The Pinafore Dress

Pinafore dresses and dungarees are everywhere. They have been for a while. And I’m very happy to admit, I was not at all sure about them when the trend started. Now, I’m in love.

I’m still not convinced that they are the most flattering thing in the world, but there’s just something effortlessly cool about them. When you wear a pinafore dress, you look like you’ve really put some thought into your outfit – but actually you haven’t. You can just throw it on, be warm and comfortable but still look stylish. Win win!

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It was this Topshop dress that changed my mind. Isn’t the colour just amazing? I don’t own anything this shade, and it’s so wonderful for autumn and winter. I also love it because it’s made really thick cord, so it’s actually really warm. Paired with a turtle neck (as I’ve done here), it’s perfect for these chilly January days we’re having.

I like to keep the colours pretty neutral, but stripes underneath it would also look amazing. With boots and a nice big scarf, this will be one of my wardrobe staples until spring. If you’re not a fan of the burgundy, they also have a very popular navy option here.

One word of warning for you, it is very short. So perhaps size up or opt for extra thick tights to avoid any accidental flashes!

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The Perfect Jeans

Today is going to be a chat all about the number one staple in my wardrobe: black skinny jeans. I’ve been having a love affair with a range of jeans for a few years now, and it’s about time I shared!

Topshop make the best jeans. Hands down. End of. Trust me, they will fix all of your jean-related woes. Their selection can seem endless, high-waisted, mid-rise, skinny, boyfriend, mom, ankle grazers, ripped… the list goes on. However, my go-to pair of jeans have been getting some bad press and I want to put that right.

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I am the proud owner of ten pairs of Topshop jeans (I do need them all, and I still want more…!), but the black Leigh jeans are my favourites. They are not like normal jeans though, and this is where people start to dislike them. The material is much, much softer. If you want a pair of traditional black jeans, go for the Topshop Jamies. These are made of a stiffer material, more like traditional denim.

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These are the best jeans because of the softer material. It makes them so unbelievably comfy when skinny jeans are renowned for being uncomfortable. The softer material does mean that the Leigh jeans probably wear the worse out of the Topshop range. The high-waisted Jonis are much more elastic but the Leighs will start to stretch over time. However, I had my previous pair for two years and that’s pretty good going when you wear them multiple times a week, every week.

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The Leighs are also mid-rise, which I really love, particularly through winter. Trends call for high-waisted jeans, but when you’re layered up for the chill, noone can see the high waist! High-waisted jeans are great for sucking it all in, but I find they can get uncomfortable after a while, and going out for a meal in them is obviously a massive no-no.

The Topshop jeans (all of them!) are also the best because of how well they fit. I know this is personal preference, but I know so many girls of all different shapes that love the fit. They are sold with a waist size and leg length, rather than as a standard size 8, 10 etc. So if you have a tiny waist and short legs, they will fit you. If you have a larger waist and long legs, they will also fit you, and so on through every combination.

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I would recommend the black ones simply because of how flattering they are, and this is true of all black skinny jeans. They elongate your legs and make them look slimmer in a way that blue jeans just don’t. Finally, what doesn’t go with black? They make such a great base for any outfit, and can look so much smarter than blue jeans if you need them to.

If you don’t have a pair of these in your wardrobe, you are missing out. Go on, add them to your Christmas wish list…

November Favourites

November has seen the sky filled with fireworks, the return of the red cups and the first snow flurry (!!!). I have stirred the Christmas pudding and made a wish, chosen my advent calendar (Thornton’s, this year) and I’m soo ready for December and all things festive!

A switch seems to have flicked this month and the temperatures have seriously dropped. I’ve found myself pulling out all of my favourite winter warmers and I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to use them again. I’m also crazily planning Christmas presents, festive activities (ice-skating, come at me) and getting ready for my lovely boyfriend’s birthday next week – watch this space, plenty of exciting things to come!

Anyway, here are the things that I’ve been loving this month…

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*Bonfire Night: As I’ve mentioned here before, I love Bonfire Night and experiencing it in London for the first time was quite something. On the 5th November I found myself curled up on my boyfriend’s window sill, at 12 floors high it was incredible to watch fireworks going off all across London. We also went to the Victoria Park firework display which was the biggest and best I’ve ever seen. The display was in time to music and it was like watching lights dance across the sky. I highly recommend it if you’re in London this time next year!

*Rude Health 5 Grain 5 Seed Porridge: There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of porridge on a cold morning is there? As a student I was always a Quakers Oats kinda gal (one sachet, bit of milk – Bob’s your uncle) but I’ve branched out this year. This Rude Health porridge is beyond delicious, really nutty and filling. As you’d expect with Rude Health, it has great ingredients with no nasty chemicals and the packet lasts forever. If this doesn’t seem your thing, they have an enormous range so there is something for everyone. With this one I highly recommend adding a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of blueberries!

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*Candles: Two new candles came my way this month and I adore them both. The first is the Anthropologie Volcano candle, which is in a beautiful, iridescent jar and comes with a copper lid. The candle itself is very fruity, so it is perfect for all year round. It comes in a variety of sizes and jar colours, this is the smallest size but bigger versions are on my Christmas wish list! The second is the Yankee Candle Christmas Memories, which was brought to my sick bed as a ‘cheer up, it’s nearly Christmas!’ present. For the past few years, the Yankee Christmas Eve candle has been my favourite from the range, but this may have just replaced it. It’s a sweet blend of gingerbread and cinnamon, to remind you of Christmases from your childhood (cute!).

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*Wanderlust: This month, Tiarnan and I booked a Christmassy weekend away in Paris, which is so exciting. And, after the horrible attacks in Paris this month, it seems all the more important to go and show the city of love some … well, love. I’ve been cruising the internet and guide books for city break inspiration, and it’s looking to be a weekend filled with decadent chocolat chauds, ice skating and perusing the Christmas markets. If you have any suggestions then I would love to hear them!

I hope you all had a great month, bring on December (… and Christmas!!)

Autumnal Candle Favourites

Isn’t autumn and winter just the time for candles? When it’s grey and miserable outside there’s no better way to cosy up the house than lighting some. Here are my picks of the best autumn candles out there (and I’ve tried plenty!)

They all follow a foodie theme, but without being too sweet which, for me, is absolutely key to finding the perfect candle. There’s nothing worse than having a candle so sickly it gives you a headache (has anyone else ever suffered from this?!) They are also all not too pricey which is a bonus. I do love expensive candles and I have owned a few (when the spendy mood strikes!) but I find myself feeling guilty about burning them for too long. These ones I’ll happily burn all day.

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With candles, I have found that when you discover a brand you love – stick to it. Candles can vary so much in quality, and most of the time price is irrelevant. I’ve bought expensive candles in the past that burnt unevenly, didn’t kick off much scent and were generally a hot, waxy mess and I’ve had super cheap ones that I loved.

Also, if you are unsure whether you’ll like a scent, see if they offer it as tealights. Most of the bigger brands do this (such at The White Company and Yankee Candle) and they have really strong scents – despite being tiny little candles! Don’t be discouraged by the size, sometimes small really is mighty, and they are a great way to experiment.

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Yankee Candle Cinnamon Stick: I couldn’t do a list of affordable candles without including Yankee Candle. They are easily available, pretty cheap and come in about a million different scents. Cinnamon Stick is one of my particular favourites though. It smells of straight up cinnamon, which does give it a hint of Christmas but it still feels acceptable to burn throughout the year.

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I have the small jar, but one of the great things with Yankee Candle is the huge variety in sizes they do. Don’t be put off by the small jars though, they still have an impressive burn time of 25-40 hours and they kick off as much scent as their big sisters.

WoodWick Cinnamon Chai: This was bought for me by my lovely flatmate as part of last year’s Secret Santa. I am completely obsessed with chai lattes, hence the choice of candle, and it really couldn’t be any more me. Of course, it is similar to the Yankee Candle Cinnamon Stick and has the lovely spicy, cinnamon scent, but underneath it is the hint of being in Starbucks, which makes it slightly sweeter.

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The special thing about WoodWick candles is that the wick crackles as the candle burns. I find this really relaxing, and it makes the candle a bit different. Some might find it annoying though! The scent isn’t quite as strong as the Yankee Candle but it still kicks off more than enough scent and makes your room smell amazing.

Anthropologie Boulangerie Pumpkin Soufflé: Last of all is probably my favourite. Anthropologie is a gorgeous shop in general (amazing for window shopping!) but they have a huge variety of candles in stunning jars. This is one of their cheaper offerings, and it comes in a fairly large range. The Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon version has been on my wish list for a while!

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This is the sweetest of all of them, as it smells like pudding but still has the spicy, pumpkin undertones. This is also probably the strongest, as you can still smell it even when it isn’t burning, but not in an overpowering way and it has a lid if you want a break from it! On top of being a great candle, the beautiful jar is a real bonus. I’m planning on washing it out and turning it into a brush holder when I’m done with the candle.

Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading!

Autumn in Kent

While the weather is still fine, my family love a good Sunday walk (with tea and cake waiting for us back home). It really is such a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially as the Kentish countryside around us is so beautiful. Every Sunday afternoon we pack up the car with walking boots, coats, scarfs and our border terrier and set off to a different village.

A couple of weeks ago we chose Chiddingstone, a village entirely owned by the National Trust, which hints at how beautiful it is. We started in the village and then wandered out into the countryside beyond until we could see the church’s spire on a distant hill.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting views from all around the world (which is completely amazing – thank you!) and I thought it might be fun to show you what autumn looks like where I’m from. Autumn in London and autumn in the countryside surrounding it are two very separate things (you can almost miss the whole season in London), so if you’re ever visiting at this time of year be sure to venture beyond the city!

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I wasn’t planning on doing anything with these photos but I had taken so many it seemed a shame not to share them! I hope you enjoyed this little slice of autumnal Kent…

How to spend … November

For the past three years, I seem to have missed autumn. Shivering as temperatures dropped in the center of Newcastle, trapped in my room reading books to complete my degree, I completely failed to notice the changing colours. Now I’m back home in Kent, I’m amazed (and sad) that I haven’t seen them for three years.

So here are my suggestions on how to spend November, based on what I’m planning to do. A month’s bucket list if you will…

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Get outside: As I have just stressed above, it’s looking beautiful out there at the moment. If you have a dog then you really have no excuse to not be out enjoying the season. If you don’t then grab a friend, your family, your partner, whoever and head out into the countryside. The best walks always go past a pub, so you can rest your feet for a while and refuel. This is also a good bribe for the less enthusiastic walking buddies.

November is a great month for this because it’s not freezing yet. Soon enough it’ll be so cold we’ll all be reluctant to leave the house, so now is the time to enjoy the fine-ish (if a bit crisp) weather while we’ve still got it.

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See fireworks: Remember, remember the 5th of November … Bonfire Night has always been a thing in my family. We love a good firework display. We would always have fireworks set off in our back garden and between rockets we would run around with sparklers spelling out our names. Don’t you just love the smell of smoke in the air around Bonfire Night, and the crackle and bangs from distant firework displays?

Whether you have them in your back garden, build a bonfire and throw a Guy onto it, attend a local display, get a pack of sparklers or simply watch someone else’s rockets go off from an upstairs window, see some fireworks!

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Whip up some baked treats: A great way to warm up the house as the evenings get colder is by having the oven pumping out some heat, while you warm yourself up by hand stirring mixture! Check out my chocolate orange cupcakes or I always think bread is a great thing to be making around this time of year. Plus, freshly baked bread makes the entire house smell delicious. Combine going out for a walk with some tea and cake for afters – guaranteed to go down a treat!

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Get reading: Whether you like to peruse a cookbook for recipe inspiration, flick through the fashion pages of the latest Vogue or get lost in a good story, now is a great time to bury your head in a book. As December creeps up on us, we will start getting busier and busier in the build up to Christmas. Now is the lovely calm before the storm, and taking some time to yourself is always a great idea. Choose a relaxed setting, settle down in a bubble filled bath or curl up with a blanket and cup of tea by the fire, light plenty of candles and turn your phone off (or at least to silent). The best way to enjoy a good book.

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Go to the cinema: In the summer, I always think that going to the cinema should be saved for rainy days only. Being cooped up inside while the sun is shining seems utterly pointless. However, we’ve left summer behind now and that changes everything. If books and reading aren’t your thing, then there are so many good films on at the moment! Of course, the main attraction is the shiny new James Bond film (which my local cinema is showing hourly) but don’t forget about Suffragette and Pan.

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How are you planning on spending November?