Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Primark Snakeskin Clutch and Jonathan Kelsey for Mulberry Cropped Booties

I accidentally did a bit of high/low fashion melding for this week’s Bag ‘n’ Shoes post, pairing a cheap as chips Primark foldover clutch with some gorgeous Jonathan Kelsey boots. These were part of Mulberry’s first foray into the shoe market in 2008, where they teamed up with Kelsey to create a capsule collection that included these rather beautiful cropped, polished, gunmetal booties.

Mulberry shoes and Primark bag

(This was actually for my Medusa outfit for Halloween – which was pretty uninspiring, to be honest, but I did go all out on the accessories!)

Mulberry and Primark montage

I have to say, the more I look at these shoes, the more I love them. They’re not so high they’re impossible to walk in, and the colour is phenomenal, but they are a tad battered, poor things! In the end, I thought they went pretty well with the snakeskin clutch – I’m not a huge fan of snakeskin, so I wasn’t prepared to spend much at all on the bag. Primark to the rescue – this was just £6!

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Halloween Confetti: Pumpkin Manicure

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Another manicure inspired by Pinterest (specifically this one), this is pretty much a copy, except it’s matte. So, in essence, it’s a completely original idea I had all by myself. Hooray!

I’ve been totally obsessed with matte nails for ages, and it’s fascinating what a difference it can make to the overall look just to take off the shine. Somehow it looks more… I’m trying to think of a word other than polished, but I can’t. Holy contradiction, Batman!

Halloween confetti mosiac

At my local Boots, I found a grand total of three different orange polishes and ended up plumping for Maybelline Orange Attack, as it was the most vibrant. I always use Nailtiques Formula 2 Plus on my nails, as they are very weak and need all the help they can get. After that, a couple of coats of Orange Attack, then a couple of L’Oreal Confetti Top Coat, then one of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Then, the finishing touch – a swipe of OPI’s Matte Top Coat to finish.

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An easy, effective Halloween manicure that looks much more complex than it actually is. One word of caution – the Confetti Top Coat is incredibly difficult to remove! You have been warned… WHOOOOO! (Insert spooky sound effect.)

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Designer Accessories: The Wishlist Edit

If you could make a list of your top five most wanted designer accessories, what would you include?

Designer Accessories
For me, it’s got to be Chanel studs (in gold, please!), an iconic skull scarf from Alexander McQueen, and to continue the theme, a skull bracelet from Links of London, plus a pretty black Alexa from Mulberry with soft gold furniture (I love black and gold together!) – and of course, what else but a pair of classic Louboutin pumps in black, with sky high heels!
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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Mulberry Bryn and Ugg Illana

If you told me a year ago I’d be proudly modelling Ugg boots, I would have thought you were crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re super comfy and I’d love a pair, but they’re not exactly the prettiest of boots. However, earlier this year, I popped into the Ugg outlet store at Bicester Village, and came home with a beautiful pair of Illanas! And, what better bag to pair them with than my new Mulberry Bryn?

Ugg and Mulberry Bryn main

These shoes definitely kick started my love of ponyhair, once I’d realised they weren’t made of actual ponies, that is (derp).

Ugg and Mulberry Bryn Montage 1

The shoes are lined inside with a shearling type material, making them super fluffy and comfortable – although they are very high (and slightly perilous) and I’ve been banned from wearing them around certain people!

Ugg and Mulberry Bryn Montage 2

But hey, life’s too short to wear practical shoes every day. And you can quote me on that!

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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Mulberry Bryn and glitter Aldo ballerinas

Wow, what a week so far! It was my birthday yesterday and I’ve barely had time to stop and think all week – the next time I’ll be free to take a breath is probably Monday – but I’m certainly not complaining! However, it does leave little time for blogging. That said, I definitely had to make time for my bag ‘n’ shoes of the week, so I could show off my beautiful birthday present from my husband (which I bought myself in the summer sale, cough, ahem) – a new shiny oak Mulberry Bryn! I’ll definitely be featuring this baby more in an upcoming post – but for now, here she is!

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Because it was a special occasion, I had to break out the glitter shoes I bought last year for the Christmas period – they’re super comfy Aldo ballerina flats, and they’re a mix of silver with some light flecks of gold. And, you can just about see the lovely pearl bracelet my husband bought me as a wedding gift too. This was definitely a combo that brought back happy memories!

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Visit Downton Abbey at Christmas!

I had a blast visiting Highclere Castle in the summer – and now the home of Downton Abbey has opened ticket sales for a very limited number of dates in December! Or rather, they will do today – I (hopefully) bagged mine when the system was working earlier this morning, but due to overwhelming demand the sales are on temporary hold until later today. Get your finger ready for a refresh session!

Downton 1

Head on over to the website here to bag yourself tickets for the Christmas fair on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th December. They cost £20 each and will give you a chance to do a little Christmas shopping while you’re serenaded by carol singers! And, you can upgrade your ticket to visit the bedrooms for an extra £2 or the Egyptian exhibition for £5 on the day.

Or, you can visit the house itself during the weekend in December – again, limited dates – and tickets will be available here for £18.

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Visit the website at https://highclerecastleshop.co.uk/home.

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Burberry Nail Varnish A/W 2013: Oxblood and Stone

Burberry varnish

Following their runway show at London Fashion Week, Burberry has just branched out into a new range of nail varnish for autumn and winter 2013. The key colours that are available to buy  individually (priced at £15 each for 8ml) are Black, Oxblood and Stone. (You can also buy the colours from LFW in a limited edition box of six for £90.) When I visited Burberry’s flagship store at the weekend, I picked up the Stone and Oxblood colours, as I couldn’t resist – even though the range was so new, they didn’t even have testers available yet!

Burberry nail montage

As you can see from the picture above, the silver patterned cap comes off to reveal the applicator and brush top underneath – so you don’t have to struggle with a giant, rectangular handle when applying. However, I wonder whether the bottle top is a little too small for ease of use – I definitely struggled to get a neat finish with the Oxblood colour. The nail varnish is marketed as a quick drying formula – and that is definitely the case, because this dried superfast even though I couldn’t apply it evenly thanks to the thickness. I ended up using two coats and topping off with Seche Vite for a glossy finish.

Burberry Oxblood nails 2

Oxblood is just another trendy name for dark red that comes back around every A/W season, it feels like – although I get the feeling that this season no one can decide whether it should be called burgundy, oxblood or berry. Either way, I love it, and although you can argue there are differences between all these colours (berry is more purple… burgundy more bright) it certainly doesn’t matter to me about the specifics of the pantone chart. Dark red rocks, period. (Urgh, should I leave that in? Yeah, go for it.) Funnily enough, the sales assistant told me that the staff at Burberry’s stores aren’t even allowed to wear the Black or Oxblood colours, as their uniform guidelines specify only natural colours for nails. But, apparently, they are protesting about it!

Burberry Stone nails

This is Stone – and I really like it! I have a big crush on neutrals and Ciate’s Cookies and Cream is one of my favourite colours. (Favourite of all time is probably still China Glaze’s Fast Track, but I’ve not even done a post about that! Hmm!).  Now, this colour is beautiful, but considering the price makes it almost triple what Ciate costs (£9 for 13.5ml) I’ll probably not be making a lot of repeat purchases. I found this colour slightly easier to apply – perhaps because the shade is lighter so I didn’t notice mistakes as much, perhaps because I wasn’t as tired this time around – but I still think the squared off brush needs to be a little more shaped to help application.

I think I’ll plan a neutral nail-off at some point in the future, between Fast Track, Cookies and Cream, Stone and whatever else have knocking around here! Do you dig neutral nails, or do you prefer a bit of drama?

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Shopping the French Sole Sale: A Mini Tour of London

As I may have mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of French Sole, and when a pair of sandals I’d been lusting after for weeks came up in their sale – but not in my size! – there was nothing to be done except to get myself posthaste to my nearest FS store in order to bag a pair in person. The only issue with that is that my nearest FS store is in King’s Road, about an hour and half by car or between two to three hours on public transport. So, of course, this meant a day trip to London, and negates any savings  I may have actually made on buying the shoes full price. But that is just a minor detail, so there’s no need to bring that up.

Fullham Road montage

In order to get to the French Sole shop on King’s Road via the Tube, you face a pretty long walk from Sloane Street or a shorter one from Kensington, which then takes you along Fulham Road. This then takes you past an Amanda Wakeley store (Kate Middleton fans take note!) and a Butler & Wilson shop, which is a treasure trove of gorgeously over the top accessories. You then can then pass through any of the residential streets that connect Fulham Road to King’s Road, and soak in the beauty of Chelsea living – I am so jealous of some of these beautiful front doors!

King's Road Montage

King’s Road itself is a stomping ground for the Middleton sisters (and their glam mother, Carole, of course), and Bluebird has hosted many a cosy family lunch and is definitely worth visiting. Quite a few of the shops on King’s Road will be recognisable to a Kate Middleton fan (like an awesome L.K. Bennett clearance store!), but it was one shop in particular that I was honing in on!

French Sole montage

Inside French Sole’s Chelsea branch, the sales were in full swing and the sales assistants were run off their feet getting different sizes and styles for their customers – always with a smile, I have to add. Luckily, they had a pair of the beautiful sandals I was lusting after in my size, so after purchasing I immediately put them on in order to get some wear out of them before autumn well and truly took over!

After that it was time for me to run loose in London – I didn’t have a lot of time, but I was able to visit the Burberry store on Regent’s Street (more on that in another post!) as well as to pop into Fortnum & Mason!

Fortnum Montage

I adore honey (on toast, mixed with yogurt and fruit, eaten straight from the honeycomb… Love it!) so I was really excited to see the display celebrating London honey (this festival continues until 13 October). Plus, there were loads of gorgeous Halloween goodies – and the Christmas store was open on floor three as well.

Yup, it was a pretty good day…

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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Fendi B Bag and ASOS flats

Since I can’t seem to stop taking photos of my bag and shoes (even if I can’t pull off a semi-decent outfit I can usually muster some nice shoes and a bag at least once a week…) I decided to make it into a semi-regular feature, called Bag ‘n’ Shoes – because if there’s one thing I wholeheartedly believe about any kind of journalism, whether it’s on a blog or in the mainstream press, it’s that simple is better. (And it also helps that I am a simple creature at heart, and have almost no capacity for creating clever titles or puns.)

Without further ado, here are my inaugural Bag ‘n’ Shoes of the week:

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Fendi B Bag, Naughtipidginsnest / Little Miss Ballet Flats, ASOS

That’s RIGHT! After all my years (literally, years) of pining over Fendi B Bags, I finally scooped one up. Only carried once, she’s a real beauty, from the pre-owned store http://www.naughtipidginsnest.co.uk/ (HIGHLY recommended – in fact, I’ll be doing an interview soon with the owner, I hope!). I’d been after a black and gold bag for a while (my previous black bag, the Hobbs Lanesley, has silver hardware) and when I saw this one appear on the site, I was certain I NEEDED IT. Unfortunately, my discovery also coincided with the summer holiday, which is when the shop takes a break, so I sat with my fingers hovering over the mouse for the grand reopening in order to make sure the bag was mine. And it is! What a happy ending.

After that expense, Marc Jacobs’ exquisite mouse flats are a trifle outside my budget, but I think I might even like these flats from ASOS better… I’ve been telling everyone they are mice, but they are clearly bunnies. I am obviously in need of a lie-down.

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