Do not let the item get soaking wet, and ensure that you cover or wipe off any embellishments, bag furniture, detailing, or heel material that isn’t suede right afterwards. Allow to dry for 2-3 hours after application. When I’m spraying my shoes, I like to put rolled up newspaper inside them to prevent the spray from touching the leather inside, as it can get incredibly damp and hard to dry off.

Just remember that this doesn’t protect your bag or shoes from the elements. Avoid wearing suede in the rain at all costs!

A final point is to avoid completely coloured liquids that are sold for the care of suede shoes. Not only can they ruin the nap of the leather, but they may not match the colour of your shoes and can result in a patchy effect when used. And, I’ve found them harder and more time-consuming to apply as well.

Protecting Patent

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Patent is often thought of as being more durable than other kinds of leather, but it still requires special care. Two issues with patent leather are blemishes or marks which can appear when it gets rubbed, and also cracking, which can occur if you don’t take care to polish and nourish the leather between uses.

To take care of patent leather bags and shoes, I use Woly patent liquid, which is recommended by L.K. Bennett for their patent products. I have also used this on my black patent Jaeger Kate bag as well. It’s a white creme which you polish into the shoe using a duster or some other soft material – be sure to use one that won’t scratch. The same liquid can be used to try to remove patent marks that appear, but they can be very very stubborn and require several attempts to remove. Never try to remove marks without first checking with the manufacturer what they recommend, as some tips online (such as using nail varnish remover) can damage your finish.

To apply patent creme, you simply pour a little liquid onto the shoe and polish it in until it disappears. This should keep the leather supple and very shiny! As with suede protector, always purchase a colourless liquid – not only is it better, but it also means you only need one bottle for all your patent (or suede) products!

Now, if only I could buy something to get rid of marks inside the shoes! Pro-tip – this is what happens when you remove your shoes wearing tights, and stand on the dusty ground, and then get back in your shoes again. Where possible, do not do this…

Petworth House

In April, we visited Petworth House as part of a special offer with the National Trust. It was a lovely place with some great artwork, but pretty expensive if you’re not getting a special offer. And, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to access the top part of the house during the weekends… Considering you still have to pay full price for this and it’s not mentioned anywhere, I found this to be pretty irritating in all honesty. But if you like art there’s still a lot to see during the weekends, including a spectacular gallery full of statues and paintings. I didn’t take photos inside because I was worried about being told off!

UntitledSunglasses, Jeepers Peepers / Boyfriend jacket, Primark / T-shirt, Warehouse / Pave button pendant, Cristalina Jewellery / Lanesley bag, Hobbs / skirt, Louche / Maddox wedge, L.K. Bennett

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This was my first outing for my Maddox wedges, and I was worried whether they’d rub or be uncomfortable – but I’m happy to say they were excellent! However, I wore them with sheer tights, which I am slowly learning is one of the most effective ways of preventing blisters on your feet… Pro-tip there! These shoes also give you a lot of height without losing stability – I went through a phase of hating wedges, but now I’m back in love with them again…

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Do you blame me? LOVE these shoes!

Duchess Style: Great Plains Cezanne dress

I have a bit of a thing for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe. Who wouldn’t want to dress like a future queen, after all? I love finding out what she’s wearing and then tracking down the item myself! When Kate appeared in Grimsby wearing a new dress last week, I logged onto the amazing Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WhatKateWore, where the community had located the dress within minutes of her appearance. So, I had to bag one for myself (on sale at www.greatplains.co.uk). Here’s the result!

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I decided to pair it with a couple of other Kate-related items, my L.K. Bennett Sliver sandals in taupe (bought from the outlet store in Portsmouth, now renamed as the Sandy) and my L.K. Bennett Natalie clutch (still available from the site).

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I love these shoes – had them resoled as the leather soles are pretty delicate. It’s sooo cold here at the moment though that it’s impossible to wear them out anywhere, so for once I’m actually looking forward to the warmer months!

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The Natalie clutch is an item I’ve been lusting after for a long time, so I decided to break down and treat myself last month. I’m glad I did, because it goes perfectly with my sandals, and my nude heels that I bought from M&S. I did try on a pair of Kate’s beloved Sledges, but sadly they are too dark a shade to really be ‘nude’ on me, so I bought the much cheaper pair from the Autograph range – practically identical in every way, expect a better match for me! (And comfy too!)

Clutch and shoes

Do you follow Kate’s fashions? Ever bought anything she was seen wearing? Ever replicated one of her looks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if so!

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!

LK Bennett Mimi Dress 2

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…

My Bargain Buy: Hobbs Boots for £15!

Do you remember back in November when I told you I visited the Isle of Wight to see my family, and happened to stumble across a very interesting shop? Cameo of Cowes is a second-hand retailer with a difference – it sells lost property from places like sorting houses, cruise ships, railways stations and the like. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the misery of losing something at some point or another – allow karma to gift you back something special, because this little gem is packed full of plush gear at low prices, and it’s all just waiting for you to drop by and treat yourself! I managed to bag a Reiss cardi for £8, a pair of strappy L.K. Bennett black heels for £9, and these amazing, immaculate Hobbs ankle boots for £15!

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As soon as I saw both pairs of shoes on the shelves (believe me, they jumped out right away) I felt that mix of elation and fear that all bargain hunters experience. First – the happiness of seeing something that looks perfect for you. Second – will they be in the right size? Will they be the right price? By a miracle, both shoes were my size (a clumpy 7… Sigh), and I’m sure you’ll agree, for that price, it would have been rude to have left them in the shop!

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Has anyone had any amazingly bargainous purchased they’d like to share? I love hearing stories about great finds!