I love the idea of cashmere…soft, snuggly and super luxurious, I always imagine the cashmere wearing girl to be someone who holidays in Aspen and drives a vintage car! Now of course that’s nonsense – these days you can pick up a cashmere sweater alongside your bread and milk but well, I’m rather partial to the fantasy and In my experience, good cashmere is hard to find. I have bought at both low and high price points and I’ll be honest…up until now I’ve been disappointed. Firstly, there’s the itch factor. Now I’ve spoken about this before (check out my post on coloured knitwear) and while I know cashmere is supposed to be ‘above’ the myriad of scratchy knits on the market, until now I haven’t come across a piece that I could wear against my skin without some kind of barrier – i.e. a t-shirt (which just seemed to defeat the object)! Secondly, there’s the fluff factor – again I’ve spoken about this before but getting fluff up your nose or in your eye is so not glamorous. Finally there’s the bobble factor! If you are serious about investing in cashmere then a knitwear comb is essential – a bobbly fine knit sweater does not scream chic so much as cheap! In my eyes, de-bobbling is a completely non-negotiable part of the upkeep!
One of my first holiday purchases was this gorgeous fine knit camel cashmere sweater (what can I say, I must have had a premonition about the temperatures back home), which FYI, I can wear without a t-shirt underneath and (so far) has not bobbled!!! There’s something about camel coloured knitwear that just screams luxury so running with that theme, I’ve paired it with a cream coat and tan suede boots – impractical but oh so chic! What are your luxury must-haves?
Winter sun has never really featured in my yearly plans. The typical summer holiday is always a must and pre-baby Mr.R and I were rather fond of the odd city break (Manchester and Edinburgh always topping the list). This year however after a manic couple of months which saw us celebrate our daughters first birthday and open a new business (and with Christmas looming), we decided now was the time to grab a bit of winter sunshine! I’m not going to lie, this holiday was exactly what we needed and we really lucked out with the weather (November in Spain can be a little hit or miss)! We ate, we drank, we shopped. We visited each and every one of my favourite spots and yes we did the ultimate holiday activity…we watched Highlander and Bird On A Wire (maybe that ones peculiar to us – don’t knock it till you try it guys)!
What We Got Up To – Where To Explore
Having travelled to the South of Spain since the age of 9 months (coincidentally exactly the same age as Luna was on her first visit), I feel particularly well placed to recommend the things to do and places to see! But (and it’s quite a big but) if you’re after a guide to archaeological sites or want to know just what one wears to a pool party at the Ocean Club then this might not be for you! On the other hand, if shopping, eating and just generally chilling out is your bag then read on…
Puerto Banus is my happy place. Look I know it’s not for everyone but in my mind, there’s nothing like sitting with a glass of wine watching all that life has to offer stroll by! The shopping is fantastic and contrary to popular legend isn’t confined to high end or luxury. All of my favourites are there – Zara, Massimo Dutti, Uterqüe as well as the huge department store El Corte Inglés for niche and premium brands, beauty and the shoe hall of dreams! Grab a coffee at Goyo and lunch at Picasso’s (which FYI was closed for refurbishment when we were there – how very rude). I’m a huge fan of ‘The Port’ during the day. Evenings, on the other hand, aren’t really my bag which leads me nicely on to…
When we first discovered Benahavís it was a tiny little village nestled in the hills, accessible only by a winding potholed road – authentic and gorgeous. Today the road has been widened and tarmaced. The roundabouts have water fountains to rival Las Vegas and the restaurants have multiplied by five! But to me, this is still the prettiest, most atmospheric place and the restaurants are almost universally good! Try Los Abanicos for steak and Rufino for the best prawn pill pill in the world!
San Pedro Market
You can’t go to Spain and not enjoy a mooch around a traditional market. This market is so authentic and you can get your essentials for far less than the much more commercial and ‘touristy’ market at Puerto Banus. We paid 2 euros for a huge bag of olives and 6 for a whole kilo of sweeties (yes we did scoff the lot)!
Olivia’s La Cala
The latter half of my pregnancy was marked by the Rio Olympics and Elliot Wright – Playa In Marbella! For the uninitiated let me explain. The programme centres around Elliot Wright (cousin to Mark of TOWIE fame) and the ups and downs of opening a new bar/restaurant in Spain. For obvious reasons Mr.R and I were glued to this particular ITV Be spectacular and we couldn’t resist paying Olivia’s a cheeky visit! The fact that Elliot – fresh from honeymoon made an appearance was the icing on the cake!
The Bullring Market
Expensive and commercialised it may be but the Saturday market at the Bullring Puerto Banus is a must visit! The bricks and mortar stores on the plaza at the very top of the market are always worth a visit and don’t forget to start the day right – with a slap-up breakfast from Yanx…the triple stacked pancakes are to die for!
What I Bought
I had such good intentions of getting a good start on my Christmas shopping on this holiday but, (much like Black Friday) things rapidly went downhill when I spied a blazer… and a camisole (or maybe two)! I hit Zara, Massimo (you know what a soft spot I have for Massimo) and one of the aforementioned shops at the Bullring. Gunnels is a gorgeous little boutique with brands such as Wildfox, Twist and Tango and Samsøe ⏀ Samsøe! I couldn’t resist adding to my gold bangle stack and when I spied the lace camisole of dreams it was a done deal (despite the fact that it has given me serious underwear issues – the post-breastfeeding boobs are definitely not up to braless these days)! I did rather better on the Christmas shopping front for Luna! I may have gone a little crazy in Neck & Neck (a gorgeous Spanish baby boutique) but it’s just beyond me to resist all those teeny tiny sweaters and lace trimmed shirts!
As you have probably gathered, Spain for me is a bit of a home from home and I have a very concise and particular list of what I like to do and the places I like to visit. For me, its simply a little slice of heaven, a retreat and the most special of special places! Winter sun is definitely the way forward and the only downside I can think of is that as soon as we stepped off the plane in Newcastle, we were hit with the realisation that Christmas is just around the corner and, despite the very best of intentions my Christmas shopping isn’t quite as advanced as I had hoped! Are you a fan of the winter getaway? Whats your favourite holiday hotspot for a little winter fun in the sun?
If you’re a regular reader you probably won’t have failed to notice that I’ve developed a teeny bit of an obsession with the Anine Bing Madeline Blazer. I first mentioned it in my September Favourites and, like anything in life, wanting something and not being able to get your hands on it seems to make you want it all the more! This blazer has been a bit of a tease. When it sold out I immediately signed up to the waiting list and from then on we were embroiled in a game of cat and mouse – me chasing and always, always getting pipped to the post! I’m not normally one to hold out this long for a particular item but what can I say? When its love, its love! I finally got my hands on my current pride and joy at the beginning of November and to say I am impressed is an understatement! The fabric is so soft – more like a heavy bamboo jersey than the wool I was for expecting (you would think after stalking something for that long I would have eyed up the fabric composition if only to check out the cleaning instructions). It truly is everything I hoped for and more which is just as well as the price tag warranted definite consideration. Although checks are having a bit of a fashion moment, this is far from a trend piece and in my opinion is 100% worth the investment. I took advantage of our recent trip to Spain to shoot this look which I couldn’t resist styling in classic ‘me-fashion’ with jeans, heels and a silk camisole. Whats your sartorial pride and joy? Whats worth the investment for you?
The Anine Bing Madeline Blazer is currently out of stock (again) but MANGO has some fabulous alternatives and at the time of writing there’s 30% off in the Black Friday sales – code BLACK17! Happy Shopping!
I’m not a good traveller. It’s not a fear of flying per se, it’s more a fear of discomfort. Travel gives me a case of stomach churning, can’t go to the toilet until three days after you arrive at your destination, anxiety. I liken travel through an airport to a spell behind bars. You are bound by rules that seem to change every time and don’t get me started on security! Yes, I know that these days it’s a necessary evil but the whole process is nothing short of excruciating! That moment when you are finally released on the other side is, what I can only imagine being released from prison feels like. I learned long ago, that airports and I would never be friends so, in order to get through the inevitable horror and carve a path for comfortable flying, I have certain ‘essentials’ to keep me from losing my shit (and my travel companions from losing theirs…nobody likes to travel with a Moaning Myrtle guys)!
I am full of admiration for the kind of girl who can slink onto the plane at 4 am in skinny jeans, heels and a full face of makeup. If you are that girl please leave me all the tips in the comments below – I am both jealous and intrigued! I can only surmise that they have a higher tolerance for discomfort than I do because really, getting all dressed up is nothing if not bloomin uncomfortable. So, my first rule of comfortable flying is ‘choose your outfit wisely’. Layers are always a good idea (you never know whether a flight is going to be freezing cold or red hot) and comfy knickers are a must! A scarf and a pair of socks are always handy and I try and keep my jewellery to the bare essentials. (If I’m honest this is to avoid any more trauma than is strictly necessary at the security stage-seriously, am I only the one who gets heart palpitations going through those beepy machines)?
2. Speedy Boarding
This is an EasyJet specific tip so feel free to skip ahead if you frequent, shall we say, the more glamorous of airlines – you know, the ones where you’re given a meal and one of those little t.vs in the back of the headrest? A queue is a queue but when that queue snakes backwards and forwards like that game we were all addicted to on our good old Nokia 3310’s it’s enough to give even a dedicated plane spotter a case of serious airport anxiety! On our last trip this exact scenario presented itself and with a baby in tow the situation was far from ideal. I vowed there and then that I would never again travel without Speedy Boarding (basically paying extra for a queue jump)!
A luxury I grant you but booking into the VIP lounge before we fly has significantly helped lower my anxiety levels. The fact that I am guaranteed a nice(er) toilet and a cup of coffee in relative peace has been a bit of a game changer and in my view is completely worth the extra pennies!
Keeping my skin hydrated while travelling is always a challenge – there’s something about flying that seems to suck the life out of my epidermis so I always travel with a hydrating mist and a hand cream for that inevitable moment my visage starts to take on a Gordon Ramsey-esque quality. This is a. not comfortable, b. scary for my fellow passengers and c. (obviously) not great for my skin in general!
5. Take Me to My Happy Place
Last but not least always have an escape route. It might be an iPad stocked with movies or maybe you like to work from your laptop but, for me, a fully loaded kindle and if necessary a stiff G&T is perfect for taking my mind elsewhere where all else has failed! (n.b the G&T has to be really necessary as it does add to the aeroplane toilet induced anxiety which does not make for comfortable flying in the slightest)!
Are you a nervous nelly in the airport? What are your top tips for comfortable flying?
A uniform is supposedly the antithesis of what any fashion lover holds dear – namely the ability to choose, style and fashion their look at will or on a whim. As any former schoolgirl will attest, the rigidity of an enforced uniform is boring at it’s best and stifling at it’s worst! Who among us can honestly say they never bent the rules – hitched the waistband of a skirt or braved a forbidden hairdo? The irony is that no sooner do we leave the school gates and are thrown into the big wide world of dressing ourselves than we almost immediately crave the certainty and stability of at least knowing what we are putting on in the morning! I would argue that a uniform, of sorts, can and should have its place in your wardrobe if only to cover those days (and we all have them) where you just can’t seem to pull it together. For me, that uniform is jeans, a t-shirt and (shock) a blazer! I have numerous variations of this formula and I love that no matter the occasion, or whether my brain has turned to sleep deprived mush, there’s always a formula to fall back on and a formula that works! If you read about the latest hundred pound haul you may have clocked this blush pink beauty from ASOS. Now you may think that this pretty shade of ‘Millenial Pink’ (yes that’s what the kids are calling it these days) isn’t particularly ‘Autumnal’ but pair it with shades of berry and chic leopard print accessories and the colour suddenly takes on a whole new vibe! Here, I’ve styled my ‘uniform’ in action, teaming the blazer with my staple cropped flared jeans, a t-shirt and heels. Do you have a style crutch? Whats your off-duty uniform?
It was universally agreed that this hundred pound haul was the most challenging to date which, I have to say, came as something of a surprise. ASOS is vast, both in quantity and variety and I think the difficulty lay in the simple fact that give a girl too much choice and she is liable to get so befuddled that she either a. orders ALL THE THINGS, or b. orders nothing at all and ends up somewhere with a more edited selection. Anna from The Anna Edit has a great guide on ‘how to shop ASOS’ for this very eventuality – it’s obviously quite a common problem! I think I fall into the former of the two scenarios – as I mentioned back in August, I’m having a bit of a love affair with ASOS at the moment so I rather enjoyed both the challenge and the prospect of putting my new premier delivery service into action (it’s really quite excellent). Heres a rundown of my picks from the ASOS edit of the hundred pound haul…
Selected Femme Dress
After the big wardrobe detox of 2017, my closet has been looking shall we say a bit sparse. As far as I’m concerned this isn’t gratuitous shopping for shoppings sake – I have been in dire need of a bit of a splurge (I’m sure Mr R would beg to differ but then again it’s probably too much of an ask to expect any husband out there to actually admit his wife needs some new clothes)! This streamlined knit dress by Selected Femme was a bit of a wildcard and I surprised myself by how much I loved it! The beauty lies in its simplicity – crew neck with elbow length sleeves, the dress falls just below the knee and simply pulls on over the head. I’ve already worn this slinky number with boots but I’m pretty sure it will work equally as well with heels, strappy flats – I’m thinking my black Aquazzura Chrissy flats – or even a good old pair of converse! The knit is heavy enough to skim over any lumps and bumps while still giving you that fitted silhouette… the dream!
As I said, I’m in the process of pretty much building my wardrobe up from scratch and this Mango sweater ticked the ‘token colourful sweater’ box nicely! I’ll be honest, this one didn’t fill me with excitement BUT again I was surprised by just how much I like it (basically I over ordered operating on the assumption that I’d have to send a percentage back – yeah, I should really have known better with that one). The half turtleneck and balloon sleeves are cute details on what would otherwise be a simple fine knit sweater. The tomato red colour will be fab with ripped jeans and trainers and I can’t wait to pair it with my new Anine Bing Blazer (yes I finally got my hands on it – pictures coming soon)!
After I got married, in search of a bit of a buzz, I had a couple of extra ear piercings but I’ve never really done anything with them, preferring a couple of simple studs. When I saw these hoops and studs from Whistles I thought why the heck not (plus I have a little bit of a thing for moons since Luna came along)! I’m absolutely in love with the whole range from Maria Tash so until Mr.R can make good on my Christmas wish list, these fit the bill nicely! They are both now sold out on ASOS but are still available through the Whistles site.
Heres where things went downhill a bit. I love a baker boy cap in winter and this one with its gold studs just looked the business. Unfortunately either I have a head to rival Helena Bonham-Carter’s Red Queen or the fit of this is minuscule! It’s now sold out so I’m inclined to believe the former!
Best Of The Rest
I would say that that is one successful haul. The others, on the other hand, had mixed results with one tester sending everything back bar a basic white tee! Some top picks were…
We were extremely lucky to time our haul at the time of one of ASOS’s 20% off days (keep an eye out, with black Friday coming up and pretty sure there’ll be some amazing deals to be had). The downside of this is that things tend to sell out extremely quickly – I’ve linked what I can but apologies if some things or sizes are no longer in stock. There’s some great fashion content coming up with items included in the haul so make sure you stay tuned for those! Are you an ASOS lover? What have you got your eyes on for Black Friday weekend?
It should come as no surprise that denim is, like a lot of people, where my comfort zone lies. A skirt is something of an alien garment and I admit, I’ve never quite got to grips with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love skirts on other people. A cursory flick through Pinterest will turn up literally thousands of glossy pics of the kind of girl that can pull off a pleated blush pink midi skirt without looking like some kind of throwback to a 1950’s US Prom! In my teenage years, I was all about the mini skirt. A mini seemed both easy to wear and style up, although if somethings not easy to wear at the age of eighteen then what hope is there? In my twenties the pencil skirt was the object of my affection – I clearly remember trying to recreate Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress with a black satin pencil skirt and a knockoff Topshop top. Now I’m in my thirties I’m determined to crack the midi! I think my issue with the whole skirt genre is how to style it. Usually, I’m pretty good at pulling looks together but more often than not when faced with a skirt I draw a bit of a blank. My default is always, without fail a white shirt. A white shirt and skirt- whatever the style will always be a winning combo! I think the key to making something that’s out of your comfort zone work for you is to keep it simple and play up your accessories. Here I picked a black fine knit sweater topped with a classic leather biker jacket. The statement patent boots are a great contrast to the cream wool skirt and give edge to an inherently feminine style. What are your thoughts on midi skirts? How do you style yours?